Walk the ancient pilgrimage trail of Nakasendo and Kiso Valley

Nagoya, Aichi, Japan

Changi Airport Terminal 1

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Nagoya: Walk the ancient pilgrimage trail of Nakasendo an...

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“Hi, it's u­­­s, Georg­i­n­a, Bri­tt­a, and ­Lee­ Lin­g­”

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Highlights

This walking trip follows the ancient Nakasendo Way through the Kiso Valley of central Japan and also reaches the high alpine Kaida Plateau. Our route takes us into a world far from the modern bustle of Japan’s megacities. We travel through some of the most picturesque and historical villages in the nation, stay in rural, family-run Japanese inns and relax in hot spring baths. Traditional Japanese meals are served, and because we are deep in the rural mountains of Japan, ingredients include many locally grown vegetables, forages from the surrounding mountains and fresh-water fish caught in the nearby streams and rivers.  Let's follow the foot steps of the ancient Japan's fuedal lords.

Highlights
  • Hike from village to village walking on the loveliest parts of the old Nakasendo Trail
  • Bathe in the thermal waters at a hot-spring (onsen) Ryokan
  • Visit the exquisitely-preserved villages of Magome, Tsumago and Narai that modern transport has no access
  • Walk 5 days in the picturesque Kiso Valley
  • Hike country trails and quiet rural roads, with some moderate ascents and descents

We will begin our hike from Kiso Road section of the Nakasendo Way and follow this ancient road past paddy fields and quiet farmhouses to pleasant Magome post-town. We continue onto O-tsumago, for the classic hike over Magome Pass, through old forests and past pristine mountain streams.

Walk the ancient pilgrimage trail of Nakasendo and Kiso Valley starting at Nagoya, Aichi, JapanA view from Tsumago post village where modern transportation can't reach, photo by James Faulkner licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Walk the ancient pilgrimage trail of Nakasendo and Kiso Valley starting at Nagoya, Aichi, Japan
We will walk through Magome Pass and Forest, photo by Cliffano Subagio licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

We will walk 5.2 miles (8.3km) over the Magome Pass to the exquisitely preserved post town of Tsumago. Go back in time to the Edo Period (1603-1868) as you stroll through the village streets - cars aren't allowed on the main drag and electrical wires are carefully concealed. We will spend the night at a family-run bed and breakfast, or minshuku.

Walk the ancient pilgrimage trail of Nakasendo and Kiso Valley starting at Nagoya, Aichi, JapanAn evening scenary of Tsumago Street, photo by James Faulkner licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

T
he next day we will continue to Nojiri.This will be the longest hike of the trip, hiking a beautiful section of trail from Tsumago to the post station of Nojiri. The 18km path snakes through valleys, past bamboo and cedar forests, offering some of the most unspoiled scenery of the trip. The walk should take around 6 hours.

Walk the ancient pilgrimage trail of Nakasendo and Kiso Valley starting at Nagoya, Aichi, JapanRiver flowing along the path near to Magome, photo by Cliffano Subagio licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Walk the ancient pilgrimage trail of Nakasendo and Kiso Valley starting at Nagoya, Aichi, Japan
A view of Kiso Valley, photo by Davide Gorla licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

The next day will be a 2 to 3-hour 7km walk with an ascent of 632m.  The Torii Pass on a 3-hour hike through the forest to get to the village of Narai. This post station marks the center of the Nakasendo Trail.

Our final stretch of the Nakasendo Trail will take us from Kiso-Fukushima to Narai-Juku. We will hike over the high plateaus of the Torii Pass then to a gentle descent to one of the most pristine parts of the trail. Enjoying the gorgeous mountain views along this 7km 6-hour long trek.
Walk the ancient pilgrimage trail of Nakasendo and Kiso Valley starting at Nagoya, Aichi, JapanScene of high plateaus Torii Pass

Walk the ancient pilgrimage trail of Nakasendo and Kiso Valley starting at Nagoya, Aichi, JapanNarai-juku the thirty-fourth of the sixty-nine stations of the Nakasendo, as well as the second of eleven stations along the Kisoji, photo by 663highland licensed under CC BY 2.5

Walk the ancient pilgrimage trail of Nakasendo and Kiso Valley starting at Nagoya, Aichi, JapanWaterfalls along the gentle descent

After our 5 days hike, we will head to Tokyo for 1 day and experience the other side of Tokyo that most tourists won't know about, that is best experience by getting a local to show us around.  After which we will leave for home.

Note:

Please take note this hike will be done on summer and autumn, therefore some photos are of different seasons, we should not expect a summer scene when we are hiking in autumn and vice versa.

Itinerary

Day 1
Fly Singapore to Nagoya

Day 2
Travel Nagoya to Nakatsugawa to Magome
Overnight Magome

Day 3
Hike from Magome to Tsumago-Juku 16km, uphill of 480m
Overnight Tsumago-Juku

Day 4
Visit Hike from Tsumago-Juku to Nagiso 5km hike
Kiso-Fukushima sightseeing
Overnight Kiso-Fukushima

Day 5
Hike Yabuhara - Torii Pass - Narai-Juku 7km hike, uphill of 110m
Overnight Narai-Juku Inn

Day 6
Visit Narai-Juku till lunch
Overnight Tokyo

Day 7
Toyko City Non-Touristy sightseeing
Overnight Tokyo

Day 8
Fly back Singapore to Tokyo
Reach Singapore

Reviews

  • I had a amazing trip with a group of friendly and warm tour mates. Carly was such an assuring tour leader. Excellent and safe Vietnamese driver, Jerry. well spoken English Vietnamese guide Tommy. I enjoyed myself very much and look forward for another trip!

  • Excellent short trip with beautiful verdant countryside and charming local tribal people not corrupted by tourism yet . Be prepared for long drive on narrow winding mountain roads.

  • Best trip ever ! Everyone laughed and enjoyed the hols as if we have known each other all our lives instead of meeting for the first time ! Everyone kept their cool when faced with an unforseen delay . The scenery at Ha Giang is simply superb . There are so many small towns within the mountains with... Read more Best trip ever ! Everyone laughed and enjoyed the hols as if we have known each other all our lives instead of meeting for the first time ! Everyone kept their cool when faced with an unforseen delay . The scenery at Ha Giang is simply superb . There are so many small towns within the mountains with so many minority races living together . Their costumes are so colourful and the ladies' headgears are so lovely to gawk at . If I could , I would love to go again . Highly recommended for gungho people with "throw everything to the wind" attitude . Fantastic local guide and driver (Tom & Jerry) and pats on the back for Carly (Singapore guide) too . Thanks .........rosse and raymond . Read less

  • Georgina was great in: 1) giving reminders so that people can un-RSVP for others on wait list to get a spot. 2) giving clear instructions, photos, links on how to get to the meeting point, 3)explaining why everyone had to be on time and what the program is expected to be and when it might end. ... Read more Georgina was great in: 1) giving reminders so that people can un-RSVP for others on wait list to get a spot. 2) giving clear instructions, photos, links on how to get to the meeting point, 3)explaining why everyone had to be on time and what the program is expected to be and when it might end. Late evening slot was a good idea as we got to see the night installations at The PathFinder portion, but food stalls already closed upon exit. There are toilets inside the exhibit in Fort Canning Center itself. Cleaner than the mobile toilets outside. Thank you for helping to get us tickets when it is so difficult to do so. Read less

  • My wife, son and I never regret of signing up this trip. My 8 year old son enjoyed the walk on the rocky beach. Best moment of the walk was that we came closed to the corals, crabs ???? and ???? shrimps. Thank you threeplaygrounds!