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2-DAY FROM/TO NAGANO: HISTORIC NAKASENDO WALKING TOUR

2-DAY FROM/TO NAGANO: HISTORIC NAKASENDO WALKING TOUR

Period

Mon & Thu / Apr - Nov

Time

(Day 1) 08:45 - (Day 2) 19:00

Meeting Place

JR Nagano Station Information Board

Price

Adult (13+) 68,000 JPY
Child (6-12) 55,000 JPY

Highlights

  • Hike along the historic ‘Nakasendo Trail’ – the Edo Period trade route which once connected Kyoto to Tokyo – through the beautiful Kiso Valley
  • Explore three of the Nakasendo’s best preserved post towns – Narai, Magome, and Tsumago – each renowned for their historic state of preservation
  • Spend a night at a traditional inn in Magome, including dinner and breakfast service
  • Enjoy lunch at two traditional local restaurants on Day 1 and Day 2
  • Discover the Japan of your imagination as your retrace the footsteps of merchants, warriors, and pilgrims who once walked the same path.

 

Description

 

Situated in central Japan between the popular destinations of Tokyo and Kyoto, the mountainous of region of Nagano is the literal heart of Japan and a road less traveled by many international visitors. Beginning and ending in Nagano, this 2-day tour transports you back in time to the historic Nakasendo Trail to visit the beautiful township of Narai before a gentle afternoon walk from Ochiai to Magome (Day 1) and are more exertive hike from Magome and Tsumago (Day 2). Known as the ‘Kiso-ji’, this section of the trail is known for its excellent state of preservation and profound beauty. Including accommodation in Magome, lunch on both days, and an English-speaking guide, this 2-day tour takes you off the beaten path and along one of ancient trade roads of Japan, deep into the heart of this fascinating country and culture.

 

Day 1

 

Your guide will meet you at JR Nagano Station at 08:45 (the guide will be waiting from 08:35 onward) and have you board the tour bus as quickly as possible to begin your journey south, toward the beautiful Kiso Valley. Known as the ‘Kiso-ji’, this region is known for its lush, unspoiled beauty and as you travel deeper into the valley, anticipation builds for your arrival at one of the most famous post towns on the Nakasendo Trail – Narai.

 

Known as ‘Narai Senken’ or ‘Narai of a Thousand Houses’, this beautifully preserved town marked the midpoint of Nakasendo – the thirty-fourth of sixty-nine stations which monitored, controlled, and taxed traffic along the road. Today the remaining historic town runs approximately 1km in length and is 200 meters wide, home to numerous shops, restaurants, traditional accommodation and peoples’ homes.

 

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The perfect point from which to start your Nakasendo exploration – and a world away from the neon and buzz of the coastal cities – your guide will give you time to explore before taking you for lunch at a nearby restaurant where you can enjoy a traditional meal including the local delicacy, ‘soba’ (buckwheat noodles).

 

At approximately 13:30 it’s time to board the tour bus and follow the beautiful Narai River toward your next stop, Ochiai. Well-filled by lunch, it’s the perfect chance to enjoy the beautiful scenery and relax, as you are whisked toward Ochiai, from where you will enjoy the first walking segment of the tour.

 

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The walk from Ochiai to Magome is a comfortable walk of approximately 1 hour in duration. Leading you initially through a cedar forest and then back into the open and past rice fields and homes, this section of the Nakasendo retains some of the last remaining paving stones and is a road less travelled by visitors – the perfect place to get an appreciation for the original route and start walking!

 

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Arriving at Magome around 16:15 to 16:30, your guide will accompany you to your guesthouse – where your luggage will be waiting – before wishing you good evening to enjoy the town and dinner at your accommodation.

 

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Day 2

 

The second day begins with breakfast at your guesthouse before meeting-up with your guide around 9:30. You’ll have time to explore the town which has been extensively resorted including a broad stone walkway lined by museums, traditional stores, and restaurants interspersed with regular homes before beginning you second days walk – a longer and more energetic 7.6km trail – to Tsumago.

 

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The approximate 2.5 to 3 hour walk takes you through an undulating landscape of rice paddies, farm fields, streams, forests and even some waterfalls. Your guide will lead you at a comfortable pace including a longer break around the halfway point to rest your feet and soak in your surroundings. This section of the Nakasendo Trail is particularly well-preserved and walking the same path as those hundreds of years before, gives you a unique appreciation of the journeys and lives of the Japan of old.

 

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As the forest thins and the landscape opens up, you will arrive in Tsumago – the 42nd post town and your final destination. Your guide will first take you for a well-deserved lunch followed by time to explore perhaps the best preserved and enchanting of the post towns for yourself.

 

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Around 15:30 you’ll meetup with your guide and board the tour bus to begin the journey back to Nagano. Stopping along the way to break-up the journey, you’ll be transported directly to JR Nagano Station, where the tour is scheduled to conclude around 19:00.

 

ITINERARY

Day1 08:45 Meetup with your guide at JR Nagano Station and be transported toward the Kiso Valley.
10:45 Arrive at Narai and enjoy around 1 hours exploration before having lunch at a local restaurant around 12:00.
13:30 Depart Narai and drive along Narai River toward Ochiai.
15:15 Arrive at Ochiai and walk along the original trail to Magome.
16:30 Arrive in Magome and check-in at your guesthouse, where the day’s tour concludes. You are then free to enjoy your evening by wandering the town with dinner included at your guesthouse.
Day2 09:30 Meetup with your guide and explore Magome before starting the second days walking around 10:00.
13:00 Arrive at Tsumago and enjoy a well-earned lunch at a local restaurant before explore Nakasendo's best preserved post town.
15:30 Meetup with your guide and board the tour bus to begin your journey back toward Nagano (including a stop along the way)
19:00 Arrive at JR Nagano Station where the tour concludes.

NOTES

Included:

  • Transportation fee from Nagano to the Kiso Valley and between activities/attractions
  • Lunches on Day 1 & Day 2
  • Accommodation on Day 1 including dinner and breakfast (on Day 2)
  • English-speaking guide

 

Excluded:

  • Additional food, snacks and drinks
  • Shinkansen/Bullet train tickets

 

Other Information:

  • Please wear suitable shoes/boots and clothing for hiking through varying terrain. The trail is well-maintained and paved in some areas with other sections being more challenging. The trail is undulating with some steeper climbs however it is suitable for anyone of reasonable fitness. If it is raining, paving stones can become slick therefore good quality walking boots/shoes are required and guests should consider brining a walking stick/poles if required.
  • Please be prepared for changing weather conditions including rain (anytime of year but especially in June and July) and hot, humid condition from late-June until September. Kiso Valley is a mountainous region therefore weather can change quickly.
  • Accommodation is at a traditional guesthouse including futon bedding (on the floor) and shared bathrooms, typical of a traditional Japanese inn.
  • The tour application deadline is 2 days before the tour date at 17:00.

MEETING PLACE

Google Map

JR Nagano Station Information Board

Kurita, Nagano-shi, Nagano, 380-0921, Japan

FAQ

What time of the bullet train should I ride to arrive in Nagano on time? What time does the bullet train depart back to Tokyo after the tour?

 

The start and finish of the tour are arranged according to the bullet train (called Hokuriku Shinkansen) timetable. See below for specific timetables on the bullet train departure and arrival times to/from Nagano Station.

 

Departing Tokyo Station – Arriving Nagano Station:

 

Tokyo: 06:16 – Nagano: 07:38 – Kagayaki (Reservation only)

Tokyo: 06:28 – Nagano: 08:06 – Hakutaka

Tokyo: 06:44 – Nagano: 08:26 – Hakutaka*

 

* You can still take 06:44- 08:26 train since JR Nagano Station isn’t big at all and there is only one Shinkansen ticket exit. The tour meet-up is just after the Shinkansen ticket exit so please come straight up to there.

RESERVATION
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