Nakatsugawa Station is a small station on the Chuo Main Line, running from Nagano to Nagoya. It is one of several convenient stops for visitors heading to and from the Nakasendo Trail.
Both local and limited express services operate on the Chuo Main Line. As a stop on all limited express services, we recommend always using those services when moving to and from Nakatsugawa Station.
LIMITED EXPRESS SHINANO
Running from Nagano Station to Nagoya Station, the Limited Express Wide View Shinano stops at the following stations:
*Please note, stations marked in bold / red on the map are stops on all services. Those not marked in bold are only serviced by certain services throughout the day.
To reach Nakatsugawa from Nagano takes around 125 to 130 minutes and from Nagoya takes around 50 minutes. For further details please refer to our ‘Limited Express Shinano’ page.
DISCOVER THE KISO VALLEY & NAKASENDO
Most famous for the historic Nakasendo and its beautifully preserved ‘shukubamachi’ towns, the Kiso Valley is blessed with some of Central Japan’s most beautiful natural landscapes and cultural sites. The region is home to pristine forests, emerald rivers and waterfalls, and an undulating landscape of mountains and ravines rising to the brooding summit of Mount Ontake – Japan’s second tallest volcano. Long considered sacred, Ontake is worshipped by adherents of the Shinto sect ‘Ontake Shinko’, with the most devote practitioners walking the ‘Ontake Kodo’ pilgrimage trails that run through the forests and past waterways of the mountain.
The region has long been a hidden gem among the highlights of Nagano yet in recent years, an increasing number of international visitors has discovered the beauty of the Nakasendo Trail and its historic ‘shukubamachi’. As one of five major ‘highways’ during the Edo Period (1603 to 1868), the Nakasendo was largely used to transport people including feudal lords and their families between Kyoto and Edo – now called Tokyo. Translating as ‘Road in the Mountains’, the Nakasendo consolidated many ancient routes and paths into an official highway through the centre of the country – Japan’s beautiful mountainous heartland.
Now commonly referred to as the ‘Nakasendo Trail’ or ‘Nakasendo Way’, the historic route can still be walked today, with the section through the Kiso Valley – known as the ‘Kiso-ji’ – regarded as the most beautiful and pleasurable to follow. Passing through heavily forested mountains and over pristine streams and rivers, the trail takes you deep into the heart of Japan. As a place where tradition lives on, the post towns of the Kiso Valley retain their historic character through continued use as places of residence and industry.
For tips and suggestions of what’s on offer, see our ’25 Things to Do Around the Kiso Valley & Nakasendo’ page.
ACCOMMODATION AROUND NAKATSUGAWA STATION
Nakatsugawa Station is the nearest major station to the popular towns of Tsumago and Magome – two of the best preserved ‘shukubamachi’ along the Nakasendo. Many visitors choose to stay in one of those towns during their stay in the Kiso Valley, with a good number of ‘ryokan’ (traditional guesthouses) spread through them. Accommodation in the towns is however limited to Japanese-style accommodation i.e. on floor ‘futon’ bedding and shared bathrooms the better guesthouses tend to book-out well in advance. The area immediately around Nakatsugawa has a greater range of accommodation including larger Western-style hotels. For accommodation listings in the area, see our ‘Magome, Tsumago & Nakatsugawa Area’ hotel page.
When visiting the Kiso Valley, we recommended basing yourself in the central valley around the Kiso-Fukushima area – pictured above. Boasting the greatest number of hotels and guesthouses, the area around Kiso-Fukushima Station is the ideal launching point from where to explore the Nakasendo, including the more northern town of Narai, and other destinations including Mount Ontake and its many surrounding attractions. A convenient stop on all Limited Express Shinano services running between Nagano, Matsumoto and Nagoya, it’s our recommendation of where to stay. For accommodation listings in the area, see our ‘Kiso-Fukushima & Narai Area’ hotel page.
PRIVATE CHARTERS & TOURS IN CENTRAL JAPAN
Based in Nagano and operating all year round, we are a No.1-rated tour and charter operator, offering a range of services including group tours, private tours and charters.
Our drivers and vehicles are fully certified, allowing us to transport you to and from your preferred destinations, in combination with any activity that suits your interests and schedule including transport to and from any ski resort in the region.
We can arrange both private tours with an English-speaking guide or a private charter, including a private vehicle and driver but without a guide. We’d love to be part of that experience and help you discover even more!
Why choose us?
Awarded a 2019 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award for our 1-Day Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple & Sake Tour – recognised as one of the Top 10 Experiences in Japan – we have the local knowledge and experience to help you get the most out of your time in Central Japan.
Got a question about arranging a charter or tour in the Kiso Valley and Central Japan? Feel free to contact us at email@example.com and let’s get planning together!