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Walk the Nakasendo Trail
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail

Walk the Nakasendo Trail

Follow One of Japan's Most Historic Roads

Key features

  • Hiking
  • Historic Walking Trail
  • Historic Towns
  • Historic Sites
  • Traditional Guesthouses
  • Local Restaurants
  • Traditional Crafts
  • Tea Houses
  • Museums
  • Nature
  • Outdoors

Walk the Nakasendo Trail

Follow One of Japan's Most Historic Roads

Key features

  • Hiking
  • Historic Walking Trail
  • Historic Towns
  • Historic Sites
  • Traditional Guesthouses
  • Local Restaurants
  • Traditional Crafts
  • Tea Houses
  • Museums
  • Nature
  • Outdoors
During Japan's Edo Period (1603 to 1868) the Nakasendo was one of five major routes linking Kyoto to the new capital of Tokyo, then called ‘Edo’. Stretching over 500 kilometres between the two cities, the name Nakasendo translates as ‘中/naka = middle; 山 / sen = mountain; 道 / do = road’, or the ‘Middle Mountain Road’. Unlike the other major routes that followed the coast, the Nakasendo dissected Japan’s mountainous heartland including the beautiful Kiso Valley in Nagano. Today, the hiking route known as the ‘Nakasendo Trail’ or ‘Nakasendo Way’ follows the historic road, transporting those who walk it through both pace and time and deep into the heart of Japan.
As a major trade route, postal towns developed along the road to monitor, tax, and service the human traffic and their cargo. Known as ‘juku’, a total of 69 postal towns controlled passage on the road, with many achieving great wealth due to patronage by ‘daimyo’ (feudal lords) and their entourages as they moved to and from the capital. Towns including Narai, Magome and Tsumago remain in excellent states of preservation, with measures in place to retain the historic character and importance of each juku. Each town is a destination in its own right, with guesthouses, restaurants and traditional craft stores enticing visitors to take their time, explore and stay overnight on the Nakasendo.

The trail can be walked any time of year. We recommend spring and autumn to coincide with the cherry blossoms and stunning autumn leaves. These are the most popular seasons for walking the trail so make sure to book your accommodation. Heat and humidity in summer make the walk more taxing so make sure you are prepared for the conditions and take your time. The trail is in theory open during winter but it is not maintained. Specialist walking gear is required as snowfall can be heavy.

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  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail
  • Walk the Nakasendo Trail

Recommended Highlights from Snow Monkey Resorts

Follow the Nakasendo & Discover the Heart of Japan

Follow the Nakasendo & Discover the Heart of Japan

One of five major routes linking Tokyo to Kyoto during the Edo Period, the Nakasendo can still be walked today.

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Historic Post Towns of the Nakasendo

Historic Post Towns of the Nakasendo

Known as ‘juku’ in Japanese, the post towns found the Kiso Valley are the best preserved on the Nakasendo Trail.

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Discover the Beautiful Kiso Valley

Discover the Beautiful Kiso Valley

Known as the ‘Kiso-ji’, the 70km stretch of the Nakasendo which passed through the Kiso Valley was regarded as the most beautiful – a place where tradition lives on today.

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Book a Private Tour & Discover More

Book a Private Tour & Discover More

Our English-speaking guides look forward to taking you along a road less travelled with the comfort and convenience of a private vehicle and driver.

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News / Info

How to get to the Nakasendo & Kiso Valley

How to get to the Nakasendo & Kiso Valley

Everything you need to know about how to get there as quickly and conveniently as possible.

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How to Best Enjoy the Nakasendo Trail

How to Best Enjoy the Nakasendo Trail

Here are our tips for getting the most out of your time on the old road.

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Seasons of the Nakasendo

Seasons of the Nakasendo

Most popular in spring and autumn, it's woth making sure you know what expect when preparing for your walk.

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Destination & Attractions Nearby the Nakasendo Trail

Destination & Attractions Nearby the Nakasendo Trail

The Nakasendo will take you deep into the Kiso Valley, where thes 25 things to do are waiting to be discovered.

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Nearby Recommendation

Magome-juku

Magome-juku

One of the Nakasendo's most charming historic towns

For many visitors, Magome-juku is their first stop on the Nakasendo as they begin their walk along the historic trail.

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Tsumago-juku

Tsumago-juku

Charming guesthouses and great local food await

Located 7.5km from Magome-juku, the walk between these two towns is the most popular section of the Nakasendo.

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Narai-juku

Narai-juku

The best preserved but less visited post town

Once known as 'Narai of a Thousand Houses', this was the wealthiest town on the Nakasendo

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Kiso Ontake Mountain Range

Kiso Ontake Mountain Range

Explore the mountainous interior of Japan

A place of dramatic mountains and lush forests, these mountains define the region.

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Ontake Ropeway

Ontake Ropeway

Experience the beauty of Mt Ontake

Summiting at 3067 meters, Mt Ontake is Japan's tallest volcano and its famous ropeway will take you as high as 2333 meters above sea level.

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Lake Shizenko

Lake Shizenko

A beautiful and unique natural attraction

With canoeing availabe in summer, the lake is at its most beautiful from spring to autumn.

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Kamikochi

Kamikochi

Experience one of Japan's most remarkable natural landscapes

Considered the jewel of the Chubu Sangaku National Park, Kamikochi is accessible via Matsumoto City.

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Mastumoto Castle

Mastumoto Castle

One of Japan's last remaining original castles

A short distance from the Nakasendo, Matsumoto Castle is registered National Treasure and one of the region's most poplar destinations.

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Amenities

Walking trail
Traditional guesthouses
Local restaurants
Historic sites
Tea houses
Museums
Public toilets

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