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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
  • Tours

Nearest Stations

MagomeNakatsugawa Station
TsumagoNagiso Station
NaraiNarai Station

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
  • Tours
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 ‘Road Through the Mountains’. Unlike the other major routes that followed the coast, the Nakasendo dissected Japan’s mountainous heartland including the beautiful Kiso Valley. 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 well in advance. 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 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

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 Kodo' Pilgrimage Trails

'Ontake Kodo' Pilgrimage Trails

Experience the tradition of nature worship

As the focal point of devotion for the 'Ontake Shinko' sect, Mount Ontake can be hiked along its historic pilgrimage trails.

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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

Access

Nearest Stations

MagomeNakatsugawa Station
TsumagoNagiso Station
NaraiNarai Station