Magome, Tsumago & Nakatsugawa Area
Increasingly popular with international visitors, Magome and Tsumago are two of the most beautifully preserved towns along the Nakasendo Trail. Lying around 7.5km apart, many visitors to the region choose to walk between the two towns and in doing so retrace the steps of dignitaries, warriors, clerics and merchants who used to frequent the trail as they moved between Edo – now called Tokyo – and Kyoto during the Edo Period.
The historic character of both Magome and Tsumago has been lovingly maintained by residents with numerous historic timber buildings lining their streets. Converted to all manner of use – including craftstores, restaurants, cafes and guesthouses – the buildings are endlessly photogenic and as such, attract lots of visitors, especially in October and November who come for the autumn colours.
Both towns have a number of ‘ryokan’ (traditioanl guesthouses) including a couple of famous ones. If you chose to stay in either Magome or Tsumago make sure to include both dinner and breakfast in your accommodation as there are no other dining options at night or in the morning. It is also worth noting that you will find to struggle any accommodation that provides Western-style bedding or meals, with many also only having shared bathroom facilities. If this is important to you, we suggest considering staying in the Kiso-Fukushima area – our recommendation as the most convenient place to stay while in the Kiso Valley*.
The nearest major station to both Magome and Tsumago is Nakatsugawa Station, from where local bus services run to both towns. You will also find a greater range of accommodation around Nakatsugawa Station including Western-style hotels however the popularity of those hotels with large tour groups and the areas lack of attractions reinforces our recommendation of choosing to stay around Kiso-Fukushima – for tips and suggestions of what to do while in the area, see our ’25 Things to Do in the Kiso Valley & Nakasendo’ page.
*If you are looking for accommodation in or nearby Narai, please note that it is located to the north of this area and closer to Kiso-Fukushima.