How to Get The Most out of The Nakasendo & Kiso Valley

How to Get The Most out of The Nakasendo & Kiso Valley

Welcome to the Kiso Valley! If you are planning a visit here as part of your trip to Japan, what a trip you are in for! Did you ever wish you had a time machine? Wish no more! Just get on the train in Tokyo or Nagoya and when you step off in the Kiso Valley region – called “Kisoji” in Japanese, meaning the Kiso Road – you will find yourself surrounded by natural scenery that has largely remained the same for thousands of years. If you want to see the heart of Japan, you have found it. Prepare yourself to be inspired with awe and appreciation for Mother Nature and her untouched wonders.


This winter, Snow Monkey Resorts is happy to collaborate with to introduce a charm of the Nakasendo Trail and Kisoji.

The following basic information expalins How to Get the Most Out of the Nakasendo and Kiso Valley including suggested itineraries, what to see while there, access and so on:


Suggested itineraries


If you already have an understanding of the Kiso Valley and need some quick information and trip ideas, you can jump to those pages by clicking the banner below.  All suggested itineraries include brief public transportation information to assist in planning your visit or the option of a private tour!


Explore Post Towns and Natural Scenery Around Mt. Ontake

Two day itinerary from Nagano/Matsumoto to Takayama through the Kiso Valley. This itinerary takes you to Narai-juku and then on to Mt. Ontake, where you can enjoy canoeing or a scenic trip up the ropeway. You can stay at a ‘ryokan’ (traditional guesthouse) in Kiso before starting out the next day for Magome-juku and walking the trail to Tsumago. There’s also a sake brewery near Kiso-Fukushima Station that offers tours in English before you head to your next destination.


Castle and Scenic Forest/Gorge and Post Towns

Our next two day itinerary starts off at Matsumoto Castle and then travels south through Narai-juku before stopping off in Kiso-Fukushima on the first day. On the next day, visit Nezamenotoko and prepare to have your socks knocke- off by its larger-than-life boulders and learn the charming history of this fabled place. Then head either to Kakizore Gorge to do some climbing through the forest leading to jaw-dropping waterfalls, or to Akasawa Forest where you can learn more about the history of the region’s forestry industry, while absorbing the healing powers surrounding you on the trail. Finally visit Tsumago-juku and walk the trail to Magome.


Winter attractions in the Nakasendo Kiso Valley

With this itinerary, a private tour is required as winter conditions make traveliing from Takayama to the Kiso Valley in winter, a little too difficult. This tour includes a transportation from Takayama to Nagano via the Kiso Valley and unique winter activities such as horse-riding and the stunning sight of the Shirakawa Ice Pillars!


Dream itinerary for Instagrammers

Finally, our three day itinerary is perfect if you want to discover the hidden charms of the Kiso Valley. Start in Nagano or Matsumoto, head down through Yabuhara station and hike to the Torii Pass through to the Narai Post Town before staying the night in Kiso-Fukushima. On the second day, ride the Mt. Ontake ropeway before enjoying the translucent blue river at Nezamenotoko and the impressively large boulders that sit in the sparkling water.


Follow that by taking a short ride on the historic train in Akasawa Forest Train and walking the invigorating nature trails. Spend the night in Kiso Fukushima before heading out to Kakizore Gorge on day 3 and getting some selfies against the background of emerald green water. The next stop is Tsumago Post Town and a hike along the scenic Nakasendo Trail to Magome Post Town.

Kiso Valley & Nakasendo