Immerse yourself in glorious alpine scenery as you hike between the Edo-period stations of the Nakasendo – or ‘mountain way’ – a journey once made by merchants, poets and commoners alike, on the road from Tokyo to Kyoto. Today, this ad-hoc walking trail links gorgeous and well-preserved ‘post towns’ in much the same way as it would have during Japan’s feudal past – a perfect way to step back in time and enjoy the forests, rural communities and breathtaking scenery of the Kiso Valley.
From the city of Matsumoto it is possible to hop on local trains to select towns along this route as a full day trip, where point-to-point or round-trip hikes will allow you to experience a snippet of this famous road. The most well-trodden section – between Magome and Tsumago – will also require a few bus journeys, three hours of walking, and some good-luck on catching the right train. For this reason, an overnight stop in a traditional inn (ryokan) is certainly recommended.
We can suggest a number of hikes, sightseeing stops and overall routes in this area to allow you to spend whatever time you wish exploring this beautiful slice of history, without it being too difficult to continue on to the rest of modern Japan.