DAY 1 Kyoto - Magome - Tsumago
Total walking distance: approx. 8 km, 3 hours
Today you will leave the ancient capital of Kyoto behind and will make your way to Magome, a post town along the Nakasendo Way. Your Nakasendo walking journey starts in Kiso Valley, one of the five routes that branched off the former capital of Japan.
Make your own way to Kyoto station, where we will be providing you with tickets for your journey to Tsumago. You will take the Shinkansen to Nagoya, where you will change to a limited express train for Nakatsugawa. From the station, a bus will take you to Magome (guest's own expense). Journey time is about 2.5 hours total.
The Kiso Valley is located in Nagano Prefecture, and runs alongside the mountains of the Central Alps. An ancient 70-km trade route called the Kisoji was developed along the valley and served as a very important means of commerce in the area.
Upon arrival at Magome, take some time to refresh yourself before walking the 8km stretch from Magome to Tsumago today. The trail that runs from Magome to Tsumago is perhaps the most popular section of Nakasendo. The trail is a little steep at first, but it evens out quickly and the rest slopes away gently down to Tsumago. There are plenty of rest stops and toilets along the way (some even with free WiFi!) As you make your way through the forest, you'll be treated to cascading waterfalls and beautiful mountain vistas peeking through the trees.
At the end of the walk, your reward is the picture-perfect town of Tsumago. Unlike Magome, the houses here are all over 200 years old and still house many residents to this day. Enjoy the feeling of stepping back in time as you explore this pretty town.
Tsumago is one of the post towns that flourished in the Edo Period. Tsumago was in its Golden Era during the time when merchants and other noble and prominent people frequently passed through for trade and other formal appointments. In the latter part of 1970, this small town was classified as a Nationally Designated Architectural Preservation Site, thanks to the collective effort of its locals to preserve most of the remaining historical buildings.
Overnight in Tsumago.
Tsumago is located in the southern part of the Kiso Valley. Your accommodation tonight is at Onyado Daikichi (or Hanaya Isomura if Onyado Daikichi is not available). They are both authentic Japanese inns located along Nakasendo Trail. They are protected buildings from the Edo period and have been passed down for generations as a lodging for people traveling from ancient times. The inns only have shared bathroom and toilet as they are old buildings.
The inns offer an original Japanese dinner and breakfast with several courses, including soba noodles a la Chirashi Sushi, traditional tempura, seasonal mountain vegetables, and a glass of local wine. You can enjoy the beautiful seasonal sceneries and relax and immerse in the authentic Nakasendo experiences.
Onyado Daikichi or Hanaya Isomura