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. 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.
Your accommodation tonight is at Hotel Fukinomori. Surrounded by mountains and forest, the secluded hotel is conducive to relaxation. After a full day trekking the Nakasendo Way there's nothing better than a soothing soak in the hotel's outdoor hot springs in the cypress bathtub, with views of the forest. Rooms are Japanese or western style, but unlike many of the ryokans found in Tsumago, all have full en-suite facilities.
Enjoy dinner comprising of food grown and produced in the Kiso region, such as the renowned local Kiso Beef and hand kneaded soba (noodles) made from buckwheat from the nearby Kaida Highland.
Japanese or Western Style
Futon or Twin Beds