A Village to Village Discovery

Nakasendo Trail Self-Guided Tours

In feudal times people travelling between Kyoto and Tokyo would use the Nakasendo way – the road through the central mountains – a network of ancient highways.

We offer tours with 3, 4 and 5 days of walking village to village along the Nakasendo Trail, the old route linking Kyoto with Tokyo inland through the mountains. Walking is mainly gentle and passes through rural scenery and villages, including the exquisitely-preserved settlements of Magome and Tsumago.

Tour Length

We offer from 3 to 5 day versions of the Nakasendo Trail self-guided tour.

Walking Season

Walking season in Japan begins in March and ends in November.

A mother and her children wearing yukata while walking to a local festival

Trips & Level of Trip

Mixed village paths (paved) and unpaved forested trails. An easy to moderate walk, the longest day has 6 hours of walking, however some days have 2 to 3, leaving time for sightseeing in the lovely old Nakasendo post towns en route. The route follows the Kiso Valley, and is flat with some gentle climbs over low passes.

All of the tours can begin from either Kyoto or Tokyo:

  • If you have the time to do it, we highly recommend the five-day trip, which visits Magome, before staying in Tsumago, Kiso-Fukushima and Narai, heading onwards to Karuizawa via the lacquerware town of Kiso-Hirasawa and castle town Matsumoto, before a lovely final night at the Meiji-period inn Tsuruya, before a challenging but excellent hike to Yokokawa on one of the most rural and varied sections of the trail, the five-day trip then ends in Tokyo.
  • The four-day version visits Magome, Tsumago, Kiso-Fukushima and Narai and heads to either Kyoto or Tokyo via Kiso-Hirasawa.
  • The three-day version visits Magome, staying in Tsumago and Kiso-Fukushima before heading to either Kyoto or Tokyo via Narai. We recommend the three and four-day tours for clients with shorter schedules, those who would prefer to end in Kyoto, and these shorter tours typically best suited for less confident hikers.

Nakasendo self-guided walking 3 days

  • Duration: 3 days
  • Level: Active

Visit the exquisitely-preserved villages of Magome, Tsumago and Narai over 3 days of walking in the picturesque Kiso Valley

USD 1045
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Nakasendo self-guided walking 4 days

  • Duration: 4 days
  • Level: Active

Walking over 4 days in the picturesque Kiso Valley with overnight stays in Tsumago, Kiso-Fukushima and Narai

USD 1175
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Nakasendo self-guided walking 5 days

  • Duration: 5 days
  • Level: Active

Village to village walking on the loveliest parts of the old Nakasendo Trail, before visiting Matsumoto with it's historic castle and onward to picturesque Karuizawa

USD 1425
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Nakasendo and Kamikochi walking 6 days

  • Duration: 6 days
  • Level: Active

Enjoy the best forest walks and Juku post towns of the Nakasendo Trail, before heading into the Oku-Hida mountains to explore Kamikochi before arriving in iconic Takayama.

USD 1695
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Nakasendo and Kamikochi walking 10 days

  • Duration: 10 days
  • Level: Active

Explore the Nakasendo trail before heading into the Oku-Hida mountains to explore the biodiverse Kamikochi, ending with excellent hiking and Onsen in Oku-Nikko

USD 3165
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