AJ Travel Bureau Toursnakasendo

$5,490 per person - 12 Nights

The Nakasendo Post Road literally translates as 'the road through the mountains'. It is an ancient post route, dating back to the 7th century, that connects Kyoto with Tokyo via the Central Japanese Alpine mountains. The pictures to the right provide a good depiction of what the walking is like. Our walking tour will help you to do a deep dive into Japanese culture by wandering through the Japanese countryside, staying in traditional Japanese accommodation, eating local cuisine and visiting heritage listed Japanese castles, onsen, museums, accommodations of feudal lords who were forced by the Shogun to make these long treks from their country domains to Tokyo. To discover more about the Nakasendo and what is involved, see the itinerary below and read our blog post History and culture of the Nakasendo.

Tour InclusionsThe Nakasendo

12 nights accommodation;
All Breakfasts & dinners on the Nakasendo;
Public transport while on the Nakasendo;
Multi course dinner & entertainment by Gaisha (or similar);
Farewell dinner & show at Mugen Style Restaurant in Tokyo (or similar);
Bilingual tour leader to make your journey hassle free and most enjoyable.

Tour Dates:
Apr 2020 - Nakasendo
Aug 2020 - Summer Nakasendo
Nov 2020 - Nakasendo

Download the Brochure

Nakasendo Brochure.pdf

Tour ExclusionsThe Nakasendo

International airfares;
Travel insurance;
Alcoholic beverages;
Water not provided.

You can purchase delicious obento lunch boxes cheaply as you journey along the Nakasendo.

Tour Dates:
Apr 2020 - Nakasendo
Aug 2020 - Summer Nakasendo
Nov 2020 - Nakasendo

Download the Brochure

Nakasendo Brochure.pdf

Day 1 - Arrive in Kyoto

The Nakasendo Way Walking tour will meet in the lobby of the Kyoto MS Grand Hotel (or similar) at 5pm (check in from 2pm). Then, we’ll head out to our welcome dinner with geiko-san. Be entertained by these apprentice geisha, meet your fellow Nakasendo trail walkers, and receive a briefing on our next steps. We set out tomorrow after an early breakfast.

  • Arrive Kyoto hotel;
  • Dinner provided;
  • Breakfast not provided (bakery available next door);
  • Distance walked approx: 12km

More info

For more information read our blog articles on:

  • Mugen Style Restaurant;

Day 2 - Hikone

We'll meet in the lobby of the hotel and begin our first steps along the Nakasendo trail. We'll head to Sanjo-ohashi, the offical beginning of the Nakasendo, pass by Gion and the Yasaka Shrine before heading to the Nanzenji Zen Temple.
We'll explore Samon Gate, the various buildings, gardens and 18th century aqueduct of Nanzenji Temple compound before heading to Hikone. In the afternoon we'll explore Hikone Castle and Yume-Kobayashi Dori - an Edo-style reconstructed street at the entrance to Hikone castle.

  • Breakfast not included (bakery adjacent to the hotel);
  • Walk to Nanzenji Temple;
  • Sanmon-Gate entrance included;
  • Train from Kyoto to Hikone;
  • Explore Hikone Castle;
  • Explore Yume-Kobayashi Dori;
  • Dinner in the hotel;
  • Distance walked approx: 8km.

Day 3 - Hosokute-juku

Today we train from Hikone to Mitake in Gifu Prefecture. This entails changing trains several times until we end up on a small country train which will shuttle us to the of the end of line where we will embark on our first real walking on the Nakasendo through the Japanese mountains to Hosokute-juku. We will walk along this authentic portion of the Nakasendo, a narrow pathway that cuts through the Japanese alps, until we arrive at the Daikokuya.

  • Hotel buffet breakfast;
  • Early train to Gifu Mitake Station;
  • Walk to Daikokuya in Hosokute;
  • Amazing dinner at Daikokuya
  • Distance walked approx: 15km

More info

For more information please refer to the following:

Day 4 - Ooi-juku

After a wonderful early breakfast at the Daikokuya we depart on our 20km trek over the mountains and through valley villages to Ena City formally known as Oi-juku during the Edo Period. The Nakasendo winds it way through the mountains with stretches of ishidatami, original paved sections of the road, as we walk through villages, cross mountain peaks and traverse valley floors towards Oi-juku. We will take our time to explore local landmarks and interesting artefacts we find along the road as we move through the countryside. You will need to provide your own picnic lunch, bought the day before. There are no shops or places to buy provisions between the Daikokuya and our lodging in Ena City.

  • Provide your own picnic lunch;
  • Lodge Tautaro Ryokan, Ena City;
  • Enjoy a soak in the large cypress bath;
  • Multi-course Dinner & breakfast provided at Tautaro Ryokan;
  • Distance walked approx: 23km

More info

  • Refer to the follow for further information:

Magome Post Town Main Street

Day 5 - Magome-juku

After an early breakfast in the hotel we’ll start our day with a visit to the Hiroshige Print Museum. It has a comprehensive collection of prints depicting the Nakasendo as well as an interesting exhibit on the print making process. You can even try your hand at making your own prints. We’ll leave Ena City by train and head directly to Nakatsugawa; after a brief stop to top up our supplies and snacks we will walk through Nakatsugawa to Magome. After traversing the valley floor of Nakatsugawa we cross a small river as the Nakasendo rises steeply up into the mountains on the other side. The Naksendo takes us on a scenic route through forest paths and rice paddies carved into the mountain-side before arriving at Magome. It is worth taking time to explore Magome, with its many interesting shops and food vendors well worth a try. We'll lodge in a minshuku in the Magome/Tsumago area.

  • Dinner and breakfast proovided;
  • Hiroshige Print Museum (included);
  • Train to Nakatsugawa;
  • Walk to Magome;
  • Distance walked approx 12km.

Day 6 - Tsumago-juku and Narai-juku

During the morning you will be free to explore Tsumago-juku including the Main Street, Waki-honjin and the Information Centre, the same one Joanna Lumley visited. Then we will walk approximately 5.5km to the next town, Nagiso, top up our supplies as we wait to catch the next train to Yabuhara and walk Torii Toge (Torii Pass) to Narai Post Town. After disembarking at Yabuhara we’ll pass through this post town ascending the steep streets making our way up to Torii Toge. Finally, we arrive at Narai-juku, fairly much the midway point on the Nakasendo between Kyoto and Tokyo. You’ll have the rest of the day and evening to explore the streets of Narai-juku.

  • Explore Tsumago-juku; local shops and snacks etc.;
  • Explore the Waki-honjin and Information Centre;
  • Walk Tori-Toge Pass to Narai-juku;
  • Dinner and breakfast included in Narai Minshuku; and
  • Distance walked approx: 12km.

Day 7- Matsumoto - Day 1

After breakfast in the minshuku in Narai you will have part of the morning to explore this post town. You may also be interested in an optional extra of walking to the next train station, Kiso-Hirazawa Lacquer Town to investigate some of the amazing lacquer goods available in this street. Looking for the perfect Japanese style lacquer bento box? Perhaps buy chopsticks, beautiful trays or other lacquer goods. After a slower morning we will transfer by train to Matsumoto City and our hotel for the evening.

  • Breakfast included in Narai MInshuku;
  • Optional side trip to Kiso-Hirazawa Lacquer Town;
  • Explore Narai-juku;
  • Dinner included in the minshuku;
  • Transfer by train to Matsumoto Business hotel.

Day 8 - Matsumoto (Day 2)

After a buffet breakfast we will visit Matsumoto Castle, one of the most beautiful in Japan. Construction of the castle started under the Ogasawara clan in 1504. It was reconstructed by Kazumasa Ishikawa, a vassel of Toyotomi Hideyoshi from 1593-1594. The castle consists of six levels, including a hidden floor where samurai could rest, store food and keep powder dry. On entering the castle you are required to remove you footwear (carrying them with you in a plastic bag) before ascending the steep steps. This castle was built with military aims in mind rather than permanent occupancy. The surrounding garden is planted with cherry trees that look spectacular when in bloom. Pine trees are also prevalent in the garden, sculptured in typical Japanese fashion. The rest of the day and evening is the perfect time to take care of some personal tasks such as laundry, shop for some souvenirs or visit some of the interesting museums the city has to offer.

  • Hotel Buffet Breakfast included;
  • Visit to Matsumoto Castle included;
  • Dinner out at your own expense;
  • Accommodation Matsumoto Business hotel;

More info

  • Refer to the follow for further information:

Day 9 - Bessho Onsen

After a hotel buffet breakfast we will transfer by train to Bessho Onsen, a short train ride from Ueda Station and one of the oldest natural spring resorts in Japan. It is also often referred to as “the Kamakura of Nagano” due to its numerous National Treasures such as the Anrakuji Temple, a wooden three story round pagoda and the Kitamuki Kannon Temple. The Anakuji Temple is the only round pagoda in Japan, influenced by Chinese design, although there is something very Japanese about this beautiful pagoda - a well earned break on our journey on the Nakasendo. You’ll enjoy soaking in the natural hot spring in our ryokan and the lavish kaiseki course meal, or if your itching for more, explore some of the temples and national treasures of the area. There is a 10km circuit walk that you may be keen to complete.

  • A kaiseki ryokan dinner and breakfast included;
  • Explore Bessho Onsen Temple Walk
  • Relax in the aesthetic onsen;
  • Distance walked approx: 10km.

Day 10 - Sakamoto-juku

After breakfast we head by train back to Ueda Station and then take a short Shinkansen ride (about 15min) to Karuizawa. After disembarking at Karuizawa we'll stock up on supplies and a picnic lunch before heading off to Usui-toge. Today we will walk over Usui-toge pass to Sakamoto-juku located in the valley below. Enjoy your picnic lunch at the lookout, a clearly marked border between Gifu Prefecture and Nagano Prefecture. Take in the view, surrounded by the majestic Japanese Alps. After lunch we start our decent town in the valley. The walk becomes a little tricky over the last 2km as the path is littered with shale, taking care not to twist an ankle. It will take a little more time than expected to reach Sakamoto-juku. After about another 3km walking along a filled in unused rail trail we will arrive at our lodging for the night - our last minshuku experience on the Nakaseno Way. Savour the experience before we head to the bright and vibrant mega-city life of Tokyo.

  • Picnic lunch provided by you;
  • Walking Usui-toge to Sakamoto-juku;
  • Dinner and breakfast included;
  • Distance walked approx: 20km.

Day 11 - Tokyo

After our last breakfast in a minshuku on the nakasendo we'll begin our journey to Tokyo. After arriving we will make our way to our lodging for our last night together.
Celebrate your journey along the Nakasendo with a traditional dinner and show at Mugen Style Restaurant. The tour will officially end with your celebrations. Breakfast the following morning at the hotel is included.
AJ Travel Bureau will be happy to help any customers with their ongoing travel arrangements in Japan and welcome anyone who would like to continue with AJ Travel Bureau Tokyo Tour.

  • Breakfast included;
  • Walk and train to Tokyo;
  • Mugen Style Restaurant dinner & show;
  • Breakfast included in our Tokyo hotel;
  • Tour concludes after breakfast in the hotel;

More info

For more information please refer to the following:

DAY 12 - Mugen Ryu Restaurant

Tonight is the last night of the Nakasendo Walking Tour. To celebrate our journey along the Nakasendo we will enjoy a dinner and show at Mugen Style Restaurant. Although the tour may officially finish with our last dinner together, you accommodation for the evening also includes a buffet breakfast for the next morning.

  • Tour concludes after breakfast in the hotel;
  • Click more info to read more about Mugen Ryu Restaurant as resources become available;
  • AJ Travel Bureau is happy to assist with your ongoing travel arrangements if you require guidance finding the right train or you are heading to the airport.

Tour Dates

  • Apr 2020 - Nakasendo
  • Aug 2020 - Summer Nakasendo
  • Nov 2020 - Nakasendo

Tour Inclusions

  • 12 nights accommodation
  • 11 Breakfasts
  • 9 Dinners
  • Train travel as per itinerary
  • Bilingual Tour Leader

Tour Exclusions

  • International airfares
  • Travel Insurance
  • Lunches
  • Alcohol beverages
  • No water supplied

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