Nakasendo Way

  • Tea house near O-Tsumago, Kiso Valley - © Walk Japan
  • Karuizawa, Mt. Asama - © Walk Japan
  • Rice paddy, Nojiri - © Walk Japan
  • Wisteria in O-Tsumago - © Walk Japan
  • On the way to O-tsumago, Kiso Valley - © Walk Japan
  • A view over Narai - © Walk Japan
  • Benten ike (pond) - © Walk Japan
  • Cherry blossom in Magome - © Walk Japan
  • Field in Kiso - © Walk Japan
  • Hikone castle, Genkyuen Garden - © Walk Japan
  • Hikone castle - © Walk Japan
  • Ishidatami (stone-paved road) near Magome - © Walk Japan
  • Japanese house near Magome - © Walk Japan
  • Karasawa waterfall, Kaida - © Walk Japan
  • Kosatsuba (notice board) - © Walk Japan
  • Momosuke bridge, Nagiso - © Walk Japan
  • Narai - © Walk Japan
  • Narai at night - © Walk Japan
  • Nojiri - © Walk Japan
  • Odaki waterfall, Kiso Valley - © Walk Japan
  • O-tsumago signpost - © Walk Japan
  • Sunset in Kiso valley - © Walk Japan
  • Torii gate at a shrine near Magome - © Walk Japan
  • Trail - © Walk Japan
  • Tsumago - © Walk Japan
  • View over Kiso Valley - © Walk Japan
  • Vista - © Walk Japan
  • Waki-honjin, Tsumago - © Walk Japan
  • Walking in Kiso valley - © Walk Japan

Key information: Nakasendo Way

    • The Nakasendo Way was one of Japan's great ancient highways, the road "through the mountains" (its name),  from Kyoto, an ancient capital and cultural epicentre of Japan, to Edo (now Tokyo). Various stretches of it are still well preserved and truly rural, indeed, deep in the mountains.
      • In its heyday in the C18, the Nakasendo pullulated with travellers', and was lined with 69 Post Towns. Much of it now a backwater, it is an enjoyable route through scenic countryside and, also, an insight into the history of Japan.
      • ANYONE GOT ANY GOOD PHOTOS? WE WOULD BE DELIGHTED TO POST THEM!

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating87
  • Beauty30
  • Natural interest13
  • Human interest16
  • Charisma30
  • Negative points2
  • Total rating87

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Variable (e.g up to 11 days selected highlights)
  • Level of Difficulty: Moderate
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Karuizawa, Mt. Asama - © Walk Japan

WALK SUMMARY

The Nakasendo Way was one of Japan's great ancient highways, the road from Kyoto, an ancient capital and cultural epicentre of Japan, to Edo (now Tokyo). It travelled "through the mountains" (its name), whereas the Tokaido route stayed by the coast. Various stretches of it are still well preserved and truly rural, indeed deep in the mountains.

Established in the 8th Century, in its heyday in the C18, the Nakasendo pullulated with travellers, including samurai, merchants and pilgrims, and was lined with 69 post towns. Much of it now a backwater, it is an enjoyable route through scenic countryside and, also, an insight into the history of Japan. You will pass through amazingly preserved post towns as did the Japanese traveller of old, still staying in high grade traditional inns (ryokans) or minshuku, family homes so more relaxed, friendlier and cheaper but atmospheric nonetheless. You will eat like gods and soak in hot spring water.

Most expeditions meet in Kyoto and travel through some or all of Hikone, Sekigahara, Magome, Tsumago, and Narai in the Kiso Mountain Region before perhaps finishing the journey along the Nakasendo in Tokyo itself.

Your baggage can go by taxi, except when you travel by train. You will cross several not-too-demanding passes.

In the summer you can hit higher ground, checking out some of the most scenic and enjoyable sections of the ancient Nakasendo Way, and digress to the beautiful Kaida Plateau and Matsumoto, a pleasing city dominated by a proper castle.

Our friends, the excellent Walk Japan, do a selection of fascinating Nakasendos.  

Have a look at the dreaded TripAdvisor . You should get good, current views on this walk/area.

This page is at an early stage of development. Please help us by making suggestions and sending photos! Thank you!

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

We have a lot of helpful practical information and tips about this walk, covering everything from the best books and maps, to timing and weather, geting there, possible problems, whether you need a guide and where to find them, and useful websites. This section is only open to members.

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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

Wisteria in O-Tsumago - © Walk Japan

OTHER ACCOUNTS
share your experiences

Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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On the way to O-tsumago, Kiso Valley - © Walk Japan...
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