Type and level of walking
Mixed village paths (paved) and unpaved forested trails. An easy to moderate walk, the longest day has 6 hours of walking, however some days are much shorter, leaving time for sightseeing in the lovely old Nakasendo post towns en route. The route follows the Kiso Valley, and is flat with some climbs over low passes.
Accommodation booked & prepaid - breakfast and dinner on each day - train tickets (From and to Tokyo or Kyoto) - detailed day-by-day itinerary and walking instructions - waterproof topographical map - local phone support - 3 breakfasts & 3 dinners
March until November
Tour length: 3 nights/4 days
2013 Price (per person):
£845 / $1,390 / AUD1,335 / €1,060 Prices are based on two people sharing. Single supplement £200 .
Child prices: Age 6-11 £75 off above prices, age 1-5 take £150 off. Over 12 pay adult price.
Any day (recommended from March until November)Accommodations are busy and may charge extra during the following Japanese holiday periods: New Year (29 December to 04 January), Golden Week (29 April - 05 May), and O-bon (09 - 17 August). Please enquire for availability and pricing if your trip falls within those dates.
Nakasendo Way post-towns - Natural hot spring baths – Accommodation in traditional ryokan
Day 1 - Train to Magome and walk to Tsumago
You transfer by train from Kyoto to Nakatsugawa then bus to Magome. There is a walk of around 3.5 hours over Magome Pass to Tsumago, one of the best-preserved and most evocative of the Nakasendo post-towns. Overnight at a family-run minshuku in Tsumago.
Day 2 - Tsumago to Nojiri
The longest day (about 6 hours) involves a beautiful and varied hike from Tsumago to Nojiri. The trail travels through small valleys and past forests of bamboo and Japanese cedar, through some of the least-developed scenery on the tour. Continue by train to Kiso-Fukushima. Stay at a lovely hot spring ryokan set in a remote valley above the town (pick-up from the station is provided).
Day 3 - Yabuhara to Narai
By train from Kiso-Fukushima to Yabuhara then hike over the Torii pass to Narai (3.5 hours). Your accommodation will be an Edo-period house converted into a minshuku (family-run travellers’ inn)
Day 4 - Narai to Hirasawa
A short walk (1 hour) to the small town of Hirasawa, famous for laquerware. There are many small shops selling beautifully-crafted tableware and furniture. Travel to Matsumoto and visit the famous castle there before continuing your onward train journey.
This version of our Nakasendo self-guided trip is for those wishing only to do the core 5-days of walking.
We also offer a 10-day version with visits to Kyoto and Tokyo and one day of guiding. Click here for more information.
Optional extra days
We can arrange extra days at the beginning or end of the trip in the following destinations:
A lovely town south of Nara with some of Japan's earliest Buddhist temples, as well as kofun burial mounds from the 5th century. Asuka is a lovely town to explore on foot or why not rent a bicycle from the train station and explore at a relaxed pace? We will arrange a night at one of the small minshuku in the town.
This atmospheric temple complex south of Kyoto is home to around 100 temples and shukubo (pilgrim's lodging). Founded by the monk Kobo Daishi in the 10th century, Mount Koya is the spiritual centre of Shongon (True word) Buddhism, and he is enshrined at Oku-no-in. Located at 800 metres altitude in the Wakayama mountains, you reach Mount Koya via the scenic Nankai railway. There are many optional local walks.
The mountains of Nikko have been revered for a thousand years and it was a fitting place for Shogun Takugawa Ieyasu to be enshrined.The lavishly-decorated Toshogu shrine is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Take a bus afterwards to Yumoto Hot Spring, and relax in the baths at your luxury ryokan. There are numerous trails through the surrounding forests and the Senjo-ga-hara marshland to enjoy.
Located along the Nakasendo trail in the post-town of Tsumago-juku, Daikichi is run by three generations of the same family and is one of the family-run minshuku we use in Tsumago.
Other accommodation on this trip
"Thanks for putting together an excellent trip for us. We had a wonderful time and enjoyed this trip immensely."
G Steinhardt, Israel
"We have returned safely from a lovely holiday. We enjoyed it so much and like to thank you for the work you put in. The Japanese people are wonderful, very helpful and polite. Our lack of Japanese did not cause any problems. After Asuka we visited Nara before returning to Osaka. The hotels you chose where very good and we had the most delicious food, even grasshoppers were yummy. Rooms had lovely views. We walked the full 20 km, and a bit more because of getting lost, and really enjoyed it.Matsumoto castle was a real gem and our guide in Kyoto was very good. We love to go back some time. I have passed your website on to several people; hope you will get some more business."
Thea & David D, UK
"I did have a wonderful, unforgettable time on the Nakasendo and enjoyed every single minute of the tour. Thank you very much for arranging and organising everything so very well! One day I will go back to Japan - and it is good to know that you have another self-guided tour (Kumano-Kodo) waiting for me!! Best wishes from Switzerland Daniel "
Daniel U, Switzerland
"..we had an excellent trip to Japan. The days we spent on the Nakasendo Way were the highlight of our trip. The accommodation and the food at the ryokan and minshuku were simply outstanding. Thank you very much for arranging such an excellent tour on such short notice. We will certainly recommend Oxalis Holidays to our friends"
Kathryn A, Timothy and Alan W, Korea
"I wanted to thank you for the magnificent job you both did in organizing our trip to Japan. It was everything my son and I hoped it would be. He will clearly remember it for his lifetime. Taking the time to go into the countryside and be in closer contact with the people and customs of Japan gave us an experience we never could have had in the major cities. We both commented that taking trains almost daily across the country and hiking on the trail made us slow down and absorb everything around us. I was very concerned about the trains but it was quite enjoyable.. The Koma-no-yu Ryokan was a highlight of the trip. The service was impeccable, the room beautiful, and the food delicious.. Ms. Hattori in Kyoto while also very pleasant was a very well qualified and informed guide. We were very impressed with her as well as her openness and willingness to discuss current issues in Japan. She is clearly dedicated to her job. I can't leave out the two activities we inserted, whitewater rafting and baseball. Both were a huge success. Late August is perhaps not the best time to do rafting because the water levels are low and the rapids quite depleted. Nonetheless, the Canyons guides did a great job of making it fun and getting us into the river, including cliff jumping into the river, to add some excitement. Baseball was also a treat. It is much the same but also very Japanese. It allowed a quick glance of Osaka and another chance to observe and be a part of Japanese life. All in all a wonderful trip for which I am indebted to you both. Thank you."
Nate & Daneil E, USA
"Jane and I are safely home yesterday after a wonderful holiday in Japan. You would have been proud of us following your maps on the Nakasendo trail. Only a few changes not shown on your maps. We walked it all as planned, even on one very wet day. Loved the hospitality and meals through the accommodations. Dinner in a kimono is a highlight. Remembered to take my shoes off most times! Loved Kyoto and Tokyo and bullet train at 300kpm. The views at the Park Hotel are exceptional. Meyuko was excellent and made us confident to travel and not be too cautious with meals and travel. The Rail Pass was very good - we used it to get to Narita on the way home yesterday instead of the bus. Well done to all at Oxalis."
Peter & Jane S, Australia
"Hi Matt, Jeremy, I want to thank you both for a fantastic walking tour of Japan - Nakasendo trail, the post-towns and the Yamanobe-no-michi walks were fantastic. The highlight of the trip has been the guided tour provided by Hattori-san. She really brought the sites to life by giving the historical context of the places and events that were depicted. Even though I've been to Japan many times, I learned very much about the lives of the Shogun at the Nijo Castle and the Shinto and Buddhist sects and philosophies during our walks through the shrines. Please thank her for us. All the best, Doug"
Doug & Sue C, USA
"Hello to All at Oxalis, just letting you know that I am safely back in Australia. I loved every step of my Japanese experience, THANKYOU for organising me Best wishes until next time"
Marjorie S, Victoria, Australia
We offer three levels of accommodation to suit your budget. This applies to the hotel in Tokyo & Kyoto, and ryokan in Karuizawa. Budget (3 star hotel), Standard (4 star hotel) and Premium (5 star hotel). We use local family-run accommodations on the walking section, are generally simply-furnished and less formal, but have excellent food and a wonderful personal service.
All accommodation, breakfasts & 3 evening meals are included. Train tickets from either Kyoto or Tokyo to the start of the walk and from Hirasawa to either Kyoto or Tokyo are also included.
A local bus on day 1 should be paid locally (around ¥800, £5 or $9). Baggage forwarding is not included, though we provide instructions for how this can be easily arranged.
SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT
There is a single room supplement of £200 . per person (please note that single rooms are not always available in Japanese-style accommodations).
1. Send us your phone number and we will call you
2. Fil in our contact form
3. Call us on SKYPE
4. Call +44 20 7099 6147 (ET + 5 hours)