On this spiritual journey you’ll take beautiful hikes through autumnal forests and experience the rejuvenating benefits of yoga, meditation and Reiki. Enjoy exquisite Japanese meals, exceptional accommodation in elegant Japanese ryokans, and open-air onsen bathing…
What’s the trail like?
Much of the route weaves through the picturesque Kiso Valley, nestled between imposing mountain cliffs and home to a handful of preserved ‘post towns’. There is much to discover! This is a world of traditional inns, moss-covered Shinto shrines and old Buddhist statues. In some sections you’ll walk on the original ishidatami (stone paving) dating back over 400 years, passing waterfalls, cedar forests and enchanting villages and through beautifully preserved post towns. In days gone by, the post towns (juku) served as overnight spots for weary travellers. Strung out along the route they give an enticing and authentic glimpse into Japan’s past. (The well-known 8km trail between Tsumago and Magome is particularly impressive, and offers delightful teahouses and waterfalls.)
Daily walks are between 8km and 18km per day. You will be expertly guided by an experienced and knowledgeable local bilingual guide, who will give you unrivalled insights into this route and Japan itself.
Is the yoga suitable for beginners?
This trip offers a style of yoga that is suitable to all levels, whether you are a beginner or more experienced practitioner. Daily yoga and meditation practices will leave you feeling relaxed and with a sense of inner peace. Sessions – covering breath awareness, movement and meditation – are all led by qualified and experienced teachers. You will practice in beautiful locations including one with breathtaking views of Mt Ontake, Japan’s most sacred mountain, and in a traditional Japanese temple overlooking a soothing stone garden.
Where will I stay?
We have carefully selected the most charming and atmospheric ryokan (traditional Japanese style inns), which offer a very special experience. These exquisite accommodations have been chosen specifically to enhance your Japan experience. More than just a place to sleep, they are perfect for travellers who wish to experience Japanese culture and enjoy the comforts of wonderful Japanese hospitality and service. They typically feature tatami-matted rooms with futons, communal onsen bathing, and other public areas where you can wear your yukata (a cotton kimono provided to you at the beginning of your stay) and talk with the owner. Ryokan have existed since the 8th century and are only available in Japan – they are an experience not to be missed.
Take a look at our stunning properties:
Taste the real Japan!
When it comes to food, Japan offers an abundance of exquisite traditional delights with an emphasis on beautiful fresh, local and cleansing seasonal produce. With most meals included, you can indulge in all the Kiso Valley has to offer, from buckwheat noodles and mountain trout to tender beef and delicious traditional sweets. Remember to try the local sake!
This trip includes a silent guided walk to the beautiful Karasawa Waterfall. Located in the Jizo-toge pass it offers an ideal environment for a meditative experience. You will have the opportunity to let go of any distractions and focus your attention on the present moment. Create space in your mind and body while immersed in each step and each breath.
Have fun and learn more about Japanese culture by making soba noodles – a common Japanese dish that originates from the Kaido region. This is a great local experience and the noodles make a delicious lunch!
Hot springs and onsen
Infused with minerals and offering great healing properties, Japanese onsen are good for your skin, circulation and general health. They are a wonderful way to relax and unwind. Onsen baths are often situated in areas of outstanding natural beauty or attached to lovely traditional inns, which enhances their appeal. The accommodations we have chosen have wonderful bathing options for you to experience and enjoy.
There are quite a few rules of etiquette surrounding onsen bathing, and this can make the experience seem uncomfortable when you’re not sure what you’re doing – but once you’ve done it once you’ll realise that it’s really not that complicated after all.
- Read more: Oh, the wonderful onsens
Reiki is a traditional Japanese healing technique that encourages the flow of ‘chi’ or energy within the body. Reiki combines the Japanese and Chinese word-characters of ‘rei’ (spiritual or supernatural) and ‘ki’ (vital energy). It is a non-evasive and supports the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Reiki creates many beneficial effects including relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing. On this trip, you will have the opportunity to experience Reiki in its very birthplace!
Ancient post towns
During the Edo Period in Japan there were two routes from Kyoto to Tokyo. One of those routes was the Nakasendo Way (also called the Central Mountain Route). The Nakasendo passes through many stations or ‘post towns’, which traditionally offered a place for travellers to refresh themselves before pressing on with their journey. On this trip you will visit the beautifully preserved towns of Nakatsaguwa,Tsumago, Magome, Kiso-Fukushima and Narai.
- Length: 6 days (read detailed itinerary)
- Trip dates: 25–30 October 2019 (book online)
- Cost: from $3100pp (twin share)
- Inclusions: Local English-speaking guide, qualified yoga instructor, most meals, cooking class, yoga mat bag and more!
- More info: Contact Lorinda, RAW Travel’s Yoga Hiking Specialist, at [email protected] or phone (03) 5976 3763.
Nakasendo Way Destination Guide
For everything you need to know about walking this centuries-old route through the mountains of Central Japan, download our FREE comprehensive Nakasendo Way Destination Guide. It’s jam-packed with inspiration, travel essentials and more!