NAKASENDO WAY

Walking in the heart of old Japan

The Nakasendo Way is an ideal introduction to walking off-the-beaten-track in Japan. Step into a world of rural villages and delightful old post towns. Enjoy the stone paths and wooden buildings of a bygone era at the same time as you explore life in modern Japan.

The 533km Nakasendo Way was a centuries-old highway through the heart of feudal Japan. It was the ‘road through the mountains’ travelled by lords, samurai, merchants, and travellers between Kyoto and Edo, modern-day Tokyo. As a result, post towns developed every few kilometres to provide travellers with places to rest, eat and find nightly accommodation during their arduous journey. A few towns still survive today and give an enticing glimpse into Japan’s past and modern day rural life.

Walking among mountains and fields, passing villages, towns, pine and bamboo forests, the  Kiso Valley shows off the natural beauty of Japan whilst also giving insights into the culture with various local cultural activities offered. 

View Our Walks

NAKASENDO WAY

8 Days

Nakasendo Way

The Self-Guided Trip – Nakasendo Way

Moderate - Challenging Self-Guided
  • A journey through the heart of Japan
  • Walk the historical Nakasendo Way through the Kiso Valley
  • Walk on ishidatami (stone paving) dating back over 400 years
  • Visit Nakatsugawa, Magome, Tsumago, Kiso Fukushima and Narai
from

$3,495.00

view trip
8 Days

Nakasendo Way

The Group, Self-Guided Trip – Nakasendo Way

Group Self Guided Moderate - Challenging
  • Trek in a group of like-minded travellers
  • A journey through the heart of Japan
  • Visit Nakatsugawa, Magome, Tsumago, Kiso Fukushima and Narai
from

$3,375.00

view trip
8 Days

Nakasendo Way

The Group Guided Trip – Nakasendo Way

Group Guided History Moderate - Challenging
  • Fully guided walk with our qualified Japanese guide
  • Dive into the colourful history of the Shogun/Samurai
  • Walk on ishidatami (stone paving) dating back over 400 years
  • Visit 16 of the original post towns from the Nobi plain land to deep in the Kisoji valley
from

$3,995.00

view trip
7 Days

Nakasendo Way

The Highlights Trip with Togakushi – Nakasendo Way

Moderate - Challenging Nakasendo Self-Guided
  • Walk the historical Nakasendo Way through the Kiso Valley
  • Learn the feudal history of the Nakasendo Way with our local guide
  • Visit Nakatsugawa, Magome, Tsumago, Kiso Fukushima and Narai
  • Togakushi, visit shrines, walk amongst giant cedar trees
  • Nagano, home to Zenkoji Temple, one of Japan’s most important
from

$2,895.00

view trip
6 Days

Nakasendo Way

The Highlights Trip with Shimo-Suwa Onsen – Nakasendo Way

Group Guided Moderate - Challenging
  • Visit Shimosuwa, the only hot springs district
  • Understand the feudal history with our local guide
  • Walk the historical Nakasendo Way through the Kiso Valley
  • Walk on ishidatami (stone paving) dating back over 400 years
  • Visit Nakatsugawa, Magome, Tsumago, Kiso-Fukushima and Narai
from

$2,895.00

view trip
5 Days

Nakasendo Way

The Kiso Valley Highlights Trip – Nakasendo Way

Moderate - Challenging Self-Guided
  • A short hike offering a great introduction to walking in Japan
  • Walk the historical Nakasendo Way through the Kiso Valley
  • Walk on ishidatami (stone paving) dating back over 400 years
  • Understand the history of the Nakasendo Way with our local guide
  • Visit Nakatsugawa, Magome, Tsumago, Kiso-Fukushima and Narai
from

$2,090.00

view trip
11 Days

Nakasendo Way

The Kyoto and Tokyo Trip – Nakasendo Way

Kumano Kodo Moderate Self-Guided
  • Explore Kyoto, the cultural and historical heart of the country
  • Discover old and new Tokyo with a private, guided tour
  • Visit Nakatsugawa, Magome, Tsumago, Kiso Fukushima and Narai
from

$4,650.00

view trip
9 Days

Nakasendo Way

The Shimosuwa Trip – Nakasendo Way

Moderate - Challenging Self-Guided
  • Journey through the heart of Japan
  • Visit Shimosuwa, the only hot springs district
  • Walk the historical Nakasendo Way through the Kiso Valley
  • Walk on ishidatami (stone paving) dating back over 400 years
  • Visit Nakatsugawa, Magome, Tsumago, Kiso Fukushima and Narai
from

$3,750.00

view trip

NAKASENDO WAY

the raw travel difference

food icon

TASTE THE REAL JAPAN

As you walk the Nakasendo Way you can indulge in the Kiso region's culinary delights: buckwheat noodles, mountain trout from crystal clear streams, tender beef and delicious traditional sweets. Remember to try the delicious local sake!

map marker icon

OUR OWN LOCAL STAFF ON THE TRAIL

We book all our Nakasendo Way arrangements directly. You'll have the back-up of our own staff member on the ground who lives in this area and will meet you at the start of your trip. If you need assistance at any time, he is never far away. We also have an exceptional daily luggage transfer service.

Nakasendo Way

EXPERIENCE

We have great knowledge and experience of both walks and our staff travel to Japan often to update their local knowledge. Preparation is key to enjoying this walk; we run Japan hiking information nights and training walks to help you prepare properly for the rigours of the trail.

Tori gate icon

AUTHENTIC JAPANESE CULTURE

Stay in authentic Japanese accommodation and discover the fascinating history of local Samurai connections and the post towns that connected Kyoto with Tokyo during the Imperial era. The well-preserved towns of Tsumago and Magome are well-known attractions, but there is so much more to discover!

Nakasendo-Way-Destination-Guide-Cover

Exclusive Guide

GET INSPIRED

Ready to step back in time and discover a centuries-old road through the mountains of central Japan? The Nakasendo Way is a stunning 94km journey from Mitake to Narai. Steeped in history, much of this walk weaves through the picturesque Kiso Valley. The ‘post towns’ strung out along the route give an enticing and authentic glimpse into Japan’s past.

There is so much to discover on this route! Find out more in our comprehensive destination guide – it’s bursting with inspiration, travel essentials, practical information and more!

Download Now

NAKASENDO WAY

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to walk the Nakasendo trail

The best times to walk the Nakasendo Way are March to May and September to November. 

Spring (March to May) is an extremely popular time to go because it is cherry blossom season in Japan. You can expect daytime temperatures of around 10–20°C.

Walking among the paddy fields in May and June is wonderful as it is planting season. Everyone comes out to help and it is quite a serene, beautiful sight.

Summer (June to August) During summer in Japan you can expect longer daylight hours, high humidity and higher rainfall, but the scenery is beautifully green and verdant.

June/early July is the rainy season so expect heavy rainfall. Daytime temperatures in July/August vary from around 25–36°C. Come prepared with good wet weather gear and be prepared to sweat!

How long does it take to walk the Nakasendo Way?
How difficult is the Nakasendo Way Walk?

On most days you will be walking between 12km and 25km (4 to 9 hours), with ascents and descents. The walk will be more enjoyable if you have a good level of fitness and are participating in regular exercise in the lead up to your trip. We recommend completing 2 to 3 training walks per week (increasing to 15km each) while carrying an 8kg pack; some stair walking is recommended. The more training you do and the better prepared you are, the more you will enjoy this beautiful walk.

Not quite what you're after?

Tailor-made trips

If you don’t see the exact trip you’re looking for then consider a customised trip, individually tailored to your ideal walking distances and timeframes. Or if you have a group of friends or family you can have your own private group departure. Have a look at our tailor-made trips page on the link below and drop us a line:

Customise this trip

sign up to our newsletter

explore the world with Raw