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Nakasendo Way

Walking in the heart of old Japan

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Taste 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!

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Our own local staff on the trail

Our Nakasendo Way walking trips 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 have a great luggage transfer service and we book all our arrangements directly.

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STRESS-FREE HIKING IN BEAUTIFUL SURROUNDS

The Kiso Valley offers you quality time in nature with its abundance of mountainous forest, sacred Kiso Cypress trees and the beautiful Mt Ontake as your backdrop. For much of the time on the Naksasendo trail you will be walking through fields and villages seeing rural life in small-town Japan close up.

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History & authentic Japanese culture

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!

Experts in hiking in Japan

Discover the centuries old road through the mountains

The organisation and information provided was top-notch. Japan is very safe with lots of natural beauty and is a wonderful cultural experience. Thank you.

Heather Buxton (TAS)
October 2017

I loved the whole trip: the trekking, the culture, the people, and the challenge of navigating the trail, the rail systems, the cuisine.

Phillip Coppleman (NSW)
April 2017

Japan is more beautiful and satisfying than words or pictures can describe.

Jacqueline Penman (UK)
Nov 2017

Loved the challenge of the trek and ‘the Japaneseness’ of the total experience. Very well organised, excellent communication.

Patricia Todd (WA)
Nov 2017

interactive map

Click on a trail point for interactive map highlights

Historic accommodation

There is the option to stay in 400-year-old ryokans and old farmhouses, some of which have been in the same family for 13 generations servicing travellers along the Nakasendo Way.

Original stone paths

Some of the original sections of the Nakasendo highway still exist as beautiful stone paths through the forest.

Magome

This beautifully preserved post town is a popular destination for visitors. The walk along the Kiso Valley on the historic footpath between here and Tsumago is one the most scenic sections of the Nakasendo Way. Step back in time and enjoy the atmospheric old streets and the many cafes and shops.

Tsumago

This beautifully resorted post town on the Nakasendo Way is surrounded by mountains and is a favourite among travellers. Its old-world charm makes it a delightful place to wander, especially in the evening down the quiet lantern-lit streets.

Narai

One of the biggest and best of Nakasendo's old post towns, this was also the wealthiest in its day. Narai sits in a picturesque wooded valley and the exquisitely preserved main street stretches for more than 1km. It is a delightful piece of old Japan and is a highlight of the Nakasendo way

Rural villages

Walking Nakasendo bring you into contact with rural Japan as you pass through a succession of small hamlets and towns for the most part. It's a chance to see modern Japanese villages as well as historical ones and meet people going about their daily lives.

Journey through the historic heartland of rural Japan

The Nakasendo Way is an ideal introduction to walking off-the-beaten-path in Japan. Step into a world of forest inns, remote shrines, rural villages and delightful old post towns. Enjoy the stone paths and wooden buildings of a bygone era.

The 533km Nakasendo Way is a centuries-old highway in the heart of feudal Japan. It was the ‘road through the mountains’ travelled by lords, samurai, merchants, and travellers between Kyoto in central Japan and the new capital of 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. Many of them still survive today and give an enticing glimpse into Japan’s past.

Walking among mountains and fields, passing villages and bamboo forests, the picturesque Kiso Valley shows off the natural beauty of Japan. If you visit around mid-April, the valley will likely be filled with cherry blossom trees of all different varieties and colours. There’s also plenty of wildlife too with birds, monkeys and even wild bears – although sightings are pretty rare.

NOTE: Video featured belongs to Kiso Ontake Tourism Board

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Please note that August - September is also the peak of Typhoon season in Japan with a potential risk of disruption to your travel plans during these events.

Why are we your Nakasendo Way experts?

RAW Travel has a dedicated team who deal with just the Nakasendo and Kumano Kodo hiking trails. We have great knowledge and experience of both walks and our staff travel to Japan each year to update their local  knowledge.

We also have own Japanese staff on the ground to help with any difficulties you may have during your trip and smooth the way. Preparation is key to enjoying this walk; we run free Japan hiking information nights and training walks to help our clients prepare properly for the rigours of the trail and travelling in Japan.

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