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Location

Nakatsugawa to Kiso-Fukushima

Difficulty

4-6

Length

6

Trip Cost

From $3100 pp
twin share

Overview

Discover the beautiful Kiso Valley and sections of the historical Nakasendo Way while exploring your passion for yoga and wellness.

  • Journey through the heart of Japan following in the footsteps of the Tokugawa Shogun and the samurai during the Edo period (1603–1868)
  • Delve into the sacred tradition of yoga while reconnecting with nature
  • Visit the post towns of Nakatsugawa, Magome, Tsumago, Kiso-Fukushima and Narai
  • Savour exquisite and delicately presented traditional Japanese dishes
  • Experience the simple beauty and elegance of Japanese style accommodation
  • Benefit from daily, rejuvenating yoga and meditation sessions led by a certified yoga teacher

Japan’s Nakasendo Way – or Central Mountain Route – was one of five major routes established by the Shogunate (Military Dictator) during the Edo period (1603–1868). The entire route is 533km long and has 69 post towns, which were set up to feed and accommodate the feudal lords, samurai and merchant travellers. The ancient way passes through the Kiso Valley wedged between two of Japan’s sacred mountains (Mt Ontake 3067m and Mt Komagatake 2956m) and is one of Japan’s most breathtaking and scenic areas.

Your daily walks will take you on ancient stone paths known as ishidatami, passed hidden waterfalls, through stunning cedar and cypress forests and passed numerous wayside shrines. Stay overnight in traditional ryokans, enjoy the wonderful, well-preserved ancient villages and taste the local delights of the  Kiso Valley and Gifu Prefecture.

To complement your daily explorations on foot, we offer energising and restorative yoga and meditation sessions. Led by an experienced, certified yoga teacher, our daily practice aims to grow a deeper sense of inner health, providing you with techniques to help you balance your mind and body.  We invite you to escape the chaotic schedules of life and find rejuvenation through these spiritually engaging sessions.

Yoga and meditation sessions are suitable for people of all levels. Our day hikes require a good level of general fitness.

Yoga Class Description

  • Sun salutations to warm the body
  • Asana (body movements)
  • Pranayama (breath awareness/exercises)
  • Meditation
  • Self-reflection

Our Yoga Teachers

Download Yoga & Hiking Information Guide

Please note that we require a minimum of 6 people on this trip to guarantee departure. 

Are you a first-time or solo traveller?

We’ll support you all the way! View our preparation and training resources.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Nakatsugawa

Arrive in Nakatsugawa, number 45 of the 69 post towns on the Nakasendo Way. You will be collected from the train station in the afternoon and transferred to your accommodation. If you arrive earlier, you may want to explore the nearby Nakatsugawa Old Town where restored, wooden buildings house sake shops, confectionery stores and restaurants. After settling into your accommodation, you will meet your yoga teacher for your first yoga session to help shake off any jet-lag from your travels and build up an appetite for tonights dinner.

Meals: D

Day 2: Magome to Tsumago (8km)

We  begin the day with an energising early morning yoga session. After breakfast you will meet your walking guide who will provide a briefing of the day’s agenda. The group will then take a local bus to the quaint little tourist town of Magome, the 43rd of the 69 post towns along the way to Edo (Tokyo). Magome translates as horse basket and is said to have derived from old stories of merchants who would have to remove their horse’s basket at this point of the trail and carry it themselves, as the path was too steep for laden horses.  You will discover just how steep the street is as you take the time to stroll around and explore the small shops and cafes.

After lunch we set off on a beautiful walk that encompasses tranquil forest, streams and rice paddies. We venture up and over the Magome Pass (800m) and slowly descend through peaceful woodland. If time allows we may divert to the Odaki-Medaki waterfalls, before making our way to the village of O-Tsumago. Our accommodation for the night is here but we will continue on to the enchanting town of Tsumago.  The street is lined with traditional Japanese wooden houses, shops and ryokans (inns). There is time to wander around this photogenic town before heading back to our accommodation for the night. Dinner this evening will consist of seasonal, home grown ingredients which have been cultivated using traditional farming methods. The meal is an example of tasty Japanese country food and is evidence of their dedication to natural farming methods and hospitality. The property produces its own saké, rice, honey, vegetables and salmon.

Meals: B D

Day 3: O-Tsumago to Kiso-Fukushima (20km walking; 30km train travel)

After a multi-course breakfast we depart O-Tsumago following the Nakasendo trail back through the old town of Tsumago. The walk today takes us through villages, and bamboo and cedar forests. Sections can be quite hilly and the Nenouetoge pass has some steep, sustained ascents and descents. A highlight of the walk are the beautiful streams and rivers running alongside the trails.  The forest walk joins the Kiso River at Nojiri. After a late lunch in Nojiri, we make our way to the train station for a 40-minute ride to Kiso-Fukushima. Located at the halfway point on the Nakesendo Way between Kyoto and Tokyo, Kiso-Fukushima was an important checkpoint during the Edo period. The barrier station was set up to check all travellers and to apprehend people who may have been travelling illegally. Two highlights of the town are the beautiful Kozenji Temple with its attractive stone garden and the ashiyu or public onsen foot bath. We take a short transfer to our accommodation for the next 3 nights, a gorgeous Japanese Inn located amongst scenic country side. We unwind from our walk with a restorative yoga session on the outdoor terrace overlooking Mount Ontake. We are in for a fabulous dining experience over the next 3 nights. With a focus on fresh, local produce, meals are a highlight and are prepared with acute attention to detail and artistic flair.

Meals: B D

Day 4: Kiso-Fukushima (7-8km walking)

We start the day with a therapeutic yoga session before breakfast. Later this morning we will embark on a mediative ‘silent walk’ from our ryokan to Karasawa Waterfall.  The waterfall is located in the Jizo-toge pass, the mountain pass on the way to Kaida Kogen highland and offers an ideal environment for our meditative experience. After visiting the waterfall we walk to the Kiso Town Cultural Centre where we have the opportunity to learn how to make Soba Noodles from buckwheat flour. Soba noodle is a common and popular Japanese dish that originates from the Kaido Kogen region (where we are staying). Once you have made your noodles you will be able to enjoy them for lunch.

Easing into the afternoon, we will offer a meditation session. During our meditation session you will be led through simple breath awareness techniques, allowing you to become present and experience a deep sense of inner peace. Afterwards you have the choice to indulge at the nearby hot springs. The springs are said to have healing properties and is a great way to unwind. Alternatively you can travel back to our accommodation by local bus where you have free time until later that afternoon when we will offer a special reiki session. Reiki is a non invasive, traditional Japanese healing technique, promoting healing and the flow of energy within the body. By enhancing the the bodies’ natural healing process, you will immediately notice a shift to feel relaxed, clear and rejuvenated.

Meals: B L D

Day 5: Train from Kiso-Fukushima to Yabuhara and trek to Narai (8km)

After breakfast today we will take a short transfer to Kozenji Temple. Here you will have the unique opportunity to participate in a yoga session overlooking a beautiful pond garden and the stone garden the temple is known for – Kanuntei. This is said to be the largest stone garden in the Orient. There may be time to look around the art gallery at the temple before we step back in history and visit the Fukushima Sekisho museum – one of the 4 most important checkpoints during the Edo period. They have a collection of weapons, photographs and attire of that time.

We stop in at a very good Italian restaurant for lunch to fuel up for our afternoon hike before taking the train to Yabuhara. From here the trail begins with a short walk through the town of Yabuhara before a sustained ascent up the hill and into the forest. After some steep climbing we will reach the Torii Pass from which, on a clear day, we will have great views of Mount Ontake. It is a beautiful walk through the forest as you descend into one of the most well preserved post towns, Narai. It truly is a reminder of how the post towns were in the Edo period (1603–1868). We have free time here to explore the shops, cafes, shrines and museums before we return to Kiso-Fukushima by train and our final dinner together.

Meals: B D

Day 6: Depart

Today is departure day. We celebrate our journey’s end with a final yoga session. After your traditional Japanese breakfast you can make your way to the local train station for your onward travel.

Meals: B

Dates

Start date
25 Oct 2019
End date
30 Oct 2019
Price
$3100
Availability
Sold Out
Start date
25 May 2020
End date
30 May 2020
Price
$3200
Availability
Sold Out

Inclusions

  • 5 nights in traditional Japanese ryokans (guesthouses/inns)
  • Cooking class
  • Daily yoga and meditation sessions
  • 5 Breakfasts, 1 lunch, 5 dinners
  • Luggage transfers while on tour
  • Qualified and experienced yoga teacher
  • Local transport while on the tour
  • Guided walks along the Nakasendo Way
  • Documents pack including yoga mat bag and useful resources (1 pack per 2 clients travelling together)
  • Local and Australian emergency contact

Not included

  • Flights
  • Yoga mat (please bring your own from home)
  • Transport to and from the tour
  • Travel insurance
  • Beverages other than water at meals
  • Expenses and items of a personal nature
  • Lunches (with the exception of Day 4)

 

 

Map & Guide

Reviews

Rosemary Squire, Mt Martha (VIC) – October 2019
This trip exceeded all my expectations – from accommodation, meals, tour guides, information, cultural immersion and weather to a wonderful experience in rural Japan with its amazing history, and hospitality. While the daily walks were challenging in duration and some hills they were complimented with incredible views, waterfalls and forests of immense sereneness and beauty. Added to this was the yoga component which again was exceptional value. Conducted by two expertly qualified, inspirational instructors, it was truly the icing on the cake and the perfect ingredient to prepare and reward our bodies for each days walk. A set accommodation of 3 nights was brilliant and allowed for any inclement weather adjustments, body recuperation, daily yoga and meditation sessions, hikes to experience silent forest immersion and local cultural experiences of cooking and onsen bathing. The size of the group was perfect at 8 and having the yoga component meant we were all like-minded participants. Of particular note was the value of this walk being a guided one with a local company guide who not only led, advised and informed us on history and customs but also facilitated our transport between towns when needed. Thank you to everyone involved in coordinating this quality trip. It was perfect on every level and a most rewarding challenge, physically and spiritually.

Jennifer Bryant, Cape Otway (VIC) – June 2019
We had such a great trip. The itinerary was perfect – with a mixture of forest walking, exploring villages and open farmland. The accommodation was excellent and the meals a real highlight. The planning by RAW Travel was excellent – thanks so much. An exceptional experience overall.

Helen Newbiggin, Alexandra Headland (QLD) – June 2019
Loved the traditional accommodation and exquisite Japanese food. Loved walking through the sensational scenery and meeting the Japanese people. A truly exceptional experience.

Kim Elise Brodie, Bulimba (QLD) – April 2019
Our walk was everything we could have hoped for. The local accommodation and food were exceptional. The immersion in local culture fabulous and the mixture of trails through small villages, forests and farmland kept us stimulated and intrigued. What a wonderful experience. Thank you RAW Travel.

Peter and Helena Coon, Turramurra (NSW) – March 2019
The walk organised by RAW Travel provided us with all the highlights of the Nakasendo Way that we were seeking. Three days of beautiful mountain, rural and urban walking was complemented with the unique experience and high levels of service in the ryokans. Overall, a wonderful journey that is highly recommended.

Sharyn Bailey, Preston (VIC), December 2018
What an amazing trip my son Patrick and I had on the Nakasendo trail. The journey took us through the mountains and villages of Japan, with beautiful inns, amazing hosts, and traditional food. The trek itself was breathtakingly stunning, but the real highlight was the places we stayed along the way.  All the accommodation was truly beautiful and the hospitality shown by the hosts was sublime.  The food they all provided for both breakfast and dinner was beyond our expectations.  This was a truly memorable trip. Thank you for providing such a well-organised, stress-free experience.

Beth Gales, Byawatha (VIC) – November 2018
We thoroughly enjoyed our trip on the Nakasendo Way. The organisation of the trip and the notes were very helpful. We met like-minded people from our country and walked the whole way with them. Loved the local cuisine at each destination and enjoyed walking through the local farming areas, trying to guess their processes. The weather was perfect and the local people very helpful and friendly. It was good to have everything organised and paid for before we left home.

Aimee Scurr, Scarborough (QLD) – July 2018
I loved the service that was provided – the RAW Travel team and the hosts went above and beyond expectations to make sure I was comfortable and well-equipped for the experience. I experienced a side of Japan I would have missed if I had only visited the major cities.

Heather Buxton, Lenah Valley (TAS) – October 2017
The organisation and information provided were top-notch. Japan is very safe with lots of natural beauty and is a wonderful cultural experience. Thank you.

Sally Goodchild, Sydney – September 2016
We loved the peace and the beauty of the walk and the Japanese culture. The accommodations you booked were delightful, and amazing food was provided each evening.

What our Clients Say

A set accommodation of 3 nights was brilliant and allowed for any inclement weather adjustments, body recuperation, daily yoga and meditation sessions, hikes to experience silent forest immersion and local cultural experiences of cooking and onsen bathing.

Rosemary Squire, VIC – October 2019

The itinerary was perfect – with a mixture of forest walking, exploring villages and open farmland. The accommodation was excellent and the meals a real highlight. The planning by RAW Travel was excellent. An exceptional experience overall.

Jennifer Bryant, VIC – June 2019

Loved the traditional accommodation and exquisite Japanese food. Loved walking through the sensational scenery and meeting the Japanese people. A truly exceptional experience.

Helen Newbiggin, QLD – June 2019

Our walk was everything we could have hoped for. The local accommodation and food were exceptional. The immersion in local culture fabulous and the mixture of trails through small villages, forests and farmland kept us stimulated and intrigued. What a wonderful experience.

Kim Elise Brodie, QLD – April 2019

The walk provided us with all the highlights of the Nakasendo Way that we were seeking. Three days of beautiful mountain, rural and urban walking was complemented with the unique experience and high levels of service in the ryokans.

Peter and Helena Coon, NSW – March 2019

https://rawtravel.com/destination-guides/nakasendo-dg-download/download-guide.pdf

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Trip Expert

Lorinda Childs – Camino & Yoga

(03) 5976 3763

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Trip Grading

This trip has a difficulty rating of 4-6 out of 10.