length

2 Days

difficulty

Moderate - Challenging

trip cost

From $3200 pp

Icons / stylised / time Created with Sketch.

length

2 Days

Icons / stylised / difficulty Created with Sketch.

difficulty

Moderate - Challenging

Icons / stylised /cost Created with Sketch.

trip cost

From $3200 pp

Self-Guided Trip

our walk experts

  • Overview
  • Highlights
  • Itinerary
  • Inclusions
  • Similar Walks

Overview

Japan - Yoga and Hiking

Renew your spirit with our Yoga and Hiking retreat in Japan. Discover the beautiful Kiso Valley and sections of the historical Nakasendo Way.

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.

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Highlights

Get Ready For

  • Delve into the sacred tradition of yoga while reconnecting with nature
  • Guided Shinrin- yoku (forest bathing) session
  • Simple beauty and elegance of Japanese style accommodation
  • Visit Nakatsugawa, Magome, Tsumago, Kiso-Fukushima and Narai
  • Savour exquisite and delicately presented traditional Japanese dishes
  • Follow in the footsteps of the Tokugawa Shogun and the samurai during the Edo period (1603–1868)

Itinerary

Japan

Week 1
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 tonight’s dinner. Your walking guide will hold a briefing this afternoon.

Meals: D

Day 2
MAGOME TO TSUMAGO (13KM)

We begin the day with an energising early morning yoga session. After breakfast, we embark on our first walk directly from our hotel 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, homegrown 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 early this morning, 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.

This afternoon our guide will lead the group in a Shinrin-yoku session, Originating in Japan, Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, is the wellness practice of immersing yourself in nature to enhance health, happiness and general wellbeing.

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

Inclusions

What you get

Included
  • 5 nights in traditional Japanese ryokans (guesthouses/inns)
  • Cooking class
  • Daily yoga and meditation sessions
  • Guided Shinrin-yoku session
  • 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
Excluded
  • 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)

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