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Hiking the Nakasendo Way

This trip is for travelers who are primarily interested in taking in Japan's natural scenery and who enjoy hiking through mountain and forest trails.

Day 1 - Tokyo to Mitake

Welcome to Japan! After landing at the airport, you'll meet a Kichi representative who will orientate you to your trip as well as hand you your travel pack. You'll then hop on a bullet train and make your way to Mitake. Here you'll spend the night in a local minshuku before starting your trek tomorrow.

Day 2 - Mitake to Hosokute

Your trail today will begin at Gangouji Temple. The road from Mitake to Hosokute is a beautiful 11.4km mountain path that will take you around 4 hrs 40 min to complete. Along the trail, be sure to keep an eye out for an ancient stone pillar signpost that shows the distance to the nearest inns. The scenery you will see today is almost as if Hiroshige's ukiyo-e paintings on Nakasendo have come to life in front of you. After working up a sweat, you will settle in a traditional ryokan for the night which dates all the way back to the 17th century!

Day 3 - Hosokute to Ooi

You're in for a long trek today! Your journey has two parts: First is the path from Hosokute to Ochu-juku which is about 7kmThe second half of your walk goes from Ochu-juku to Ooi-juku (Ena) and this is around 13km. Your trail today is one of the most beautiful along the Nakasendo Way, and you’ll get the chance to walk along the longest surviving stone pavement in Japan which measures 700 meters! After a tiring walk, you will settle into a family-run ryokan in Ooi-juku.

Day 4 - Magome to Tsumago

From your accommodation, you will ride a local train from Ena Station to Nakatsugawa Station and catch the bus from Nakatsugawa to Magome-juku. For your 3rd day on the Nakasendo Way, you'll jump into one of our personal favorite trails and a well-maintained section of the former Nakasendo path, Magomejuku. From there you'll walk 8.3km over the Magome Pass to the exquisitely preserved post town of Tsumago. Walking its streets feels like you've traveled back in time to the Edo-era. You'll spend the night at another minshuku and enjoy a delicious homestyle meal cooked by your hosts.

Day 5 - Tsumago to Nojiri

Get ready for a long hike today as you move onto Nojiri. The extra hours spent hiking are well worth it as this trail is absolutely breathtaking and takes you through everything from imposing cedar forests, to picturesque small valleys and calming bamboo groves. A walk to the final destination point of Nagiso instead of Nojiri, will shorten this hike significantly, yet still, allow you to enjoy some of the natural sights. After boarding the train to Kiso-Fukushima, you will settle into your accommodations for the evening. The trail today is around 18km long and should take approximately 6 hours. It can be shortened to 1 hour by traveling to Nagiso instead of Nojiri.

Day 6 - Explore Kiso-Fukushima

As Kiso-Fukushima is larger than other jukus/post stations,  we recommend spending a day or two exploring this well-preserved town. Kiso-Fukushima was an important check-point on the Nakasendo way. The beauty of this site is endless and you can also hike Ontake, one of Japan's most sacred mountains. This natural landmark has drawn worshipers and pilgrims for over a thousand years. There are also a number of stunning waterfalls which you can enjoy along the way.

Day 7 - Yabuhara to Narai

You will catch the train to Yabuhara and begin a scenic journey over the Torii Pass - the highest point on the Nakasendo highway. A few hundred years ago this used to be the most difficult part of the trek, however the path is now a lot easier to traverse and offers marvelous views to its trekkers. For those wanting an adventurous challenge, you have the option of hiking to a local waterfall before departing Kiso-Fukushima in the morning. 

The main trail today is around 6km long and should take approximately 3 hours to complete.

Day 8 - Return to Tokyo

Travel back to Tokyo today and head to Haneda Airport as you say goodbye to Japan!

The Nakasendo Way offers a multi-day trekking experience through small post towns and quiet forested paths and takes its visitors back in time to a bygone era. This collection of highways is populated with post towns called juku which ancient travelers used to rest at on their journeys between Kyoto and Tokyo. This trip has condensed that journey into a short 7 days, to allow visitors to get an idea of what it was like to travel in untouched Edo-era Japan. It is also designed for the adventure-seekers out there and those looking for an authentic experience of rural Japan.

Client:

Enthusiastic group of anime fans

Number of days:

8

Season:

Summer

Locations:

Nakasendo Way

Guided:

Self-guided

Price range:

Ages(s): 18-50

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