• Nakasendo Self-Guided Walk Tour

  • 9 nights 10 days

Japan Package - Nakasendo 9 Nights / 10 Days In feudal times people travelling between Kyoto and Tokyo would use the Nakasendo way – the road through the central mountains – one of a network of ancient highways. Along the route travellers rested at juku - post towns -and it is still possible to walk the original route by day, and stay at the small local minshuku - guest houses - by night. The walking is mostly paved village paths and unpaved mountains trails, with some gentle ascents and descents. This walk is highly customisable; there are 5 days of walking ranging from 2 to 6 hours, and we can advise on which days to leave out if you want a shorter or more gentle walk.

The Nakasendo self-guided trip includes three days in Kyoto (with a private guide for one day), and five days of village-to-village walking along the Nakasendo. In addition, there are two nights in Tokyo.

We also offer 3-day, 4-day and 5-day versions of this trip.

Price : From AUD3,335 (Per person twin share)
Tour Start : Kyoto Tour End : Tokyo
Walking days : 10 days Departure Date : Daily (March - November)
Hotels : 5 nights Western & 4 nights Japanese-style hotel
Meals : 13 meals (9 breakfasts and 4 dinners)
Route : Kyoto ⇒ Magome ⇒ Tsumago ⇒ Nojiri ⇒ Kiso-Fukushima ⇒ Yabuhara ⇒ Noriji ⇒ Hirasawa ⇒ Karuizawa ⇒ Yokokawa ⇒ Tokyo
Include : ✔ 8 nights accommodation ✔ 9 Breakfast and 4 Dinner ✔ Train tickets (starting from Kyoto and finishing in Tokyo) ✔ Detailed day-by-day itinerary and walking instructions ✔ Topographical map ✔ Local phone support ✔ English speaking guide (day 2)

Route Map :

Nakasendo Self-guided Walking Route Map

Accommodation :

CityHotel NameRoom Type / Overview
[Day 1-3] Kyoto Hearton Hotel

Hearton Hotel Kyoto Hearton Hotel Kyoto

Western-style Room /
Clean, efficient, and with a good location. The Hearton hotel is popular hotel for tourists. Easy access from Kansai International Airport and there are trained English speaking staff. The front desk is open 24 hours, and the staff are only to happy to help you with tourist information, or choosing a great place to eat. Rooms are comfortable and modern, with western beds and bathrooms.
Address : 405 Funayacho, Higashi no Toin Dori Oike Agaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto (map)
[Day 4] Tsumago Daikichi Minshuku

Daikichi Minshuku Daikichi Minshuku

Japanese-style Room /
Located along the Nakasendo trail in the post-town of Tsumago-juku, Daikichi is run by three generations of the same family and is one of the family-run minshuku we use in Tsumago.
Address : 902−1 Tsumago Koino, Nagiso-cho, Kiso-gun, Nagano (map)
[Day 5] Kiso-Fukushima Koma-no-yu

Koma-no-yu Koma-no-yu

Japanese-style room /
A luxurious hot spring ryokan in the mountains above Kiso-Fukushima, perfect after a day of hiking!
Address : 47-2 Fukushima, Kiso-machi, Kiso-gun, Nagano (map)
[Day 6] Narai Ise-ya

Ise-ya Ise-ya

Japanese-style room /
One of several family-run minshuku in the village of Narai that we use. The building is a traditional merchants house.
Address : 388 Narai, Shiojiri, Nagano (map)
[Day 7] Karuizawa Tsuruya Ryokan

Tsuruya Ryokan1 Tsuruya Ryokan2

Japanese-style room /
A venerable Meiji-era ryokan.
Address : 678 Kyu-Karuizawa Oaza Karuizawa, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano (map)
[Day 8-9] Tokyo Shiba Park Hotel

Shiba Park Hotel1 Shiba Park Hotel2

Western-style Room /
The location of Shiba Park Hotel Tokyo is quite convenient for business and leisure travellers. The hotel provides easy access to the airport and many local tourist attractions.
Address : 1-5-10 Shiba Park, Minato-ku, Tokyo (map)

Tour Itinerary :

DayEvent / VisitHighlight
1 Kyoto
Your tour begins with your arrival at your hotel or ryokan in Kyoto. On our Standard tour, accommodation options include the Hearton Hotel or the Kyoto Royal Hotel – modern, western style hotels with private en-suite facilities. You can also opt for the informal, Japanese-style Yoshimizu Ryokan where you will sleep on futons in tatami-mat rooms ; as with the Japanese inns you will experience on the Nakasendo Trail, bathroom facilities are not attached to your room but 'along the hallway'. Daily breakfast is included. Transfers are not included, but whether you are flying into Osaka Kansai airport or arriving by train from Tokyo, we will happily advise you on the best way to reach your accommodation. Arm yourself with your favourite guide book and begin your discovery of the city of Kyoto – Japan's cultural and historical capital.
Kyoto - Hearton Hotel
Meals : Breakfast : X / Lunch : X / Dinner : X
Hotel : Kyoto
2 Sightseeing in Kyoto
A day to explore Kyoto with your own personal guide. One of our knowledgeable, friendly and professional guides will meet you at your hotel after breakfast and lead you on a full-day tour of Kyoto. You can opt to travel by bus and subway, or by taxi – you pay for travel and entry fees on the spot. We have devised five different itineraries for you to choose from; we have included some of the most famous sights and some lesser-known spots. There are even options to join a Zen Meditation session or Tea Ceremony experience. We are proud of our guides – we engage them directly and not via agencies or other third parties. Your guide will return you to your hotel around 17:00 or, if you prefer, will leave you in an alternative location of your choosing.
Kyoto - Kinkaku-ji Temple Kyoto - Kiyomizu-dera Temple Sagano Bamboo Grove & Arashiyama Walking Tour
Meals : Breakfast : O / Lunch : X / Dinner : X
Hotel : Kyoto
3 Sightseeing in Kyoto
Another day in Kyoto to explore the city's riches yourself. Or join a day Tour and visit to Nara as option.
Nara - Todai-ji Temple Nara - the Great Buddha Nara - Nara-koen Park
Meals : Breakfast : O / Lunch : X / Dinner : X
Hotel : Kyoto
4 Nakasendo Day 1 - transfer to Magome and walk to Tsumago

Walking distance : 8.3km
Elevation gain : 326m of ascent and 430m of descent
Time required : About 3 hours

Send your main luggage ahead from your accommodation before the Nakasendo Trail to the ryokan in Kiso-Fukushima where you will stay tomorrow night. You can manage with your overnight essentials in your daypack for your stay in Tsumago tonight. Alternatively, if you are accustomed to travelling light, you may prefer to send your main luggage from your accommodation before the Nakasendo Trail to wherever you are staying after the trail. You would then manage with overnight essentials in your daypack for all four nights on the trail. Use one of the wonderful Japanese luggage-forwarding services which are ultra-efficient and secure.

We supply train tickets for your journey from Kyoto to Nakatsugawa. At Nakatsugawa, you board a local bus for the short journey to Magome. There is a walk of around 3.5 hours over Magome Pass to Tsumago, one of the best-preserved and most evocative of the Nakasendo post-towns. Overnight at a family-run minshuku in Tsumago, with a delicious home-cooked Japanese dinner and breakfast included. After dinner, enjoy a stroll though the village streets in the magical quiet of the evening, wearing the yukata gown supplied by your inn.

Nakasendo - Magome Nakasendo - Nakasendo Trail Nakasendo - Odaki Nakasendo - Tsumago
Meals : Breakfast : O / Lunch : X / Dinner : O
Hotel : Tsumago
5 Nakasendo Day 2 - Tsumago to Nojiri

Longer Option :
Walking distance : 18.4km
Elevation gain : 723m of ascent and 644m of descent
Time required : About 6 hours

Shorter Option :
Walking distance : 3.7km
Elevation gain : 101m of ascent and 117m of descent
Time required : About 1 hours

The longest day (about 6 hours) involves a beautiful and varied hike from Tsumago to Nojiri. There is an alternative option with just 1 hour of walking instead. The trail travels through small valleys and past forests of bamboo and Japanese cedar, through some of the least-developed scenery on the tour. Continue by train to Kiso-Fukushima. Stay at a lovely hot spring ryokan set in a remote valley above the town (complimentary pick-up from the station is provided by the ryokan). The ryokan has lovely indoor and outdoor hot-spring baths. Japanese dinner with fresh local produce and breakfast are included. If you sent your main luggage ahead to Kiso-Fukushima, it will be waiting for you when you arrive at the ryokan. The ryokan concierge will help you send it onwards again tomorrow morning to wherever you are staying after the Nakasendo Trail ; remember to pack overnight essential in your daypack for your remaining two nights on the trail.
Nakasendo - Tsumago2 Nakasendo - Tsumago3 Nakasendo - Nakasendo Trail2
Meals : Breakfast : O / Lunch : X / Dinner : O
Hotel : Kiso-Fukushima
6 Nakasendo Day 3 - Yabuhara to Narai

Walking distance : 6.2km
Elevation gain : 344m of ascent and 270m of descent
Time required : About 3 hours

The ryokan will drive you back to Kiso-Fukushima after breakfast. Use the tickets we supply to travel by train from Kiso-Fukushima to Yabuhara, then hike over the Torii pass to Narai (about 3.5 hours). Explore this evocative village before check-in at your Edo-period minshuku (family-run inn for travellers) in the heart of the village. Your hosts will serve a home-cooked Japanese dinner and breakfast.
Nakasendo - Kiso-Fukushima Nakasendo - Narai1 Nakasendo - Narai2 Nakasendo - Narai3
Meals : Breakfast : O / Lunch : X / Dinner : O
Hotel : Narai
7 Nakasendo Day 4 - Narai to Hirasawa

Walking distance : 2.5km
Elevation gain : negligible ascent and descent
Time required : About 3 hours

After breakfast, follow our map and walking instructions on the short walk (about 1 hour) to the small town of Kiso-Hirasawa, famous for its lacquerware. There are many small shops selling beautifully-crafted tableware and furniture. After spending a little time exploring the town, you board a train at Kiso-Hirasawa station with the train tickets we provide for your onward journey to Karuizawa, your final overnight stay on the Nakasendo Trail. You ride first to Matsumoto where you can visit the famous castle before connecting onwards to Karuizawa via Nagano – total travel time from Kiso-Hirasawa to Karuizawa is around three hours, not including the optional break of journey in Matsumoto. On arrival in Karuizawa, stroll along the streets of this hill-resort town and arrive at your accommodation in time for a wonderful dinner with local produce.
Nakasendo - Taiho Shrine1 Nakasendo - Taiho Shrine2 Nakasendo - Taiho Shrine Maria Statue Nakasendo - Suwa Shrine
Meals : Breakfast : O / Lunch : X / Dinner : O
Hotel : Karuizawa
8 Nakasendo Day 5 - Karuizawa to Yokokawa and by train to Tokyo

Walking distance : 16.7km
Elevation gain : 372m of ascent and 862m of descent
Time required : About 5 - 6 hours

The walk can be shortened by 3.3km / 2 miles by a taxi ride at the start of the day.

After breakfast, your final walk on the Nakasendo Trail is from Karuizawa to Yokokawa (about 5-6 hours). Leaving Karuizawa, the trail takes you over the Usui-toge Pass and down a gentle descent along one of the most beautiful sections of the Nakasendo, and certainly the least-developed. From Yokokawa, you use the train tickets we provide to board the local train to Takasaki and change there for your ride on the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) to Tokyo. The train journey takes around two hours and you will arrive in Tokyo in the late afternoon or early evening. If you sent your main luggage on ahead, it can be waiting for you at your hotel.
Nakasendo - Usui-toge1 Nakasendo - Usui-toge2 Nakasendo - Kumano Shrine
Meals : Breakfast : O / Lunch : X / Dinner : X
Hotel : Tokyo
9 Tokyo
You will have a full day in Tokyo to explore this vibrant city. Our Standard hotel option is the Shiba Park Hotel - just eight minutes on foot from Hamamatsucho station on the Yamanote loop line, so ideally located to reach any part of Tokyo. Our Premium hotel option is the Park Hotel, located on the upper floors of a tower in the newly-developed area of Shiodome, just a few minutes on foot from Shimbashi station on the Yamanote loop line. Visit the glittering Ginza area with elegant department stores and food halls crammed with all kinds of unfamiliar delicacies. Or spend time among the skyscrapers of Shinjuku and pass through Shinjuku station, the busiest transport hub in the world. Eat and drink in one of the myriad small bars and restaurants which cluster around most railway stations, or splash out on an elegant meal in an upscale restaurant.
Tokyo - Tokyo City Tokyo - Shinjuku Tokyo - Shibuya
Meals : Breakfast : O / Lunch : X / Dinner : X
Hotel : Tokyo
10 Trip ends
Your Self-Guided tour ends today after breakfast at your hotel. If you are flying home, there are direct scheduled bus services from the Shiba Park Hotel and the Park Hotel to Narita Airport. Your hotel concierge will help you book a seat on the appropriate departure and sell you a ticket for the journey. Alternatively, you may choose to spend a few days longer in Tokyo or continue your travels elsewhere in Japan.
Tokyo - Narita Airport
Meals : Breakfast : O / Lunch : X / Dinner : X
Hotel : N/A

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