Rating in Japan
$ 930

Japan self guided walking holiday, Nakasendo Trail

Self-guided trekking+walking
Self-guided trekking+walking
min $ 930
Per person
Tour details
Destinations: Kyoto, Kiso, Tokyo
Guide language: English
Price: min $ 930
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  • Description
  • Itinerary



Four days of village-to-village walking on Nakasendo Trail | Kisa Valley walks | Imperial Nara | Kyoto | Tokyo – Sacred Mount Koya | Stay in shukubo temple lodging – Stay in ryokan inns | Hot spring baths | Traditional meals

Description of Japan self guided walking holiday, Nakasendo Trail

The Nakasendo Trail is not only one of Japan’s most ancient thoroughfares, it is also one of modern Japan’s most aesthetically exquisite walking trails. Used since the 8th century by feudal lords needing to traverse this magnificent, mountainous terrain between Kyoto and Edo (today’s Tokyo), this itinerary includes five days of walking along the trail, from one ancient ‘post town’ to another. Walks range from two to six hours long, leaving plenty of time to enjoy the traditional ryokan inns and minshuku guesthouses that the Nakasendo Trail is so famous for. Here you can soak in traditional Japanese baths and even thermal springs but also in the culture, always so enlightening for visitors who come to enjoy these unique walking trails in Japan. The best tastes of Japan will come from the dinners that will be lovingly prepared for you along the way.

Linking up with train networks along the Nakasendo Trail, this holiday starts in Kyoto and ends in Tokyo, with several days to enjoy both of these fascinating cities, with a private guide to lead you on one of the days. There is plenty of flexibility built into the itinerary to accommodate how much walking you would like to take on, and with walking terrain varying between paved paths going through post towns or more remote, rugged mountain ways, the Nakasendo Trail is accessible to many.

The best time to go walking on the Nakasendo Trail is between April and November, although it does rain from mid June until mid July, but with showers that are usually manageable. The Trail does get very busy during Japanese holidays, however, such as New Year (29/12-4/1), Golden Week (29/4-5/5) and the O-Bon Buddhist Festival in August. We welcome any enquiries to assist you with this walking holiday, but especially regarding pricing during these peak times.
Our top tip: Make the most of the hot spring bath facilities and immerse yourself in divine Japanese culture. Trip type: Self-guided tailor made trip, with varying lengths. Activity level: Easy to moderate, with some very gradual ascents. 5 days of walking on 10 day trip. Accomm: minshuku guesthouses and ryokan inns. One night in temple lodgings. Hotel in Tokyo/Kyoto. Included: Accomm., breakfasts, Trail dinners, train tickets, map, Kyoto guide. Solos: This trip can be tailored for solo travellers at extra cost.


Day 1:Arrive in Kyoto and check in city centre hotel.
Day 2:Tour of Kyoto with your own expert local guide.
Day 3:Free day to explore Kyoto in more depth or you may want to also visit Nara, site of Todai-ji temple and much more.
Day 4:Your first day on the Nakasendo Trail, taking the train to the Kiso Valley, visiting Magome village at 800m overlooking the valley. Hike 9km to Tsumago over the Magome Pass. Stay in a family-run minshuku guest house where dinner will be served by your host.
Day 5:Walk 18km from Tsumago to Nojiri where you will take a train to a stunning ryokan overlooking above Kiso-Fukushima. After bathing in its hot springs, enjoy many courses of fine, traditional Japanese fare. A shorter walking option of 4km is also available today.
Day 6:Take the train to Yabuhara to start today’s 7km hike over the Torii Pass to Narai, which was traditionally the half way mark on the Nakasendo Trail for ancient travellers. Still stunningly well preserved, this ‘town of a thousand houses’ is where you will rest for the night in a traditional minshuku guest house, with another superb dinner served at the end of your walking day.
Day 7:Take time to explore the ins and outs of Narai, and then walk 2.5km to Hirasawa where you can pick up the train to Karuizawa. At 1000m, this is a lovely mountain resort town, where you can stay in one of its luxury hotels or opt for the more traditional ryokan inn again.
Day 8:A 16km finale walking over the Usui Pass to Sakamoto-juku is the perfect send off for your last day on the Nakasendo Trail. Say goodbye to the mountains and forests, and take the train at Yokokawa into the very different world of Tokyo, where you will stay in a city centre hotel.
Day 9:Explore Tokyo – you might choose a Sumida River cruise, strolling around and shopping in the uber fashionable Shibuya or Shinjuku districts, with plenty of opportunities to sample some of the city’s fine cuisine.
Day 10:Last day of trip flying out of Tokyo, or we can arrange an extension to visit other regions in Japan.
All tour descriptions and conditions are given in accordance with the information of Responsible Travel
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