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Nakasendo Break: Tokyo to Kyoto

3 Days
Prices From:
US$ 1,525

Travel back in time as you journey along the Nakasendo Way in Nagano Prefecture. This two-night journey takes you into the Kiso Valley where you’ll stay in a ryokan, explore Edo-period temples and mansions, and hike the 8km stretch between Magome and Tsumago.

This 3-day Japanese vacation takes you along the Nakasendo Way between Tokyo and Kyoto. It features a stay in a first-class ryokan, independent touring, and is the perfect trip to add onto a larger exploration of Tokyo and Kyoto, bridging your time in the two cities.

Your trip to Japan begins in Tokyo, where you’ll board the shinkansen and head to Kiso-Fukushima, connecting through Nagano. Deep in the Kiso Valley in the Japanese Alps, Kiso-Fukushima lies on the Nakasendo Way, a 500km-long trade route that was the main commercial route between Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto hundreds of years ago. You’ll have a part of the day to explore the town and get acquainted with the region before dinner at your ryokan that evening. The next day, you’ll journey along the Nakasendo Way to explore life in the Edo period. You’ll stop by the Yamamura Residence, the former home of the Owari clan leader, and Ko Zenji Temple, home to the largest dry rock garden in Asia, before connecting to Magome and strolling an 8km stretch of the Nakasendo between Magome and Tsumago. Enjoy the picturesque walk through the highlands before reaching Tsumago, which will transport you back in time with its centuries-old houses still inhabited by local residents. The next day, ride the shinkansen to Kyoto and continue your journey through Japan.


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3 Days
Prices From:
US$ 1,525

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Tokyo to Kiso-Fukushima

Today you will leave the bustling capital behind and will make your way to Kiso-Fukushima, the gateway to the Nakasendo Way.

Make your own way to Tokyo station, where we will be providing you with tickets for your journey to Kiso-Fukushima. You will take the Shinkansen to Nagano, where you will change to a limited express train for Kiso-Fukushima. Journey time is around 3.5 hours total.

The Kiso Valley is located in Nagano Prefecture, and runs alongside the mountains of the Central Alps. An ancient 70-km trade route called the Kisoji was developed along the valley and served as a very important means of commerce in the area.

The Kisoji became even more important from the beginning of the Edo Period, when it was amalgamated with other routes in the formation of the 500-km-long Nakasendo. The Nakasendo ("path through mountains") was one of the two means of transportation between Edo and Kyoto. It contrasted with the other principal transportation route of the time, the Tokaido, which ran along the sea shore. Because of restrictions by the shogunate, travelers were almost always forced to make their trips on foot. As a result, "post towns" developed every few kilometers to provide travelers with places to rest, eat, and find nightly accommodation during their arduous journey. Along the Kiso Valley, a few post towns, particularly Magome, Tsumago and Narai, have been preserved to look as they did when they served travelers of the Nakasendo. Visitors are able to enjoy the stone paths and wooden buildings of a bygone era.

Upon arrival at Kiso-Fukushima, make your own way to your hotel (it is a 5 minute taxi ride or an easy 15 minute walk). You are free to spend the rest of the afternoon at your leisure. A delicious dinner is included at your ryokan tonight.

In the afternoon you'll be able to use the included combined entry ticket to visit three beautiful sights in Kiso-Fukushima at your leisure. You'll first visit the Yamamura Residence, former home of the Owari clan's leader Yamamura and overseer of the Kiso-Fukushima area. Today, his house is an interesting museum chronicling upper class life in Kiso-Fukushima in the past. Next you'll visit the lovely Ko zenji Temple, home to Asia's largest dry rock garden. Its beauty rivals even that of some of the dry rock gardens found across Kyoto. Finally, you'll head to the Fukushima Sekisho-Ato, a 270 year-old immigration office.

A delicious dinner is included at your ryokan tonight.

Meal Plan Dinner
Duration2 Nights

Onyado Tsutaya

More Info

Location View map
  • starstarstar

    Onyado Tsutaya

    One of our top picks in Kiso. Featuring free WiFi, Onyado Tsutaya offers rooms in Kiso, 14 km from Kisofukushima and 18 km from Yabuhara Kogen. This 3-star ryokan offers a shared lounge. The accommodation offers a 24-hour front desk. All rooms in the ryokan …

    One of our top picks in Kiso.
    Featuring free WiFi, Onyado Tsutaya offers rooms in Kiso, 14 km from Kisofukushima and 18 km from Yabuhara Kogen. This 3-star ryokan offers a shared lounge. The accommodation offers a 24-hour front desk.

    All rooms in the ryokan are equipped with a flat-screen TV. Onyado Tsutaya features some units with mountain views, and all rooms include a kettle. Guest rooms at the accommodation feature air conditioning and a wardrobe.

    A buffet breakfast is available daily at the property.

    A variety of popular activities are available in the area around Onyado Tsutaya, including skiing, cycling and hiking.

    The nearest airport is Matsumoto Airport, 51 km from the property.

    This property is a ryokan, which is a type of traditional Japanese Inn.


    • Bar
    • Child Friendly
    • Hot Tub
    • Restaurant

    More Details

Day 2

Kiso-Fukushima and Nakasendo Way

This morning, make your way own way to Kiso-Fukushima station at around 8:30am. There, you will meet your guide and take a short limited express train to the town of Nakatsugawa. From there you will take the bus to Magome, a former post town with buildings faithfully reconstructed in a traditional style. You'll have a little time to explore the town and enjoy some lunch here before you make your own way to the main event, the Nakasendo Way.

You'll be assisted by your guide for an 8 km stretch from Magome to Tsumago today. The trail is a little steep at first, but it evens out quickly and the rest slopes away gently down to Tsumago. There are plenty of rest stops and toilets along the way (some even with free WiFi). As you make your way through the forest, you'll be treated to cascading waterfalls and beautiful mountain vistas peeking through the trees.

At the end of the walk, your reward is the picture perfect town of Tsumago. Unlike Magome, the houses here are all over 200 years old and still house many residents to this day. Enjoy the feeling of stepping back in time as you explore this pretty town.

At 4pm, a private transfer will be waiting to drive you and your guide directly back to Kiso-Fukushima, a journey which takes just under an hour. Your guide will leave you back at your hotel. Another delicious Japanese-style dinner is included at your ryokan tonight.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Day 3

Kiso-Fukushima to Kyoto

Sadly, the time has come to say goodbye to the mountains of the Kiso Valley. We will be providing you with tickets to make the journey to Kyoto (if you are heading to a different destination, please let us know and we can make alternate arrangements). You will take a limited express train from KisoFukushima to Nagoya and then the Shinkansen from Nagoya to Kyoto. Total journey time is around 3 hours.

This is a must-see destination in Japan. Kyoto is the nation's former capital and was the residence of the emperor from 794 until 1868. With 2,000 religious buildings, including 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, as well as palaces, gardens and associated architecture, it is one of the best-preserved cities in Japan and has 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Kyoto represents the "Japan of old" and beyond the high-rise skyscrapers built as a monument to progress, the real monument to Japan's historical and cultural past can be found in the city's narrow alleyways where tea houses abound and kimono-clad geisha hurry from elegant function to function.

When you arrive in Kyoto, make your own way onwards to your accommodation.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information




  • 2 nights' accommodations
  • Breakfast and dinner daily
  • Tours as specified including entry fees
  • Train tickets of ordinary standard class
  • English speaking guide
  • Government tax and services charge


  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature


Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire.

20 Nov 2020
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