NEW Trip – Kyrgyzstan & the Tian Shan MountainsJoin 19 August 2024 Departure

5 Days$2650USD

  • 5 days self-guided walking
  • 2 nights traditional minshuku
  • 2 nights ryokan
  • 4 Dinners
  • 4 Breakfasts

Traveller Rating



Nakasendo Way Self Guided Walking Trip highlights

  • Wander through the lovely, historic Nakasendo post towns
  • Gain an insight into Japanese culture and history
  • Visit Matsumoto Castle, one of Japan's best historic castles
  • Enjoy wonderful home-cooked Japanese cuisine
  • Hike along forest trails through the picturesque Kiso Valley
  • Bathe in the thermal waters at a hot-spring ryokan

Hike one of Japan's ancient routes, the Nakasendo Way, the road through the central mountains. Along the trail you will discover scenic post towns, and stay in local Minshuku's. These family-run guesthouses offer insight into the culture and cuisine of Japan as you walk, self-guided, along village paths and mountains trails - with beautiful forests and countryside along the way.

Trip Code: NT5

We supply train tickets for your journey from Kyoto or from Tokyo to Nakatsugawa, including a ride on the world-famous Shinkansen (Bullet Train) to Nagoya. At Nakatsugawa, you board a local bus (payable direct at your own cost - approx JPY 570, subject to change) for the short journey to Magome where you'll be met by a driver who will transfer your luggage to your evening's accommodation. From here you walk over the Magome Pass to Tsumago, one of the best-preserved and most evocative of the Nakasendo post-towns. Tonight you will spend the night at a family-run Minshuku in Tsumago or the nearby hamlet of O-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. Walking distance: 8.3km / 5.2 miles Elevation gain: 326m / 1069 feet of ascent and 430m / 1410 feet of descent Time required: ~3hrs Note: luggage transfer from Magome included Accommodation: Minshuku (Family-run Guesthouse)

Meals:  D

The longest day on the Nakasendo Way trail is a beautiful and varied hike from Tsumago to Nojiri. Or perhaps you would prefer to choose the shorter alternative to Nagiso 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. After your walk you continue by train to Kiso-Fukushima (tickets provided). Tonight enjoy staying at a lovely hot-spring ryokan in the Kiso-Fukusima area. For accommodations on the outskirts of the town a complimentary transfer from the station is provided by the Ryokan. The Ryokan has lovely hot-spring baths. Walking distance: 18.4km / 11.5 miles Elevation gain: 723m / 2275 feet of ascent and 644m /2112 feet of descent Time required: ~6hrs We offer a shorter alternative of 1 hour (3.7km / 2.3miles). You can choose which option you prefer on the day - no need to decide in advance. Note: please leave your luggage for transfer at the front desk of your accommodation by 08:30am Accommodation: Onsen Ryokan (Hot-spring Travellers Inn)

Meals:  B,D

We supply train tickets for the short journey from Kiso-Fukushima to Yabuhara, the starting point for the hike over the Torii Pass to Narai. Explore this atmospheric village before you continue on today’s journey to the small town of KisoHirasawa, famous for its lacquerware. There are many small shops selling beautifully crafted tableware and furniture. From Kiso-Hirasawa, transfer by train to the castle town of Matsumoto for your overnight stay. Your hosts will serve a home-cooked Japanese dinner and breakfast. Walking distance: 6.2km / 3.9 miles Elevation gain: 344m / 1128 feet of ascent and 270m / 885 feet of descent Time required: ~3hrs In Kiso-Fukushima there is an optional, fairly strenuous, circular walk to a local waterfall. The circular walk is 7km / 4.3 miles with 632m / 2075 feet of ascent, 637m / 2090 feet of descent and takes 2-3 hours. You can take this walk in the morning, before heading onwards to Yabuhara. Note: please leave your bags at the front desk of your accommodation by 08:30am Accommodation: A Japanese Inn, Matsumoto

Meals:  B,D

After breakfast, you will have time dedicated to sightseeing around Matsumoto. Highly recommended is a visit to Matsumoto Castle, one of only 12 castles in Japan that has retained its original interior and exterior structures. When you are finished in Matsumoto, you will travel by train to your final stop for your onward journey to Karuizawa or Komoro for your final overnight stay. Both locations have lovely inns with a real sense of history and fine Japanese baths. Arrive at your accommodation in time for a wonderful dinner featuring local produce. Walking distance: 2.5km / 1.6 miles Elevation gain: negligible ascent and descent Time required: ~1hr Note: Your accommodation will assist you to book luggage transfers (payable direct) to your post tour accommodation. You will need to carry an overnight bag today as you will not have access to your main luggage until the end of day 5. Accommodation: Ryokan - traditional inn

Meals:  B,D

After breakfast, your final walk on the Nakasendo Trail is from Karuizawa to Yokokawa. 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, 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. Walking distance: 16.7km / 10 miles Elevation gain: 372m / 1220 feet of ascent and 862m / 2828 feet of descent Time required: ~6hrs NOTE - The walk can be shortened by 3.3km / 2 miles by a taxi ride at the start of the day (payable direct at your own cost).

Meals:  B



The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


  • 4 breakfasts and 4 dinners
  • 2 nights traditional minshuku on twinshare basis
  • 2 nights ryokan on twinshare basis
  • Local transportation as listed in itinerary
  • Information pack including route notes and topographical maps per room booked
  • Daily luggage transfers for 5 pieces up to Narai on day 4
  • Local support by telephone

  • International airfare, visa and travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Meals and beverages not indicated in the program
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, phone calls, alcohol etc
  • Luggage transfer from Narai (day 5) payable direct at your own cost
  • Local bus fare from Nakatsugawa to Magome on day 1 (payable direct at your own cost - approx JPY 570, subject to change)

Departure dates

Daily departure from April through November


Nakasendo Way Self-Guided - Peak Season Surcharge 2024
High Season
Seasonal pricing supplements may apply at different times of the year. Our consultants will confirm on booking.
Availability is limited on these trips and changes quickly. We encourage you to contact us early if you are interested in this trip.

Dates don't fit?
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Priceper person from


Options & Supplements*
  • Nakasendo Way Self-Guided - Single SupplementUSD$380
*Prices listed are per person

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Nakasendo Way Self-Guided trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.

Nakasendo Way Self Guided Walking Trip reviews

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Why travel with us

Award Winning Adventures

Enhancing your journey with authentic experiences, genuine cultural exchange and real exploration are the focal points on all of our adventures. In 2019, we were crowned by our peers as the best in adventure travel at The Travel Awards in Sydney.

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Our vision is to leave the world a better place by following our sustainable active outdoor travel charter. All our adventures are 100% carbon offset and our Regenerative 2030 Project aims to integrate ‘regenerative’ projects into every one of our global operations by 2030.

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 When you book one of our adventures, you will receive quality services at the best prices with plenty of inclusions. There are no hidden costs, single travellers don’t pay more and you’ll enjoy many ‘extra touches’ that ensure your holiday is excellent value for money.

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