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Nakasendo Way: Japan on Foot


7 Days, 6 Nights

Activity Level

Start / Finish

Nagoya Centrair Airport / Nagoya Centrair Airport

Technical Level

The Nakasendo Way: Japan on Foot is a fully guided trip suitable for anyone who can walk for more than three to four hours in comfort. In general, the route is gently undulating but also includes some short, steeper climbs. Please read more on Tour Levels here.


A 7 day, 6 night tour starting and finishing in Nagoya. Walk Japan adapts its trips for group size and age and welcomes groups of any size and students of any age. Currently, for our school trips the groups vary in size from 8 to 60 students and in age from 12 years to post-graduate university students.


Japan on Foot is a unique walking exploration of Japan, its history and culture. We explore one of the old highways of Japan, the Nakasendo, or ‘road through the central mountains’. Once a main thoroughfare of feudal Japan, today the Nakasendo provides a delightful excursion through scenic countryside. En route we will have some fascinating insights into the world of feudal Japan, the samurai, and also about urban and village life today. We stay in atmospheric and beautiful inns, taste a variety of Japanese dishes and share life with the Japanese, some of the most polite and friendliest people in the world.


Sights include the big, bright lights of modern Nagoya through to quiet, pretty villages in secluded valleys. We will experience the Japanese way of life including sleeping on futons, bathing in wooden baths and eating while sitting on tatami mat floors. We will learn why the Nakasendo existed and about the great Shogun leader Tokugawa Ieyasu, whose dynasty ruled Japan for over 260 years. We will experience traditional folk singing and try our hand at woodblock printmaking. Of course, you will also have the chance to learn some Japanese. Some final treats include Karaoke and shopping in Nagoya.

The itinerary for the Nakasendo Way: Japan on Foot is ground only beginning and ending in Nagoya Centrair Airport. After finalising details for the trip and receiving a deposit we will provide a pre-trip information pack detailing how the school and students join the trip, clothing checklist, itinerary, etc.


Day 1 Nagoya - Ena

Arrive Centrair (Nagoya) Airport. Transfer by train to Ena for our first night in an inn. Full briefing with your tour leader on the days ahead.


Accommodation: Japanese inn.
Meals: Dinner provided.
Total walking: N/A.


Day 2 Ena - Nakatsugawa - Yamaguchi

After breakfast in our accommodation, we visit the nearby and excellent Hiroshige Print Museum in Ena. Here we learn about the print-making process, make our own prints and see originals on display. We then set out on the Nakasendo Way for today’s walk across rolling countryside to Nakatsugawa, an old post town and now a pleasant regional town. Time here for lunch before we continue our walk in hilly countryside to Shinchaya, our inn for the night. Located in a delightful rural setting, the inn serves as a lovely environment for a relaxing evening.


Accommodation: Japanese inn
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, & dinner provided.
Total walking: 16km (9.9 miles).


Day 3 Yamaguchi - Magome - O-Tsumago

Walk to Magome post town, the home of Japan’s first modern novelist, Shimazaki Toson and author of Before the Dawn. Time here to freely explore this pleasant old town and purchase lunch. Then, onwards along the old highway via quiet roads and forest paths to Otsumago, a small cluster of inns. Stay in an old, traditional inn. Visit the original, high-class inn, now a museum, in Tsumago. Enjoy an evening bath at a mountain-top hot spring before dinner and then folk singing with a local expert.


Accommodation: Japanese inn.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, & dinner provided.
Total walking: 10 km (6.2 miles).


Day 4 O-Tsumago - Tsumago - Nagiso - Kisofukushima

Continue walking the Nakasendo to Nagiso. At Nagiso visit the Momosuke Bridge. Learn about how Momosuke developed hydro-electric power in the Kiso Valley. Also learn about Sadayakko, the most famous geisha of her age who led a colourful life.


Depending on weather and ambitions, either continue to Nojiri with a picnic on the way (total walking 22km), or transfer directly by train to Kiso-Fukushima (total walking 8km). Stroll around Kiso-Fukushima and visit a street-side hot spring.


Accommodation: Japanese inn
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, & dinner provided.
Total walking: 7km or 24 km (4.3 miles or 14.9 miles).


Day 5 Kisofukushima - Torii Pass - Narai

After breakfast we explore the reconstructed barrier station, a check-point astride the Nakasendo Way. Allowed through the barrier, we walk on, following the old highway through the narrowing Kiso valley and pass the halfway point between Kyoto and Tokyo. A short transfer by local train before continuing our walk over the Torii Pass, the 3rd highest on the Nakasendo Way.

Narai, another picturesque post-town, is on the far side of the pass and its shops, restaurants and cafes provide a warm welcome. Our inn is in the centre of town.

Accommodation: Japanese inn.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, & dinner provided.
Total walking: 9km (5.6 miles)

Day 6 Narai - Nagoya

An early transfer to Nagoya by train, we explore the city and its surrounding shopping district near the main station. After dinner, we partake in a Japanese favourite, Karaoke, for a celebratory end to our tour.

Accommodation: Western-style business hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, & dinner provided.
Total walking: N/A


Day 7 Nagoya - Centrair (Nagoya) Airport - Home

Transfer with your Walk Japan tour leader to Nagoya Centrair Airport for our flight back home.


Accommodation: N/A.
Meals: Breakfast provided.
Total walking: N/A


This itinerary is subject to change.


More information about the history of the Nakasendo highway is available at our complementary website Nakasendo Way: A Journey to the Heart of Japan.

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