Nakasendo Way Self-Guided

Starting From


Number of days


Start Location


Group Size


Operated by

World Expeditions

Add your business today to reach The Outbound's audience of adventurous travelers.

A self-guided hike on the ancient route between the old and new capitals of Japan, the Nakasendo Way

Operated by:

World Expeditions

World Expeditions is an adventure travel and ecotourism company that offers guided small group trekking and adventure holidays.


Join Tokyo, train to Nakatsugawa, walk from Magome to Tsumago (8.3km)

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) 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 Accommodation: Minshuku (Family-run Guesthouse) Note: luggage transfer from Magome included

Walk to Nojiri, train to Kiso Fukushima (18.4km or 3.7km)

The longest day on the 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 set in a peaceful valley above the town. A complimentary transfer from the station is provided by the Ryokan. The Ryokan has lovely indoor and outdoor 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. Accommodation: Onsen Ryokan (Hot-spring Travellers Inn) Note: please leave your luggage for transfer at the front desk of your accommodation by 08:30am

Train from Kiso-Fukushimato to Yabuhara, walk to Narai (6.2km)

The Ryokan staff will drive you back to Kiso-Fukushima after breakfast. We supply train tickets for the short journey from Kiso-Fukushima to Yabuhara, which is the starting point for the hike over the Torii pass to Narai. Explore this evocative village before checking-in at your family-run inn in the heart of the village. 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. Accommodation: Minshuku (Family-run Guesthouse) Note: please leave your bags at the front desk of your accommodation by 08:30am

Walk from Narai to Kiso Hirasawa (2.5km)

After breakfast, you'll walk the short distance to the small town of Kiso-Hirasawa, famous for its lacquerware. There are many small shops selling beautifully-crafted tableware and furniture. At Kiso-Hirasawa station you will board a train 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. Ride first to Matsumoto where you can visit the famous castle before connecting onwards to your final stop – total travel time by train is around three hours, not including the optional break of your journey in Matsumoto. You will arrive at your accommodation in time for a wonderful dinner with local produce. Walking distance: 2.5km / 1.6 miles Elevation gain: negligible ascent and descent Time required: ~1hr Accommodation: Ryokan - traditional inn Note: Your accommodation will assist you to book luggage transfers (payable direct) to your post tour accommodation

Hike Karuizawa to Yokokawa (16.7km or 13.4km), transfer to Tokyo, trip concludes

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

Additional Information

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.

Other Tours Nearby

Starting at $1,799/person

World Expeditions

Nakasendo Hike 4 day

Japan - 4 days

Starting at $5,459/person

World Expeditions

Japan Northern Explorer

Japan - 16 days

Starting at $1,199/person

World Expeditions

Kumano Kodo Self-Guided Hike

Japan - 5 days

Starting at $2,099/person

World Expeditions

Kumano Kodo Coast to Coast Self-Guided Hike

Japan - 10 days

Nearby Adventures


Hike the Torii Gates to Mount Inari Peak


Explore the Sagano Bamboo Forest


Explore the Nara Deer Park


Hike to the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park


Hike Kamikochi Valley


Explore the Chureito Pagoda


Hike to the Source of the Shinano River


Explore Kakunodate Samurai Town