Take our user survey here!
Photo By: iStock/ tupungato
Largest City

Nakasendo Trail (Magome-Tsumago)

Learn more about a magnificent trek back through time to the Edo period, just an hour's train from Nagoya station.

By Fergus Gregg

The Magome-Tsumago or Nakasendo trail is an eight-kilometer hike that can be completed at a leisurely pace in under two hours. It starts in the town of Magome in Gifu Prefecture and crosses into Nagano Prefecture through an area known as the Kiso Valley. To see the hiking trail at its most scenic, spring and autumn are the best seasons to go.

Photo by: iStock/ Marlon Trottmann Follow the trail from Magome and into a whole different prefecture.

Magome is built in the hills above Nakatsugawa city and commands a gorgeous view of the city and farmlands. The trail is a patterned cobblestone path winds its way up through the town’s restored Edo-period promenade. The main street features an old water mill and several soba restaurants and coffee houses. Once you climb up from the main street, you’ll soon find yourself walking between private farms and gardens, before leaving the town behind and starting on the trail proper and into the Kiso River Valley.

Photo by: iStock/ visualspace Wonder at the glorious cypress forests of Nagano.

The Kiso Valley is a small and idyllic river valley in the southwestern corner of Nagano Prefecture. Forestry conservation has been a policy here since the early days of the Tokugawa Shogunate, so the banks of the Kiso river are flanked by ancient, vast cypress forests that absorb sound and produce only sweet, fresh air. At different points along the trail, you may notice a bell has been placed. These are bear bells, which hikers are encouraged to ring.

Photo by: iStock/ urbancow Welcome to quiet Tsumago.

At the end of the trail, you’ll be able to admire the tiled roofing and organized streets of Tsumago from afar as you descend to the valley floor. There you can explore the slightly more expansive town and enjoy the cozy atmosphere of its narrow streets, tea houses and shops.

The Magome-Tsumago trail is an easy hike best suited to travelers looking for a relaxing afternoon away from the hustle and bustle of the bigger cities. The postal towns that the path is named after are welcoming and extremely pleasant to look at, and the trail is well-marked and runs through some of the most beautiful scenery in Nagano.

How To Get There


By train

To Magome:

From Nagoya station, JR trains run hourly rapid services to Nakatsugawa (48 minutes).

From Nakatsugawa, take a local bus to Magome where the hiking trail begins.

To Tsumago:

From Nagoya station, JR trains run hourly rapid services to Nakatsugawa (48 minutes). Then, transfer to a local train for Nagiso station (19 minutes).

From Nagiso, take a local bus to Tsumago where the hiking trail begins.

By bus

From JR Shinjuku and JR Nagoya station take a highway bus to “Chuodo Magome” bus stop (4 hours and 30 minutes). From there, Magome is 20 minutes on foot.

Topics: ,