VISIT | Gifu, Nagano
3 DAYS 2 NIGHTS - Cycling & Walking Nakasendo

Former Japanese Highway NAKASENDO

The Nakasendo is an ancient road that has existed for about 450 years and winds through Nagano and Gifu’s magnificent mountainous terrain. It remains to be a natural road with lots of character; not a uniform road that was constructed with heavy machinery like the modern roads of today. This area of Japan boasts many majestic mountain views with abundant greenery, and in the towering mountains one can even see snow until late spring. Clear streams flow along the path and beautiful terraced rice fields are planted like vineyards in narrow valleys. One might wonder where the spring water was drawn from in such high places. Even Japanese people, especially those who visit from the city, are impressed by the beautiful scenery here.

Cycling & Walking to travel the NAKASENDO

We recommend walking or cycling to travel the Nakasendo. In areas where you see the original scenery of Japan, you cannot fully experience the beauty of Nakasendo by simply visiting local areas. It is important to experience the feeling of getting to the next post town, by feeling what is on the road or while walking between the post towns on foot or by bicycle. Naturally, walking is the best way to travel the cobblestones and steep mountain paths. Retracing the steps of people who have been walking along for 450 years is the best part of traveling on the Nakasendo. Nagano Prefecture is particularly suited for walking, given the closer location of some of the Nakasendo’s most popular post towns, Tsumago and Magome-juku. On the other hand, it is fun to ride a bicycle in areas that have been developed and on unpaved roads that remain as they were. In ancient times, people journeyed along not only on foot, but on horseback as well. Nowadays, it's more enjoyable to experience the Nakasendo riding on a “modern” horse, made of aluminum or carbon fiber with rubber tires. In particular, the Gifu area is far from the traffic of main roads, so cycling is recommended. Rediscover yourself and experience Nagano’s and Gifu’s unique treasures along the Nakasendo. Become an old traveler and travel through the original landscapes of Japan. Feel the real Japan that most travelers never get a chance to discover. Discover the Nakasendo. The Nakasendo awaits.

For more information about GIFU prefecture and attractions, visit here.

day 1

Nagoya - Naegi

Meet your English-speaking guide at your hotel and depart Nagoya to Gifu. You will enjoy some of highlights in Nagoya (Nagoya Castle, Nagoya TV tower,etc)from car window. Then transfer to Biwa pass on the Nakasendo (an ancient road) by vehicle. Enjoy cycling from Biwa pass to the post town of Okute-juku, which boasts an ancient kosatsuba (government bulletin board) that displayed important information and rules that were written out by hand for all the travelers and townspeople to see. Stroll along the streets of Okute-juku post town and experience ancient atomosphere. Visit a historical Marumori house and Hakusan Shrine and feel the ancient culture. After proceeding to Ena Town, a small town on Nakasendo Highway by vehicle, you will see Hiroshige Museum of Art, which displays mainly the "Tanaka Collection" of Utagawa Hiroshige ukiyoe woodblock prints donated by ukiyoe woodblock collector the late Haruo Tanaka, in September of 2000.

Overnight : Enakyo Grand Hotel or similar

day 2

Naegi - Magome - Tsumago

Start the day with epic ride to enjoy charm of Nakasendo Highway. Enjoy cycling from the hotel to the scenic Naegi Castle Ruins with English-speaking guide. The stone walls of the ruins of Naegi Castle, which appropriate massive, naturally occurring boulders as-is in their construction, are considered quite unique amongst Japanese castles. These walls have an undeniable allure that must be seen to be believed. Then transfer to the historically important post town, Magome-juku by vehicle. Strolling around Magome-juku, still a living, functioning town. Each house is a real residence, and that gives the area and atmosphere an unforced authenticity and helps evoke its lively 400-year history. Visit Magome Waki Honjin Museum, where you can learn the history of the area. Magome-juku is compact and gives us a feeling of coolness. From functioning water wheels to traditional soba restaurants, every aspect of Magome is presented as it would have been in the 17th century. Then enjoy walking Magome pass to Tsumago-juku (approx. 3hour). Walk along the road where old stone cobblestones remain and savor the experience of traveling the way countless other ancient travelers have made the same journey for hundreds of years. Take in the majestic views of Tsumago-juku and its surrounding landscape. Stop by the Nagiso Town Museum displaying information on Nagiso Town, history of Kiso, townscape preservation movements, various types of townscape in Japan using models and videos that are easy to understand. Walk to the ryokan in Tsumago

Overnight : Hanaya Ryokan or similar

day 3

Tsumago - Narai-juku - Matsumoto

Depart from the hotel and transfer to the best preserved post town, Narai-juku on Nakasendo Highway by vehicle with English-speaking guide. Explore and experience hiostory at Narai-juku, popular post town in Nagano prefecture. Later, hike up Torii Pass, renowned for its difficulty, and jorney as a traveler to the post town, Yabuhara-juku (approx. 2.5hour) After enjoying a local lunch at Yabuhara-juku, transfer to Matsumoto or other destination by vehicle.

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