Nakasendo & Kiso Valley

The old Nakasendo Road runs through the very centre of Japan, brushing the shoulders of the Japan Alps and winding along river valleys and over forested passes. The best preserved of the five Edo Period highways, the Nakasendo once connected Kyoto and Tokyo - then known as Edo. Long stretches of the Nakasendo, particularly in the steeply mountainous Kiso Valley, remain very much as they did in the 17th century, and it is still possible to walk the route of the highway between the old and new capitals.

Though nearly seventy post towns linked Kyoto and Edo, the eleven in the Kiso Valley remain, thanks to their remoteness, the best preserved. The towns of Magome and Tsumago, in particular, offer a glimpse of how rural Japan must have looked during the Edo Period itself: cobbled streets traverse the steeply pitched towns between rows of traditional houses, and signs of modernity are discouraged.

Though many of the Kiso Valley towns can be accessed on foot via old stretches of the Nakasendo, walking the cobbled pass between Magame and Tsumago is particularly pleasant, and Into Japan Specialist Tours would be delighted to arrange a stay in one of the two towns as part of your tailor made tour to Japan.