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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Chubu - Nagano - Kiso Valley
Tsumago 
# 1   of 5 most visited
sights in Kiso Valley

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Tsumago () was a post town on the Nakasendo route between Kyoto and Edo. It is known today as one of the best preserved post towns in Japan. The town and its residents go to great lengths to recreate the ambiance of the Edo Period. Cars are prohibited on the main street in the day and phone lines and power cables are kept concealed, allowing visitors to imagine they have slipped back to an earlier time.

Tsumago also recreates the post town atmosphere by maintaining its Honjin and Wakihonjin. In all post towns, the Honjin was the principal inn and served government officials who were traveling through. When more lodging was required, the Wakihonjin served to accommodate the travelers of lower status. Tsumago also maintains the office where laborers and horses were rented to aid in travel.

Many minshuku and ryokan are located in the town, and a stay at one of them will greatly add to the illusion of having left the modern era. If time permits, it is highly recommended to hike a preserved trail of the former Nakasendo from Tsumago to Magome. It is well maintained and well marked in both Japanese and English.

Honjin
Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Closed: December 29 to January 1
Admission: 300 yen
700 yen combo ticket includes Honjin, Wakihonjin and Rekishi Shiryokan
Tsumago's Honjin was reconstructed in the 1990s, but great efforts have been taken so that it resembles its condition in the 1830s, when it served as an inn.
Wakihonjin
Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Closed: December 29 to January 1
Admission: 600 yen, includes entry to Rekishi Shiryokan
700 yen combo ticket includes Honjin, Wakihonjin and Rekishi Shiryokan
In contrast to the Honjin, the antiquity of the Wakihonjin is entirely genuine; the building dates back to the 19th century. It now serves as a museum, and tours are held in Japanese.
Rekishi Shiryokan
Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Closed: December 29 to January 1
Admission: 600 yen, includes entry to Wakihonjin
700 yen combo ticket includes Honjin, Wakihonjin and Rekishi Shiryokan
A rather extensive historical museum on Tsumago and the Kiso Valley. Most of the museum is translated into English, and many models and artifacts are on display.
Kotoku Temple
Hours: 8:30 to 17:00
Admission: optional donation
Kotoku Temple (Kotokuji) is a Buddhist temple which is believed to have been built in 1500. It is not particularly remarkable, but still quite pleasant.
Notice Board
In former times the notice board was the means of pronouncing decrees from the shogunate. This notice board is in quite good condition, and with some Japanese linguistic abilities certain prohibitions and warnings can be read.
Castle Grounds
Tsumago Castle was demolished hundreds of years ago, but the site of its ruins affords an exceptional view onto the city below. The former castle site is located on a hill about a kilometer north of Tsumago's main street.

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

How to get there
Tsumago is connected by infrequent buses with JR Nagiso Station, the closest train station. The one way trip takes about seven minutes and costs 300 yen (see timetable). Alternatively, a taxi ride costs about 1000 yen. You can also walk between Nagiso Station and Tsumago in about an hour along a marked walking trail.

With a few exceptions, most limited express trains between Nagoya or Nagano do not stop at Nagiso Station. Instead, transfer to a local train at Nakatsugawa or Kiso-Fukushima Station.

Nearby Magome can be reached from Tsumago by infrequent direct buses (see timetable) or by following the Magome-Tsumago Hiking Trail.

How to get to and around the Kiso Valley

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Fujioto
Friendly, traditional inn with good location in Tsumago. By many considered the best in town.
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Matsushiroya
Traditional inn in the very heart of Tsumago.
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User Ratings
Ratings for Tsumago:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  best of Japan  
User Rating (by 118 users):
90/100
  highly recommended

Best rated sights nationwide (out of 781):
52.  Otaru Snow Light Path (Otaru)   91/100
53.  Gunkanjima (Nagasaki)   91/100
54.  Cherry Blossoms (Yoshino)   91/100
55.  Takachiho Gorge (Takachiho)   90/100
56.  Nakasendo Hiking (Kiso Valley)   90/100
57.  Tsumago (Kiso Valley)   90/100
58.  Awa Odori (Tokushima)   90/100
59.  Arashiyama (Kyoto)   90/100
60.  Adachi Museum of Art (Matsue)   90/100
61.  Myojoji Temple (Noto Peninsula)   90/100
Most visited sights nationwide (out of 913):
314.  Wakakusayama (Nara)   210
315.  Hirosaki Castle (Hirosaki)   208
316.  Red Brick Warehouses (Hakodate)   208
317.  Sofukuji Temple (Nagasaki)   208
318.  Mount Moiwa (Sapporo)   208
319.  Tsumago (Kiso Valley)   205
320.  Ivy Square (Kurashiki)   205
321.  Senjogahara Marsh (Nikko)   205
322.  Magome (Kiso Valley)   204
323.  Jigokudani (Noboribetsu)   204

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We strive to keep japan-guide.com up-to-date and accurate, and are always looking for ways to improve the user experience. If you have any updates, suggestions, corrections or opinions, please let us know:

English Links
Tsumago
Official website.

Japanese Links
Tsumago
Official website.

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