community-forum community-penpal community-userReports destinations-admission destinations-beenThere-outline destinations-beenThere-solid destinations-city_outline destinations-city_solid destinations-closedDays destinations-date destinations-getThere destinations-hotels destinations-hoursFees destinations-itineraries-3 destinations-links destinations-nearbySpots destinations-pin-simple-outline destinations-pin-simple destinations-sortBy-dots destinations-thumbsUp destinations-tours destinations-town destinations-wishlist-heart-outline destinations-wishlist-heart-solid interests-agriculture interests-amusementParks interests-beaches interests-castles interests-city_solid interests-contemporaryArt interests-events interests-festivals interests-flowers interests-foodDrink interests-gardens interests-hiking interests-historicSites interests-industry interests-koyo-single interests-koyo interests-mangaAnime interests-museums interests-nature interests-onsen interests-parks interests-pottery interests-sakura-single interests-sakura interests-scenicRides interests-shopping interests-shrines interests-skiing interests-snow interests-sumo interests-temples interests-traditionalArts interests-traditionalTheater interests-viewpoints interests-volcanoes interests-wildlife interests-winterIlluminations news-section planning-section planning-tickets-2 planning-transportation-access planning-transportation-bicycle planning-transportation-boat-2 planning-transportation-boat planning-transportation-bus planning-transportation-car planning-transportation-plane planning-transportation-shinkansen planning-transportation-tickets planning-transportation-train planning-transportation-walk shapes-chevron-down shapes-circle shapes-star social-fb social-gplus social-instagram social-twitter ui-alert-construction ui-alert-warning ui-calendar ui-date ui-globe ui-lightbulb ui-no_entry ui-ok ui-pencil ui-reverse ui-search ui-time ui-x user-avatar

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 ambience 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.

Access

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

Hotels around Kiso Valley

Recommended Hotels
Fujioto
Friendly, traditional inn with good location in Tsumago. By many considered the best in town.
Book:
Japanese Guest Houses
Matsushiroya
Traditional inn in the very heart of Tsumago.
Book:
Japanese Guest Houses
Page last updated: November 3, 2016