How to travel between the Kiso Valley and Tokyo
By shinkansen via Nagoya
Take the JR Tokaido Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagoya (100-110 minutes) and transfer to the JR Shinano limited express train for access into the Kiso Valley. The Japan Rail Pass covers the entire train journey, except Nozomi trains along the Tokaido Shinkansen. Pass holders should use Hikari trains, instead.
To access Magome, take the Shinano limited express from Nagoya to Nakatsugawa Station (50 minutes). The entire one way trip from Tokyo to Nakatsugawa takes about three hours and costs around 12,500 yen. From Nakatsugawa, Magome can be reached in a 30 minute bus ride (see timetable).
To access Tsumago, get off at Nagiso Station. Some JR Shinano limited express trains from Nagoya stop at Nagiso Station, however, most do not, in which case you should transfer to a local train at Nakatsugawa Station. The entire one way trip from Tokyo to Nagiso takes about three hours and costs around 12,500 yen. From Nagiso, Tsumago can be reached in a short taxi or bus ride (see timetable).
To directly access Narai from Tokyo, it is recommended to travel by limited express train via Shiojiri (see below).
By limited express trains via Shiojiri
Take the JR Azusa limited express train from Tokyo's Shinjuku Station to Shiojiri Station south of Matsumoto (2.5 hours) and transfer to a local or limited express train into the Kiso Valley. The train journey is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
To access Narai, take a local train from Shiojiri Station to Narai Station (20 minutes). The entire one way trip from Shinjuku to Narai takes about three hours and costs around 7,000 yen.
To access Tsumago, take the JR Shinano limited express train from Shiojiri to Nagiso Station (50 minutes). Note, however, that many limited express trains do not stop at Nagiso, in which case you should transfer to a local train at Kiso-Fukushima Station or use a local train from Shiojiri. The entire one way trip from Tokyo to Nagiso by limited express trains takes about four hours and costs around 9,000 yen. From Nagiso, Tsumago can be reached in a short taxi or bus ride (see timetable).
To access Magome, take the JR Shinano limited express train from Shiojiri to Nakatsugawa Station (60 minutes). The entire one way trip from Tokyo to Nakatsugawa via Shiojiri takes about four hours and costs around 9,500 yen. From Nakatsugawa, Magome can be reached in a 30 minute bus ride (see timetable).
By highway bus
Daytime highway buses between Shinjuku and Nagoya stop at "Chuodo Magome" bus stop, which is located in the Misaka parking area along the Chuo Expressway. From the bus stop, Magome can be reached in about a 20 minute walk. The one way journey between Shinjuku and Chuodo Magome takes about 4.5 hours and costs 4,710 yen. A round trip ticket costs 8,070 yen.
Above fees and schedules are subject to change. Be sure to check current yen exchange rates.
All the post towns of the Kiso Valley are located within easy reach of the JR Chuo Line, and can be visited relatively conveniently by public transportation. Please refer to each post town's information page for more details on access and orientation:
Magome and Tsumago are located less than ten kilometers from each other and are the most popular destinations in the Kiso Valley. A popular hiking trail, which follows the former Nakasendo route, connects the two towns. Alternatively, they are connected with each other by infrequent direct buses (see timetable).
A visit to the Kiso Valley is possible as a side trip from Nagoya or even Kyoto. It can also be visited along a journey between Tokyo and Kyoto/Osaka as an alternative to taking the Tokaido Shinkansen. While the main attractions of the Kiso Valley can be seen in a single day, we recommend to include an overnight stay at one of the post towns' minshuku or ryokan.