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Nakasendo Trail 2019/2/21 07:19

Me and two buddies (men, age 27) are going to be in Japan from May 17 through May 27 and want to hike part of the Nakasendo Trail. We were thinking about doing the hike from Magome to Tsumago.

1) What is the easiest way to get there? We will be having this part of the trip in between our Tokyo and Kyoto visits, so we can go from either location. I see that the high speed rail goes to Nagoya, but I can't figure out how to get to Magome from Nagoya (some forums say that busses don't run at this time of the year). Can you please send links to the bus ticket website with the schedules?

2) Do you recommend buying tickets ahead of time?
a) hotels along the Nakasendo
b) busses

3) We are all well-abled people with plenty of energy. Are there other parts of the trail you recommend? We are willing to commit anywhere from 24-48 hours to the Nakasendo, but only want to do a longer distance if it is worth it. I don't have a huge desire to do parts of it that are walking along the highway or areas that are not pretty. I did the Camino de Santiago in Spain, so I can use that as a frame of reference for anyone who has done that one as well.

4) Which place should we sleep? Magome? Tsumago? elsewhere? Are there any specific shops/restaurants/hotels you recommend?

5) Is it easy to know where to go? Are there signs?

by Ben (guest)  

Re: Nakasendo Trail 2019/2/21 11:38
by Hirohiroboy rate this post as useful

Re: Nakasendo Trail 2019/2/21 13:08
The trail you intend to cover is a very easy one - takes around 2 hours but beautiful. There is a tea house along the way (almost in the middle of the trail) and please make sure to step by. The best lighting I have ever seen in my life - had an almost divine feeling! I posted one photo in this post: https://www.bizarrejourneys.com/koyasan/

I joined the trail from Kyoto. I had a rail pass and I remember taking the train from Kyoto to Nagoya then changing to a small train to take the public bus from there. I will try to get the name of the second train stop.
by Burcu Basar rate this post as useful

Re: Nakasendo Trail 2019/2/21 13:14
So here is what I did - Kyoto-Nagoya-Nakatsugawa by train and then public bus from Nakatsugawa to Magome to start the hike. It was early March in 2018.
by Burcu Basar rate this post as useful

Re: Nakasendo Trail 2019/2/21 13:48
In December we went by train to Nagiso, bus to Tsumago, then bus to Magome. We'd love to have walked the trail but our 5 and 2 year olds would have whinged too much! Instead we took our time walking around both towns and enjoyed the slow pace without a deadline. We stayed overnight at Magomechaya and loved it. There are several places you can book online through sites such as www.japaneseguesthouses.com

https://www.japan-guide.com/bus/kiso.html this is a handy page

by Sal1980 rate this post as useful

Re: Nakasendo Trail 2019/2/22 06:57
This is so very helpful! Thank you so much. I am quite excited to do this. I've heard nothing but great things.
by Ben (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Nakasendo Trail 2019/2/22 14:58
It's worth doing but it isnt like stepping back in time or anything. I found it a bit disappointing but then I think my expectations were too high. As an average to above average bush walk with some interesting bits (especially the waterfall) and a nice but small town at one end (Magome) and a bigger but not as visually interesting town at the other (Tsumago), it is worth the effort.

I'm not pizzling on it, but it will be more fun for you if your expectations are not high.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Nakasendo Trail 2019/2/22 18:16
1. I did the trip from Nagoya by first taking a train to Nakatsugawa, followed by a bus to Magome. The tourist information centre at Nakatsugawa can give you a bus timetable, which you can also find on this website.

2. No, you'll be fine getting them soon before the trip. You can't pre-book the bus, but must have cash for it (preferably exact change, to avoid having to use the coin exchange machine on board - prices can also be found on this website). Hotels/ryokans absolutely need to be booked ahead of time, and I would do so ASAP as there are not many and they aren't very big - could fill up quickly.

3. The route between Magome and Tsumago is only short - 2-3 hours. There are other short trails listed here: http://www.city.nakatsugawa.gifu.jp/kankou/info/uploads/Tsumago-Magome...

By the way, if you've done the Camino de Santiago, consider one day doing the Kumano Kodo trails. They're paired with the Camino de Santiago, and you can be awarded a dual pilgrimage for doing both.

4. I stayed at Tsumago, at Fujioto Inn. I highly recommend it! Definitely stay overnight at at least one of the post towns, as it's nice to be able to walk around them once the day trippers have left (or before they arrive the next day).

5. Along the Magome-Tsumago route, it's usually quite easy to tell. There were only a couple of times I felt unsure, and not for long. There are signs and a clear path.
by / (guest) rate this post as useful

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