In the Edo Period (1603 – 1867), a trade route was developed between Edo (Tokyo) the new capital and Kyoto, the former capital. This route was known as the Nakasendo, the ‘Way through Mountains’ and today much of the original route remains and is a popular place to hike; either in its entirety or – more commonly – in short sections, especially through the very scenic Kiso Valley.
One of the most popular and easily done hikes is between the old post towns of Magome and Tsumago. It’s a memorable trip, and the cobble stones are a dream to walk on. The path ascends gradually but steadily out of Magome, passing through first fields and then forests. The steepest stretch is as you come up to the pass. The descent into Tsumago is slightly longer, though it’s pleasant to stop at the waterfalls along the way to rest your legs and take in the view. The walk itself only takes a few hours, but we recommend leaving yourself enough time to relax and perhaps picnic along the way.