Hello there! We have a very autumnal & folk(ish) post today, which weirdly fits perfectly well with this chilly start of spring we are having.
We have so many interests in Japan that even visiting it twice has left us with many places ending up on our missing list. In fact, the miss list is called Japan 3.0 because we strongly believe this country and us still have a thing going on that should not end with this trip. Do you also have that feeling with certain places? Well, the Nakasendo trail was precisely one of those experiences which didn’t fit in our first itinerary, and landed up in our Japan 2.0 bucket list waiting for a second chance.
Nakasendo was during the Edo period a walking road that the samurais took to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto, with 69 post towns for them to sleep in. The road is still walkable and you can spend a week visiting the towns while walking the trail that goes through amazing forests with bears and monkeys. What is most amazing is that some of the towns are very well-preserved and maintain its charm by not having visible electric wires or any other modern elements.
The most famous stretch is the one connecting the towns of Magome and Tsumago, which takes around 2 or 3 hours and is very well paved, signposted and the towns are probably the ones with the best architecture preservation. We read that the easier way was starting at Magome to end at Tsumago, because half of the trail goes down, thus we decided to follow the advice and book a room at a Tsumago inn to spend the night as truly samurais.
We started the day at Kyoto, took the bullet train to Nagoya and from there an express to Nakatsugawa. The only way to get to Magome is with a bus from the Kitaena company. It takes a total of 2 hours to get here. As always, when connecting trains with buses in Japan, we recommend starting with the bus timetable and then check the trains that will get you on time to take the bus. Trains in Japan offer way more combinations.
When we arrived to Tsumago the sun was setting down. If it wasn’t for the rain or the strict curfew to be at our host house at 17:30, to serve us dinner, we would have spent not only 3 hours but many more, to gasp all the little waterfalls, creeks and rice land. The arrival was also something out of the ordinary, the town looked straight out of a painting, even too beautiful to be true.
The next morning we woke up quite early to enjoy the town before everyone else, it’s my favorite part of the countryside in Japan, the quietness of the mornings.
Since we have tons of pics from our morning in Tsumago, we thought we should make it justice by posting them in a separate post!
Tokyo – Part I: Shinjuku & Harajuku
Tokyo – DisneySea
Hakone and the Takuminoyado Yoshimatsu onsen
Osaka – Part I: Osaka Castle, Umeda views and Dotonbori at night
Himeji Castle (& the Hello Kitty café)
Osaka – Part II: Dotonbori, Namba temple and Den Den Town
Kyoto: Gion, Kamo riverside & Nishiki market
Arashiyama: monkey park, the river, Tenryuji temple and the bamboo grove