Strolling around the most famous traditional post towns takes you back to nostalgic Japan. The moment visitors enter the towns on the Nakasendo highway, they will feel as if they are in a time warp back in the Edo period, where local people spend their daily lives as well as welcoming tourists, preserving buildings and the landscape. You will find authentic Japan walking through two cozy towns in a one-day tour from Nagoya.
Check out what we are going to do.
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At JR Nagoya Station
At JR Nagoya Station
Tsumago-juku is one of the traditional post-towns of the Nakasendo highway. In the 1960s, this small town was on the verge of deterioration and about to lose its unique figure because of development in the wake of modernization. However, it revived through citizen’s preservation movement and was designated as one of the Important Traditional Buildings Preservation Areas by the government.
Visitors stroll around an authentic traditional town and see a nostalgic townscape which consists of traditional wooden houses. Wakihonjin-Okuya(National Important Cultural Property) is one of the typical buildings in which the Meiji emperor stayed. It is open for everyone to visit and enjoy walking through most rooms and seeing valuable antique goods, while hearing an exquisite explanation by a local guide.
When you feel hungry or thirsty, some cozy restaurants and sweet shops will satisfy your appetite. My recommendations are Gohei-mochi with green tea or handmade buckwheat noodles, Soba, with Sake. Gohei-mochi is a soft rise-cake with sweet soy-bean paste. You might get hooked on its simple and delicious taste that you’ve never experienced before.
If you want, you could walk from the next town Magome to Tsumago, or the either way. It only takes 2.5 hours. On the way, you can enjoy serene landscapes and nature including waterfalls. Moderately maintained pavements and signboards lead you in the right direction on the mountain. I am sure you will feel like being an ancient traveler.
Magome is also a post town similar to Tsumago which is known for the birthplace of a famous novelist Toson Shimazaki. In Magome most houses were rebuilt after a big fire at the end of 19th century, but a variety of shops and museums, such as Toson’s Museum and Shimizuya Museum, attracts many tourists thorough the year.
*The approximate itinerary is as follows:
8:00 JR Nagoya station
↓(by train & taxi)
lunch break & strolling around the town
15:30 JR Nagiso station
17:00 JR Nagoya station
transportation fee about 7000yen/person(you and guide),
lunch about 1600yen/person (you and guide)
entrance fee 1200yen/person(you and guide)
*It will cost about 10000yen/prson in total.
The course will change depending on the weather and guest's condition.
You should also check another town exploring tour " Nostalgic Japan in Iwamura,Gifu:Castle Town of Lady Samurai & Ruins Magnificent Ruins". It is possible to arrange this tour to mix with Nakasendo tour, if you want.
We had a very enjoyable 4 hours of hiking in the valley and woods between Magome and Tsumago, or what is known as the Nakasendo trail, with Tetsuji-San. Since the planning stage, Tetsuji answered every question that we had and he suggested route and things to do. He was thorough in his planning. When we met, he gave us brochures and other printed materials about the history of the trail as well as the village, Tsumago, where we will spend a night. Once we arrived at the village where we’d start the walk, he took us to couple of eating places. He encouraged us to try some of the local food. Making sure we had good energy before the walk :). Do try the Gohei-mochi. We had one during our stay in Tsumago. It was delicious and seriously addictive. :) He was knowledgeable and also patient with us during the hiking. Our kids enjoyed to be out and about in nature that they liked to stop frequently to observe some of the things they saw (that was why the 3 hours hiking became almost 4 hours). Throughout the hike he made good effort in explaining about some of the things that we came across and/or the history of the area. He also was able to answer what questions we might have had. A bit of a back story: Few days before our hike, due to June being rainy season in Japan, we monitored the local weather. We got anxious when we learned the local weather bureau predicted that it will be raining and thunderstorm in the area where our hike will be. Even in the morning of the hike, the prediction was still “rain with thunderstorm”. However, with a plan B and lots of preparation, we went ahead and were extremely glad to learn that the only “rain with thunderstorm” that we received during our hike was just a short and very light sprinkle when we arrived at the (Free) Tea House, almost half point of our hike. So, Tetsuji-San’s prediction was better than the Meteorological Agency. Earlier in the morning, he predicted that the rain won’t be as heavy and it would be just a temporary shower but no thunderstorm. He really knows the area well. :) All in all, we were very happy that we had him as our guide for the hike in Nakasendo trail. What a beautiful moment that was! Our family will always cherish our time in Nakasendo trail. Domo arigatou-gozaimasu Tetsuji-San.
I appreciate your excellent review. Yes, the key factor of our tour was the weather. Actually, I had been worried about it considering plan B until the tour started, but we had the best day for walking in the end. I can’t help realizing that you and your family members brought such a fortune for yourselves. I hope you will visit central Japan,especially Gifu, again. I am really looking forward to seeing you.
We did the Magome to Tsugama section of the nakasendo trail tetsuji arrive punctually at the hotel where we stayed to meet us and the meat are we to magome efficiently and quickly without any delays and extremely comfortable SB decided to choose riding reserved seats in the train. Also he advised a taxi from the train station to the start point so as to not wait more than 20 minutes for the next bus. It was good advise as we had lots more time to enjoy the trek. He was informative and made great attempt to answer our questions! Some perhaps too botanical! He recommended a few local snacks which were delightful and ended with coffee before returning to Nagoya. He spent 9 hours with us and returned to Nagoya with us where we parted ways. All together we had a very pleasant day and were blessed with excellent weather!
Thank you for quick review. I am so relieved to know that you are satisfied with my tour and guiding. Actually, I enjoyed myself walking through pleasant communication with you and your wife.I have also noticed that I should have lots of subjects to study and prepare for guests. I repeatedly thank you again and look forward to seeing you again.
Tetsuji is great guided tours. He took us to wonderful places and a good restaurant. I recommend him very much Gil
Thank you for the quickest review. I am grateful for your good words. I hope you will stay happy and fit. Thank you again and take care.
Very happy to tour with Tetsuji-san! We arranged a visit to Mino for traditional Washi (paper) crafts, as well as Seki for the Sword museum and a knife making factory tour. In addition to planning a great day in Mino & Seki, he helped keep us on schedule with trains, arranged a delicious lunch, and did a great job of answering our questions. After the trip, Tetsuji was kind enough to send us pictures he had taken of us during the day to help with the memory book of our vacation. Excellent communication during pre-trip planning, as well as during the day of our trip. It was such a relief to have Tetsuji with us in these areas of Japan less traveled by tourists. Highly recommended!
Thank you so much for your great review, Charlene. I am happy to have known that you and Kyle seemed to have enjoyed realizing some Japanese culture throughout my guided tour. I hope you will visit Japan again and spend some happy time with me someday.