Experience unbelievable mountain scenery and a glimpse into Japan’s ancient past with a stay at Tsumago, a charming stopping point along the old Nakasendo Highway.
Tsumago itself is small and unassuming, but with perfectly preserved architecture and traditional buildings. This makes it the perfect place to experience life in old Japan, during the Edo period (1600-1868) when the Nakasendo Highway was used to connect Tokyo to Kyoto.
This unique open air historical village, located in a protected preservation area, was one of the original juku (rest stations or post stations) along the route. Tsumago boasts dark wood, lattice-fronted buildings, spectacular mountain views and not a telephone pole, advertising billboard or modern development in sight. It’s a refreshing contrast if you’ve come straight from one of Japan’s fast-moving major cities.
Get up at dawn for the best views of sunrise from Tsumago, then set out for one of the most scenic hiking experiences of your life. Most of the old Nakasendo Highway may not be in use anymore, but the well-maintained section between Tsumago and Magome has become one of Japan’s most famous hiking routes.
Around 8km long, the route takes in beautiful waterfalls, ancient shrines, bamboo groves, forests and terraced rice paddies. There’s even a traditional teahouse rest stop along the way. It’s a breathtaking hike, although thankfully not literally as the route is reasonably gentle and suitable for even inexperienced walkers.
Tsumago & the Nakasendo Highway makes a great day trip from Kyoto, but it would be a real shame not to spend at least one night in this fascinating, romantic village. It’s a place like no other.
Plan your trip to Tsumago & the Nakasendo Highway today.