- Narai Post Town
- Make your own chopsticks experience
- Canoeing on mystic Lake Shizenko
- Panoramic Mt. Ontake Ropeway
- Magome Post Town
- Tsumago Post Town
|Period||Dec. 2019 - Mar. 2020|
|Destination||Narai Post Town / Ontake Ropeway OR Lake Shizenko / Magome Post Town / Tsumago Post Town|
|Start / End||Nagano City / Takayama City|
|Operator||Snow Monkey Resorts|
*Please note, depending on the season some options may not be available.
The first stop on this tour is Narai Post Town. You will find yourself at the start of the road that takes you through the post town that marks the halfway point along the Nakasendo trail connecting Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto. It looks much the same today as it did back in the Edo period.
The town of a “thousand buildings” as it was once called, is lined with a variety of shops and restaurants. Walking up through the town from the station, you’ll come upon the Kamidonya Shiryokan on your left where you can try your hand at making your own chopsticks! The process takes about 45 minutes from start to finish, and the tools are simple to use, but require a little bit of muscle and may be a little too fiddly for anyone younger than 8 or 9.
Once you have your own set of handmade chopsticks, it’s time for lunch! The area is known for soba and Gohei-mochi, which is a traditional rice dish grilled with miso and served at most, if not all, of the restaurants in town.
Kiso-Fukushima is also the site of Mt. Ontake, Japan’s second-largest volcano and revered by many as a power spot. It even has its own religious sect of Shinto, called the Ontake faith. There are some great options for exploring various areas of the mountain.
Lake Shizenko was formed in 1984 as the result of a major earthquake. It was once a forest valley, and now the skeletons of the trees from the forest remain standing above the water’s surface giving it an unusual, eerie appearance. There are guided canoe tours of the lake available in English.
The Mt. Ontake ropeway, which will take you up to the 7th station on the mountain is another option. Once you arrive at the ropeway station you can buy a roundtrip ropeway ticket inside the facilities. The ropeway is essentially a ski lift gondola that takes you up what used to be a ski resort. The trip up (and back down) takes about 15 minutes, and the views are breathtakingly spectacular. On a clear day you can see the peak of Mt. Fuji!
There are also beautiful mountain streams and small waterfalls in the area around the ropeway station. The area is so idyllic, it feels like if you watched closely, you might see a band of fairies playing in the distance.
Once you arrive back at Kiso-Fukushima station, you will definitely be ready to get back to your hotel and rest for the evening. If you’re staying in a Japanese-style inn known as a ryokan, it will probably have a large communal bath with medicinal hot spring water to relax your sore muscles after a long day of walking. Most ryokan also serve seasonal dishes in a course meal at dinner, which can be enjoyed along with some locally brewed sake served hot or cold.
Day 2 starts out in Magome Post Town. You'll arrive in Magome early have approximately 30 minutes to explore the small town. The walk along the Nakasendo Trail to Tsumago Post Town takes about 2.5 hours, and it is mostly down a gentle slope, which is why most people prefer to walk Magome to Tsumago as opposed to the other direction. When you arrive in Tsumago you'll have a chance to look around here as well and see that every effort has been made to restore the town to its original appearance, and even the electric and phone lines have been concealed so as not to interfere with the scenery.
From Tsumago, the next stop is Takayama!
Day 1: 9:00 Meet up at Nagano Station or your accommodation in Nagano City
Meet your friendly and knowledgeable guide at Nagano Station or your accommodation and set off on your exciting and awe-inspiring 2-day tour of beautiful and historic sites and scenery in central Nagano.
11:30 Narai Post Town - sightseeing and chopsticks making / Lunch
Stroll through the ancient town of Narai taking in the sites of the quaint post town and enjoy the opportunity to make your very own original set of chopsticks, which you can then use to eat a delicious lunch!
15:00 Afternoon Attractions - Choose from 2 options Ontake Ropeway or Lake Shizenko
Choose from one of two options for your afternoon activity.
Either take the Mt. Ontake ropeway up to the 7th climbing station of Japan's second-highest volcano and get an amazing panoramic view of central Nagano from above
Visit Lake Shizenko formed by a major earthquake in 1984 and canoe around the mystic tree trunks that remain in the lake from before it was formed.
18:30 Arrive at accommodation in Kiso Fukushima
We can arrange accommodation according to your wishes from some among several options such as a post town style family-run inn, a standard ryokan, or a traditional high-end ryokan in Kiso Fukushima.
Day 2: 9:00 Depart your accommodation in Kiso Fukushima
After enjoying breakfast at your accommodation, your guide will pick you up at your accommodation, and you will head up to the Magome - Tsumago trail.
10:30 Arrival at Magome Post Town, start hiking to Tsumago Post Town
Take a look around Magome Post Town before starting on the 2.5 scenic walk to Tsumago Post Town. As you walk along the trail you'll get a feel for what it was like for our Japanese ancestors who used this as one of their main routes a hundred or more years ago.
13:00 Arrive at Tsumago, and enjoy a well-earned lunch at a local restaurant
Rest your tired feet and feed your empty belly with a delicious lunch before heading out on the next leg of your journey.
15:30 Meetup with your guide and board the tour bus to begin your journey to Takayama
After exploring Tsumago, depart for Takayama and head to one of the most popular destinations in the Central Japan area.
19:00 Arrive at Takayama Station or your accommodation in Takayama CIty
- Transportation from Nagano to all destinations through to Takayama
- Lunch (vegetarian options are available)
- English-speaking guide
- Chopsticks making activity fees in Narai Post Town
- Ontake Ropeway fee or Canoeing fee in Lake Shizenko
- Shinkansen/bullet train ticket
- Additional rental gears (if required)
- Additional snacks, food & drinks