Way of the Samurai - Japan's Nakasendo Trail
- Inn to inn walking on the Nakasendo trail
- The Machiya houses of the historic Post towns
- Relax in hot springs after a day's walk in stunning scenery
- Stay in a pilgrim's lodge on Mount Koya
- Sightseeing in Kyoto and Tokyo in Japan
In feudal times, samurai, merchants and artisans travelled between Kyoto and Tokyo on an ancient trading route known as the Nakasendo. Along the Nakasendo a chain of ‘post towns' was established to provide food and lodging to travellers. These historic towns have been lovingly preserved and restored by the local inhabitants and a journey along this ancient highway is also a journey back in time. After each day's walk through a magical landscape we stay in a traditional inn where we enjoy exquisite regional cuisine, relax in the hot springs and afterwards, take a stroll along a 19th century cobbled street of wooden Machiya houses illuminated only by painted paper lanterns hanging from hand-carved verandas. Before setting off on our 4-day walk along the central section of the Nakasendo Trail, we soak up the unique Japanese experience in the vicinity of Kyoto, taking part in a tea ceremony and exploring amongst temples, craft shops and food markets. We also travel by train to Asuka, where we take a leisurely cycle ride on rural paths. Then, at the temple complex on Mount Koya, we stay at a Buddhist pilgrim's lodging or ‘shukobu' and visit the amazing tombs at nearby Okunoin, before heading east to begin our walk along the Nakasendo. We end this captivating holiday in Tokyo, with time for sightseeing and for a day's excursion to the sacred forests and mountains of Nikko. Getting right under the skin of Japan, this exciting new walking holiday in a world-class destination will relax and impress in equal measure.
Is this holiday for you?
This walking and sightseeing holiday in Japan involves four short (2 - 4 hours) walking days at Mount Koya and on the Nakasendo Trail. There is the option to walk more of the Nakasendo on one of the days with an optional longer walk of around 6 hours. The underfoot conditions are good being on a mix of quiet lanes and forest trails as well as paved sections of the Nakasendo Trail. There is one pass of just under 4000 feet to cross involving approximately 1000 feet of ascent but the trail to this pass is well graded and not particularly steep. Including walking tours in and around Kyoto and Tokyo, this holiday is suitable for anyone who is reasonably active.