Winter Nakasendo Trail

enquire now 8 Days From NZD $4,560 pp twinshare
Small group
Terms & Conditions apply
A small-group guided winter tour to the Nakasendo trail. Walk or snow-shoe on five days for 1-3 hours

December to March


  • Walk or snowshoe village to village on the loveliest parts of the winter Nakasendo Trail
  • Visit beautifully-preserved old post towns in the snowy Kiso Valley
  • Soak in natural thermal Onsen hot springs – indoors and outdoors!
  • Enjoy hearty, warming seasonal cuisine at welcoming Japanese inns
  • Escape the crowds of busier seasons and enjoy a magical perspective on Japan
  • Ride the world-famous Bullet Train

Winter is a terrific season to visit Japan. Most winter days are crisp, clear and cold, with brilliant sunshine. Snow falls rather rarely in the cities of Tokyo and Kyoto – but if you are lucky enough to catch Kyoto’s Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion dusted by a fresh snowfall, it’s a truly magical sight. Further into the mountains and towards the Japan Sea coast, snow falls deeply. There’s nothing more enchanting than the winter landscapes of traditional wooden villages like Magome and Tsumago against a backdrop of snowdrifts. Imagine the comforting warmth of a steaming-hot Japanese bath after day outside. Or imagine the wonder of sitting in an outdoor Rotemburo thermal water pool as snowflakes glide gently through the air around you. There are so many reasons to choose winter for your Japan walking adventure – fewer visitors, special seasonal foods, the stunning special illumination of particular garden, temples or shrines.

The Nakasendo trail linked Kyoto to Tokyo during Japan’s feudal period. It was the ‘road through the mountains’ travelled by feudal lords and their retinues, samurai warriors, merchants, and travellers. Along the route were 69 ‘post towns’, where weary travellers could rest before continuing on the next leg. We spend five days walking on the loveliest parts of the trail enjoying the peace and serenity of the winter landscapes. Depending on the depth of snow, we may use our snowshoes to follow the route. We follow quiet village roads and unpaved hill trails through the picturesque Kiso Valley where there are some beautifully-preserved old villages. We stay overnight in traditional country inns enjoying exquisite, warming regional cuisine prepared from the freshest ingredients. We soak in natural thermal Onsen hot springs, and enjoy the warm hospitality of our hosts. A Japanese bath is the perfect way to end a day walking on the snowy trails!


Day 1: Meet in Kyoto to begin the tour

Day 2: Travel to Nakatsugawa and walk to Magome

Day 3: Magome to Tsumago

Day 4: Tsumago to Kiso Fukushima

Day 5: Kiso-Fukushima to Narai

Day 6: Walk Narai to Kiso-Hirasawa then travel to Asama Onsen

Day 7: Travel to Tokyo

Day 8: Tour ends

What’s Included

  • Full-time services of an English-speaking tour guide
  • 7 nights in hotels and Japanese-style inns (Ryokan and Minshuku)
  • Daily breakfast, 2 lunches and 7 dinners
  • All transportation between tour locations
  • Entrance to museums, temples and other sights on the group’s itinerary
  • Forwarding of one item of luggage on 4 occasions
  • Rental gear – a pair of snowshoes, over gloves, gaiters and walking poles

What’s Not Included

  • Flights
  • Airport transfers
  • Pay locally for drinks with meals and for lunches
  • Entrance fees to museums, temples etc. not mentioned in the itinerary
  • A single room supplement is required for solo travellers at hotels

Images courtesy of Oku Japan