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Travel on the path of the Samurai along the Nakasendo, down from Nagano, over Gifu to Aichi. All the while learning about the precious cypress wood of the region, traditional craftsmanship, local foods, and fascinating stories of times past.
This is a 3-day guided tour but it can be customized into shorter day trips.
62,000yen/person (reservation from 2-6 people)
09:00 (3 full days)
English, Spanish, German, Japanese
English: Fluent ★★★★
German: Native ★★★★★
Spanish: Native ★★★★★
Japanese: Fluent ★★★★
You will be spending 3 days exploring a less-traveled side of Japan. Out walking in nature while learning about Samurai history, the importance of cypress woods in the region, with its many uses from castles to tableware.
This tour is about appreciating the beauty of Japan from many angles. You will try delicious local cuisine and Sake, bath in natural hot springs, craft wood with your own hands, and walk the ancient roads through the forests of old.
Meeting in Nagoya and Train to Kiso Fukushima
Meet your guide and travel 2 hours north to Kiso Fukushima in Nagano.
Explore Kiso Fukushima
In Kiso Fukushima, an ancient post town on the Nakasendo Road between Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto, you will explore history with all senses.
Try the local Soba noodles topped with fermented vegetables, called Sunki Soba, as a simple and healthy way to gain new energy.
Sample the local Sake, while learning about the tradition of the Nakanori, woodworkers in charge of transporting cypress stems down the river. A perilous task.
Appreciate the production of lacquer wares using cypress woods and tree sap to make tableware more durable, long-living, and captivating.
Bath at one of the many hot springs in the area and unwind from an adventurous day exploring the Kiso Valley.
Accommodation: Ontake Kyuka Mura (Recommendation)
Spend the night in the shadow of Mount Ontake the tallest mountain of Central Japan and experience a stay at a simple traditional Japanese accommodation.
Train to Magome
Take the train to Magome, one of the most beautiful post towns of the Nakasendo, in Gifu prefecture.
Hike between Magome and Tsumago
Enjoy a 2-hour hike in nature between Magome and Tsumago, with a short break at a picturesque rest house.
Lunch: Hoba Miso with Beef Steak
On arrival in Tsumago enjoy the local Hoba Miso with beef steak lunch using the regional Shinshu cattle, and other local ingredients such as Hoba leaves and Miso soybean paste.
Working the wood into daily items is a craft that has been practiced for more than 1100 years. During this workshop, you can try working wood yourself learning ancient woodworking techniques from a master craftsman.
Train to Nagoya
Say goodbye to Gifu and take the train to Nagoya.
Accommodation: Nikko Style Nagoya (Recommendation)
Spend the night at Nikko Style Nagoya, modern comfort after 2 days exploring the wilder side of Japan. A comfortable bed, great coffee, and an excellent western and Japanese breakfast buffet await.
Train to Inuyama
Take the 30-minute train to Inuyama.
Visit Inuyama Castle and Shrines
Start your explorations at Inuyama Castle, the smallest of the original remaining Japanese castles. Enjoy the charming exterior and interior and sweeping views of the surroundings including the Kiso River on which cypress wood used to be transported all the way from the Kiso valley. Add here also the small shrines you will find on the way to the castle. They are worth seeing as well.
Food Tour of Inuyama
Inuyama is a culinary heaven with lots of street food. There are local specialties next to national favorites, and instagrammable sweets, next to savory goodies.
Explore the diverse Japanese street food culture on a food tour of the scenic Inuyama castle town.
Karakuri Doll Museum
Finish your 3-day tour with a visit to the Karakuri Doll Museum, where a 9th generation master craftsman creates wooden automatons and dolls brought to life by strings.
Train to Nagoya and Tour End
Take the train back to Nagoya where your adventure of Samurai, wood, and pilgrimage ends.
We are the co-founders of Nagoya is not boring. We look forward to guiding you around our adoptive home Nagoya and its off-beat surroundings.
Lena is from Germany and she especially loves exploring food and food culture in Japan. Her favorite food is Hitsumabushi, Nagoya’s version of grilled eel on rice.
Elly, from the resort island of Mallorca in Spain, loves all things Japanese culture including traditional dance, tea ceremony, and flower arrangement.