If you are planning a trip to Japan and you love hiking you most probably heard of the Nakasendo Trail or Nakasendo Way before. (If not, then it’s about time now!) The Nakasendo Way is a hike from Kyoto to Tokyo, which usually takes around 11 Days.
One of the most popular hikes along the way is the one from Magome to Tsumago. (Most probably on day 6) But even if you just want to hike for one day, the Magome-Tsumago-Trail is also a great one-day-hike.
It is recommended to start your Magome Hike early in the morning, especially in summer. That’s why we recommend you to arrive the day before and spend the night in Magome.
What to find out in this post
Magome is a super cute village in the Japanese Alps. It just has one main street which guides you up the mountain.
How to get to Magome from Tokyo
Duration: ca. 3 hours
You get there the easiest by bus from Tokyo. But please note: If you are traveling by public bus, the bus will leave you at the bus station which is around 1 km away from Magome. And the way from there is upwards! 😉
In Magome, there are only two guesthouses. So better book your room beforehand.
We stayed in the Tajimaya Guesthouse. (Click here for the latest price, information, and availability)
The second Guesthouse in town is the Magome Chaya. (Click here for the latest price, information, and availability)
Update: Since March 2018, there is also a more Budget-friendly Option. The Guesthouse Gaku Magome (Click here for the latest price, information, and availability)
Both Guesthouses offer a really good quality and are recommendable. Included in the price besides a comfortable room to sleep in, are a private living room, amazing dinner, and breakfast.
Moreover, every guest got offered house shoes, a toothbrush and a Yukata (traditional Japanese clothing for inside).
Of course, you can as well directly walk on after visiting Magome. But I can absolutely recommend you to stay until night when all the tourist groups have left and the village gets quiet.
Our highlight was the graveyard. Wow. You had this amazing view over Magome and the surrounding rice fields. It just looked like painted. Breathtaking. And the best thing is, you don’t meet anyone. Besides a fluffy white cat that lives here.
Hiking from Magome to Tsumago
The villages Magome and Tsumago are connected through an 8 km / 5 miles hiking trail.
There is, of course, as well a bus, but if you have the chance you should definitely walk.
Price: 500 Yen (ca. 3,77€ /$4,65)
You can also let your luggage get delivered from the tourist info in Magome to the tourist info in Tsumago. Just drop your bags in the Magome Tourist Info between 08.30 am – 11.30 am. And you can pick it up in the Tsumago Tourist Info after 01 pm.
And it is totally worth it. As most of the hiking trail is part of the forest, it is so comfortable walking around without the big backpack.
Even though the temperature was around 30ºC/ 86ºF, the hiking wasn’t hardly exhausting. And 8 km/ ca. 5 miles is not really an amazingly long distance. (Despite the fact, that most part of the way is not up-hill) Thus, perfect for untrained wanderers like us 🙂
By the way, make sure not to do any of those 5 common hiking mistakes.
Animals during the Nakasendo trail Magome to Tsumago
And the best thing is with a little luck you can take a glance at some wild snow monkeys. We saw them running through the woods quite near to us. They didn’t get near but neither ran away when seeing us passing by.
If you get super unlucky, you might meet a bear, though. But they say it happened only one time during the last years. Also, there are bells everywhere along the hiking trail that you can ring to keep bears away before you continue your way. But even though we missed some of those bells we haven’t been eaten by bears.
Tsumago is also an old post town which makes you feel as if you have just traveled in time. It is quite beautiful but unfortunately full of tourists and hikers. Anyway, Magome was definitely our favorite with its tranquility and peacefulness.
Where to go from Tsumago
From Tsumago you can leave via JR Nagiso Station.
You can either walk there (ca. 4km /2,5 miles) or take a bus. The busses are leaving several times a day.