Kiso Valley: a trip back in time

05 Sep 2018 in Discover Japan

Travel back to the Edo Period by walking this ancient trade route.

kiso-valley
In the heart of Nagano Prefecture is an ancient path where it feels like time has stood still. The Kiso Valley is a collection of tiny towns joined together by almost 50 miles of mountain paths.

valley

Take a day trip from Hoshino Resorts KAI Matsumoto – or hike the whole route over a few days and discover a fascinating slice of Japanese history.

Hoshino Resorts KAI Matsumoto

kai-matsumoto

The Kisoji is an ancient trade route that runs through the Kiso Valley and became part of a much longer route between Edo and Kyoto in the 17th century. Known as Nakasendo (“path through the mountains”), this 300-mile route was a vital link between Japan’s two major cities, and so-called post towns were established along the way to allow travellers to eat and sleep.

village

The best-preserved of these post towns are in the Kiso Valley. Narai-juku in the north, for example, features over half a mile of Edo-period wooden buildings with overhanging upper floors.

Narai-juku

It’s like being on a film set or stepping back in time. Other highlights include Tsumago-juku and Magome-juku in the south.

Tsumago-juku

Magome-juku

For the full experience, hike through all 11 post towns in the valley – a physical undertaking that will take several days. Your reward? Stunning mountain scenery, idyllic waterfalls and the luxury of enjoying the towns after day-trippers have left!

Alternatively, a short train ride will give you a taste of what Japan was like in the Edo Period – and you can still enjoy an atmospheric walk in the forest.

OTHER EXPERIENCES

noh-nogaku

Cultivate your inner beauty in Kyoto

20 Oct 2017 in Discover Japan

Experience the culture of old Kyoto in an immersive 3-day program of Noh Theatre and Zen Buddhism! Read more

sumo3

Rikishi, the art of Sumo wrestlers

02 Dec 2016 in Discover Japan

Sumo wrestling is an extremely popular sport in Japan, but it remains primarily an artform that requires an strong discipline ... Read more

star-festival

Tanabata: Japan’s star festival

04 Jul 2018 in Discover Japan

All you need to know about the colourful Tanabata Matsuri – one of Japan’s biggest summer festivals! Read more

OTHER EXPERIENCES

Toshogu-temple

Toshogu: Nikko’s monumental temple

10 Nov 2017 in Discover Japan

One of Japan’s most exuberant temples lies not in Kyoto or Tokyo – but in the scenic Nikko National Park. Join us on a journey to Toshogu. Read more

Sanshin instrument

Sanshin, the banjo from Okinawa

07 Oct 2016 in Discover Japan

Have you ever heard about sanshin, this unique traditional Japanese 3 strings banjo ? Read more

Umbrella design project

Wagasa, the poetic and practical Japanese umbrella

10 Aug 2016 in Discover Japan

130 million umbrellas are sold each year in Japan, or more than one per person! But these umbrellas were used in a completely different way when they first appeared in the 8th century! Discover how the Japanese are now giving a new life to these iconic objects... Read more

most popular articles