Magome was the 43rd station of the Nakasendo Highway, located on the southernmost part of the eleven post towns in the Kiso district. The 600m curved and sloped main street has been restored with a stone walkway and it's lined with old inns, restaurants and souvenir shops which look much as they did in the Edo era.
Magome was the birthplace of one of modern Japan's greatest authors, Toson Shimazaki, and its often referenced in this earlier works. The Magome-Tsumago hiking trail starts from the top part of the city.
Tsugamo was the 42nd station of the Nakesendo Highway and it's considered as the best preserved town in Kiso. Motor vehicles are not allowed into the city and TV antennas, electric signs and all other signs of modernity have been banned in order to preserve the historical integrity of the city.
Along its main street, Tsugamo features a temple, a small museum, the main inn and some of the traditional houses which are empty and can be freely visited. Ryokans are also available to stay for the night and immerse oneself deeper in the atmosphere of the Edo period.
Magome and Tsugamo are connected by a well-maintained and popular hiking trail, which formed part of the Nakasendo Highway and it's nowadays conveniently signaled in English. The trail passes through forests, local houses, farmer fields and a couple of waterfalls, offering a beautiful scenery in a natural environment.
The trail is about 9Km long and should take around 2 to 3 hours to complete. Hiking from Magome to Tsugamo requires less effort, since it involves less uphill sections than in the opposite direction. The trail however can be walked in any direction.
JR Nagoya Station
Ltd. Exp. Shinano
49 min. 1280¥
JR Nakatsugawa Station
30 min. 540¥
Both Magome and Tsugamo are small towns which can be easily explored on foot. They are connected by a 9Km hiking trail and a direct bus service which operates around 10 times per day.
Tsugamo can also be accessed on a short bus or taxi ride from JR Nagiso station on the JR Chuo Line, a few stations from JR Nakatsugawa.