I’m not sure why I agreed to walk 8km straight after landing in Japan (Magome-Tsumago Trail). But that was what we did. To get to the starting point we have to take a train to Nagoya, leave our luggage in the train station then take a bus. By the time we reached Magome it was already late afternoon.
Magome is a post town in the Kiso Valley, which served travellers of the Nakasendo, a major route connecting Tokyo with Kyoto during the Edo Period. The town has been beautifully restored with a broad stone walkway lined with carefully tended foliage.
Tsumago on the hand is beautiful. It is known today as one of the best preserved post towns in Japan. The town and its residents go to great lengths to recreate the ambiance of the Edo Period. Cars are prohibited on the main street in the day and phone lines and power cables are kept concealed, allowing visitors to imagine they have slipped back to an earlier time. We stayed 1 night in a ryokan here and it was an amazing experience.
I would classify the walking train as a good beginner’s hiking trail as it is not too tough and the scenery is amazing. It’s also a good option moving away from the city centre. The only ‘complain’ I have the the amount of highway crossing we had to go through along the path. I would recommend to start from Magome and walk towards Tsumago as it is less steep.
Throughout the walking path, we keep seeing a bell. Then later we found a sign that says the bell is to be used to scare the bear away!