Built on the historic Nakasendo highway between Kyoto and Edo, Nakatsugawa is a charming town surrounded by forested landscapes. It’s on the doorstep of the beautifully preserved post towns of Magome and Tsumago while being within easy access of the Ena and Tsukechi valleys.
Things to do in Nakatsugawa
Explore the magnificent Ena Valley, famed for its unusually shaped rock formations and dramatic cliffs. Jump aboard a boat cruise to admire its aptly-named “Umbrella Rock” and the colourful landscapes that transform with cherry blossoms and azaleas throughout the seasons.
A short drive north of Nakatsugawa lies the wooded landscapes of Tsukechi Valley, which forms part of the Ura-Kiso Prefectural Natural Park. Admire the waterfalls of Fudo-daki and Takataru-no-taki, then hike through the spectacular Tsukechi Gorge that’s particularly stunning during autumn.
Make a day trip to the post town of Magome to learn about the life of local poet, Toson Shimazaki, at the Honjin/Toson Memorial Museum. Discover Magome’s fascinating history at the Wakihonjin Museum, then wander along the beautifully preserved main street lined with charming old inns.
Walk from Magome to the Edo Period post town of Tsumago, where the traditional buildings are now protected for future generations. Admire the 19th-century Wakihonjin where Tsumago’s museum is housed, then soak up the town views from the ruins of Tsumago Castle.
Getting around Nakatsugawa
Nakatsugawa is just under four hours by train from Tokyo, around 2.5 hours from Kyoto and two hours from Nagoya Airport. Buses travel throughout Nakatsugawa and connect to the surrounding towns and natural sights.