written by Paige
Tsumago-juku is a post town on the Nakasendō Road in the Kiso Valley which is located in Nagano Prefecture. Connecting Kyoto with Edo (present day Tokyo), this road features many historically important sites, traditional houses, and picturesque views.
Photographs depicting what life was like for older generations can be found on display around town. This quiet village in the mountains offers numerous places to explore and walking along the road surrounded by wooden buildings and storehouses gives you a feeling that you’ve traveled back in time.
Hiking the Nakasendō Trail
The area is accessible by train and bus, but you can also travel along the route via a hiking course. You can also purchase a traveler’s staff and receive wood-branded seals at checkpoints and post towns along the way. A baggage transportation service is offered from March 20 to November 30. The service is offered through the Tsumago-juku Sightseeing Information Center (0264-57-3123), Koshinzuka Hotel (0264-57-3029), and Magome-juku Sightseeing Information Center (0573-69-2336).
Where to Stay
The area has been preserved through the Protection of Cultural Properties Project, but you will still find people living in the town. You can even stay at one of the residences or Japanese style inns in the town. Please understand that because these accommodations are in older buildings, rooms with private bathrooms are not available, although some places offer private shower stalls. If you access the respective homepages from the following website, you will find that many of the websites offer English: http://www.tumago.jp/stay/index.html.
You’ll find many souvenir shops along the way selling locally made goods and tasty treats including gohei mochi (pounded rice that has been flattened and molded into an oval shape, stuck on a skewer, coated with sauce such as miso, and then grilled.) Nagano Prefecture is known for its buckwheat, so you can enjoy fresh, hand cut buckwheat noodles as well. Sweet amazake (contains little to no alcohol) and nihonshu (sake) can also be found along the route.
The Tsumago-juku Sightseeing Information Center offers a variety of information and pamphlets for you to take with you.
Nagiso Museum’s Wakihonjin-Okuya with the traditional fire pit and gardens has preserved the atmosphere of traditional Japanese housing. Witnessing the sunlight streaming in above the fire pit and the pond filled with multi-colored carp gives you a feeling of serenity.
One point of access to the Tsumago-juku Area is from Nagiso Station. The bus fare is 300 yen one way. Lockers are available at the Tsumago-shuku bus stop. They require one 100 yen coin, but you will get your money back once you remove your things from the locker.
Bus Information is available in English
Tsumago Tourist Information Center 0264-57-3123