Beautiful wooden bridge in Kiso Valley, Japan
Holidays to Kiso Valley, Japan
The steep-sided, V-shaped Kiso Valley runs alongside the mountains of Japan's Central Alps and is a must-see destination for lovers of traditional Japanese scenery and breathtaking mountain landscapes. A far cry from the skyscrapers and modern technology of Tokyo and Osaka, this valley formed part of an ancient trading route from the Edo Period, connecting Tokyo with Kyoto.
It seems hard to believe now, but centuries ago laws stated that the route must be travelled by foot, with traders carrying their goods along its dangerous paths for many miles. As a result, several villages - known as post towns - sprang up to offer weary travellers a place to eat, sleep and recuperate. Several of these have been preserved so that 21st century visitors can sample life in bygone times.
Tsumago is the best preserved post town in the Kiso Valley. There are no cars allowed on its streets during the daytime, and phone lines and power cables are kept concealed. The wooden structures evoke a bygone era and make it easy to imagine you've slipped back half a millennia. To completely immerse yourself in Japan's past, stay in a traditional minshuku (B&B) or ryokan (inn). After recharging your own batteries, take the opportunity to hike part of the original route from Tsumago to Magome, another beautifully preserved post town. The route is marked in both Japanese and English, and is filled with superb natural scenery.
Lacquerware has been made in this area for generations, and continues to be popular with visitors looking for a souvenir of an unforgettable trip. The village of Kiso-Hirasawa has a museum for those who want to learn more.
Visit a lacquerware museum in a local village
Learn about life at an ancient wooden post town
Trek along the historic trade route of Nakasendo
Kiso Valley trip ideas
Here are some trip ideas including Kiso Valley. All of our trip ideas shown below are examples, and we’ll amend, adapt or start from scratch, until we’ve created the perfect trip for you. See one you like, or have a trip in mind? Call us now to book: 020 3510 5777
Things to do in Kiso Valley
Here are some of the things you can do in Kiso Valley. When you've chosen your favourite experiences, just give our Travel Designers a call and they'll put a trip together for you. If you need help choosing an experience, or if you want to learn more about it, our Travel Designers will be more than happy to talk to you. Just call them on: 020 3510 5777