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Home » Adventure Travel » Adventure Travel Trips » Japan Koyasan & Nakasendo Way Walk 2020

Japan 2020

Koyasan & Nakasendo Way Walk 2020

Deposit & Book

April 21 - May 5, 2020

CMC Members:$4,140



Sign Waiver 

Cancellation Policy


Trip Leaders
Kris Ashton -
Christine Petty

Japan 2020Trip Overview

Experience Japan during the peak spring color time in Koyasan and along the Nakasendo Way.

Koyasan is a complex of over 100 individual temples dedicated to the study and practice of Shingon Buddhism, brought to Japan in 819 by Kobo Daishi. We’ll stay at one of the temples for three nights, where we’ll be taken care of by the monks who live there. At the temple, we can enjoy meditation practice, experience sutra writing, participate in morning worship with fire ceremony or just relax in the hot bath or beautiful gardens. We’ll explore Koyasan with a local guide, visiting such sites as Okunion Cemetery and the Danjo Garan temple complex, and participate in making our own decorative sushi as part of our lunch. Our final day in Koyasan takes us on a day hike along a rugged mountain route once allocated to women pilgrims.


The Nakasendō Way (中山道 Central Mountain Route), also called the Kisokaidō, was one of two routes that connected the then-imperial capital of Kyoto to the shogunate capital of Edo (modern-day Tokyo) in Japan. There were 69 stations (staging posts or Post Towns) between Kyoto and Edo that were established for the purpose of providing a resting place for travelers along the road. Post Towns provided accommodation, fresh horses, meals and transportation of goods along the Way. The Nakasendo Way was used by the shogun, daimyo, and other important persons needing to travel between the two capitals of Japan during the Edo period (1603-1868). There is some evidence that the route was also traveled by pilgrims.

Matsumoto Castle

Our walk passes through a section known as Kisoji in the Kiso River Valley of central Honshu. The scenery of the Kiso Valley attracted many literary and art figures, and became known for poetry and woodblock prints. The region is also known for its unique wooden combs and beautiful lacquer ware. The route's eleven Post Towns were incorporated into the Nakasendo because the route already existed and there were many towns along the way that were set up for long-distance travelers. Many of the Post Towns have preserved or reconstructed 18th-centruy buildings, with rows of teahouses and shops, of an architecture that is unique to the region. There are also Shino shrines and Buddhist temples that we will see along the way.  While walking in the Kiso Valley, we travel through highlands, forests and along the Kiso River with views of spectacular Mt. Ontake. We’ll pass through the Akasawa Recreational Forest, known as the birthplace of “forest therapy".


Trip highlights:

  • Visits to Shino shrines and Buddhist temples
  • 3 Nights in the care of Monks at a Buddhist temple
  • Enjoy delicious local Japanese food and beverages
  • Travel with CMC leaders who have a solid knowledge of the history and local culture.

What's Included?

Japan 2020

  • 14-Day Guided Walk on the Nakasendo Way
  • 14 Nights Accommodations with Breakfast
  • 1 Lunch & 12 Dinners
  • Gifts for Guides and Hosts
  • Two Trip Leaders who have walked the Way and are familiar with its history and sites.
  • Pre-trip planning assistance and activities
  • American Alpine Club 6 month Membership
  • Medical Evacuation Benefit 
Osaka: 1 night, ½ day, including:
  • Welcome drinks and snacks 
  • Walking visit of the energetic Dotonbori neighborhood
  • Transportation from Osaka to Koyasan and back
Koyasan: 3 nights, 3 days, including:
  • 3 nights accommodation in a Buddhist temple w/breakfast and dinner (vegetarian meals)
  • Option to attend Ajikan meditation practice, Buddhist sutra writing, and morning worship with fire ceremony at the temple
  • Evening visit of Okunion Cemetery
  • All-day walking tour of Koyasan with local guide
  • Picnic lunch of local specialties
  • Hike the Women’s Pilgrimage Route trail
  • Transportation from Osaka to Nakasendo Way start
Nakasendo Way walk: 9 nights, 10 days, including:
  • 9 nights Japanese-style accommodation w/breakfast and most dinners
  • 9-day walk along Nakasendo Way; with some train travel backwards and forwards to visit Post Towns not walked through or to skip less interesting sections
  • Entrance to Hiroshige Print Museum with woodblock print-making experience
  • Entrance to Nakasendo Barrier Station at Kiso-Fukushima
  • Entrance to Matsumoto Castle and visit to Nawate Street (street of frogs)Japan
  • All local transportation within the Nakasendo Way area
  • Luggage transfer on the Nakasendo Way walk (Note: 2 non-consecutive nights without our luggage)
  • Nakasendo Walking Map
  • Transportation from Nakasendo Way end to Tokyo
Tokyo: 1 night, ½ day, including:
  • 1 night accommodation in Western-style hotel in Tokyo
  • Visit the Nakasendo Way end markerTokyo
  • Farewell dinner together

What's Not Included?

  • RT airfare
  • Airport transfers 
  • Suggested travel insurance
  • Food/beverages not indicated 
  • Personal items, souvenirs, etc. 
  • Medical care, pharmacy, etc. 
  • Local transportation not indicated 
  • Entrance fees for optional visits

Level of Activity / Difficulty

  • Ability to walk comfortably in urban settings.
  • Urban, rural and forest walking
  • B-level hikes over densely-forested mountain trails through rural historic Post Towns.
  • Ability to function as a team member supporting, assisting and encouraging leader and other trip participants.


Trip Leaders: Kris Ashton ( & Christine Petty 
Participants are encouraged to contact the trip leader before registering for this trip.

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