Kiso Area

Nagano, Chubu

One of the most beautiful wooded areas in Japan. Beautifully restored old stone houses sit along stone-paved sloping roads.

Kiso is located along the upper reaches of the Kiso-gawa River in the southwest of Nagano, and at the border of Gifu. The whole valley area at the foot of Mt. Ontake-san is considered to be one of the most beautiful woods in Japan.

The Nakasen-do is a highway which developed as a point of transportation that connected Edo (present-day Tokyo) and Kyoto around the 17th to 19th century. The Kiso-ji Road, which is a part of the Nakasen-do, is surrounded by steep mountains and retains the scenery of the old days better than any other part of the highway. You can walk around its 11 post stations which are spotted along a distance of about 8 to 16 kilometers. In Magome-juku (a former post station), at the mouth of Kiso-ji on the Nakasen-do, there remain rows of old houses decorated with lattice along stone-paved sloping roads. In order to avoid ruining the town's almost 300-year-old Edo-period appearance, overhead power lines and cables are well hidden from the streets.

By going beyond the 801-meter-high point on a mountain road from Magome, you will reach Tsumago-juku. The town suffered temporary damage from the construction of new railways; however, a campaign to preserve the town has been going on since 1968, and it has helped to restore the town along the Kiso-ji Road on the Nakasen-do to its original state. It was registered as the Japan's first important traditional building conservation area.

The Bunka-Bunsei-Fuzoku-Emaki-Gyoretsu, held in Tsumago on 23 November every year, is the big parade where people dress up in costumes from the Bunka-Bunsei Period (the late Edo Period in the 19th century).
You need only climb for three hours to reach the summit of the 3,067-meter-high Mt. Ontake-san. The mountain is known as a holly mountain and has been visited by many worshippers since the 18th century, while also attracting families and middle-aged climbers.


From Tokyo:
[Rail] 1h 40 min from Tokyo to Nagoya by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line, and 1h from Nagoya to Nagiso Station by JR Chuo Line(limited express Shinano) 10 min from Nagiso Station to Tsumago by bus. To Mt. Ontake-san: 1h from Kiso-Fukushima Station by bus. A ropeway is also available.

Around the Kiso Area

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