Nakasendo Hiking Tour & Narai-juku Post Town Sightseeing Bus

Jun 09, 2020

Summary

  1. 1. Bus schedule
  2. 2. Price
  3. 3. Departure dates (for 2021)
  4. 4. How to book
  5. 5. How to enjoy this tour
  6. 5.1. A Course: Torii Pass Trekking
  7. 5.2. B Course: Fukushima-juku and Narai-juku Walking
  8. 5.3. C Course: Fukushima-juku Walking and Kiso Kurashi no Kougeikan
  9. 5.4. D Course: Naraijuku Walking

This sightseeing bus will bring you to discover “Narai-juku”, Japan’s longest post town, which has a 1 km-long townscape that looks as if you’ve slipped back in time to the Edo period. There are inns, souvenir shops, restaurants and more that make you feel the good old days, as well as museums, temples and other historic sights. It is a perfect one-day trip from Matsumoto!

Bus schedule

09:05     Pick-up from Hotel Buena Vista
09:20     Pick-up from Matsumoto Bus Terminal
10:20     Pick-up from JR Shiojiri Station (East Exit)
10:50     Drop-off at Narai-juku Parking Area
14:25     Meet at Narai-juku parking area for the return trip
14:35     Stop by at Roadside Station Kisogawa Genryu no Sato Kisomura (20 minutes)
15:25     Arrive at JR Shiojiri Station
16:15     Arrive at JR Matsumoto Station
16:25     Arrive at Hotel Buena Vista

*The driver will not wait even if you don’t show up in time.

Price

Adult 4,000 JPY / Child 2,000 JPY
(Included in this tour is a round-trip bus between Matsumoto and Narai-juku post town. No guide will accompany you during the trek. Everyone is free to walk on their own.)

Departure dates (for 2021)

April: 29, 30
May: 1-5
June: 26-30
July: 1-4, 17, 18, 24, 25, 31
August: Saturdays and Sundays
September:  Saturdays, Sundays and Sep 20
October: Saturdays and Sundays (excluding Oct 3)
November: 6, 7

How to book

Book Online: via Japan Bus Online (Reservations can be made from 1 month in advance.)
Sale Locations: Matsumoto Bus terminal, front desk at Hotel Buena Vista and JR Shiojiri (east exit) (Reservations available on the day)

How to enjoy this tour

Until the pick-up time, you have time to freely enjoy the scenery and landscape of the beautiful post towns in Fukushima-juku and Narai-juku. Or you can choose to hike across the Torii Pass like people in the past used to do, too! If you are not sure exactly how to spend time there. Here are our recommendations!

A Course: Torii Pass Trekking

11:05   Get off the bus at the Roadside Station Kisogawa Genryu no Sato Kisomura across the Torii Pass.
13:20   Have lunch in Narai-juku area.
14:20   Assemble at the Narai-juku Parking for the return trip.

The Torii Pass is a 6 km mountain road that connects Yabuhara-juku and Narai-juku on the Kiso Valley Trail. With the many travelers from Edo that passed through here and the rich history that remains, the pass has become a very popular trekking course, whose surrounding greenery changes colors with each season! Enjoy forest bathing by connecting to nature completely while smelling the aroma of the trees and feeling the refreshing breeze.

The hike takes around 2 – 2.5 hours. For those who choose to hike, it is recommended to come prepared with a backpack, a hat, a poncho, a jacket and a pair of comfortable shoes.

Hiking through lush green forest. Don't forget to wear a conic straw hat to feel more immersed in the old time atmosphere!
Fresh green foliage that turns a dazzling golden yellow in autumn.
Hiking map from Roadside Station Kisogawa Genryu no Sato Kisomura to Narai-juku ©Narai-juku Tourst Association. See the original map and pamphlet here. 

B Course: Fukushima-juku and Narai-juku Walking

11:30   Get off the bus at Fukushima Parking and visit the remains of Fukushima Sekisho (checkpoint), Kozenji Temple and Yamamura Daikan Yashiki Museum.
12:10   Get on the bus for Narai-juku.
12:30   Arrive at Narai-juku and have lunch
13:10   Enjoy a walk in Narai-juku and try making Gohei Mochi, Hinoki chopsticks or wearing Japanese tradional Kimono!
14:20   Assemble at the Narai-juku Parking for the return trip.

C Course: Fukushima-juku Walking and Kiso Kurashi no Kougeikan

11:30   Get off the bus at Fukushima Parking and visit the remains of Fukushima Sekisho (checkpoint), Kozenji Temple and Yamamura Daikan Yashiki Museum.
12:10   Get on the bus for Narai-juku.
12:30   Arrive at Narai-juku, have lunch and enjoy a walk in Narai-juku.
13:10   Get on a retro sightseeing bus from Narai-juku to Roadside Station Kisogawa Genryu no Sato Kisomura.
13:20   Try hands-on experience such as making a spoon, chopsticks and a saucer for teapot.
14:25   Assemble at the Roadside Station for the return trip.

D Course: Naraijuku Walking

10:40   Get off the bus at Narai-juku Parking and enjoy café-hopping and eating out
11:40   Have lunch inside Narai-juku
12:40   Enjoy a walk in Narai-juku and try making Gohei Mochi, Hinoki chopsticks or wearing Japanese tradional Kimono!
14:20   Assemble at the Narai-juku Parking for the return trip.

By choosing this course, you’ll have plenty of time to leisurely enjoy yourself in the Narai-juku town. There’s a long list of places to see and things to do, and of course, delicious foods to try! We have listed some recommended shops and restaurants here.

Post Town Café Izumiya

A coffee shop housed in an old building in Narai-juku. Take some time to relax while looking out at the Nakasendo Trail. Enjoy a carefully prepared pour over coffee with some homemade sweets. You can also enjoy a matcha (green tea) latte, Japanese tea and local sake.

Business Hours: 10:00 - 17:00
Closing Days: Irregular closing days
Recommended menu: Pour over coffee / Homemade sweets / Matcha latte

Kanameya

Going in through the front entrance where a nearby shelf is filled with mountain grapes, you can feel the nostalgia as you find a private residence of over 100 years old that has been turned into a small restaurant. During wintertime, the hearth is lit and you can enjoy a meal or some tea in a calm and relaxing atmosphere. With a large variety of items on their menu, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Business Hours: 10:30 - 18:30
Closing Days: Irregular closing days
Recommended menu: Gohei mochi (rice cake) /Stir-fried udon noodles

Nakamura Residence

The typical town house style of Narai-juku can be seen at the residence of the Nakamura Family, who used to be wholesale merchants of combs. In 1969 there was a discussion to relocate this building to the Kawasaki Minkaen (an open air museum) which led to an increase in the momentum to preserve the townscape of Narai-juku.

Business Hours: 9:00 - 17:00 (last entry at 16:30)
Closing Days: No closing days from Apr through Nov

Soba Restaurant Tokuriya

The local dishes that you can enjoy near the historical hearth or while illuminated by a naked light bulb are exceptional! The homemade soba noodles made from local flour and the unique three colored gohei mochi (rice cake) are very popular. Why don't you get the "Seasonal Homemade Soba and Gohei Mochi Set" (also includes other seasonal simmered foods) so you can try both of these dishes?

Business Hours: 11:00 - 16:00
Closing Days: Irregular closing days
Recommended menu: Homemade Soba / Gohei mochi set meal

Activities you can try include making your own chopsticks from Hinoki wood that contains a very unique aromatic fragrance, experience dressing in a traditional Japanese Kimono, and many more!

Let us know what you think about this tour. We hope that you will include this Narai-juku and Nakasendo Bus Tour in your next trip to Nagano!

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