Tsumago (Nakasendo)

Remote feudal-era village where time stands still

Tsumago is a remote village located on the old Nakasendo merchant trail in the Kiso Valley, bordering with Gifu Prefecture. This tiny town remains one of japan‘s most untouched villages, offering visitors a glimpse into Japan’s feudal past and the beautiful Kiso Valley.

The village of Tsumago is situated in the Nagano Prefecture, surrounded by stunning natural landscapes and traditional Japanese architecture. It is a place where time seems to stand still, with its well-preserved buildings and streets that have remained unchanged for centuries. Tsumago is often referred to as a “living museum” due to its historical significance and the efforts made by the local community to preserve its traditional charm.

One of the highlights of visiting Tsumago is the hike between Tsumago and its neighboring village, Magome. This scenic hike takes you through the picturesque countryside, offering breathtaking views of the Kiso Valley. The trail is well-maintained and takes approximately three hours to complete, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the area.

In addition to the hike, there are several other attractions in Tsumago that are worth exploring. One of these is the Rekishi Shiryokan, a historical museum that provides visitors with a deeper understanding of the town’s history and the Kiso Valley. The museum features exhibits with good English signage, making it accessible to international visitors.

Another must-see attraction in Tsumago is the area’s ancient waterfalls. Otake and Medaki, also known as the “Men’s Falls” and “Women’s Falls,” are located just outside of the village. These picturesque waterfalls were once used as separate bathing areas in ancient times and provide a peaceful and serene atmosphere for visitors to enjoy.

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Tsumago is also known for its well-preserved old townscape, with its narrow streets lined with traditional wooden houses and shops. The town’s main street is closed to cars during the day, allowing visitors to explore the area on foot and truly experience the atmosphere of a bygone era. The town’s power lines are also hidden to maintain its old-worldly charm and preserve the historical feel of the village.

To reach Tsumago, the easiest way is to take a train to Nagiso Station, which is well-connected to neighboring and major city centers. From Nagiso Station, Tsumago is a short 10-minute bus ride away. Although the bus service is infrequent, taxis are also available for those who prefer a more convenient mode of transportation. Another option is to hike in from the neighboring village of Magome, which marks the southern entrance to the Nakasendo.

It is important to note that cars are not permitted on the town’s main road during the day, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the historical atmosphere of the village. This restriction adds to the charm of Tsumago, creating a peaceful and tranquil environment for visitors to explore.

Tsumago is considered one of the best-preserved towns in Japan, and its efforts to preserve its historical heritage have been recognized by both locals and international visitors. The town’s dedication to maintaining its traditional charm and preserving its cultural heritage is evident in every corner, making it a truly unique and unforgettable destination.

For those who wish to fully experience the atmosphere of Tsumago, it is recommended to spend a weekend or a night at one of the local inns. This allows visitors to witness the village’s transformation once the crowds have cleared out and to truly appreciate the old-worldly charm of the town. Strolling among the old buildings with their glowing lanterns, visitors can’t help but feel as though they have stepped back in time.

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In conclusion, Tsumago is a remote feudal-era village that offers visitors a unique glimpse into Japan’s past. With its well-preserved buildings, ancient waterfalls, and scenic hiking trails, Tsumago provides a truly authentic experience of Japan’s historical and cultural heritage. Whether you are interested in history, nature, or simply want to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life, Tsumago is a destination that should not be missed. So, take a step back in time and explore the enchanting village of Tsumago.

Address And Maps Location:

Kiso-gun, Nagano-ken

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