close

Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

GIFU Nakatsugawa & Around Scenes straight out of a period drama, plus gorgeous gorges, waterfalls and lakes

Scenes straight out of a period drama, plus gorgeous gorges, waterfalls and lakes

Located in the southeastern corner of Gifu Prefecture, Nakatsugawa is home to the perfectly preserved 17th-century post town of Magome-juku, turn-of-last-century scenes at Taisho Village, and the ruins of Naegi Castle.

The area also draws many outdoor fans, here to enjoy everywhere from Mt. Ena to the ancient forests and gorge of Tsukechi-Kyo Valley to the Tokai Nature Path and Lake Nenoue, which make this great trekking territory. Campgrounds are plentiful here as well.

Don't Miss

  • Magome-juku, a post town that epitomizes 17th-century Edo Japan
  • Hiking along the dramatic gorge in Tsukechi-kyo Valley and scaling Mt. Ena
  • Taisho-mura, a glimpse into Japanese life in the 1910s and 1920s

How to Get There

JR Nakatsugawa Station is the area's main transportation hub.

Nakatsugawa is on the JR Chuo Main Line, just under an hour from Nagoya and around two hours from Gifu (change trains in Tajimi). It is within easy reach of JR Matsumoto Station in Nagano Prefecture.

From there, buses go to all major tourist locations and connect with local towns and villages.

Edo life in an old Nakasendo post town

Nakatsugawa was once a post town on the Nakasendo road from Tokyo to Kyoto. Restored Edo period (1603-1867) buildings—including warehouses, sake shops and restaurants—offer a look into Nakatsugawa's past, and the Nakasendo Historical Museum provides context.

The grounds around the ruined Naegi Castle and Ashigaoka Park (home to Ashigaoka Shrine and Nanrinji Temple) make for pleasant walks. These days Nakatsugawa is also known as a jumping-off point for exploring other attractions in the area, such as Magome-juku and Taisho-mura, hiking and skiing in the rugged Japan Alps or relaxing in one of the many onsen.

Step back centuries at Magome-juku

Another old post town on the Nakasendo, Magome-juku is the highlight of the area. From functioning water wheels to traditional soba restaurants, every aspect of Magome is presented as it would have been in the 17th century.

Connected to neighboring Tsumago-juku (yet another post town) by an 8-kilometer path that twists through stunning countryside landscapes. You could easily spend a whole day here taking in the peace and beauty of long-ago Japan.

Roaming through the Tsukechi-Kyo Valley

Tsukechi-Kyo is a deep gorge in an ancient forest offering great hiking routes and photo opportunities. Consider camping here to enjoy the valley at your own pace and experience the clear, star-strewn skies.

The forest is home to the lemon-scented Kiso cypress, a famous and much sought-after wood used in temples and shrines across Japan.

These boots were made for walking

Ena is a popular town in the area, with two interesting museums: the Hiroshige Museum of Art, offering woodblock prints from the master and others, and the Hishiya Museum, the restored house of a village headman.

The mountains around Ena are another attraction. The Tokai Nature Path leads south through beautiful scenery, including Mt. Ena. The hike up the steep 600-meter trail to the summit is no casual stroll, but the panoramic views from the top are worth the effort.

Taisho-mura takes you back a century

Rolling down the scenic Akechi Railroad from Ena, you can open the windows to shoot the scenes outside. The train brings you to Taisho-mura, a village whose buildings date from the Taisho period (1912-1926). The roads leading away from the station are lined with structures from the era.

You can learn more about them at Nihon Taisho Mura, a modern museum that re-creates the life of the town in the early 20th century and its then-thriving sericulture industry. You can rent a kimono tailored in the style of the time.

Near Nihon Taisho Mura is Old Miyake House, a thatched wooden Japanese farmhouse and garden that dates to 1688.