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The Phantom Nakasendo

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > The Phantom Nakasendo


Cycle from the Kiso Valley to the Ina Valley on a long-forgotten ancient mountain road

Nagano Ina Valley Tourism Bureau


If you are interested in Japanese history, you may well have heard of the Nakasendo, an old mountain road that connected Kyoto and Tokyo during the Edo period (1603-1868). In recent times, the Nakasendo section of the Kiso Valley has become one of Japan’s top walking tourism destinations. 

Between the Kiso Valley and the Ina Valley is a lesser-known part of the ancient route, known as the “Phantom Nakasendo.” A road steeped in history but unknown to most, it travels over the Ushikubi Pass, from northern Kiso to the post town of Ono in the Ina Valley. At the beginning of the Edo period, this was the official designated route of the Nakasendo, but only 15 years later, for various reasons, it was discontinued.



Ina Valley local and round-the-world cyclist Ryohei Oguchi offers cycling tours of the “Phantom Nakasendo”, bringing deep secrets of the old road back to life. In one day, you will see two very different, yet inextricably intertwined valleys: the Kiso Valley, deep, dark, historical, and mysterious, and the Ina Valley, wide, bright, and fertile, with alpine views on either side. 



Cycle your way through hinoki cypress forests, historical milestone markers, tiny villages, and ancient post towns, and fully experience Japan’s rural landscape. The tour also includes a 40 minutes trek and a lunch made with local ingredients. Take a trip on the “Phantom Nakasendo” to truly travel the unbeaten track!



How to get there


From Nagoya Station, take the limited express train to Kiso-Fukushima Station (1.5 hours), then the JR Chuo Main Line to Narai Sation (20 minutes). The meeting point is at Narai Kiso no Ohashi Michi no Eki, 3 minutes walk from Narai Station.


Narai Kiso no Ohashi Michi no Eki
1346-3 Narai, Shiojiri-shi, Nagano-ken



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