Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
  • Hokkaido
Sub-zero temperatures and the greatest of outdoor environments, complemented by sizzling soul food and warm-hearted welcomes. 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
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Sleek apple-red and electric-green shinkansen whisk you up to a haven of fresh powder snow, fresh fruit and fearsome folk legends Fearsome festivals, fresh powder and vast fruit orchards—the rugged northern territory of Tohoku offers a fresh perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
Mountains and sea meet in one of Japan's wildest regions, and the result is sheer beauty. Once largely inaccessible, Hokuriku is now reachable by shinkansen from Tokyo in a matter of hours An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Characterized by the constant buzz of the world's most populous metropolitan area, the Kanto region is surprisingly green with an array of escapes that include mountainous getaways and subtropical islands Experience diversity at its fullest, from the neon of Tokyo to the ski slopes of Gunma, exotic wildlife of the Ogasawara Islands and cultural heritage of Kamakura
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Served by the shinkansen line that connects Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the Tokai region provides plenty of interesting diversions and easy excursions Tokai means "eastern sea," and this region stretches east from Tokyo to Kyoto and includes blockbuster attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
From raucous nights out to outdoor thrills to peaceful reverie, trying to categorize the Kansai region is a futile task The Kansai region is one of extreme contrasts—the neon lights of Osaka and glittering Kobe nightscape, the peaceful realms of Shiga, Wakayama and Nara, and the cultured refinement of Kyoto
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Less-traveled and delightfully inaccessible at times, the Chugoku region is a reminder that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination Welcome to Japan's warm and friendly western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Providing the stage for literary classics, fevered dancing and natural wonders Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
Easily reached by land, sea and air, the dynamic Kyushu prefectures are bubbling with energy, culture and activity The southern island of Kyushu is home to volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky, succulent seafood, steaming hot springs and the country's hottest entrepreneurial town
  • Okinawa
Ruins and recreated castles of the Ryukyu kings nestle amid magnificent beaches in Okinawa, a diver's paradise teeming with an amazing array of coral and undersea life 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


Magome-juku 馬籠宿

No need to imagine 17th-century Japan—come to Magome-juku and see it

Magome-juku and its neighbor, Tsumago-juku, were once shuku-machi, important post towns in Gifu Prefecture on the ancient Nakasendo road from Tokyo to Kyoto. Today, both towns are perfectly preserved "open-air museums" connected by an eight-kilometer stretch of the original path.

Don't Miss

  • Exploring the cobbled streets of Magome-juku
  • A museum dedicated to local novelist Toson Shimazaki
  • Overlooking the Nakasendo from the top of the hill as you leave

How to Get There

Access to Magome-juku is most convenient from JR Nagoya Station.

From Nagoya take the Shinano Express on the JR Chuo Mainline to JR Nakatsugawa. From there, a regular bus goes to Magome-juku, which in turn is connected to Tsumago-juku by bus.

Alternatively, you can take a regular train at JR Nakatsugawa that goes to JR Nagiso Station. Buses at JR Nagiso go to both Tsumago and Magome.

For the adventurous, the walk between Magome-juku and Tsumago-juku is between 2 and 2.5 hours.

Best-kept secret

The Nakasendo was the northern, mountain road between Tokyo and Kyoto (as opposed to the Tokaido, the southern coastal road and route of the Tokyo—Kyoto shinkansen). There were 69 post towns which served as overnight stopping points for travelers, providing lodging, food, and entertainment.

Once ignored by guidebooks and considered too far off the beaten track, Magome-juku was number 43 on the route. It has been perfectly recreated as an authentic Edo period (1603-1867) town to give visitors a glimpse into pre-modern Japan.

A photographer’s paradise

A bus from JR Nakatsugawa Station drops you at the beginning of the cobbled road that winds uphill through the town. From seasonal flowers through street-side waterways to enormous working waterwheels, photo opportunities abound.

Local crafts and culture

Plenty of shops sell local products from ceramics to sake as well as a number of cafes and noodle shops. Across from the Tourist Information office, a museum dedicated to local novelist Toson Shimazaki lends a personal dimension to town history, though English signage is very limited. Some of his books are available in translation if you’re looking for some local color.

Past and present merge

Magome-juku is still a living, functioning town. Each house is a real residence and that gives the area and atmosphere an unforced authenticity and helps evoke it's lively 400 year history.

It also means you need to be aware when exploring and photographing that private residences aren’t exhibits. Signs clearly marking which buildings are open to the public and which are private dot the walls.

Be our guest

There is a guesthouse midway between Nagatsugawa and Magome-juku, so if you are on a more relaxed schedule, it is really a treat to see the town devoid of visitors as the sun sets and rises behind the dramatic peaks.

The best place from which to observe the area is the viewpoint at the top of the hill as you leave town. From here, the Nakasendo twists through forests and rice fields, passing powerful waterfalls, beautifully preserved farmhouses and waterwheels.