In ancient times, there were two roads connecting Kyoto to Edo (modern day Tokyo), one being the Nakasendo. Over time, and with modern development, a lot of the original Nakasendo has been lost, but there are still portions of it intact, the most notable of which is between Tsumago and Magome. Visiting these towns and the trail between them will take you to a world miles apart from modern Japan. The 8km hike through the mountain trail, from Tsumago to Magome, is well worth the effort. At a leisurely pace, the trek should only take 2 to 3 hours. In Magome you can wander the perfectly preserved Edo period streets with vendors selling local foods and crafts, while enjoying in breath-taking views of the Kiso Valley.
Tsumago is widely regarded as one of the best preserved postal towns in all of Japan, and the locals go to great lengths to keep the Edo period atmosphere. Part of this preservation effort includes maintaining the old postal town’s honjin, the principal inn of high status travellers, and the wakihonjin, the additional lodging set aside for travellers of lesser status.