Hello. We are thinking of walking from Magome to Tsumago in early January. We would stay overnight in Nagoya or Nakatsugawa (near train station if possible) and then do walk and then head off to Nagano. The other option would be a day trip from Nagoya or possibly Nagano. Is the walk in winter difficult? It it in fact possible to do a day trip from Nagano. Thankyou for your help.
Thank you for your question.
It is possible to hike between Tsumago and Magome during winter; however, there are a few things that you should be aware of during that time of year.
One, the baggage-forwarding service between Tsumago and Magome does not run during winter. If you will be traveling one-way from Nagoya/Nakatsugawa to Nagano (or vice versa), you may have to arrange for your luggage to be sent from your previous hotel to your next hotel (preferably the night beforehand).
Two, the trail will be icy, so I recommend bringing crampons and/or walking poles. Adding to that, the shady woods will likely be near 0°C, so you’ll want to bring warm clothing as well.
As for where to stay, I recommend Nakatsugawa since it’s close to Magome. Other places that you could stay include Kiso Fukushima (36 min. from Nakatsugawa by Ltd. Exp. train) or Matsumoto (75 min. from Nakatsugawa by Ltd. Exp. train).
You may also want to see Kisoji.com for some more information about the Nakasendo.
Let me know if you have any other questions!