Travel to Kiso Valley in February 2019

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CY Female Malaysia 2019/01/21

Hello, could you please advise if it would be possible to visit Kiso Valley (Tsumago, Magome, Narai) around 12-13 February (2019) using public transportation? What are the best transportation to follow from Takayama, are the buses (Nohi bus for example) running? I plan to travel from Takayama via Kiso Valley to Matsumoto ( can spend overnight where necessary, where is the best base?) and lastly in Nagano. Would Nakasendo hiking trail be open from Tsumago to Magome? Would it be too difficult to access in winter? Where can we get latest updates of the weather in Kiso Valley, for example the snow conditions, etc.? Thank you for your kind assistance.



Nagano Prefecture Tourism PR character “Arukuma” 2019/01/21

Hi CY,

It is certainly possibly to visit the Nakasendo and Kiso Valley during winter. From Takayama, you can approach the Kiso Valley either via Matsumoto or Nagoya using Nohi Bus. Your transportation would like look this:

Via Matsumoto (4 hours 6 minutes/ 7,520 yen)

  1. Take the Nohi Bus from Takayama to Matsumoto (2hr. 25min./ 3,190 yen)
  2. Take the Limited Express Shinano train from Matsumoto to Nakatsugawa (1hr. 16 min./ 3,770 yen)
  3. Take the Nakatsugawa-Magome bus from Nakatsugawa Station to Magome (25 min./ 560 yen)

Via Nagoya (3 hours 43 minutes/ 6,040 yen)

  1. Take the Nohi Bus from Takayama to Nagoya Station (2hr. 30 min./ 2,980 yen)
  2. Take the Limited Express Shinano train from Nagoya Station to Nakatsugawa Station (48 min./ 2,500 yen)
  3. Take the Nakatsugawa-Magome bus from Nakatsugawa Station to Magome (25 min./ 560 yen)

Traveling to Kiso via Nagoya is cheaper and slightly faster than going via Matsumoto; however, if you plan to end your trip in Nagoya, you may want to travel via Matsumoto instead. Note that from April to September, Nohi Bus also offers a bus line between Takayama and Magome/Tsumago.

Regarding the Nakasendo Trail between Magome and Tsumago, you can walk it any time of year, even in winter. There may be some snow and ice on the trail, so please bring boots with good grip. The main inconvenience during winter is that there is no luggage transportation service between Magome and Tsumago.

For hotels, there are a few in Tsumago, but Kiso Fukushima in the northern part of Kiso has more variety. Matsumoto is another great place to stay, but may be too far after 4 hours of travel and 3 hours walking the Nakasendo. (See or tripadvisor for hotel details.)

For weather, Yahoo Weather is a reliable source of information. So far this year, there hasn’t been much snow in Kiso but it has certainly been cold. Be sure to bring winter jackets, gloves, and plenty of layers in case you get too warm on the trail.

I hope that helps answer your question.

Let me know if I can help with anything else.


Guest 2019/01/21

Hello Blair, 

Thank you very much for your kind response, very helpful indeed. My final destination is Nagano, so before getting there, I plan to visit Kiso Valley and Matsumoto. I saw the suggested itinerary on Walking the Samurai Trail and my idea was to follow day 1 and 2.

If luggage forwarding service is not available during winter, it means I will have to go back to Nakatsugawa Station for my luggage (I suppose there is luggage locker at the station?) after I finish in Tsumago or is there any other better option? 

Would train connection work between Takayama and Nagoya in February, would it take less time than taking the bus?

Grateful for your further advice.


Nagano Prefecture Tourism PR character “Arukuma” 2019/01/22

Hi CY,

Yes, you can take a train to travel from Takayama to Nagoya instead. It takes 2 hours and 26 minutes and costs 5,510 yen. It is ever so slightly faster but costs almost twice as much.

For your luggage, you can either store it at Nakatsugawa and take the train from Nagiso to Nakatsugawa Station after your hike to pick it up, or you could speak with your hotel in Takayama about forwarding your luggage to your hotel in Kiso/Matsumoto. If you forward your luggage the night before you head to Kiso, your luggage should arrive when you get to your hotel.

I hope that helps.


Guest 2019/01/22

Hi Blair,

Very helpful, thank you so much again. 

Have a nice day,


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