One comes to Tsumago to visit the ancient villages. That’s certainly why we were there. As mentioned in my Takayama post, you can totally visit Tsumago from Takayama, but we decided to just make Tsumago one of our stays.
Stay at Hotel Hanasara – due to the ‘rona, we didn’t use their hot spring, but heard good things. They also had a shuttle to and from Magome. This came in handy when returning from our hike through the villages.
The hotel is like a wellness hotel. There are beautiful walking paths all around. Even with some rainy weather, we took one of our days here to simply explore the grounds, cherry blossoms and river which backed up to the hotel.
So, how does one see the ancient villages? One option is to hike through them. Which is 100% what we suggest doing.
11km hike from Nagiso to Tsumago to Magome
We took the train to Nagiso, and then hiked 11km through Tsumago and ended in Magome. It rained, but was still an awesome experience. Truly once-in-a-lifetime due to the lack of tourists.
I will say that this was one of the locations we missed seeing people. The Instagram photos I’d seen of these villages were bustling with people. For us, very few shops were open – which made sense, of course. But I did happen to buy a red umbrella. It served in both functionality and photo opportunities.
The hike is moderate. Sure, you’ll get your heart rate up at times, but I did it in rain booties no problem. It’s more-so the length that I think will get people more than the elevation.
Between Nagiso and Magome, you come to a large opening where you can oversee the road, surrounding mountains and towns. Here, you can catch a bus, or hike down through to Magome.
We continued down the path to Magome. On the day we arrived in Tsumago, we stopped at a brilliant little coffee shop in the village. So we wanted to end our hike here, and then catch the shuttle back to our hotel. Which is precisely what we did.
Tsumago was everything we’d hoped it would be and more. There was the awesomeness of having it *nearly* to ourselves; but also the awareness that we were missing out on the shops, tea houses, and magic that come with tourism. That is HIGHLY ironic for me to be saying. But it was true.
We can’t suggest restaurants or shops along the hike because well, most weren’t open. But I will say to GO, and enjoy the stroll through these villages.
If you want to explore Tsumago then pin this post for later!
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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