29 independent reviews for Japan self guided walking holiday, Nakasendo Trail

Reviews for Japan self guided walking holiday, Nakasendo Trail

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review 27 Nov 2023

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Wonderful hosts (Shin san & spouse) in chikatsuyu) & hotels who fed us excellent traditional Japanese meals. And the onsens are simply invigorating after long tiring hikes.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Travel light. Many places outside cities only accept cash payment. Be prepared

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes certainly supported the local economy where tourists are in rural areas.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


review 25 Oct 2023

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Staying at the small guest houses along the route.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Do it! it was all great.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Certainly benefited the local people. We loved staying at the small inns and guest homes rather than large corporate hotels . We bought small snacks and souvenirs from local merchants. It was great to do the hiking that exposed us to the local flora and fauna. Such a beautiful trail! Train and bus travel was convenient and very easy.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Incredible. We had high expectations going into the trip but the combination of beautiful countryside, friendly people and great hospitality was so much better than what we expected. I highly recommend it

review 3 Oct 2023

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The days walks were really beautiful and easy to follow. Staying in traditional Ryokans was a great experience with delicious local food, onsen, robes and socks/ slippers provided.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Note that public transport was required at the start and end of each days walk. The walking times given were on the brisker side. There is time to explore the town of Magome at the start of your hike - make sure you dont miss it. There were some steep hills to climb up and down each day but it was very doable.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, we stayed in local traditional Inns and ate traditional food. We caught public transport to get us to and from the days walk.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fantastic experience that immersed us in traditional Japanese culture. A great way to explore a region, history and culture.

review 25 Sep 2023

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

We had beautiful weather and that combined with walking along an ancient mountain trail through villages and forests made it a most memorable holiday.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Travel light and ensure you have the basic fitness needed for a walking holiday and practice your Japanese - even if only to say Konichi Wa.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We stayed in lovely ryokans, slept on tatami mats, bathed in hot springs and ate delicicious Japanese food. We walked every day - close to nature - and enjoying the exercise of mountain walks.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

What we wanted and what we expected - we would do it again

review 11 Aug 2023

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The huge dinners and breakfasts, tea houses, bells, old trees and the stone shrines

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Avoid august heat

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Tourism, efficient buses and the local raw materials used were clearly a winning formula

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

V good. Probably the food and accommodation were most enjoyable especially after a long trek.

review 23 Apr 2023

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Climbing Mount Misen Kayaking at Tonomora Cycling the kaido and staying in Setoda

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If you cycle and aren't experienced get ebike or you will struggle and have sore bottom

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Currently the whole Inland Sea area needs tourists

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Pretty good

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Mark, Thank you so much for your feedback about our tour and we are very pleased you enjoyed Mt. Misen, the kayaking at Tomonoura, cycling the Shimanami Kaido, and staying on the island. The Inland Sea offers so many wonderful beautiful places and exciting experiences and we are pleased you enjoyed this lesser-visited area of Japan! We are pleased to use local accommodations to help keep more of your travel yen in the area. Thank you once again for your feedback!

review 23 Nov 2019

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Hiking on the Nakasendo Trail in November through hills in fall color.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Start early, so that you can spend time in the village Tsumago on the first day. The time estimates for the hikes were very accurate.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Two of the rural villages we passed through depend on tourists to eat, drink, and stay overnight, as we did. those towns have made efforts to preserve themselves much as they were 150 years ago. Our expenditures benefitted the local community.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

The hiking was varied and always interesting. The hills were spectacular with fall color. The operator provided us with all the support we needed. Overall, an excellent three days.

review 20 Nov 2019

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Nakasendo trail

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Nice to get out of the cities

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Perfect

review 3 Jun 2019

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Perfect holiday for everyone on the trip. The arrangements were perfect and easy to follow. The most memorable parts were walking through O'Tsumago and Narai.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared to sleep on futons on the floor and to sit on the floor to eat meals.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, I believe our business helped the local economy.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent

review 28 Apr 2019

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The incredible walks everyday followed by staying at ryokans!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

We lucked our being in Kyoto and on the trail during cherry blossom season! Beautiful. Travel light on trail. Worked perfectly transferring a bag from Kyoto to Tokyo.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, a little.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was a trip of a lifetime! We had a wonderful experience.

review 14 Dec 2019

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The shrines. And accommodation

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Check out the price at the accommodation before you book

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. Very. Much. Every body was so helpful and polite

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very expensive. But we enjoyed the whole experience

review 25 Oct 2019

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The walking on the second and third days was quite wonderful, as were the stays in small inns along the way.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be ready for prolonged climbs on fairly steep gradients!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Some benefit to locals because goods and services were purchased along the way.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very good!

review 17 Apr 2019

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

I will always remember the people who treated us well on the trail. From our fellow travelers who also took the self-guided walk to the Japanese innkeepers who treated us like guests rather than clients, these will be treasured memories.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Make sure to review the itinerary before you confirm it, and ask for specific dates apart from the days of the tour. There is no rebooking miscommunicated dates without a giant fee!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I wish there was less use of plastics in the inns but I understand that it is expected by the guests for hygiene reasons. I am glad though that the trek brings cultural awareness and much-needed income to remote villages.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

This is an experience we will never forget. Were already talking about doing a similar holiday in the near future!

review 22 Oct 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Our daily interactions with the Japanese people.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

No specific tips.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Wed like to think it benefited local people, particularly the families who operated the Ryokans and Minchukus. It is difficult to assess the environmental impact.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

We loved everything about Japan. The only negative observation was noting the overpackaging of goods, particularly with plastics. We think the Japanese people are beginning to realise the importance of tackling this problem.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Sheila and Salim - thank you for taking the time to review our tour. We are delighted that you enjoyed your time with us and hope that we might have the pleasure of welcoming you on another of our trips in the future. We agree that Japanese attitudes to packaging represent a fascinating aspect of the culture, but can also be a challenge in environmental terms - we hope the two issues can be reconciled in future. Jeremy Spencer

review 28 Oct 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The first three hiking days were amazing.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Pack light. You don't need to bring much. Don't bother having your bags transported to one of the villages on the hike.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Certainly, it helped the Ryokans we stayed in. I don't know how it would benefit other local people or conservation.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very good. The main thing I would change is the 4th day. We had to wait around Narai in the morning. There were no stores open and no cafes open. We were just waiting so we could time the walk to Kiso Hirasawa to catch the 11:00 train. We couldn't buy snacks in Narai as nothing was open early. The walk only took 30 minutes and then we had to wait around Kiso Hirasawa for the train, and there were no cafes or stores to buy food there either. So, we killed the whole morning for a 30 minute walk and then took the train back through Narai.

review 26 Oct 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Experiencing a completely different culture.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Travel light. Go with an open mind.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We felt staying in local inns helped the local communities.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Exceptional.

review 10 Aug 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The walks through the ancient forests of Japan were above expectation, but the highlight I think was staying in the Ryokan - the charm and character of the inns and our hosts and the total immersion into a traditional Japanese experience with their tatami rooms, onsen baths and local cuisine.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

The Nakasendo trail and their post towns date from the Shogun period of Japanese history and a little homework before travelling provide context and help fire the imagination. We also used the cheap and efficient Takkyubin service to forward our baggage from Kyoto to Tokyo allowing us to travel as lightly as possible on the trail.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The hiking was along traditional paths staying in inns that have existed for often hundreds of years, using public trains and buses for connecting travel. As such it was both off the beaten track and low impact, and gave us the opportunity to engage with the communities we passed through.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Above expectation. We were seeking independent travel with the benefit of local experience and organisation. Responsible Travel and the wonderful local partner provided this. The personalised itinerary, choice and reservation of local accommodation and travel booking were delivered flawlessly, with regular contact before the vacation to inform, advise and prepare us. Thanks you for a exceptional holiday!

review 24 May 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The holiday was everything that I hoped for and much more right from the start. Excellent accommodation, well informed and helpful tour guide, good range of places of interest from Tokyo to small mountain villages. Would recommend this holiday without reservation

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Do your homework on getting from the airport to the hotel. Only take a direct flight. Give yourself plenty of time coming home as Narita airport is a long way out from Tokyo, go for an afternoon flight

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We used a large number of different forms of public transport over the 2 weeks and had a positive impact on the local economy

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent, looking forward to traveling with you again

review 2 May 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

We loved the beautiful walks and meeting the super kind inn keepers. A highlight was the tea house on the way to Tsumago, in the rain.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Japan is fabulous. The people are helpful. Don't be scared. Just go!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Awesome!

review 28 Aug 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

All the walking was memorable and parts (like seeing a bear and encountering leeches) were exciting. The food was exciting too!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

To do it.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


review 24 Apr 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

We loved the whole thing - staying in the traditional inns, the self-guided hiking, the beautiful scenery, the hot spring bathing areas and, of course, the food.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

This trip was well organised enough for you to feel like you have your independence and at the same time, all the logistics are organised for you. The maps and trail directions are really clear and easy to follow. The inns we stayed in were of really high quality, the people were friendly and the transportation was easy to figure out. The hike meanders through forests, bamboo groves, and through villages and hamlets, so there is a wonderful glimpse of old Japan to see.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

It benefited local people and the villages we passed through.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I thought it was brilliant. Lovely to get away from the masses of people in Tokyo, Kyoto and Kamkura. Very well organised, excellent hospitality, lovely trails through the forests and valley.

review 30 Mar 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The trail was remote, stunning, quiet and interesting. The ryokans were spotless and the food fresh and continuing perfect.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Check train times and organise walking to ensure arrival to meet time. Check food availability on route carefully.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I'm sure we supported the local villages. The upkeep of the heritage ryokans and villages is aprreciated and accurate.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Perfect

review 7 May 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Good walking. Countryside/scenery. Cherry blossom. Japanese Inns (Ryokan).

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Accomodation for 2 of the 3 nights is quite basic.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. We used public transport throughout Japan.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Overpriced. After allowing for the train fares, the price works out as 500 per night (for 2 people). Given that the accomodation for 2 of the 3 nights was very basic, this seems very poor value for money.

review 22 Sep 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Hiking the Nakasendo trail, seeing smaller towns, and staying at the ryokan in Kiso-Fukushima were extraordinary.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Do it! But, don't carry a heavy pack; the trail can be challenging. Use the luggage courier services and train station lockers when possible.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Low impact is encouraged in many ways. The trail preserves history and culture. Its use respects that history and provides some economic benefits to trail towns.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Superior!

review 17 May 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Being immersed in the history surrounding the Tokugawa Shogunate period whilst enjoying the culture and hospitality of modern Japan in this beautiful mountain region.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Whilst the journey is a delightful walk, stop and enjoy the culture along the way. There are several museums in each town which will give you the historical exposure. Also, make sure you schedule the time to visit Matsumoto Castle. There are often locals whom provide a free tour escort service such that they can practice their language skills (other than Japanese) and you get a thorough understanding of the history.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Absolutely! In the towns of Magome, Tsumago and Narai through which the Nakasendo trail passes, the locals made the commitment some decades ago to preserve the history of this wonderful region. The visits by we tourists support their decision to conserve and maintain the past and enables them to continue for the benefit of future generations. We stayed in family inns which had been so for over 200 years with the sixth and seventh generation now looking after you. Furthermore, on this holiday you use, entirely, your own legs or local public transport.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent

review 16 Apr 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Walking the remote sections of Trail.Tour of Nara

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Trip requires good level of fitness both on the trail and city tours.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Post town shopping assisted local merchants and restaurants.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


review 29 Sep 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Walking the Nakasendo Trail and staying in the traditional Ryokans.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Do not worry if you do not want to undertake the walks you can find alternatives to do during the day. We met one older American couple who decided not to walk at all but simply explored the villages. We managed the walks with rucksacks even at our age. 66 and 71. Just take it slowly and pace yourself. Walking in the high temperature was not too much of a problem because most of the route is through the forests. We only gave up on the last walk when we reached the top of the pass due to the heavy rain. This also meant that the local cafes were closed and the local bus did not run.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, we gave employment to local people and transport. Our only comment would be that we hoped the leftovers to our delicious meals would not be wasted but put to good use.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

A great experience. We felt we had a very good introduction and understanding of Japan. We liked the combination of historic city, modern capital contrasting with rural Japan. Very well organized.

review 1 Sep 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Experiencing the sincere and warm hospitality of Japanese Riokans and trekking by the wild forests of this uneven populated country.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Summer weather conditions are tough. If possible better go during autumn or spring months.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Local providers were clearly benefited and, the use of public transport reduced environmental impact.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Great, the organisation was very good, the cultural inmersion was inspiring and the landscape was surprising.

review 8 Jun 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Walking through remote woods and forests on the Nakasendo trail and coming across ancient shrines and stonework commemorating centuries old samurai battles.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take your time on the walks - it's an easy schedule.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes - used local inns and restaurants. Low footprint when on the trail...

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent - thank you.

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