Magome juku(馬籠宿) and Tsumago juku(妻籠宿), Nagano Prefecture

Magome Juku and Tsugome Juku are the two famous Edo period post towns along the Nagasendo route. In the Edo period Tokugawa Ieyasu, the Shogun relocated Japan’ s capital from Kyoto to Tokyo. He built five roads connecting the two capital cities for trade and transportation. Among them, the longest path lies along the Kiso valley which was named as Nagasendo. Recently these roads are not often used for transportation, but people used to visit here to experience the Japanese Edo period. Along the road, we can find rows of houses and shops.

69 post towns are built along this route for the travelers. These are the resting areas for the travelers who walked all the way between Kyoto and Tokyo. Tsumago Juku and Magome Juku are the 42nd and 43rd among the post towns of this route. Both are situated in Nagano prefecture. Another famous post town is the Narai which is also located in Nagano. These three are well preserved to provide the visitors a nice experience of the glorious past of Japan.

Waterwheels of rice mill

Restaurants, shops, and many inns are located in these post towns. Now also, there are many inns of traditional Japanese style(Ryokan), especially in Tsumago Juku. These places are a must visit for those who are interested in the Japanese history.  There is walking trail between these two stations which are 8 kilometers apart. It takes 3 to 4 hours by foot. Tsumago is a somewhat plain area, while Magome has steeper trails with stone pavements going between the Edo period buildings.

Walking from the Tsugome to Magome is a bit hard with uphills, so for ease of walking the opposite direction will be better. At Magome, we can find an ancient rice mill with beautiful waterwheels, a museum of Toson Shimasaki(Japanese Novelist), shops selling locally made items like snacks, Sake etc. Near Magome, you will come across a signpost with the height of the Mt. Ena inscribed on it. From there, you can enjoy the surrounding mountains and valleys. The entire travel will take you to the glorious past of Japan. Along the way going through valleys and woods, we can enjoy the beautiful scenery created by the mountain ranges, Kiso river, and the surrounding valleys.

 

Mt. Ena sign post

Alternatively, you can travel by car or bus. There are buses between Tsumago and Magome as per the timetable.