It’s traditional to hike the Kiso-ji from Magome to Tsumago in order to experience the supposedly tough initial climb up into the mountains – though it’s actually not that difficult. Although the 7.7km route is frequently signposted in English, it’s a good idea to pick up a map from one of the tourist information offices before you start.
There’s a baggage-forwarding service (weekends and national holidays late March–July & Sept–Nov; daily late July to late Aug; ¥500 per piece) to and from the tourist information offices in both Tsumago and Magome. Get your bag to the offices before 11.30am and they will be delivered at the other end by 5pm.
If you choose to walk in the opposite direction, start at Nagiso Station on the Chūō line, from where Tsumago is less than an hour south through picturesque fields and small villages. Set aside a day to explore both post towns and to complete the hike. You’ll enjoy the experience all the more if you stay in either Tsumago or Magome overnight.