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Introducing Tsumago & Magome

In Gifu-ken, pretty Magome is the furthest south of the Kiso Valley post towns. Its buildings line a steep, cobblestone pedestrian road which is unfriendly to heavy wheelie suitcases, but whose rustic shopfronts and mountain views will keep your finger on the shutter.

From Magome, the 7.8km hike to Tsumago follows a steep, largely paved road until it reaches its peak at the top of Magome-tōge (pass) – elevation 801m. After the pass, the trail meanders by waterfalls, forest and farmland. The route is easiest in this direction, from Magome (elevation 600m) to Tsumago (elevation 420m). The route is clearly signposted in English; allow 3-6 hours to enjoy it.

If fitness or a disability might prevent you from appreciating this amazing walk, there is an easier way. The Magome-Tsumago bus (¥600, 30 minutes, 2-3 daily in each direction) also stops at Magome-tōge. If you alight and begin the walk here, it's a picturesque 5.2km downhill run through to Tsumago.

If you do the hike, both towns offer a handy baggage forwarding service from either Tourist Office to the other. Deposit your bags between 8.30am and 11.30am, for delivery by 1pm.