A historic walk halfway between a stroll and hike!

Article by Sylvain Danjaume

The ancient lords of Japan made a pilgrimage to Tokyo once every two years, as part of their feudal duties. Long foot hikes therefore awaited the Matsumoto Castle’s lords who also braved the Zenkoji Road, an extension of the famous Nakasendo Road on regular spiritual journeys to the Buddhist temple in Nagano City. During each of these trips, the lords stayed in luxurious hotels such as the Satoyama Villa Honjin, which offered a rural retreat with premium service!

 

Towards the edge of Matsumoto City

The tour begins at Matsumoto Castle in front of the main gate which was once an access way to the seat of feudal power. It is from this historic place that your walking in the footsteps of castle lords will commence.

As you walk through Matsumoto City, you will discover the ancient areas of the city with its merchant and samurai districts. Your tour continues to the very edges of the old city until you find yourself in modern-day Matsumoto.

 

A hike through Kariyahara Pass towards Shiga-mura

As you approach Kariyahara Pass, you may explore the Okada district where many relics of a feudal past can still be found to this day. Here is where you will discover the ancient intersection between Tokyo (formerly Edo), Matsumoto and Nagano (Zenkoji Temple). This also happens to be the location of the very first toll road in Japan!

A short hike through Kariyahara pass will evoke the atmosphere of ancient times with its pathways preserved in the same rustic condition of yesteryear. The original path was almost impossible for horses to traverse. It is for this reason that a modern toll road was later constructed suitable for horses. On this short hike you may even discover along the way the Dosojin, the guardians of Nagano Prefecture!

 

The Satoyama Villa Honjin: at the forefront of hospitality for generations

After passage through Shiga-mura, you will stop at the Satoyama Villa Honjin with its historic building that used to be an exclusive inn for Matsumoto Castle lords needing a rest stop on their regular journeys to Tokyo during the Edo period.

The building is a historical marvel, and its authentic architecture will take you on a genuine journey back in time! It is in this profound Japanese atmosphere that you can enjoy a classic Japanese lunch: the Bento. A real delight in the pure tradition of Japanese flavors!

Image is an example only. Actual menu may differ based on the season.

 

Discover this historic walk at your own pace

 

  • Option 1: Walking tour in the footsteps of the samurai

About 16km of walking including about 4km of hiking through Kariyahara pass. The tour begins at Matsumoto Castle and ends at the Satoyama Villa Honjin.

 

  • Option 2: Historical hike

Bus ride from Matsumoto Station to Kariyahara Pass. About 4km hike through the pass then a bus ride from the pass to the Satoyama Villa Honjin.

 

  • Option 3: Matsumoto Castle Tour

Bus ride from Matsumoto Station to Matsumoto Castle. Explore this historic castle on foot then take a bus ride from the castle to the Satoyama Villa Honjin.

 

  • Option 4: Stay at the Satoyama Villa Honjin

Enjoy an evening back in time and feel the feudal spirit that still animates the walls of this old historic residence.

 

 

Additional Information

 

Meeting Location:

  • Option 1

Your tour will begin at Matsumoto Castle. Your guide will pick you up at 7:30am.

  • Option 2, 3 & 4

Your tour will begin at Matsumoto Station. Your guide will pick you up at 9:00am.

Allergies: Please let us know if you have any food allergies or other restrictions.

Covid-19 Preventive Measures: Nagano Prefectural Government's measures Video

Important information:

  • Option 1: Please note that the walking distance will be around 16km. The walk itself is easy, but requires a section of hiking (1 hour uphill - 1 hour down). Because of this, please be sure to wear appropriate walking shoes and warm clothes. As a reminder, the entire tour involves a total walking distance of 16km. Please make sure to be well prepared.
  • Option 2: This tour includes a section of hiking (1 hour uphill - 1 hour down). Because of this, please be sure to wear appropriate walking shoes and warm clothes.
  • Option 3: Please note that the stairs to reach the top of Matsumoto Castle’s tower are steep and narrow.
  • Option 2, 3 & 4: Please visit the Satoyama Villa Honjin website

Cancellation Policy:

  • Option 1: To receive a full refund, please cancel up to 24 hours before the experience start date in the local time zone. No refunds will be given after that time period.
  • Option 2, 3 & 4: Please visit the Satoyama Villa Honjin website

Terms & Conditions:

 

Booking Option

 

OPTION 1

Please complete the form below

OPTION 2, OPTION 3 & OPTION 4

Please visit the Satoyama Villa Honjin website

Booking

Booking Deadline: Please book at least 5 days before event --- OPTION 1: The booking form below is only available for option 1 --- OPTION 2, OPTION 3 & OPTION 4: Please visit the Satoyama Villa Honjin website (see above link)

* Submitting this form does not complete the booking. We will contact you by email once the booking is confirmed and complete.

Please use English or Japanese.

* Required

Number of People *Please provide children's ages below.