Tours & Activities
【4 days, 3 nights】A Wild Adventure into the Ina Valley: Cycling, History and Traditional Crafts
Cycle From the Kiso Valley to the Ina Valley on the “Phantom” Nakasendo, Then Bask in the Beauty of the Ina Valley, a Land Surrounded by Alpine Mountains
The Nakasendo has become internationally famous, but very few people today know the original route. You can join this exclusive club by taking part in a cycling tour of the “Phantom” Nakasendo. Starting Narai Juku of the Kiso Valley, you will emerge to the Alpine views of the Ina Valley. This is just day one. What follows from day two is an intimate, active, historical, and cultural whirlwind tour of the Ina Valley with cycling, castle ruins, and endangered traditional crafts. Selected by local experts of the region, this is a unique journey that allows you to see a side of Japan that others can’t but wish they could. You will go deep into the countryside, see historical paths lost to time, meet local craftsmen who strive to protect their trade and learn fascinating history from the age of samurai.
Day 1: Cycle from the Narai Juku in the Kiso Valley to Tatsuno in the Ina Valley on the original route of the Nakasendo, known today as the “Phantom Nakasendo”.

Day 2: Cycle and hike around the beautiful landscapes of the Ina Valley. Rice fields, waterfalls and panoramic views make this a day to remember.

Day 3: Visit the ruins of Takato Castle. Learn about how the geology of the area shaped its history, discover the famous local stonemasonry and the lifestyles of the local samurai.

Day 4: Meet a local and experience a new skill with Yuji Sakai, the master craftsman who makes Japan’s sumo rings. He is a foremost master of wara-zaiku, an endangered craft making items out of rice straw.
Guests can expect a fascinating insight into the people, culture, history, and unique environment of the Ina Valley. So deeply surrounded by enormous mountains, this area of Japan has always been somewhat isolated from the rest of Japan and has developed a distinct, beautiful culture to match its beautiful alpine views.
► Some cycling and trail experience is necessary.

► Wara-zaiku (straw craft) requires dexterity, but your teacher and guide will help you all the way.
► Both day 1 and day 2 are long cycling days that feature climbs and descents. Day two includes about an hour of off-road riding and two short treks, which will take about 90 minutes and 60 minutes respectively. Participants will need a good level of fitness and endurance.
DAY 1: An e-Bike Tour of the "Phantom Nakasendo" from the Kiso Valley to the Ina Valley
9:00 - Meet at the Roadside Station in Narai (Narai Michi-no-Eki Kiso-no-Ohashi)

9:00-9:15 – Receive a briefing and start cycling

9:15-11:00 - Narai-juku ⇢ Ushikubi Pass

11:00-11:45 - Lunch (soup set, full of local ingredients)

11:45-12:15 - Ushikubi Pass ⇢ Ono Juku

12:15-13:45 - Look around Ono Juku

13:45-15:00 - Ono Juku ⇢ Sangun no Tsuji ⇢ Ono Juku ⇢ Misawa Milestone

15:00-15:10 - Break

15:10-16:30 - Misawa Milestone ⇢ Enrei-Ojo Parkline

16:30-16:40 - Break

16:40-17:00 – Enrei-Ojo Parkline ⇢ Kayabuki no Yakata

17:00 - Check in at Kayabuki no Yakata

18:30 - Dinner (Japanese style)
DAY 2: Off the Beaten Track e-Bike and Trekking Tour of Tatsuno & Kawashima
7:30 – Breakfast and check out

9:00-9:15 - Briefing at Kayabuki no Yakata, start cycling

9:15-9:45 - (cycling) Kayabuki no Yakata ⇢ Jaishi Camp Site

10:00-11:30 - (trekking) Jaishi Camp Site ⇢ Sankyu-no-Taki Waterfall in Yokokawa Gorge ⇢ Jyaishi Camp Site

11:30-12:30 - Lunch (large onigiri wrapped in paper-thin wood shaving)

12:30-14:00 - (cycling) Kawashima, off-road

14:00-15:15 - (cycling) Kawashima - Tatsuno

15:15-16:00 - (trekking) to Zero Point

16:15-17:00 - (cycling) Zero Point ⇢ Mt. Ohjo

17:00 - Peak of Mt. Ohjyo with panoramic views of the Ina Valley

17:30-18:30 - (cycling) Mt. Ohjyo ⇢ GRAV BICYCLE STATION

18:30 - Arrive at GRAV BICYCLE STATION in Tatsuno Town

18:54 - Depart from Tatsuno Station (JR Iida Line)

19:32 - Arrive at Ina Kita Station, check-in at Finedays Hotel

(Guests are free to make their own dinner arrangements in Ina City)
DAY 3: Visiting Takato Castle
7:00 - Breakfast (buffet) and check-out

8:30-8:40 - Walk to Ina Kita Station Bus Stop

8:55-9:23 - Ina Kita Station to Takato Bus Station

9:30 - Meet guide at Takato Bus Station

9:30-9:40 - Tour briefing

9:40-10:00 - Walk to Takato Town History Museum

10:00-11:00 - Takato Town History Museum with VR experience

11:00-11:10 - Walk to Takato Castle Ruins

11:10-12:00 - Explore the castle ruins

12:00-12:05 - Walk to the samurai school, Shintokukan

12:05-12:20 - Shintokukan

12:20-12:30 - Walk the samurai route towards the castle town

12:30-13:00 - Visit the historical house of an eye doctor for samurai

12:50-13:00 - Walk to Kenpukuji Temple

13:00-13:30 - Learn about stone Buddhist statues

13:30-13:35 - Walk to Tamakiya (restaurant)

13:35-14:20 - Lunch at Tamakiya

14:20-14:50 - Free time/shopping time in Takato Castle Town

15:10 - Depart from Takato Bus Station

15:27 - Arrive at Miyashitaguchi Bus Stop

15:40 - Walk to Fukugami (accommodation) and check-in

18:30 - Dinner (course meal using local ingredients)
DAY 4: Meet a Master Craftsman of Wara-Zaiku (straw craft)
DAY 4: Meet a Master Craftsman of Wara-Zaiku (straw craft)

7:00 - Breakfast and check-out

8:40-9:10 - Depart from Fukugami to Inashi Station

9:30 - Depart from Inashi Station (JR Iida Line)

10:14 - Arrive at Iijima Station (JR Iida Line), meet your guide, and receive a briefing

10:25-10:35 - Walk to the Iijima Town History and Folklore Museum, Iijima Jinya

10:35-10:55 - Lunch preparation: prepare rice and ingredients

10:55-11:20 - Look around the museum

11:20-11:40 - Lunch preparation: start stove fire with flint

11:40-13:00 - Learn wara-zaiku with Yuji Sakai

13:00-13:20 - Lunch preparation: final steps

13:20-14:20 - Lunch around an irori (traditional Japanese sunken hearth)

(vegetarian option available)

14:20-14:25 - Walk to Umeto Shrine

14:25-14:45 - Visit the shrine and pray with your handmade straw item

14:45-15:10 - Walk to Iijima Station

(optional stop-off at a liquor store on the way)

15:10 - Arrive at Iijima Station (tour ends)
► Guide fee

► Translator fee

► Entrance fees of visited facilities

► Activity fees

► Accommodation (3 nights)

► Meals (3 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 2 Dinners)

► All travel from the tour’s start point to the tour’s finish point
► Transportation to/from start point and finish point

► Dinner on Day 2

► Insurance (please purchase travel insurance in your own country)

► Anything else not specified (the bank transaction fee shall be covered by the customer)
Day1-2: "It is a perfect combination of cycling and trekking mixed with the guide’s explanations of culture and history.”

Day 3: "Although Takato Castle has no remaining buildings (unlike other well-known sites such as Osaka Castle), learning about a ‘real’ aspect of Japanese history was a surprisingly enjoyable experience."

Day 4: “The stories of Mr. Sakai, a top Sumo ring craftsman, are splendid!”
Experience facility information
Experience time
3 nights, 4 days
At least 30 days in advance

※This activity/tour will be available for you to purchase from April 2022.
April - October
Nagano Ina Valley Tourism Bureau