Discover Kiso Valley

The mountainous Kiso Valley is a unique mix of history and nature. Since the area is home to some of the best historical Edo-period old towns , it is regarded as the best place to walk the historic Nakasendo Trail. The area is also home to many spectacular mountains to climb, with multiple ski resorts in winter. 

Things to see and do

Tours and Activities


Getting around Kiso Valley

The easiest way to get around in Kiso Valley is by car, since many of the major sights and attractions are not accessible by public transportation. Though, since the area is part of the historical Nakasendo Trail, many visitors chose to hike through large parts of the area. If you decide to rent a car, it is advised to do so from the nearest airport in the vicinity. You can use our car rental widget in the FAQ menu below. 

Getting to the Kiso Valley

Public transportation: 

Public transportation in the area is scarce and the sights in the area are scattered throughout. For those that want to hike the Nakasendo trail, have a look at our interactive map above, to decide which part of the trail you want to hike. The historical post towns provide bus access which you can access by syncing Google Maps with our customized map above (to do this: click the top right icon on the map to expand to full screen, and select where you want to go. 


Nearest airport: 

The nearest and most convenient airport is Shinshu-Matsumoto Airport. 

  • by car: approximately 1 hour

  • by public transport: approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes


Car rentals:

How long to stay in the Kiso Valley

We recommend staying here between between two and three days. 

Hotels in the Kiso Valley

Seasonal information


The hiking season in this area typically runs from Summer until Autumn


Scenic rides:

  • Komagatake Ropeway: click here for the official timetable

  • Mitake Ropeway: click here for the official timetable


Winter sports: 

Ski resorts in Japan typically run from January until April. Though this can differ from year to year, depending on the amount of snow.

Festivals in the Kiso Valley

There are several festivals here throughout the year. Please be advised that the following list is based upon previous entries of those festivals and that the dates might have changed slightly in the following year. It is also possible that the entire festival is cancelled in the case of heavy rainfall or a natural disaster. Please check with the official organisers' website for the most up-to-date information. 
For the exact location of any of the festivals listed here, you can consult our map above by clicking on the icon in the upper most corner of the map to open the map legend. Festivals are hidden by default but can be made visible by clicking on the "Festivals" checkbox in the map legend.


  • Mizunashi Annual Shrine Festival

    • Date: July 22nd until July 23rd

    • Time: 12:00 - 23:00  (fireworks between 19:15 - 21:00)


  • Kisogawa Genryu Summer Festival

    • Date: August 3rd

    • Time: 16:00 - 20:30


  • Tenryu Kappa Festival

    • Date: August 24th

    • Time: 11:00 - 21:00 (fireworks from 19:00 - 21:00)

Flights to Kiso Valley

The nearest and most convenient airport is Shinshu-Matsumoto Airport. 

  • by car: approximately 1 hour

  • by public transport: approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes

Getting mobile data in Japan

Day trips from Kiso Valley

Okuhida is a mountainous area of central Japan which offers more than 6 different mountains to hike up! In winter, there is the Honoki Daira ski resort, and during the ...

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Gero Onsen is a popular spa resort, internationally renown for its fantastic natural water, receiving more than one million visitors a year. Nearby, you can visit the Gassho village, an ...

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Lake Suwa and the surroundings offer a pleasant mix of cultural tourism and recreation.
Cycling around the lake is something that is certainly not to be missed, or watch ...

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Distance, km: 42.72

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Matsumoto is a city surrounded by mountains. Famous for having one of the most impressive castles in the country, old historical shopping streets as well as a wide array of ...

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Distance, km: 42.85

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This ancient city, high in the mountains, promises an experience quite unlike any other during your time in Japan. Takayama is home to the Utsue 48 Waterfalls and steeped in ...

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Come and visit the majestic Ueda Castle, which stands out above this city.  The city is home to an arsenal of different temples and hot springs as well.

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Distance, km: 63.16

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Gujo Hachiman is a quaint town of historic buildings and narrow lanes set in a mountain valley where three rivers converge.  Wander round the traditional temples, or climb up to ...

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Distance, km: 67.16

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