Magome and Kiso valley

By Maria Vassileva

Looking for a day out of the urban jungle, for some fresh mountain air and greenery, for some pretty historical architecture? All this you can find in Kiso valley.This is a very nice green area just an hour away from Nagoya, offering old town stroll, easy nature walk and even proper mountain hiking ? take your pick!

Magome and its brother Tsumago are two small historical towns featuring pretty traditional houses worth a lazy stroll with a camera.
The towns used to be bustling stopping points along the main post road Naka Sendo a century ago, but when the construction of the railway Chuo-line bypassed them, they were all of a sudden forgotten and, as a happy result, got frozen in time.
Well, it is a happy result for us, the visitors 100 years later, but you can imagine it wasnft so for the local businesses at that time. New contemporary towns appeared close to Chuo line and the old towns in the mountain were eventually developed as open-air museums, where every house now is an omiyage shop, a traditional restaurant or a minshuku.The two old towns are connected between them by a bus service, train, and (much recommended!) an easy walking path through the mountains.
Another thing to enjoy in Kiso valley are the mountains themselves. Just ask at the local tourist information centre and youfll be amazed by the variety and scenery.More adventurous souls or those with a car may like to explore the smaller old towns up the valley or enjoy a day at a camping site.
For the omiyage hunters itfs worth mentioning the variety of interesting wooden crafts and the mixture of mountain medical herbs, supposedly good for the digestion.Those interested in culinary experience might like to know that both towns feature the best dumplings Ifve ever tried. Local specialty is soba and gohei mochi (baked rice cakes covered with sweet nuts sauce).
As you see this area can provide with a variety of one-day trips.
It is easily accessible from Nagoya via Chuo line ? take it from Kanayama, Tsurumai or Chikusa to Nakatsugawa and then ask for the bus service to Magome at the tourist information office outside the station.
Enjoy your trip!