Ever since I saw Paul Smith's recommendation to visit Magome and Tsumago (Kiso Valley) in Wattention's Travel Guide To Aid Japan I decided that I would visit there sometime. Given that it is obon and I have plenty of time during my summer vacation I decided to do it over the 13th and 14th of August this year. After checking various guidebooks and web sites I decided that I would start at Magome and take the Nakasendo trail between it and former post town Tsugamo. The main reasons were that 1) it is a an easier hike the elevation goes from 600m to 420m during the 7.8km hike and 2) Tsumago seems to have more to see and better lodging (more bout his later).
The route to Magome was relatively easy, since I could take the JR Azusa Limited Express bound for Matsumoto, Nagano from Shinjuku to Shioriji and transfer to the JR Shinnano Limited Express For Nagoya to Nakatsugawa station (pictured above) and take a bus to Magaome.