Trip Ideas

Walk along the Koshu Kaido Highway in Shimosuwa

The Koshu Kaido Highway was once known as the Koshu Dochu and served as an evacuation route for those fleeing Edo (modern day Tokyo) in times of crisis. A little-known fact is that Shimosuwa was the final point of the evacuation route. Although it saw fewer travelers when compared to the Nakasendo Highway, it still served as a road of transport for a great many travelers.

This walking course starts at Kamisuwa Station and ends at Shimosuwa’s Akimiya Shrine. Along the way you will see famous places like Hashimoto Masaya where the look and feel of the Edo Period remains, and Shiin Sanbo, the home of the poet from the Araragi school, Akahiko Shimaki.
*Use an e-bike and reach these spots in half the time or less! E-bikes can be rented at OIDEYA, but only a limited number are available. Contact them via phone at 0266-27-0001.

total timeabout 5 hours

  • 01

    Kamisuwa Station

  • 02

    Hashimoto Masaya

  • 03

    Takagi Tsushima Shrine

  • 04

    Shiin Sanbo

  • 05

    Ishinageba, Ichirizuka, Shochigawa Bridge

  • 06

    Junction of the Nakasendo and Koshu Kaido Highways

  • 07

    Shukuba Kaido Museum

  • 08

    Nearby Public Bathhouses

  • 09

    Futabaya Saketen (liquor store)

  • 10

    Great Restaurants Around Akimiya Shrine


Kamisuwa Station

Just one stop after Shimosuwa Station on the JR Chuo Line (four min. by train). After getting off the train, head for the former Koshu Kaido Highway which runs behind the Tsuruya (local supermarket) right in front of the station.

徒歩 about 30 hours


Hashimoto Masaya

The first checkpoint along this route is Hashimoto Masaya, which is about 30 minutes from the station. Situated between Kamisuwa and Shimosuwa, this teahouse retains all the look and feel of Edo Period Japan. Unfortunately, the interior is not currently open to the public. However, just viewing it may give you an idea of what the area looked like in its days as a post station hub.

Address :9069 Takagi, Shimosuwa Town, Suwa DIstrict

徒歩 about 5 hours


Takagi Tsushima Shrine

Takagi Tsushima Shrine is a branch shrine affiliated with Owari Tsushima Shrine. The main deity enshrined here is Susanoo no Mikoto, who was worshipped guardian of the former Takagi Village. In 1872, the shrine was promoted to a village shrine. Monuments to Akahiko Shimaki, Sachio Ito, Mokichi Saito, and Bokugai Iwamoto can be found on the shrine’s premises.

Address :9305 Higashi Takagi

Phone :0266-27-4805

徒歩 about 1 hours


Shiin Sanbo

The home of the poet from the Araragi school, Akahiko Shimaki. Akahiko, who was known to use the pen name Kaki no Murabito (lit. “a villager of persimmons”) when reciting poetry, once lived in this property and named the place Shiin Sanbo (lit. a lodge at the shade of the persimmon tree) . A pine tree here that is more than 300 years old is still a beautiful sight to see.

Address :9180 Kita Takagi, Shimosuwa Town, Suwa District

徒歩 about 5 hours


Ishinageba, Ichirizuka, Shochigawa Bridge

Ishinageba (lit. “stone-throwing place”) boasts the best view along the Koshu Kaido Highway. Lake Suwa used to be much larger than it is today, and from this vantage point one could throw a stone from here that would actually land in the lake. Ichirizuka, a location marking a distance of 212 km from Edo (modern day Tokyo) stands on the right. After heading a bit past this area, you will arrive at Shochigawa Bridge. If you learn the origin of the river’s name, shochi (lit. “agreement”), you will feel the romance of the area’s history.

徒歩 about 7 hours


Junction of the Nakasendo and Koshu Kaido Highways

The Koshu Kaido Highway (once called the Koshu Dochu) stretches from Edo (modern day Tokyo), crosses the State of Kai (nowadays Yamanashi Pref.) and eventually converges with the Nakasendo Highway here in Shimosuwa. Post town of Shimosuwa
sat at the confluence point of these two highways and this is why it prospered as one of the larger post towns along the highway.

Address :Kinoshita, Shimosuwa Town, Suwa District

徒歩 about 3 hours


Shukuba Kaido Museum

This museum preserves private residences from the post towns of the Edo Period. Valuable historical goods related to post towns from the highways, hot springs, and elsewhere are preserved and displayed here so that visitors can better understand the living conditions of the time.

Address :3530-1 Tatsumachi, Shimosuwa-Town, Suwa District

徒歩 about 1 hours
  • Tanganoyu

  • Yusen House Koyu

  • Tekkosen

  • Gingetsu

  • Shin’yu


Nearby Public Bathhouses

There are four public bathhouses around Akimiya Shrine, but two are particularly famous. The first, Yusen House Koyu is sourced from the Wata no Yu hot spring, one of the Japan’s three oldest hot springs. The second, Tanga no Yu, is great for those who like their hot springs super hot. The water is 52°C at the spout! Both can be enjoyed for just 240 JPY. You may also drop in at some nearby ryokans such as Gingetsu and Tekkosen for day-use onsen.

Find more onsen facilities and footbaths in town here.

徒歩 about 1 hours
  • Futabaya Liquor Shop


Futabaya Saketen (liquor store)

Futabaya Saketen, located near the above two hot springs, newly opened a standing bar! Grab a quick drink of local sake after going for a relaxing dip in the hot springs.

Address :3350 Yokomachi Kinoshita, Shiomsuwa Town, Suwa District

Phone :0266-27-8221

徒歩 about 15 hours
  • Fried Yam Soba Noodle at Yamanekotei

  • Yamanekotei


Great Restaurants Around Akimiya Shrine

If you’ve come all the way to Nagano, then you have to try the soba (buckwheat noodles)! There are plenty of soba restaurants around Akimiya Shrine.
Yamanekotei, located just in front of Akimiya, is a popular restaurant with deliciously chewy soba. First, take a bite of the soba noodle with soba salt containing soba seeds. Next, enjoy soba with a slurp of the broth made with bonito stock. Soba-chichi, a dessert made with soba, is also popular for its creamy flavor.

Address :3574 Kinoshita, Shimosuwa Town, Suwa District

Phone :0266-26-8192