Ancient Capitals: Nara & Asuka

5 Days & 4 Nights 5 Read 1 reviews
  • The rural countryside and terraced ricefields of the small village of Asuka
  • Follow a pretty forested trail to the atmospheric Tanzan Shrine
  • Explore Todaiji temple in Nara, housing a 16-metre tall golden buddha
  • Follow in the footsteps of ancient warriors on the Yagyu Kaido walk to Nara
  • Enjoy two nights in a lovely hot-spring ryokan in Nara
Visit the historic capitals of culturally rich Nara and rural Asuka on this 5 day extension which can be easily combined with any of our Kumano Kodo itineraries. Travelling by train from either Kyoto or Osaka you make your way to Asuka, a peaceful rural village where life moves at a lovely slow pace. Enjoy a couple of walks here or perhaps hire a bike to cycle through the lush terraced rice fields. Continue by train to Nara, the first capital of Japan, which features no less than 8 World Heritage Sites. Walk in the footsteps of ancient warriors from Yagyu to Nara and explore Nara Park, with its famous deer and temples. Finally, make your way by train back to either Kyoto or Osaka. Overnight stays are in a small minshuku in Asuka and a lovely hot-spring Ryokan in Nara, giving you a truly authentic experience of these ancient capitals.
Combines perfectly with any of our Kumano Kodo tours, and perfect if you would like to explore further cultural highlights of Japan.

Tour Type:

Slower Adventures | Where walking and cycling meet easy-going exploring, our Slower Adventures are the perfect combination. Most days are filled with picturesque journeys with some free time to dive into the destination and experience the people, local food and culture as you go.


Multi Centre Walking | With a mix of loop and point-to-point walks stay 2 or 3 nights in one place which offers the chance to slow down and really explore a destination.

This trip is suitable for:

Solo Travellers

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Islands
  • Off the Beaten Track

Activity Level & Terrain

As the activity is flexible and your choice on this tour, we grade this tour as easy.


In Asuka you will stay in a small Minshuku and in Nara you will stay in a lovely hot-spring Ryokan. Minshuku are generally simply furnished and less formal, but have excellent food and wonderful personal service. Ryokans are simply but elegantly decorated Japanese inns also offering wonderful service. Most Ryokan and Minshuku have large, communal segregated baths. Traditional accommodations do not have western-style beds but futons. Futons are slightly harder than western mattresses, however, when laid on tatami matting they are really quite comfortable. Japanese futons are simple single mattresses, much lighter than in the west and not supported by a wooden frame.


Japanese cuisine is the highlight of many people’s visit to Japan and this is especially the case on this tour. Your trip includes 4 breakfasts and 4 evening meals.

Alcoholic and soft drinks are not included with meals. Tipping is not customary at hotels and restaurants in Japan.

Single Rooms

This trip is available to solo walkers and a limited number of single rooms are available, although a single/solo supplement is payable.

  • 2 Nights in minshuku accommodation in Asuka
  • 2 Nights in ryokan accommodation in Nara
  • 4 Breakfasts
  • 4 Evening meals
  • Round trip train tickets from Kyoto or Osaka
  • Detailed information pack with local travel information, walking route notes and sightseeing suggestions
  • Telephone support from our local, English speaking, representative
  • International flights
  • Travel to/from Kyoto or Osaka
  • Local buses
  • Entrance Fees
  • Drinks with meals
  • Lunches
  • Baggage forwarding is not included, though we provide instructions for how this can be easily arranged
  • Travel insurance
  • Additional nights

When To Go

You can start this tour on any day of the week subject to availability. Accommodations are busy and may charge extra during the following Japanese holiday periods: New Year (29 December to 04 January), Golden Week (29 April to 05 May) and O-bon (13 - 15 August).

Time of Year

It is tough to beat the spring months of April and May but the summer months from June to September are also great as are the autumn colours in October and November.

Getting to the Start

By Air: The best airport to arrive at is Osaka International Airport (KIX), which has flights from many international destinations.

Getting around

Your package includes round trip train tickets from either Kyoto or Asuka. The public transport system in Japan is world-class and your pre-departure information pack has detailed information on how to use your tickets and the trains. Local buses are not included and should be paid for locally. Again your information pack will have detailed information on how to do this and it is very easy.

Luggage Transfer

Luggage transfer is not included during this tour.  In Japan there is an overnight luggage forwarding service which is cheap, reliable and costs about £12 per bag per day if you would like to have your bags transported for you. We provide full details of this in your pre-departure information pack.

General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes.


Please check your visa requirements with the foreign office or the embassy in your country of residence before travelling to Japan.

British nationals wishing to visit Japan for three months or less for business, tourism or family purposes etc (but not to work for a local employer) may do so without a visa. You must have a valid passport and an onward/return ticket. Please visit for up to date information. US Nationals can visit to check on entry requirements.


Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, lightweight clothes, waterproofs and a day pack.

Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.

How far in advance do I need to book?
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Can you accommodate specific dietary requirements?


Day 1 Travel to Asuka from either Kyoto or Osaka 5.5 miles / 9 km Day 2 Asuka Tanzan Shrine Walk 8 miles / 13 km Day 3 By Train to Nara, Walk the Yamanobe no Michi 10 miles / 16 km Day 4 Walk the Yagyu Kaido in Nara 7 miles / 11 km Day 5 Onward Travel to Kyoto or Osaka

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