The morning will be spent hiking along the Nakasendo Highway to Magome, another postal town of old. Magome and Tsumago, the southernmost post towns have single main streets that are lined with shops selling traditional foods and local crafted goods, chiefly wood and lacquer. They are an architectural fantasy in timber. In the afternoon we travel by train, descending through the Central Alps to Nagoya, where we will change to the Bullet train bound for Kyoto. With temples and teahouses, shrines and geisha, Kyoto is Japan’s cultural heart. From the end of the Nara Period (794) Kyoto has functioned as the crossroads of Japanese history. Kyoto, which was Japan’s capital for more than 1000 years, is a veritable open air museum. All over the city you can find countless shrines, temples, palaces and other historical sites which are best discovered by foot. Our first evening in the historic downtown streets of the former capital will include a guided walk through the famous Geisha district of Gion which was originally developed in the Middle Ages, in front of Yasaka Shrine. The district was built to accommodate the needs of travellers and visitors to the shrine. It eventually evolved to become one of the most exclusive and well-known geisha districts in all of Japan.