Magome is a charming village in the Kiso Valley of Gifu Prefecture.  Like its neighboring village Tsumago, it has been carefully restored to look like it would have looked in feudal times.  You see no cars, no electrical wires, no satellite dishes or antennas -- just beautiful low wooden buildings winding up a sometimes steep cobblestone street, with a small stream coursing alongside.  Mountains surround the towns.

Magome is linked to Tsumago, 7.7 km away, by a lovely and very well-marked hiking trail that goes over the Magome Pass (about 2500 feet in elevation).  Many visitors hike the trail in one or the other direction, and it's certainly quite possible to do the round trip in a single day.  It is a moderate hike; the first roughly 2.5 kilometers out of Magome climb, at times a bit steeply, to the crest of the Magome Pass, where a little tea house and vending machinesawait the parched hiker.  The remaining 5 kilometers or so descend gently (for the most part) through the woods to Tsumago.

There is a bus that runs a couple of times a day from one town to the other.  But it doesn't run often, so if you're planning to do the hike in one direction and take the bus back, make sure you time things right. There is also a luggage-forwarding service that will ship your luggage from one town to the other; it will arrive at the other town by 17:00 if you get it to the service by 11:00 that morning.  This enables you to arrive (by bus only, which you pick up at the train station in Nakatsugawa) at one of the towns and hike to the other without having to do the return trip.

Make no mistake:  these are tourist towns through and through.  You'll find only gift shops and restaurants and a few guest houses here.  But they are quite beautiful, and do succeed in creating the mood of a Japanese mountain town of an earlier era.

One important detail for visitors:  Magome shuts up tight as a drum at 5:00 p.m.  Everything closes -- including the restaurants.  If you are not staying at a guest house and have not specifically made a dinner reservation at your guest house, you will be out of luck for dinner.