So, you’re going from…
As part of my Nagano itinerary (with Gifu), I went from Hakuba to Takayama.
This is what I did:
- Hakuba to Matsumoto train
- Matsumoto to Takayama bus
I didn’t stay overnight in Matsumoto, as I was just using it as a transfer point.
But the train arrival time to Matsumoto, and bus departure time to Takayama allowed me a couple of hours in Matsumoto.
So I dropped my luggage off at a coin locker near the Matsumoto bus station, and then headed off to see the Matsumoto Castle. (There are also coin lockers at the Matsumoto train station.)
And my hostel in Hakuba was right near a train station, so leaving Hakuba by train was rather convenient!
There are also a few bus timings to Matsumoto from Hakuba, but the timings don’t seem that great if you’re trying to get to Takayama on the same day.
So taking a train from Hakuba to Matsumoto is relatively simple.
I basically used Google Maps to get a general idea of how to get around.
Getting to Matsumoto from Hakuba did require a train transfer.
And the train timings also aren’t the most frequent, so you’ll want to confirm the timings, although I mostly trusted Google Maps. 😉 But just beware that there could be a chance it fails you!
Navitime Japan Travel is another public transportation app you can take a look at.
You can also go to the train station to look at the timetable, or ask the staff at the place you’re staying.
To give you an idea of timings and how long it’ll take though, these were my scheduled train timings:
- 7:53am Depart Hakuba (Kamishiro station)
- 8:22am Arrive Shinano Omachi station
- 8:37am Depart Shinano Omachi station
- 9:33am Arrive Matsumoto station
So it took a little over 1.5 hours to get from Hakuba to Matsumoto. The first train took around 30 minutes, and the second train took around an hour. There was around a 15 minute wait time between the 2 trains.
All seats on both of these trains were unreserved. I traveled in March, and I didn’t have a problem in getting a seat.
Here’s a bit of what the journey from Hakuba to Matsumoto looked like!
Arrival at train station
There are a few different train stations in Hakuba that are on this line.
Kamishiro Station was the train station that was closest to where I was staying, so that’s where I took my train from.
Once at the station, I bought my train ticket.
How much does it cost to go from Hakuba to Matsumoto by train?
This train ticket was 1,140 yen (US$10), and this ticket covered the train transfer as well, so all the way to Matsumoto.
Or if you have a JR pass, it will be free since this is a JR train!
Train from Hakuba to Shinano Omachi
This train transfer at Shinano Omachi was pretty simple, as it was at the same platform.
Most train stations in Japan have a digital signboard of some sort so you can confirm that you’re at correct platform.
I don’t remember anything special about this train transfer, so I assume that there was an easy way to figure out at the Shinano Omachi station when the next train to Matsumoto was coming!
Train from Shinano Omachi to Matsumoto
Arrival at Matsumoto train station!
Since I had a paper ticket, I inserted my ticket into the slot to go through the gate.
If you have a JR pass, you’ll go over to the manned booth to show your pass to go through.
Then you can follow the signs to the exit, and you’ll also find signs that point the direction to:
- Matsumoto bus station
- Mastumoto Castle
- Japan Alps
Before you leave the train station though, stop by the tourist information booth so you can get a walking map of Matsumoto city!
HAPPY HAKUBA TO MATSUMOTO TRAIN RIDE IN NAGANO!
How to spend winter in Japan
More quick tips for planning your trip to JapanThere are affiliate links on this page that take you to partner websites.
Among the top 3 things people get specific for a trip to Japan
- JR pass for quick and easy long distance train travel (see price here and see here how to calculate train routes to figure out it's worth it for you)
- Pocket wifi to make travel in Japan easier (see price here)
- Travel insurance for natural disasters just in case especially for travel disruptions (see price here and see here for past natural disaster that affected foreigners)
Food in JapanIf you are in Japan for FOOD, then be sure to see where to try different types of Japanese food! (Sometimes for cheaper!)
And also have a look at some of these cooking classes in Japan too.
If you're looking for a route for winter in Japan, here are some ideas!
- 10 day Japan winter itinerary
- Tokyo to Nagano bus
- 2 days in Nagano with snow monkey pass // Stay at this Nagano hostel (private rooms available)
- A few days in popular ski resort area Hakuba (go here for at least a day even if you don't ski for the winter landscape in the mountains!) // Stay at this Hakuba hostel (private rooms available)
- Hakuba to Takayama (Hakuba to Matsumoto train / a few hours in Matsumoto / Matsumoto to Takayama bus)
- A few days in Takayama with day trips: Shirakawago / Shinhotaka ropeway on a sunny day // Stay at this Takayama hostel (private rooms available) and eat regional Takayama ramen
- Takayama back to Tokyo OR Takayama to Nagoya airport to fly to Hokkaido for more winter landscapes!
Hokkaido winter itinerary (train to get around - there are JR Hokkaido passes available, and you can use a regular JR pass too)
- Sapporo to Asahikawa (Asahikawa for penguin walk at zoo)
- Asahikawa to Abashiri (Abashiri for drift ice cruise)
- Abashiri to Obihiro (night in Obihiro and go to Lake Shikaribetsu ice village the next day)
- Obihiro to Sapporo
- Sapporo to Noboribetsu onsen hot spring town (day trip)
- Sapporo to Hakodate // Stay in this Hakodate hostel
- Hakodate to Tokyo on shinkansen bullet train through the underwater tunnel! (Regular JR pass will be worth it if you take this train ride along with one more long distance train ride within 7 days)
When the JR pass is worth itIn general, 2 long-distance shinkansen train trips will likely end up making it so the JR pass will be worth it. But here's how to calculate it to be sure. See the current price of a JR pass from an official vendor.
Natural disasters in JapanUnfortunately, Japan can be prone to natural disasters which means risk for travel delays. So be sure to look at travel insurance for natural disasters.
My travel insurance took care of my accommodation and food costs when I was forced to stay extra days in Japan because of a typhoon. There have been a few typhoons that have hit Japan in the past couple of years and they can cause real travel disruptions!
See how much insurance costs for your trip.
More for your Japan itinerary
- 5 days in Kyoto
- Cost of climbing Mt Fuji from Tokyo
- Where to go for famous Mt Fuji views as seen in pictures
- Know before you go to Hiroshima
- One day in Miyajima with famous floating torii views
- 3 days in Okinawa, Japan's tropical islands
- Cherry blossom photo walk
- When is the JR pass worth it for train travel?
- Tokyo to Kyoto train
- Hostels in Japan