So you want to go from…
I did this trip in March 2019, and this is how I did it!
The quick list:
- Hakuba to Matsumoto train (with train transfer)
- Walk from train station to bus station
- Put luggage in coin locker at Matsumoto bus station
- A couple of hours walking in Matsumoto, including a visit to Matsumoto Castle
- Matsumoto to Takayama bus
I went from Tokyo to Nagano city by bus, spent a couple of days in Nagano city with a snow monkey pass, and then from Nagano to Hakuba by bus as well.
A bit more details on how I went from Hakuba to Matsumoto!
This is how I went from Hakuba to Matsumoto anyway!
For timings in these areas, what I generally might do is use online resources as a guide to give me an idea (like Google Maps and the Japan Travel Navitime app), and then I would confirm locally once I get to the place I’m departing from.
To give you a further idea, these were my timings:
- 7:53am Depart Hakuba train station (I left from Kamishiro station)
- 8:22am Arrive Shinano Omachi station
- 8:37am Depart Shinano Omachi station
- 9:33am Arrive Matsumoto train station
- 2:05pm Depart Matsumoto bus station
- 4:35pm Arrive Takayama bus station
There are more bus timings from Matsumoto but I wanted a couple of hours in Matsumoto, so I didn’t take the next available bus. I felt the 2:05pm bus was the most ideal as it gave me some time to visit the castle, and I could still arrive to Takayama before dark.
How much does it cost to go from Hakuba to Takayama?
Hakuba to Matsumoto train ticket
Matsumoto to Takayama bus ticket
So this is how much it cost me:
- Hakuba to Matsumoto train – 1,140 yen (US$10)
- Matsumoto to Takayama bus – 3,190 yen (US$30)
So in total, this was 4,330 yen (US$40).
I bought both tickets at the station.
Hakuba to Matsumoto train
There are a few different train stations in Hakuba in which you can catch a train to Matsumoto. So it will just depend on where you’re staying!
The place you’re staying will likely be able to tell you about the train timings to Matsumoto, otherwise at the train station there will likely be a timetable. And then of course you can also ask the train station worker!
There was a train transfer, but it was pretty straight forward. Google Maps can help a lot!
Walk from train station to bus station
The walk from the Matsumoto train station to the Matsumoto bus station is around 5 minutes.
At the train station, you’ll want to take the “castle exit.” (The other exit is called the “alps exit.”) You can also look for the sigh pointing towards the bus terminal, inside the train station, and on the streets towards the bus station as well.
If you are planning to explore Matsumoto for a few hours, stop by the tourist information center at the train station so you can get a walking map of Matsumoto!
Put luggage in coin locker at Matsumoto bus station
There are coin lockers in Matsumoto at the bus terminal, and also in front of the Matsumoto train station.
This is convenient to be able to store your luggage for a few hours!
You can generally expect coin lockers in Japan to cost around $3-5 to use.
Where to buy the bus ticket to Takayama
You do need to buy a bus ticket before you get on the bus.
You might consider doing this before you start your walk around Matsumoto.
As soon as you enter the Matsumoto bus terminal building, you’ll see the bus ticket counter, as well as a small waiting area.
The building that the bus terminal is in might be another good place to spend some time! There’s a grocery store in the basement where you can pick up some snacks and ready-made meals. You can also find a restaurant and cafe here too.
A couple of hours walking in Matsumoto
And then using the walking map you picked up, you can walk around Matsumoto for a few hours!
From the bus station, you might consider:
- Genchi Well
- Nakamachi Street
- Nawate Street (maybe for some taiyaki Japanese street snacks)
- Matsumoto Castle
- And back to the bus station!
Matsumoto to Takayama bus
And then you can head back to the Matsumoto bus station to catch a bus to Takayama!
If you get back to the bus station a little early, you can head down to check out what a Japanese grocery store looks like, or you can wait in the waiting area!
And then once it’s time…
You can board the bus!
There will be signs posted indicating where the bus to Takayama will be departing from.
HAPPY TRAIN AND BUS RIDE FROM HAKUBA TO MATSUMOTO!
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