So you’re going from…
Is it easy?!
Well, there is a direct bus, so that does mean that it can make the process relatively simple!
Here’s a bit of what it looks like to go from Matsumoto to Takayama by bus!
This is what it was like for me anyway!
I did this bus trip in March 2019.
Arrive at Matsumoto bus station
Buy a bus ticket to Takayama
If you walk straight once you enter the building, you will almost immediately see the bus ticket counter and waiting area.
This is where you can find out information about bus timings from Matsumoto, as well as buy bus tickets.
What are the bus timings?
These were the listed bus timings for Matsumoto to Takayama when I was there.
It’s best to confirm at the bus station as bus timings can change, but this can give you an idea of what kind of frequency to expect.
So basically you can find buses possibly every 2 hours.
I bought my bus ticket on the day I was headed to Takayama and it was a pretty empty bus.
How much does a bus ticket cost?
My bus ticket for Matsumoto to Takayama cost 3,190 yen (US$30).
Wait for the bus!
Depending on how much time you have, you may just want to wait at the bus ticket counter area…
Or if you have more time, you may want to explore a bit of the building that the Matsumoto bus terminal is located in.
There are plenty of places to eat, and there’s also a grocery store which is another place where you can possibly find cheaper food in Japan. (Ready-made food or snacks.)
If you have several hours, you may consider going out and exploring the streets of Matsumoto, including the Matsumoto Castle. It’s about a 20 minute walk from the bus station.
You can get a walking map from tourist information center at the Matsumoto train station that’s nearby too.
There are coin lockers at the bus station where you can store your luggage so you can walk around Matsumoto hands-free.
Then, once it’s nearing the time for the bus to depart…
Time to leave to get on the bus!
Then, once it gets closer to the time that your bus departs, you can head outside to the platform.
There are information boards in the waiting area that will tell you what platform your bus will be at, and you can ask the workers at the bus ticket counter too.
And then you can head outside and find the platform for Takayama!
And then when the bus to Takayama shows up at the platform…
Get on the bus!
You’ll show your bus ticket to the driver.
If you want to store your luggage below the bus, there’s space for you to do so.
Enjoy the bus ride to Takayama through the mountains!
How long is the bus ride?
My bus ride was around 2.5 hours.
There’s also a stop at a rest area
Many long distance buses in Japan have toilets on the bus, but this bus to Takayama did not.
The stop for the rest area was around 1.5 hours into the bus ride.
You can buy some snacks here, and there’s also a gift shop for souvenir shopping if you’re quick!
This also might be your first glimpse at this little guy!
This is the mascot for the Takayama area, so you will see this guy often once you’re in Takayama! (Makes a good souvenir!)
There was also a fast casual restaurant and a hot springs foot bath, but since this was like a 10-15 minute stop, you won’t have time for a proper meal or to soak your feet. You can come back here as a day trip from Takayama though! There are bus passes that include a free meal here. You can find more information about the passes at the Takayama bus station.
Arrive at the Takayama bus station!
And upon arriving at the bus station, you might consider making your way inside the bus station before you leave to go to your hotel.
Inside, you’ll be able to find information about bus passes and day tours that you might want to consider! And maybe even buy a bus ticket for your next day’s activities!
Otherwise, you can make your way straight to your hotel!
And that’s a bit about the bus ride to Takayama from Matsumoto!
Where to stay in Takayama
I stayed at this hostel in Takayama. It has dorm beds and private rooms, and it can give you a Japanese-type feel! It’s located like a 5 minute walk from the bus station which is convenient if you plan on making multiple day trips from Takayama by bus. It’s also located a 5-10 minute walk from the “old city” of Takayama too. So basically, good location with a comfortable stay! You can check the prices and more pictures here, and here’s another sister location too. (partner websites)
And if you’re in Takayama during winter, consider visiting the Shinhotaka ropeway on a sunny day for the amazing winter landscape views!!
This can be a perfect day trip from Takayama!
And no matter the time of year, also look into visiting Shirakawago as a day trip from Takayama too!
HAPPY BUS RIDE FROM MATSUMOTO TO TAKAYAMA!
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