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Akasaka Azabu

How to get to Nagano from Tokyo
  • Date Published: April 30, 2024

When arranging a journey from Tokyo to Nagano, it is crucial to understand the array of transport alternatives at your disposal. Famous for its scenic vistas, historical spots, and top-tier skiing, Nagano presents a variety of travel possibilities to match every tourist’s requirements. Whether you favor the ease of rail journeys or the budget-friendly options of bus rides, numerous routes can ensure a smooth transition from Tokyo to Nagano.

Key Takeaways:

  • Traveling from Tokyo to Nagano is made easy with the Hokuriku Shinkansen, which takes around 80-100 minutes and is covered by the Japan Rail Pass and JR East Nagano Niigata Area Pass.
  • Multiple train services operate per hour, providing frequent connections between Tokyo and Nagano.
  • Daytime highway buses are another option, with conventional bus companies charging around 4,000 yen and discount bus operators offering fares starting from 2,000 yen.
  • Nagano Station serves as the main transportation hub in the city, providing easy access to further explore the region.
  • For travelers coming from Narita Airport or Haneda Airport, various train routes are available to connect to the Hokuriku Shinkansen bound for Nagano.

Getting Around Nagano

When it comes to getting around Nagano, travelers have a variety of transportation options to choose from. Nagano Station serves as the main transport hub in the city and offers a convenient starting point for exploring the region.

The station is well-connected to the surrounding areas through various train services, including the JR Hokuriku Shinkansen, other JR trains, Shinano Railway, and Nagaden (Nagano Electric Railway). These train services provide easy access to popular destinations in Nagano City and the wider Nagano prefecture.

In addition to the train services, Nagano Station is also home to a comprehensive bus network that offers convenient transportation within the city. The bus network provides easy access to popular attractions such as Zenkoji Temple and the former Olympic facilities.

For travelers who prefer the flexibility of having their own transportation, rental cars are available in Nagano. Renting a car allows visitors to explore the city at their own pace and venture off the beaten path to discover hidden gems.

Nagano Train Services

The train services available at Nagano Station offer affordable and efficient transportation options for getting around the city and the wider region. Here are some key train services:

Train Service Destination
JR Hokuriku Shinkansen Connects Nagano with Tokyo, Kanazawa, and other major cities
JR trains Provides local transportation within Nagano Prefecture
Shinano Railway Offers scenic rides to popular destinations like Matsumoto
Nagaden (Nagano Electric Railway) Serves the local area, including tourist spots like Obuse

With these train services, travelers can easily navigate Nagano City and explore the wider region without the hassle of driving or finding parking.

Nagano Bus Network

The Nagano bus network complements the train services by providing convenient transportation within Nagano City. The buses offer an affordable way to reach popular attractions and navigate the city. Some notable destinations accessible by bus include:

  • Zenkoji Temple – One of Japan’s most important and popular Buddhist temples
  • Former Olympic facilities – Home to the 1998 Winter Olympics, including the M-Wave ice rink and Big Hat ice arena

Whether you’re visiting Nagano for its rich cultural heritage or to explore its beautiful natural landscapes, the bus network provides easy access to these attractions.

Rental Cars in Nagano

For travelers who prefer the freedom of having their own transportation, rental cars are available in Nagano. Renting a car allows you to explore the city and its surroundings at your own pace, giving you the flexibility to visit off-the-beaten-path destinations.

“Renting a car in Nagano gives you the freedom to explore the city and venture off the beaten path to discover hidden gems.”

There are several rental car companies in Nagano that offer a variety of vehicles to suit different needs. Whether you’re traveling solo or with a group, you can find the perfect car to accommodate your travel plans.

With the convenience of Nagano Station as a transportation hub, the comprehensive bus network, and the option to rent a car, getting around Nagano is easy and convenient for travelers.

How to Get to Nagano from Narita Airport and Haneda Airport

When traveling to Nagano from Narita Airport, there are convenient transportation options available. One popular choice is taking the JR Narita Express (N’Ex) to Tokyo Station. From there, travelers can transfer to the Hokuriku Shinkansen, which will take them directly to Nagano. Another option is to take the Keisei Line to Keisei Ueno Station, and then transfer to the shinkansen at nearby JR Ueno Station.

Note: It’s important to note that some local railways in Nagano may not accept the JR Pass.

For those arriving at Haneda Airport, there are also convenient ways to reach Nagano. Travelers can take the Tokyo Monorail or the Keikyu Railway to Tokyo Station. From there, they can catch the Hokuriku Shinkansen, which will take them directly to Nagano.

To help plan your journey, consider the following transportation options:

Tokyo to Nagano Train Options:

  • JR Narita Express (N’Ex) to Tokyo Station, then transfer to the Hokuriku Shinkansen
  • Keisei Line to Keisei Ueno Station, then transfer to the shinkansen at nearby JR Ueno Station
  • Tokyo Monorail or Keikyu Railway to Tokyo Station, then catch the Hokuriku Shinkansen

By choosing any of these train options, you can conveniently access Nagano from both Narita Airport and Haneda Airport. Whether you’re traveling for leisure or business, these transportation options provide seamless connectivity to explore the beauty and attractions of Nagano.

How to Get to Nagano from Osaka, Kyoto, and Nagoya

If you are traveling from Osaka or Kyoto to Nagano, there are two convenient options to reach your destination. Both options offer their own advantages in terms of route and travel time.

Option 1: Take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Nagoya and transfer to the Shinano Limited Express train to Nagano.

Option 2: Take the express train to Kanazawa Station and then change to the Hokuriku Shinkansen, which will take you directly to Nagano.

Each option provides a unique experience and allows you to explore different areas along the way. Here is a breakdown of the two options:

Option Route Advantages Travel Time
Option 1 Tokaido Shinkansen to Nagoya
Transfer to Shinano Limited Express
– Direct train from Osaka/Kyoto to Nagoya
– Scenic train journey on Shinano Limited Express
Approximately 4 hours
Option 2 Express train to Kanazawa Station
Transfer to Hokuriku Shinkansen
– Opportunity to explore Kanazawa before heading to Nagano
– Travel on the famous Hokuriku Shinkansen
Approximately 5 hours

Whether you choose Option 1 or Option 2, you can enjoy the scenic beauty of the Japanese countryside and arrive in Nagano ready to explore all that the city has to offer.

Nagano Access from Major Japanese Cities

Visitor’s Tip:

If you have extra time and want to explore more of Japan, consider making a stopover in Kanazawa. Known for its well-preserved Edo-era districts and beautiful gardens, Kanazawa offers a unique glimpse into traditional Japanese culture.

Whichever route you choose, the journey from Osaka, Kyoto, or Nagoya to Nagano is sure to be an exciting and memorable part of your visit to Japan.

Conclusion

Traveling to Nagano from Tokyo offers a seamless experience, thanks to the various transportation options available. One of the most convenient ways to reach Nagano is by taking the Hokuriku Shinkansen, an efficient and comfortable high-speed train that connects the two cities in approximately 80-100 minutes. This mode of transportation is particularly popular among tourists, as it is covered by the Japan Rail Pass and JR East Nagano Niigata Area Pass, making it cost-effective.

For those who prefer a more economical option, there are multiple bus companies that operate between Tokyo and Nagano. Convenient daytime highway buses, with fares starting from 2,000 yen, provide an alternative for budget-conscious travelers. Online reservations can be made through Willer Express and Japan Bus Online.

Once in Nagano, visitors can easily navigate the city and its surroundings through various modes of transportation. Nagano Station serves as the central transport hub, connecting travelers to the Hokuriku Shinkansen, JR trains, Shinano Railway, Nagaden, and a comprehensive bus network. Rental cars are also available for those who prefer to explore Nagano at their own pace.

From Nagano, travelers can embark on exciting adventures, whether it’s discovering the historic Zenkoji Temple, interacting with snow monkeys at Jigokudani Monkey Park, or exploring the breathtaking Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route. The city offers a rich cultural heritage and stunning natural landscapes, making it an ideal destination for travelers seeking an unforgettable experience in Central Japan.

FAQ

How can I get from Tokyo to Nagano?

There are multiple transportation options available to travel from Tokyo to Nagano. The most convenient and efficient way is to take the Hokuriku Shinkansen, which takes approximately 80-100 minutes. You can also opt for daytime highway buses that operate between Tokyo and Nagano Station.

Are there any discounts or passes available for traveling from Tokyo to Nagano?

Yes, if you have a Japan Rail Pass or JR East Nagano Niigata Area Pass, the Hokuriku Shinkansen ride from Tokyo to Nagano is fully covered. This can provide significant cost savings.

How much does it cost to travel from Tokyo to Nagano by bus?

Conventional bus companies typically charge around 4,000 yen for a one-way trip from Tokyo to Nagano. However, discount bus operators like Willer Express offer fares starting around 2,000 yen. It’s recommended to make online reservations through Willer and Japan Bus Online.

What are the transportation options within Nagano?

Nagano Station serves as the main transport hub in the city, and it is well-connected to the region through various train services, including the JR Hokuriku Shinkansen, other JR trains, Shinano Railway, and Nagaden (Nagano Electric Railway). Nagano Station also has a comprehensive bus network that provides easy access to Zenkoji Temple and the former Olympic facilities. Rental cars are available for those who want to explore more of the city and its surroundings.

How can I reach Nagano from Narita Airport and Haneda Airport?

From Narita Airport, you can take the JR Narita Express (N’Ex) to Tokyo Station and then transfer to the Hokuriku Shinkansen bound for Nagano. Another option is to take the Keisei Line to Keisei Ueno Station and transfer to the shinkansen at nearby JR Ueno Station. For travelers coming from Haneda Airport, they can take the Tokyo Monorail or the Keikyu Railway to Tokyo Station, where they can catch the Hokuriku Shinkansen to Nagano. Please note that some local railways in Nagano may not accept the JR Pass.

What are the options for traveling to Nagano from Osaka, Kyoto, and Nagoya?

There are two options to reach Nagano from Osaka or Kyoto. You can either take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Nagoya and transfer to the Shinano Limited Express train, or you can take the express train to Kanazawa Station and then change to the Hokuriku Shinkansen. From Nagoya, travelers can directly take the Limited Express Shinano train to Nagano. Each option offers its own advantages in terms of route and travel time.

What is the best way to reach Nagano from Tokyo?

The best way to reach Nagano from Tokyo depends on your preferences and schedule. If you value speed and convenience, the Hokuriku Shinkansen is recommended. If you prefer a more affordable option or want to enjoy the scenic route, the highway buses are a good choice. Both options provide comfortable and reliable transportation to Nagano.

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