Access

Where is Matsumoto City?

Matsumoto City is located in the middle of Nagano Prefecture where the 1998 Winter Olympics were hosted. It sits at the foot of the Japanese Alps, nestled between the mountains in the heart of Japan.

Matsumoto is easily accessible by road, air, and rail. We’ll go over the suggested routes below. Please note that alternative routes may also be available, and of course, all fares and info below are subject to change.

By Trains and Buses

From Narita / Haneda Airport

Direct

Narita Airport — Matsumoto (your hotel)
Haneda Airport — Matsumoto (your hotel)

Chuo Taxi: Reserve the service by phone or online no later than 5 days before you plan to ride to guarantee a seat (otherwise, you may only be able to ride it if there is an empty seat still available). Child rates are also available.
Alpico Taxi: Reserve the service by phone (from 1 month to 3 days before use) or online (from 1 month to 7 days before use). Child rates are not available.

Via Tokyo

Shinjuku & Tokyo Station Transfers from the Airport

Narita Airport — Shinjuku Sta
Narita Airport — Tokyo Sta
Haneda Airport — Shinjuku Sta
Haneda Airport — Tokyo Sta

Train and monorail options are also available, but require transferring. See Haneda Airport’s Access Information page.

From Shinjuku / Tokyo Station

By Limited Express Train

Shinjuku Sta — Matsumoto Sta
  • JR Ltd. Exp. Super Azusa or “Azusa”
    2:40 or 3:00 ¥6,380 for non-reserved seats

“Azusa” is named after a river than runs through Matsumoto from Kamikochi. The train passes the Mt. Fuji area.
There are one or two trains per hour depending on the time of day. See this timetable.
A six-trip ticket bundle ends up costing only ¥4,630 per trip.
The “tokudane” ticket that can be reserved on the Japanese website www.eki-net.com costs ¥4,350.

By Local Trains

By local trains, the one-way journey from Shinjuku to Matsumoto on the JR Chuo East Line typically takes from five to seven hours (make sure you leave early enough to get there in one day if you don’t want to stop along the way for a night). The trip will require about three transfers and cost ¥4,000. With a Seishun 18 Kippu ticket package, which costs ¥11,850, you could do the trip for as little as ¥2,370. The tickets can be used over a period of 5 days or split between five people over the course of a single day.

By Expressway Bus

Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal — Matsumoto Bus Terminal

* Two trip tickets cost only ¥6,100 and can be used for a round trip.

By Bullet Train (via Nagano Station)

Tokyo Sta — Nagano Sta
  • Hokuriku Shinkansen (bullet train)
    fastest 1:22 from ¥7,680
Nagano Sta — Matsumoto Sta
  • JR Ltd. Exp. Shinano
    0:50 ¥2,320 for non-reserved seats
  • The Resort View that operates only once per day and is more geared towards sightseeing.
  • Shinonoi Line local train line is the cheapest option, but takes about an hour and a half. Depending on the time of day, portions of the journey may be standing room only.

It might be convenient for you to take the Shinkansen from Tokyo (or Ueno) to Nagano Station, especially if you have a Japan Rail Pass or a JR East Rail Pass, which are special passes offering unlimited rides on JR trains only to foreigners visiting Japan with a valid tourist visa.
The Hokuriku Shinkansen features views of Mt. Asama near Karuizawa.
You might first enjoy visiting Zenkoji Temple, Togakushi Shrine, or Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park and then head to Matsumoto using one of the above train options.

From Osaka / Kyoto

By Limited Express and Bullet Train Combination

Shin-Osaka Sta — Nagoya Sta
  • Hikari/Kodama/Nozomi* Shinkansen (bullet train)
    0:50 ¥5,830 for non-reserved seats
Kyoto Sta — Nagoya Sta
  • Hikari/Kodama/Nozomi* Shinkansen (bullet train)
    0:40 ¥5,070
Nagoya Sta — Matsumoto Sta
  • JR Ltd. Exp. Shinano
    2:10 about once an hour
    ¥5,510 for non-reserved seats

* The JR Pass cannot be used on the Nozomi Shinkansen.

By Local Trains

The one-way journey from Osaka to Matsumoto on JR Lines takes from five to six hours, typically requiring at least three transfers and costing ¥8,420 or more.
See here for information about a cheap option, the Seishun 18 Kippu ticket package.

By Expressway Bus

Hankyu Osaka Bus Terminal — Matsumoto Bus Terminal
Kyoto Sta/Kyoto-Fukakusa — Matsumoto Bus Terminal

From the Central Japan International Airport (Centrair, Nagoya)

Direct

Central Japan International Airport — Matsumoto (your hotel)

Reserve the service by phone (from 1 month to 3 days before use) or website (from 1 month to 7 days before use).

Via Nagoya Station

Central Japan International Airport — Nagoya Sta
  • Meitetsu Limited Express “μ-SKY”
    0:30 ¥1,230

Other rapid limited express and limited express trains are also in service, but take about 40 minutes or longer.
See this timetable.

From Nagoya Station

By Limited Express Train

Nagoya Sta — Matsumoto Sta
  • JR Ltd. Exp. Shinano
    2:10 about once an hour
    ¥5,510 for non-reserved seats

By Local Trains

The one-way journey on JR Chuo West lines takes about four hours, requires at least one transfer, and costs ¥3,350. A fairly smooth transfer can be made a Nakatsugawa, and you may want to plan a side trip to the Nakasendo Highway while you are in the area. As noted above, take care to check you have time before the final local trains leave to get to your destination. (Trains will usually run until sometime between 11 p.m. and 12 midnight, but most local lines have only a few trains running late at night.)
See here for information about a cheap option, the Seishun 18 Kippu ticket package.

By Expressway Bus

Meitetsu Bus Center — Matsumoto Bus Terminal

From Hida Takayama

By Express Bus

Takayama Bus Center — Hirayu Onsen — Matsumoto Bus Terminal

These buses run through mountain roads within the Kamikochi and Norikura areas.

From Hakuba

By Express Bus

Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal — Hakuba Station — Matsumoto Bus Terminal

By Local Train

Hakuba Sta — Matsumoto Sta (JR Oito Line)
  • Ltd. Exp. Azusa 1:10 once a day ¥2,320 for non-reserved seats
  • Local line from 1:40 to 2:30 depending on the stop at Shinano Omachi Station
    ¥1,140

From Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

Ogisawa Sta — Shinano Omachi Sta
  • Local Bus 0:40 ¥1,330
Shinano Omachi Sta — Matsumoto Sta
  • JR Oito Line Ltd. Exp. Azusa 0:38 once a day ¥1,420 for non-reserved seats
  • Local line 1:00 ¥670

See this Omachi City website for details.

By Car

Accessing the more remote areas of Nagano becomes much easier with a car. A license that is valid IN JAPAN plus a Japanese translation of that license OR an International Driving Permit are required to drive in Japan. Car rental services are available at Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, Kansai International Airport and the Central Japan International Airport (Nagoya).

For information on renting a car while in Matsumoto, please visit our Getting Around the City page.

Expressway Passes: NEXCO, which manages most of Japan’s expressways, offers ETC (tolls) discount passes to tourists. For more information about discount passes check out this blog article here.

By Plane

Matsumoto also has its own airport, which may be convenient if you are traveling to or from the northern Hokkaido or Kyushu area.

Sapporo (Hokkaido) — Matsumoto Airport
  • FDA (Fuji Dream Airlines) 1:30
Fukuoka (Kyushu) — Matsumoto Airport
  • FDA (Fuji Dream Airlines) 1:50
Osaka (only in August) — Matsumoto Airport
  • JAL (Japan Airlines) 1:00

From Matsumoto Airport

Matsumoto Airport — Matsumoto Bus Terminal