If you want to jump on a local bus, staff at the tourist office across from the ticket gates inside of Matsumoto Station can point you in the right direction.
They can help you figure out which route to take and where to get on and off. You can ask the driver to tell you where to get off, too. Some buses announce the names of stops and others display the names in English as they go, and some have ”no-step” access. Predictably, schedules are very reliable! Unfortunately, last buses tend to be very early in the evening.
Where to Board
Buses depart from the Castle (East) Exit except for the western route of the excursion bus “Town Sneaker.”
See here for the detailed station layout.
Matsumoto Bus Terminal
Matsumoto Bus Terminal is located diagonally across the road from the station in the building that says ALPICO in large white letters on its side. The company Alpico runs the local buses and the Town Sneaker as well as the expressway buses.
The ticket counter is located on the 1st floor. Tickets can be purchased there from the counter or vending machines.
The bus boarding area is located through the doors past the ticket counter and waiting area. The lane directly in front of you is for city buses. The second lane behind that is for buses to Takayama and highway buses. Be aware that it will take you extra time to reach the buses departing for Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka in particular. (You can reach lane 2 quicker if you stay outside and bypass the ticket counter.) See the layout of the facility (in Japanese).
How To Ride
Boarding the bus
Board the bus from the rear door.
Take a numbered ticket when boarding — grasp it tightly.
During the bus ride
Please take a seat when possible, but be courteous and offer up your seat to pregnant women, the elderly, and passengers with disabilities.
Getting off the bus
On the bus, the name of the next stop is displayed at the front of the bus (often in English as well) and announced (sometimes in English, too). When you hear your bus stop announced, press the button.
Those who don’t have a multi-use ticket must check the fare on the fare chart at the front of the bus and put in fare and the numbered ticket; dump cash in the hi-tech tumble dryer thingy.
The change machine is located next to the driver (¥5,000 and ¥10,000 bills are not accepted).
See more details on Alpico’s English homepage.
Inner City Excursion Loop Bus “Town Sneaker”
For your sightseeing convenience, there are four inner city loop lines (North, South, East, and West). The buses themselves are disguised as “Town Sneakers” and cost ¥150 or ¥200 depending on the route.
NORTH for Matsumoto Castle, the Former Kaichi School
Weekdays: Departs every 30 minutes! Weekends: Departs every 20 minutes!
First bus: 8:30 am Last bus: 5:15 pm
SOUTH (for Aizawa Hospital, Yumehiroba Shonai)
Departs every 30 minutes!
First bus: 7:30 am Last bus: 6:35 pm
EAST (for Nakamachi, Agata-no-mori)
Departs every 20 minutes!
First bus: 8:40 am Last bus: 8:00 pm
WEST (short course for Marunouchi Hospital & Regional Pref. Gov. Office (Godochosha), long course for the Japan Ukiyo-e Museum)
Departs every 30 minutes!
First bus: 8:10 am Last bus: 6:40 pm
Outer City Routes
Some buses do not operate during the winter, so please make sure you check that the bus you would like to board is in service during the winter.
Routes & timetables