HOW TO GET TO AZUMINO FROM THE SNOW MONKEY PARK
There is more than one way to get to the Azumino area from the Snow Monkey Park using public transportation. Keep reading to the different options and decide what best fits your schedule. For ideas about what to do in Azumino, check out our 15 Things To Do In Azumino article.
Getting from the Snow Monkey Park to Nagano via Public Transportation
Local Bus + Train
With this method, you will take a local bus to Yudanaka Station, the nearest train station from the Snow Monkey Park. There are two bus stops near the park: the Snow Monkey bus stop and the Kanbayashi Onsen bus stop. If you use the Snow Monkey bus stop, take the Shiga Kogen Bus Line to Yudanaka Station. From the Kanbayashi Onsen bus stop, take the Kanbayashi Bus Line to the Yudanaka Station. From Yudanaka Station, take the Nagano Dentetsu (Nagaden) Line to the Nagano Station. We recommend taking the limited express train (either the Snow Monkey Express or the Yukemuri Express train), which will get you all the way to Nagano Station without any transfers in 45 to 50 minutes.
The other option is the take the local train from Yudanaka Station, which will take around 70 minutes and requires a transfer at Shinano-Nakano Station.
You can take an express bus directly from the Snow Monkey Park to Nagano Station, which takes approximately 55 minutes depending on traffic and road conditions. This option is more convenient since you don’t need to transfer. The only drawback is that road is much less scenic than the train ride.
Nagano Station to the Azumino Area
Once you get to Nagano Station, you have two options to get the Azumino area.
JR Train to Akashina Station in Azumino + Local Bus to Sightseeing Areas
This option lets you take the JR train straight to the Azumino area but requires a ride on a local bus or taxi to get the popular sightseeing spots. From Nagano Station, simply take the Sinonoi Line train to Akashina Station, which takes about one hour. Akashina Station is a bit far from the major points of interest in Azumino but during the peak sightseeing seasons (late April to early November), you can catch a local sightseeing bus from the station to places like the Daio Wasabi Farm, local art museums, and the Hotaka Station area. The bus operates differently depending on the exact dates, so you may want to check the schedule here beforehand. Another option would be to take a taxi if for some reason the bus times do not work out.
JR Train to Hotaka Station in Azumino via Matsumoto
This option takes longer, but allows you to go take the train to Azumino’s main station, Hotaka Station, and is a good choice if you want to make a stop in Matsumoto first.
You can take either the Wide View Shinano limited express train or the JR local Shinonoi Line train to Matsumoto. The Wide View Shinano will get you to Matsumoto in 48 minutes but costs more. The local train will take about 1 hour and 15 minutes to Matsumoto but costs less and if you have a JR Pass, you can ride this train at no extra charge, unlike the limited express.
At Matsumoto Station, transfer to the JR Oito Line train and take it to Hotaka Station, which takes about 25 minutes. At Hotaka Station, you’ll have plenty of local transportation options that you can use to explore Azumino, including renting bicycles, using the local sightseeing bus, or using special taxi coupons.