Openned in 2015, Iiyama Station is a relatively new addition to the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line which runs from Tokyo to Kanazawa, via Nagano. Iiyama Station is small and basic to navigate.
Split over two levels, the ground-floor include the tourist information center, a convenience store, a waiting area and toilets, and car rental outside the South Exit.
Access to all train lines is via the second floor which also has a small café.
Most international visitors coming to and from Iiyama Station do so on their way to the nearby ski resorts of Nozawa Onsen, Madarao/Tangaram and Togari Onsen.
As a stop on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line, visitors can come to Iiyama directly from Tokyo and then switch to bus lines (as detailed below) onto Nozawa or Madarao, or onward local train to Togari.
Train lines running to and from Iiyama Station
Two train lines service Iiyama: the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line and the local Iiyama Line. Of those, the Hokuriku Shinkansen and Hokuriku Main Line will be of most interest to international visitors:
Hokuriku Shinkansen / Tokyo to Kanazawa via Iiyama Station
Running from Tokyo Station to Kanazawa Station – via Nagano Station – the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line is the main transport route used by visitors coming to and from the region. It includes stops at the following stations:
Tokyo / Ueno / Omiya / Kumagaya / Honjo-Waseda / Takasaki / Annaka-Haruna / Karuizawa / Sakudaira / Ueda / Nagano / Iiyama / Joetsu-Myoko / Itoigawa / Kurobe-Unazukionsen / Toyama / Shin-Takaoka / Kanazawa
There are four different services on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line – the Kagayaki, Hakutaka, Asama and Tsurugi. It is important to note that the Hakutaka is the only service that stops at Iiyama Station. If Iiyama is your intended destination, you must therefore us the Hakutaka.
From Tokyo Station, the Hakutaka takes between 100 to 110 minutes to reach Iiyama (depending on the specific train use choose) and costs JPY8250 one-way. It takes approximately 75 minutes / JPY6710 to reach Iiyama from Kanazawa Station.
For visitors already in Nagano City, Iiyama Station is the next stop heading north on the Hokuriku Shinkansen. It takes only 11 minutes and costs JPY1390 from Nagano Station.
To see the daily train schedule, please refer to our ‘Hokuriku Shinkansen Line Timetable’ page.
Iiyama Station is also serviced by the local Iiyama Line. The line connects to Nagano Station – via Toyono Station – and then runs the 19.2km route to Iiyama.
From Iiyama, the line continues north all the way to Echigo-Kawaguchi Station in Niigata. Enroute, it stops at Togari-Nozawaonsen Station, the nearest station Togari Onsen Ski Resort.
Using the Iiyama Line, it takes 45 minutes / JPY550 to reach Iiyama Station from Nagano Station, or 57 minutes / JPY730 to reach Togari-Nozawaonsen Station from Nagano Station From Iiyama Station to Togari-Nozawaonsen Station takes only 11 minutes /JPY210 for visitors transferring from the Hokuriku Line to the Iiyama Line.
All services listed above are covered by all three Japan Rail passes.
Japan Rail (JR) Passes covering travel to Iiyama Station
There is no escaping the fact that travel using the shinkansen and other rapid services is expensive. Given the speed and distances covered by these trains, travelers should think of them much like taking a flight, with tickets accordingly priced. International visitors to Japan have the option of purchasing one of several passes which allow for unlimited use of the Hokuriku along with other services:
Japan Rail (JR) Pass
Covering all 9 shinkansen lines in Japan and many other train services, the JR Pass is a great option for visitors planning to use the shinkansen more than a handful of times and/or travel large distances. Travelers have the option of 7, 14 and 21-day passes covering either Ordinary or Ordinary and Green Cars.
The JR Pass allows for use of any service on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line at no additional cost but noting that should holders wish to have a reserved seat, they are still required to book a seat at the ticket office (at no additional cost).
Japan Rail (JR) East Pass/ Nagano & Niigata
This pass covers the Hokuriku and Joetsu Shinkansen lines serving Nagano and Niigata, along with other regional services. There is only one option of pass, covering 5 days of use within a 14-day period from its date of activation.
Notably cheaper than the JR Pass, this is a great option for visitors staying within Nagano and Niigata. Much like the JR Pass, it allows for use of any service on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line at no additional cost but noting that should holders wish to have a reserved seat, they are still required to book a seat at the ticket office (at no additional cost).
Hokuriku Arch Pass
Valid for 7 consecutive days from date of activation, the Hokuriku Arch Pass covers train services from Tokyo – including trains from both Narita and Haneda Airports – to Nagano and Kanazawa and then onto Kyoto, Osaka and Kansai Airport.
For many international visitors, this pass covers the majority of their intended destinations as the they follow the most popular tourist route from Tokyo to Kanazawa and onto Kyoto and Osaka. Notably cheaper than the full JR Pass, the Hokuriku Arch Pass offers fantastic convenience and savings.
Purchasing a JR Pass
Passes can be purchased via the official website or via a JR-affiliated overseas sales office. Once you have completed payment, you will receive an exchange order. This is a proof of payment and looks almost like a flight ticket with your personal details, type of pass, and validity (three months from the date of issue).
It is important to note that the exchange order is not your actual pass and will need to be exchanged for your pass once in Japan. Whatever you do, do not lose the exchange order and prioritise exchanging it for your pass when you arrive.
Activating a JR Pass
The Japan Rail passes listed above are valid for travel to and from Iiyama Station. Before using a pass, it must first be exchanged/activated. It is important to note that JR passes cannot be exchanged/activated at Iiyama. Exchanging/activating the pass can however be done at numerous offices located at airports – including Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, Chubu Centrair International Airport and Kansai International Airport – and major train stations throughout Japan.
If you have the time, we recommend activating your pass while at the airport. Otherwise, passes can also be activated at these stations on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line: Tokyo Station / Nagano Station / Kanazawa Station.
To exchange/activate your pass you will need your exchange order and passport. Make sure you allow adequate time to exchange and activate your pass if you are intending to use it on the same day or do so a day or two before you plan to start using it (you can always nominate a later activation date). Once you have your activated pass you are free to ride however you can’t insert your pass into the ticket gates. Simply walk through the side booth (permanently attended by station staff) and show your pass. You will be waved through and you can make your way to the platform.
Bus services running to and from Iiyama Station
From the station, several bus lines connect Iiyama to the Jigokudani Monkey Park and nearby ski resorts:
Jigokudani Monkey Park
In winter, the Nagaden Shiga Kogen Express bus operates twice daily to the monkey park. One service a day also heads to Nozawa Onsen:
The return schedule is as follows:
A one-way ticket is JPY1000 paid directly to the driver.
The popular ski resort of Nozawa Onsen can be reached using an express bus or local bus from Iiyama Station. The Nozawa Onsen Liner runs directly from Iiyama Station to the resort, ending at the Chuo Bus Terminal in the middle of Nozawa. It takes 25 minutes and costs JPY600 per adult / JPY300 per child – paid directly to the driver:
From Nozawa to Iiyama Station, the following schedule operates in winter:
Alternatively, the Nagaden Nozawa Line also connects the station to the resort via Kijima – near Kijimadaira Ski Resort – taking just over 40 minutes to reach Nozawa and costing JPY700 per adult / JPY350 per child one-way:
The following schedule operates from Nozawa Grand Hotel:
Known for its powder bowls and tree runs, Madarao is another popular resort in winter. Nagaden operates the following buses from the station to the resort, with a couple of services each day also connecting to Nozawa Onsen and Tangaram – a resort which connects to Madarao.
A one-way journey from Iiyama to Madarao takes approximately 30 minutes and costs JPY700 per adult / JPY350 per child:
The following services return from Madarao to Iiyama Station:
Please note, that two services a day connect Madarao and Nozawa Onsen in winter. Often referred to as the ‘NoToMa Express Line’, the service from Madaro to Nozawa – or in the opposite direction – will costs JPY1200 per adult / JPY600 per child.
Outside of winter, the Nagaden Madarao Bus only operates during Golden Week (May 2 to 6) and the summer holiday (July 23 to August 31) at the same cost of JPY700 per adult / JPY350 per child:
Three buses return to Iiyama Station each time at the following times:
If you want to visit Madarao outside of those dates, taxis are available at Iiyama Station. All bus services and taxis operate outside the station’s Chikumagawa/Main Exit – it is a small station, so you really can’t miss it. For further information about using Nagaden’s local buses, please refer to our ‘Nagaden Local Bus’ page.
Tourist Information Center & Shinetsu-Shizenkyo Activity Center
The station’s Tourist Information Center is located on the ground-floor. Open every day from 08:30 until 18:00, staff can general enquiries, transport enquiries, timetables and maps, accommodation bookings and luggage storage and delivery.
English-speaking staff are usually available to assist.
Located next to the Tourist Information Center, the Shinetsu-Shizenkyo Activity Center (SSAC) provides a range of rental gear bicycles and outdoor equipment including walking boots, clothing, backpacks, tents and camping gear. In winter, specialist gear is also available. The SSAC is also open every day from 08:30 to 18:00.
The News Day convenience store inside the station has an ATM. Alternatively, there is a 7-11 located around 3-minutes walk from the Main Exit. Open 24 hours a day, 7-11 ATMs are your best bet when using international cards. Should the News Day be closed or their ATM doesn’t accept your card, head over to the 7-11 and you should be fine.
Book a Private Tour or Charter from/to Iiyama
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