Kamikochi Bus Terminal
The Kamikochi Bus Terminal is the primary access point in the valley. As such, all public bus services run to and from the terminal and almost all visitors will pass through it at some point. On this page you will find the following information:
The terminal is located around 5-minutes walk from the Kappabashi area with trails leading to the south toward Taisho-ike (Taisho Pond) and to the north toward Myojin-ike (Myojin Pond), the Tokusawa Area and the trailhead for hikes into the mountains. Multiple bus services operated by the Alpico group connect run from Matsumoto and the eastern-side of the mountains to Kamikochi, while the Nohi Bus group operates services from Takayama and the western-side.
When planning your visit to Kamikochi, it is important to note that private vehicles are not allowed into the valley meaning that you cannot drive yourself. You will need to use a bus, taxi or tour to enter – see ‘Important Access Information’ below. This makes the option of a tour attractive as it allows you to bypass the need for multiple transfers to enter Kamikochi. Based in Nagano, we are the region’s No.1 tour and charter operator offering both group and private tours along with the option of just transport and/or accommodation. For more information, scroll to the bottom of the page.
BUS SERVICES OPERATING TO/FROM THE TERMINAL
When coming to Kamikochi, you will either do so from the east / the Matsumoto-side of the mountains or from the west / the Takayama-side of the mountains. If you are using public transport all the way from Matsumoto, there are two direct buses each day – departing at 05:30 and 10:15 and taking just over 1.5 hours) however most visitors will need to make the journey by first taking a train to Shin-Shimashima Station and from there, transferring to buses headed for Kamikochi. Enroute from Matsumoto and Shin-Shimashima Station, all buses will stop at the Sawando Bus Terminal, which adjoins the nearest large parking to Kamikochi on its eastern side. If you are driving yourself to Kamikochi, you will need to park here and board the bus for the final part of the journey:
MATSUMOTO STATION TO KAMIKOCHI
There are only two bus services running direct from Matsumoto Station to the Kamikochi Bus Terminal each day. Departing at 05:30 and 10:15 respectively, they take 1.5 hours to reach Kamikochi stopping at Shin-Shimashima Station, Sawando Bus Terminal and other stops along the way. If you cannot use those two services, you will first need to take the train from Matsumoto Station to Shin-shimashima Station and then transfer onto the bus. The earliest train departs around 06:30 with services departing every 1 to 1.5 hours through the day. Once at Shin-Shimashima, board the bus for Kamikochi – a total journey time of around 100-minutes.
The direct bus from Matsumoto to Kamikochi costs: Adult (12+) JPY2570 & Children (6-11) JPY1290 one-way. The combination of train and bus costs slightly more: Adult JPY2710 & Children JPY1360. For the journey from Kamikochi to Matsumoto, there are no direct bus services meaning you will need to take the bus to Shin-shimashima Station and transfer to the train. The first service departs from the Kamikochi Bus Terminal at 07:50 and the final service departs at 17:30. The total journey time to Matsumoto is around 2-hours with the same pricing as above: Adult JPY2710 & Children JPY1360. Infants (0-5) can travel for free but will not be allocated a seat.
SAWANDO BUS TERMINAL TO KAMIKOCHI
If you are driving yourself, it is important to note that you cannot drive into Kamikochi meaning you will need to park outside and take the bus or a taxi for the final leg of the journey. When approaching from the east, the parking area adjoining the Sawando Bus Terminal is the last, large place to do so. From the Sawando Bus Terminal, services operate to Kamikochi every 30-minutes from 05:00 until 15:30 daily. From Kamikochi to Sawando, services operate every 30-minutes from 08:15 until 16:45 daily. The journey takes 30-minutes either way. One-way: Adult JPY1300 (12+) & Children (6-11) JPY650 / Return: Adult JPY2400 & Children JPY1200. Infants (0-5) can travel for free but will not be allocated a seat.
TAKAYAMA NOHI BUS CENTER TO KAMIKOCHI
Visitors approaching Kamikochi from the west, will almost certainly do so via Takayama. The Nohi Bus group operates services from Takayama to Kamikochi via Hirayu Onsen. Takayama Bus Terminal is located next to Takayama Station – pictured above. The earliest service departs at 06:00 and latest departs at 18:40. Buses operate between every 30 to 60-minutes depending on the time of day, with the journey to Hirayu Onsen taking around 1-hour. Once at Hirayu Onsen, you can transfer onto the bus headed for the Kamikochi Bus Terminal – another 30-minutes. Services from Hirayu Onsen depart every 30-minutes and if your arrival and departure times line-up, the total journey from Takayama to Kamikochi should take 1.5 to 2-hours. From Kamikochi Bus Terminal, services run from 07:00 to 18:00, departing every 30-minutes for Hirayu Onsen, and from Hirayu Onsen, the earliest service bound for Takayama departs at 06:55 and the latest leaves at 18:40. A one-way fare from Takayama to Kamikochi (or in reverse) costs: Adult (12+) JPY2650 & Children (6-11) JPY1330 while a return fare costs: Adult JPY5130 & Children JPY2570. Infants (0-5) can travel for free but will not be allocated a seat.
HIRAYU ONSEN BUS TERMINAL TO KAMIKOCHI
As explained above, if you are coming to Kamikochi by bus from Takayama, or headed to Takayama by bus from Kamikochi, you will need to transfer services at the Hirayu Onsen Bus Terminal. The process is easy and attendants are on-hand at the terminal to assist you if needs be. For visitors heading to Kamikochi by car, this is the last area that you can park before heading into the valley. The Akanda Parking Area is located nearby the bus terminal and is intended for visitors heading into Kamikochi.
Once you have parked here, you can board the bus at the Akanda Bus Stop for the final leg of your journey into Kamikochi. The earliest services depart Akanda at 04:50 and Hirayu Onsen at 05:00 and run every 30-minutes through the day, with the latest buses bound for Kamikochi departing at 17:50 and 18:00 respectively. As stated above, services run from Kamikochi Bus Terminal from 07:00 to 18:00, departing every 30-minutes for Hirayu Onsen and then Akanda. A one-way ticket from Hirayu Onsen or Akanda to Kamikochi (or the reverse trip) costs: Adult JPY1180 & Children JPY590 or return: Adult JPY2090 & Children JPY1050. Infants (0-5) can travel for free but will not be allocated a seat.
FACILITIES AT THE BUS TERMINAL
The terminal is a large building housing the ticket office and adjoining Kamikochi Information Center, shops and restaurants. Coin lockers are available at the terminal with the ticket office open daily from 06:00 until 17:00. There is a taxi stand next to the terminal and large public toilets directly across from the terminal.
Several hotels and the Konashidaira campsite are within easy walking distance of the bus terminal, making this the most popular area to stay. For more information about the accommodation on offer, see below.
15 THINGS TO DO IN KAMIKOCHI & WHERE TO STAY
Kamikochi is one of Japan’s most captivating outdoor destinations. Following the Azusa River, the alpine valley has leisurely walking trails leading to iconic views of natural features including Taisho-ike, Myojin-ike and multiple mountains including Mount Yakedake, Mount Yari and most famously, the triple-peaked Mount Hotaka. Our ’15 Things To Do In Kamikochi & Where To Stay’ page has lots of great tips and suggestions of things to do and see, including accommodation listings, in and around Kamikochi.
HOW TO GET TO KAMIKOCHI
Many if not most visitors heading to Kamikochi will do so via Matsumoto – when approaching from the east – or Takayama – when approaching from the west. Our ‘How To Get To Kamikochi’ page has everything you need to know about getting there from Matsumoto, Takayama, Nagano, Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and beyond.
IMPORTANT ACCESS INFORMATION
In order to the limit traffic moving into and through the valley and thus preserve the environment, private vehicles are not permitted to enter Kamikochi. This rule is strictly enforced and means that visitors must use authorised vehicles including taxis, coaches or a tour company to enter the valley – at least for the final leg of their journey to the Kamikochi Bus Terminal. Any unauthorised vehicle attempting to enter Kamikochi will be turned away at the entrance. Visitors can choose to drive themselves as far as the one of the public car parks outside of Kamikochi – located between 15 to 30 minutes before the entrance – but must then use a bus, taxi or appropriately registered vehicle to enter the valley. From the public car parks, regular buses or taxis transport visitors to and from Kamikochi.
|1-Day Tour: Wasabi-Picking Experience & Kamikochi Alpine Valley|
|Period||May to November|
|Time||09:00 – 18:30|
|Meeting Place||Matsumoto Station|
|Price||¥120,000 ~ / group|
|1-Day Highlights of Central Japan Tour: Matsumoto Castle & Kamikochi Alpine Valley|
|Period||May to November|
|Time||10:00 – 18:30|
|Meeting Place||Matsumoto Station|
|Price||¥120,000 ~ / group|
Want to avoid the hassle to multiple transfers to reach Kamikochi? The quickest and most comfortable way to access Kamikochi directly from Nagano is on one of our group tours. Led by an English-speaking guide, our tour transports you directly into Kamikochi without the need for transfer on the way. We can also arrange private tours and charter to Kamikochi from Nagano or any other destination.
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Operating all year round, we are Nagano’s No.1-rated tour and charter operator, offering a range of services including group tours, private tours and charters. We can arrange transport including a private vehicle and driver, along with an English-speaking guide, to transport to, from and between any destinations in the region including Kamikochi.
Our drivers and vehicles are fully certified, allowing us to transport you directly to and from Kamikochi without the need to transfer onto public buses and in combination with any activity that suits your schedule. All vehicles are fitted with a protective screen – separating the driver from passenger and luggage area – and our drivers wear protective masks, allowing you to move between your destinations in comfort and safety.
We can arrange both private tours with an English-speaking guide or a private charter, including a private vehicle and driver but without a guide. We’d love to be part of your adventure in Central Japan and help you discover even more!
Why choose us?
Awarded a 2022 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award for our 1-Day Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple & Sake Tour – recognised as one of the Top 10 Experiences in Japan – we have the local knowledge and experience to help you get the most out of your time in Nagano and Central Japan.
Got a question about visiting Kamikochi? Contact us and let’s get planning together!