Conveniently located in the centre of Nagano City, Nagano Station is the busiest transport hub in the region and your gateway to Central Japan. Sitting near the midpoint of the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line, which runs from Tokyo to Kanazawa, Nagano Station is readily accessible from the capital, Karuizawa, Toyama and Kanazawa and from there, connected cities including Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka. On this page you will find the following information:
Several train lines run to and from the station along with numerous local bus services to some of the region’s most popular destinations and other cities. Built for the 1998 Winter Olympics Games, the station is the main gateway to some of the best ski resorts in Japan and the many fantastic attractions of northern Nagano. A much smaller than those of the larger cities, the station is easy to navigate and pleasant to spend time in. Visitors to the station will find it easy to navigate with train lines, bus stops, taxi stands, tourist information and other facilities including the Midori shopping plaza easy to find.
The Snow Monkey Resorts Tour Desk is less than a 2-minute walk from the station while many of our tours begin and end at the station, at the meeting point directly in front of the shinkansen ticket gates.
TRAIN LINES / SERVICES TO NAGANO STATION
Multiple train lines connect Nagano to Tokyo, Kanazawa, Matsumoto, Nagoya, ski resorts and many other popular destinations including:
For many visitors headed to Nagano, the Hokuriku Shinkansen line running from Tokyo to Kanazawa will be the most convenient mode of transport, while the Limited Express Shinano service operating on the Shinano Line connects Nagano to Matsumoto, the Kiso Valley and Nagoya. These and ther local lines also offer access to ski resorts includng Nozawa Onsen, Madarao and the resorts of Myoko Kogen. But let’s start with the most convenient of them all:
Running from Tokyo to Kanazawa via Nagano Station, the Hokuriku Shinkansen runs to the north-northwest of the capital and stops at:
Tokyo / Ueno / Omiya / Kumagaya / Honjo-Waseda / Takasaki / Annaka-Haruna / Karuizawa / Sakudaira / Ueda / Nagano / Iiyama / Joetsu-Myoko / Itoigawa / Kurobe-Unazukionsen / Toyama / Shin-Takaoka / Kanazawa*
*Different services stop and different stations however all Kagayaki, Hakutaka and Asama services stop at Nagano. Refer to our ‘Hokuriku Shinkansen Timetable’ page for the daily schedule.
Nagano sits around the midpoint of the Hokuriku Shinkansen line, which runs from Tokyo to Kanazawa. All services Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo stop at Nagano Station, with many trains operating through the day. Kagayaki, Hakutaka and Asama services all stop at Nagano, taking between 80, 90 to 95 and 100 to 110 minutes respectively. From Nagano to Kanazawa, regular Kagayaki and Hakutaka services connect the two stations in 65 and 80-90 minutes respectively. The Tsurugi service from Kanazawa only goes as far at Toyama and does not stop at Nagano.
Nagano is a small station, making the shinkansen ticket gates and platforms easy to find. When entering the station from either the Zenko-ji Entrance simply, take the escalator up to the main area of the station and walk straight past the Midori shopping plaza and up the small staircase or escalator. The shinkansen ticket office, ticket machines and ticket gates are immediately to your left. Those entering the station by the East Entrance, will see the shinkansen ticket gates, machines and office immediately to their right. Shinkansen services depart from Tracks No.11-14. Services running south, from Kanazawa to Tokyo depart from Tracks No.11-12 while services running north, from Tokyo to Kanazawa, depart from Tracks No.13-14. Passengers arriving by shinkansen will exit via the main ticket gates and find the East Exit immediately to their left and Zenkoji Exit located to their right, approximately a 1-minute walk through station. For information regarding using the shinkansen from Tokyo, please refer to our ‘How To Get To Nagano’ page. Information regarding how to book a seat can be found on our ‘How To: Shinkansen Reservations to Nagano’ page.
The JR Ticket Office – or ‘みどりの窓口’ / ‘Midori-no-madoguchi’ ) is located immediately next to the ticket gates and machines and open daily from 07:00 to 21:00. The adjoining Travel Service Center/View Plaza is open from 10:00 to 19:00 on weekdays and 10:00 to 17:30 on weekends and holidays.
NAGANO DENTETSU LINE
The Nagano Dentestu Line operates to and from Nagano Station. The line stops at popular destinations including Suzaka, Obuse and Yudanaka – the nearest station to the Jigokudani Monkey Park, Shiga Kogen Ski Resort and surrounding Joshinetsu Kogen National Park. Limited express services from Nagano to Yudanaka take approximately 45 minutes while local services take 70 to 80 minutes, depending on which train you use. To access the Nagaden train platforms at Nagano Station, simply exit the station via the Zenko-ji Exit and proceed down the escalator immediately to your right. Once at the bottom, head to your left and you will soon see the Nagaden ticket window, machines and platforms. Nagaden is a single-track line, making it easy to know which train to board.
SHINANO & KITA-SHINANO LINES
The Shinano Line connects Nagano Station to Karuizawa Station via the Shinetesu Main Line and Shinonoi Station. Visitors heading to Karuizawa or Ueda, which is also on the Shinano Line, should note that many shinkansen services also connect Nagano to those stations and are notably faster. Running from Nagano to Nagoya, the Limited Express Shinano connects Nagano to two of Central Japan’s other major cities and travel hubs – Matsumoto and Nagoya. Taking its name from the large windows which afford fantastic views of the passing landscape, the Limited Express ‘Wide View’ Shinano operates approximately once an hour and makes the journey between Nagano and Nagoya in approximately 3 hours and all services include stops at Kiso-Fukushima Station and Nakatsugawa Station – gateways to the Kiso Valley and Nakasendo. For further details including daily timetable, see our ‘Limited Express Shinano Line Timetable’ page.
The Kita-Shinano Line runs from Nagano Station to Myoko-Kogen Station and can be used in the winter to access the ski resorts of Myoko Kogen and the north-eastern reaches of Myoko-Togakushi Renzan National Park. Both train lines are accessible via the Local Line Gate with the Shinano Railway office located directly next to the ticket gates.
The ticket gates are easy to find. When entering the station from either the Zenko-ji Entrance simply, take the escalator up to the main area of the station, walk past the Midori shopping plaza, and you will see the Local Line Gate, ticket machines and ticket office immediately on your left. From the East Entrance, simply walk through the station past the shinkansen ticket gates, machines, and office and walk down the small staircase or escalator directly in front of you. The Local Line Gate, tickets machines and office are directly to your right. Passengers headed to services on the Shinano, Kita-Shinano, Shinetsu, Shinonoi or Iiyama Lines can access them via these ticket gates.
SHINETSU MAIN LINE & SHINONOI LINE
Operated by JR East, the Shinenetsu Main Line connects Nagano Station to Shinonoi Station, and from there, the Shinonoi Line runs to Matsumoto and onto Shiojiri. Services operates on Tracks No.2-7, accessible via the Local Line Gate.
The Iiyama Line connects to Nagano Station to Iiyama Station. From there, the line follows a picturesque route north toward Niigata stopping at many stations including Iiyama, Togari-Nozawaonsen, Tsunan, Tokamachi, and finally Echigo-Kawaguchi. Visitors heading to the ski resorts of Nozawa Onsen, Madarao and Togari can use this line in winter, while also noting that many shinkansen services also stop at Iiyama Station and are notably faster – 11 minutes on shinkansen opposed to 45 minutes on the Iiyama Line. All services operate on platforms accessed via the Local Line Gates. For directions to that area of the station, please refer to the directions above.
RAIL PASSES COVERING TRAVEL TO NAGANO
There is no escaping the fact that travel using the shinkansen 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 almost any service on the shinkansen lines 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
The JR East 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 & ACTIVATING 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. For full details please refer to the specific page for each pass (as listed above).
Once in Japan and prior to using your pass, you must actually get your hands on it by exchanging the order / proof of purchase you received online. This can be done a numerous JR Pass Exchange Offices found at any major train station or airport including Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, Chubu Centrair International Airport and Kansai International Airport. If you have time to do so before leaving the airport, you can use the pass immediately. Tokyo Station is another popular place to exchange and activate a JR Pass. If you are already in Nagano, you can exchange/activate your JR Pass the Travel Service Center / View Plaza. Please note, the JR Ticket Office cannot perform this service and will direct you to the adjoining Travel Service Center / View Plaza to do so.
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).
BUS LINES / SERVICES TO NAGANO STATION
Both express and local bus services operate to and from Nagano Station, connecting it to some of the best destinations in the region including:
Bus services operate from both sides of the station, accessible via the East Exit and Zenko-ji Exit. To access the bus stands outside the East Exit, simply walk-out of the station and take the elevator or stairs to your left, or walk to your right and take the escalator down to road level. Using either way look straight ahead and you will see the bus stands including buses heading to the Snow Monkey Park, Shiga Kogen and Hakuba. Local bus lines servicing the area in and around Nagano City operate outside the Zenko-ji Exit and are easy to find. Simply walk through the station and exit via the Zenko-ji Station. You will see multiple bus stands immediately in front of the station including buses for Zenko-ji Temple. Buses headed to Togakushi and Matsumoto also operate from this side of the station, but for those you will need to cross over the road and follow the directions below:
SNOW MONKEY PARK / SHIGA KOGEN
Operated by Nagaden, the Snow Monkey / Shiga Kogen Express Bus service departs from Bus Stop No.23 on the east side of the station. There are multiple services every day – with additional services available in winter – which head directly to the Jigokudani Monkey Park – approximately 40 to 45 minutes. Most services continue onto Shiga Kogen after stopping at the monkey park. Tickets are bought directly from the driver when on the bus and cost JPY1500 per adult to the monkey park and from JPY1800 to JPY2500 depending on which area of Shiga Kogen you wish to go to – payment must be made in cash.
Operated by Alpcio, the Hakuba Express Bus service operates from Bus Stop No.26 on the east side of the station – refer to the map above – and takes approximately 75 minutes to reach the Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal. Tickets are purchased at the Alpico Kotsu Ticket Office, located in the shop directly next to the escalators that head into the station. Open from 05:20 to 19:30, tickets cost JPY2000 per adult (12+), JPY1000 per child (6-11) and children under 6 are free of charge (as long as they don’t require their own seat). From the Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal, visitors have access to the multiple ski resorts of Hakuba and outside of winter, the many activities on offer in the area.
TATEYAMA-KUROBE ALPINE ROUTE
Open from mid-April until late-November, visitors to the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route can do so from Nagano Station using daily express buses. Departing from Bus Stop No.25 outside the station’s East Exit – refer to the map above – buses take around 105 minutes to reach Ogizawa Station. From Ogizawa, a series of mountain transports ascend to Murodo Station and the summit of the Alpine Route. Ogizawa Station is one of two access points to the Alpine Route, the other being Tateyama Station on the Toyama-side of the mountain range. Please note, the bus show in the image above does not operate from Nagano Station.
Operated by Nagaden, local buses to Zenko-ji Temple depart frequently from Bus Stop No.1, outside the station’s Zenko-ji Exit. Tickets are bought on the bus with a fare to the temple costing JPY150. As you board the bus via the backdoor, simply take a white ticket from the machine, which you include with your payment as you disembark the bus. The journey takes only 5 to 7 minutes. For details regarding how to use Nagaden’s local buses, please refer to our ‘Nagaden Local Bus’ page.
Operated by Alpico, local buses No.70 and 73 head to connect Nagano Station to Togakushi. Buses operate from outside of the Alpico’s office which is accessible via the stations Zenko-ji Exit. When you come out of the station you need to walk straight ahead, past the bus stands on your right. This brings you to the main crossing with a large electronic display over the road. Cross the road and walk to you left. You will see the Alpico office and bus stand directly in front of you.
Operated by Alpico, regular buses depart from Nagano throughout the day – the earliest departing at 06:38 and final bus leaving at 21:08 – and take approximately 90 minutes to reach the Matsumoto Bus Terminal / Matsumoto Station. Tickets are bought from the office – next to the bus stand as shown on the map above – and cost JPY1300 per adult (12+), JPY650 per child (6-11) with children under 6 free of charge (as long as they don’t require a seat). To locate the office and bus stand, follow the directions above. Once in Matsumoto, its a 15-minute walk from the bus terminal to Matsumoto Castle.
PRIVATE CHARTERS TO / FROM NAGANO STATION
Based in Nagano, we are the region’s No.1-rated tour and charter operator. Operating all year round, we can provide charters to any destination in Central Japan, with customised itineraries to suit your travel needs and interests. We have the expertise and experience to help you get the most out of your time in the region, including transport to and from any regional destination. Our drivers and vehicles are fully certified, allowing us to transport you to and from your preferred destinations, in combination with any activity that suits your interests and 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.
Got a question about booking a private charter from the station? Head to our ‘Charters’ main page or click on the INQUIRY button below, let us know what you need, and we’ll get back to you with a quote.
TAXIS & PUBLIC PARKING
Taxi stands are available on both sides of the station, with the greater number waiting outside the Zenko-ji Exit, on your left when you walk-out of the station. Private vehicles can pull into the same area to pick-up and drop-off people at the station however they cannot stay long. There are a limited number of parking spaces in this area – in front of the Hotlel Metropolitan – however for people wanting to park at the station, its best to head to the east side where there is a large number of underground parking spaces. Simply follow the signs to park underneath the station.
NAGANO CITY TOURIST INFORMATION CENTER
Nagano Station’s large Tourist Information Center is easy to spot. For passengers coming off the shinkansen, look to your right as you come through the ticket gates. You will see the office to your right, next to Becks Coffee. For visitors entering the station from either the Zenko-ji or East Entrances, simply head into the main area of the station and you will see the office across for the shinkansen ticket gates and office. English-speaking staff are on-hand to assist with the office usually open daily from 09:00 to 19:00. The Nagano City Tourist Information Center can be contacted on +81-(0)26-226-5626.
SNOW MONKEY RESORTS TOUR DESK
Open daily from 09:00 to 18:00, the Snow Monkey Resorts Tour Desk is less than a 2-minute walk from the station. Our English-speaking staff are on-hand for tour bookings and other related enquiries. We offer a range of group tours along with private tours and charters. Tours can be booked at the tour desk, with payment by international credit accepted. To make a booking, we suggest attending the office the day before your intended tour as we cannot guarantee that bookings can be made of the same day. Please note, that due to the impact of COVID-19 there may be days when the office is closed. We apologise for any inconvenience and hope things return to normal asap. It is also worth noting that while we conduct many tours to the park, we are not the Jigokudani Monkey Park and do not sell entry tickets for the park, Snow Monkey Passes, or express bus tickets.
1 Day Tour
|1-Day Tour: Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple & Sake in Nagano|
|Period||All Year Round|
|Time||09:35 – 17:35|
|Meeting Place||Nagano Station |
Hakuba (winter only)
For many of our tours, the meeting point is located inside Nagano Station, directly across from the shinkansen ticket gates. Please refer to the specific tour information – available through our ‘Tours’ main page – to confirm your meeting point. For many, the meet-up point will be inside the station, as shown above.
OTHER FACILITIES AT THE STATION inc. ATMs
Nagano Station has Daily News convenience stores inside the Shinkansen and Local Line ticket gates. There is an additional convenience store in the main area of the station, located next to the shinkansen ticket gates. Midori Shopping Plaza is immediately accessible from the Zenko-ji Entrance/Exit and divded into two areas over multiple floors. All areas are open by 10:00 and remain open to 19:00 to 19:30 (different restaurants and stores will close at different times). Inside Midori, visitors will find an extensive range of shops selling local produce, goods and souvenirs along with many clothing and homeware stores, a pharmacy, restaurants and cafes.
There are several ATMs inside Nagano Station that accept international cards including two directly next to the shinkansen ticket gates. One is easy to spot, directly next to the gates while the other is inside the Japan Rail Ticket Office. Another ATM is located inside the Midori shopping plaza. From the shinkansen ticket gates, walk toward the Zenko-ji Exit and when you see Midori on your left, head inside and walk past the counters. You will see a staircase leading to the floor above and outdoor walkway, to your right, leading outside. The ATM is located at that exit. All areas of Midori are not open until 10:00.
The Daily News convenience store inside the station does not have an ATM however, 7-11s located outside of both exits do. Open 24 hours a day, these ATMs accept most international cards. The 7-11 outside of the East Exit is the nearest. Simply walk out of the East Exit and head over the raised walkway. As you do, look down to road level on your left. You will see the 7-11 directly in front of you. The other 7-11 can be accessed via the Zenko-ji Exit. Once outside the station, walk directly ahead (with the bus stands on your left). Head over the intersection and to your right. You will see an road immediately to your left with a Starbucks on the right and 7-11 on the left.
Available 24 hours a day, the police are located outside the station’s Zenko-ji Exit. When you exit the station, head to your left and you will see the police located in front of the taxi stand. Nagano Station has multiple public toilets. Inside the station, there are toilets available in several areas of the Midori shopping plaza, however several areas are not open until 10:00. Alternatively, there are toilets located at road level on either side of the East Exit or outside the Zenko-ji Exit – to the left, next to the police station.
ACCOMMODATION IN & AROUND THE STATION
You have plenty of accommodation options in and around the station, most of which are large to mid-sized hotels with Western-style rooms and amenities including hotels directly accessible from within the station or with only moments walking. For accommodation listings, see our ‘Nagano City Area’ hotel page.
40 THINGS TO DO AROUND NAGANO & WHERE TO STAY
Host of the 1998 Winter Olympics, Nagano is known best for its long winter and world-class snow. Boasting the most ski resorts of any region of Japan, there is no doubt that when it comes to skiing and snowboarding, Nagano is one the best destinations in Asia. However the mountains are just as big outside of winter and offer just as many reasons to visit in spring, summer and autumn. Our ’40 Things To Do Around Nagano & Where To Stay’ page has lots of great tips and suggestions of what to do while here and the best places to stay, both in the city and nearby.
HOW TO GET TO NAGANO
As a stop on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line running from Tokyo to Kanazawa, Nagano is easy to reach from the capital and beyond with other express train lines connecting Nagano City to Matsumoto, the Kiso Valley and Nagoya. Our ‘How To Get To Nagano City’ page has everything you need to know about how to get here.
BOOK WITH US! NAGANO’S NO.1 TOUR & CHARTER OPERATOR
Based in Nagano and operating all year round, we are a registered travel agent and the region’s No.1 tour and charter operator. We have the expertise and experience to help you get the most out of your time in the region including any destination or activity listed above. We can package your trip to Nagano and Central Japan including group and private tours, ski packages, accommodation, private charters, restaurants, ticketing and more! For guests wanting to access the resorts in the comfort of their own transport, we can arrange a private tour or charter customised to fit your needs, starting and ending at any destination. 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 – whichever works best for you!
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 Nagano? Click on the INQUIRY button below or contact us and let’s get planning together!
PLAN YOUR VISIT TO JAPAN
Nagano Station is just one part of Japan’s fantastic rail network. Unfathomable in its size and efficiency, moving around the country by train is easy and comfortable opening-up all regions of Japan for exploration. Our ‘Plan Your Visit’ page has everything you need to know about visiting Japan – from tips on the best time to travel, times to avoid, entering and exiting the country, money matters, staying connected, accommodation, staying safe and healthy and plenty more to ensure that you get the most out of your time here.