Oito Line inc. Hakuba Train Services
Running from Matsumoto Station to Minami-Otari Station, the Oito Line covers approximately 70km including Hokata Station in Azumino and Hakuba Station, one of the main transport hubs when accessing the ski resorts of Hakuba Valley and other regional activities and destinations through spring, summer and autumn.
Some services continue onto Itoigawa Station in Niigata and in doing so, connect Matsumoto, Azumino and Hakuba to Japan’s north coast; while some services also continue to the south of Matsumoto, heading to Shiojiri. The line is extremely picturesque, worth experiencing in its own right.
From Matsumoto Station, expect the following travel times to:
Hotaka Station 25 minutes / JPY330
Hakuba Station 95 to 120 minutes / JPY1170
Minami-Otari Station 115 to 130 minutes / JPY1340
Itoigawa Station 185 to 200 minutes / JPY1980
The West Japan Railway Company (JR West) operates the line from Matsumoto to Minami-Otari, while the East Japan Railway Company (JR East) operates the line running north of Minami-Otari to Itoigawa.
OITO LINE TIMETABLE
Most international visitors will use the Oito Line to move to and from Azumino and Hakuba. To check train schedules to those and other stations on the Oito Line, please refer to the JR West timetable page.
POPULAR DESTINATIONS ON THE OITO LINE
Running to and from Matsumoto, the Oito Line connects one of Central Japan’s most historic and enjoyable cities with several other popular destinations. Home to Matsumoto Castle – one of Japan’s last remaining original castles and a registered National Treasure – the city attracts visitors from all over the world. A city of historic importance and with a strong ‘samurai’ heritage, Matsumoto is also home to thriving arts scene along with great shopping, food scene and nightlife.
It might be the castle that attracts visitors but it is all the other trimmings that make Matsumoto so popular. For suggestions and information about what’s on offer in the city, see our ’25 Things To Do In & Around Matsumoto’ page.
Heading out of the city on the Oito Line, visitors can access the beautiful rural enclave of Azumino via Hotaka Station. Sitting in the shadow of the North Alps, Azumino is known for its pleasant vistas, abundant farmlands, museums and galleries, and hot spring town of Hotaka Onsen-kyo. Enjoyable at any time of year, Azumino is perhaps at its best from spring to autumn, when visitors can enjoy the produce of local farms, festivals, and cycling from gallery to gallery along the Azumino Art Line.
For further information about everything the region has to offer, see our ’20 Things To Do In & Around Azumino’ page. Further along the Oito Line, Hakuba Station is one of the primary gateways to the ski resorts of Hakuba Valley and the many spring, summer and winter activities on offer in the area.
Ten ski resorts make-up the ‘Hakuba Valley’ – an area that can lay claim to being Central Japan’s most popular and international ski destination. Having hosted several events during the 1998 Winter Olympics and subsequent World Cup events, Hakuba’s pedigree is evident and with so many resorts in the area, skiers and snowboarders are spoiled for choice!
Hugely popular in winter, Hakuba is also quickly establishing itself as Central Japan’s premier summer destination. Numerous ‘green season’ activities are on offer including some of Japan’s best hiking and mountaineering, rafting, kayaking and canoeing, hot air ballooning and much, much more!
Our ’25 Things To Do In & Around Hakuba’ page has lots of great info, including tips and suggestions, of what’s on offer all year round.
BOOK WITH US! TRANSPORT, TOURS, ACCOMMODATION & MORE IN NAGANO!
Snow Monkey Resorts is Nagano’s No.1 tour and charter operator. We have the local knowledge of where and when to go, to help you discover and enjoy the region’s many ski resorts and other fantastic destinations and activities.
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 including from/to Nagano Station and any resort in the region. 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 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 that experience and help you discover even more!
Why choose us?
Awarded a 2019 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.
Got a question about visiting Nagano and Central Japan this winter? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get planning together!
JAPAN RAIL DEALS: TRAVEL PASSES & DISCOUNTED TICKETS
Many if not most people traveling around Japan to do so by making use of the fantastic rail network and that covers the entire country, including to and from Nagano and Central Japan.
Any foreign passport-holder – both international visitors and foreign residents of Japan – is eligible for the ‘Japan Rail (JR) East Pass’ for Nagano & Niigata. Covering 5 days of unlimited use within a 14-day period, the pass includes travel on both the Hokuirku Shinkansen and Joetsu Shinkansen lines – a great deal if you’re planning to move between the regions while here.
In addition, JR East offers a 3-Day ‘Welcome Pass’ for foreign passport-holders. The pass covers multiple shinkansen lines and other major train routes – a fantastic deal and great option for getting to and moving around Central Japan.
Japan Rail is currently also offering discounted prices on many train services, including shinkansen lines across the country. With discounts of up to 50% available when purchasing online, our ‘Discount Shinkansen Tickets: How to Buy Online’ page includes an English step-by-step guide of how to purchase tickets online.