Shinjuku is one of many major stations in Tokyo but can also lay claim to being the busiest station in the world. It is estimated that 3.5 million people pass through the station every day.
With many train lines operating to and from Shinjuku and heavy traffic every day, the station is immense and can be confusing to navigate. The station has an endless array of facilities including sprawling shopping areas, many restaurants and hotels.
The following information is intended for visitors coming through Shinjuku on enroute to Nagano and Central Japan. It only touches the surface of everything we could cover about the station but we hope it assists in making your transfer there, as easy and smooth as possible.
Train services to/from Shinjuku Station
While many train lines from to and from the station, Shinjuku does not have a shinkansen line. To access Japan’s shinkansen or ‘Bullet Train’ network from Shinjuku, you will need to head to Tokyo Station.
To do so the Yamanote Line, Chuo Line Rapid Service or Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line will be the most convenient option. They journey takes between 13 and 18 minutes and costs JPY200. Once at Tokyo, multiple shinkansen lines are readily accessible.
Chuo Main Line
Running from Shinjuku Station, the Chuo Main Line connects the capital to Central Japan. It is a primary route to head to and from Central Japan, allowing visitors to head to Mount Fuji before moving onto destinations including Matsumoto and beyond.
Two convenient services operate on the Chuo Main Line:
1 / the Limited Express Azusa: running from Shinjuku to Matsumoto, visitors can transfer to this service at stations including Kofu and Hachioji.
2 / the Limited Express Kaiji: running from Shinjuku to Kofu, connects to the Fujikyu Railway Line via Otsuki Station.
For further details, refer to the information below. Both services are covered by both the full Japan Rail (JR) Pass.
Limited Express Azusa
Running from Shinjuku Station to Matsumoto Station, the Limited Express Azusa service stops at the following stations:
Shinjuku / Tachikawa / Hachioji /Otsuki**/ Kofu / Kobuchizawa / Fujimi / Chino / Kami-Suwa / Shimo-Suwa / Okaya / Shiojiri / Matsumoto*
*Please note, stations marked in bold / red on the map are stops on all services. Those not marked in bold are only serviced by certain services throughout the day. Some services extend to stop prior to Shinjuku Station – including Chiba – Funabashi – Kinshicho / Tokyo – and after Matsumoto Station – including Toyoshina – Hotaka – Shinano-Omachi – Hakuba – Minami-Otari.
**While some Azusa services stop at Otsuki Station allowing passengers to transfer to the Fujikyu Railway Line headed to Mount Fuji, most services do not. To reach Otsuki it will usually be easiest to transfer from the Azusa and either Hachioji or Kofu and take the Limited Express Kaiji service onto Otsuki.
The journey from Shinjuku to Matsumoto takes around 170 minutes and costs JPY6620. There are frequent services throughout the day, typically one or two each hour. Refer to our ‘Limited Express Azusa Timetable’ page for the daily schedule. Train include both reserved and non-reserved seats.
Limited Express Kaiji
Most Limited Express Kaiji services run to and from Shinjuku Station and Kofu Station however it should be noted that a couple of services each day start from Tokyo Station and continue onto Ryuo Station.
*Please note, all listed stations – marked in red on the map – are stops on all services. For further information, please refer to our ‘Limited Express Kaiji’ page.
Reaching Central from Shinjuku Station
When heading to Nagano and Central Japan from Shinjuku, visitors have two easy options: 1. using the Limited Express directly to Matsumoto Station or 2. using the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Nagano Station.
The most direct way to access Central Japan from Shinjuku Station is via Matsumoto Station.
To do so, use the Limited Express Azusa – as described above.
Nagano City is readily accessible from Tokyo Station using the Hokuriku Shinkansen. To access the shinkansen from Shinjuku Station, take the Yamanote Line, Chuo Line Rapid Service or Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line – as described above – and once at Tokyo, switch to the Hokuriku Shinkansen – all services stop at Nagano Station.
Japan Rail (JR) Passes covering travel to/from Shinjuku
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 on many services, starting with the full:
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 includes use of the Tokaido Shinkansen Line – other than Nozomi services – 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
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 Kansai International Airport serving Osaka, Chubu Centrair International Airport serving Nagoya, along with Narita Airport and Haneda Airport in Tokyo.
While at Shinjuku Station, passes can also be exchanged/activated at these offices:
JR East Travel Service Center (New South Gate): 08:00 to 19:00
JR East Travel Service Center (East Gate): 08:00 to 19:00 (18:00 on weekends & holidays)
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.
Hakuba Express Bus from/to Shinjuku Station, Tokyo
During winter, Alpico operates daily services to and from the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal (adjoining Shinjuku Station) in Tokyo. From Shinjuku, the earliest service departs at 07:35 and the latest departs at 23:05. Buses take just under 5.5 hours to make the journey and cost JPY5200 per adult (12+), JPY2600 per child (6-11) and children under 6 are free of charge.
These are large buses with room for up to 44 passengers and plenty of luggage space underneath for suitcases along with ski and snowboard gear. Tickets are bought at the ticket desk inside the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal. For full details, please refer to Alpico’s timetables and fares page.
Shinjuku Station Tourist Information
Tourist Information is located on the 3rd floor on the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal, approximately 1-minute walk outside the New South Exit. Open daily 06:30 to 23:00, full-time English, Chinese and Korean-speaking staff are on-hand to assist with ticketing, general any tourism, accommodation and transport-related enquiries.
Accommodation In & Around the Station
Visitors coming through Shinjuku Station might want to consider staying in or nearby the station. As one of Japan’s major train stations, there are many options surrounding the station including hotels directly accessible from inside the station – a great option to avoid having to carry luggage with you and when using the Limited Express Azusa to move to and from Central Japan. For hotel bookings in and around the station, please refer to the following accommodation listings in the ‘Shinjuku Station Area’.
Book a Private Charter from/to Tokyo
Based in Nagano, Snow Monkey Resorts is the region’s No.1-rated tour and charter operator. Operating all year round, we can provide charters to any destination including Nagoya, 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.
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 from Shinjuku? Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get planning together!