Train & Bus From Matsumoto to Kamikochi
The Alpico Group Company, commonly referred as ALPICO, operates most of the local and intercity Highland Express buses running in and out of Matsumoto City. In addition, ALPICO connects Matsumoto Station with the popular alpine destination of Kamikochi via an efficient combination of trains and comfortable coaches.
Sitting 1,500 meters above sea level, the alpine valley of Kamikochi is a veritable jewel among the towering and rugged peaks of the northern Japanese Alps. Located along the route connecting Nagano and Gifu Prefectures, Kamikochi makes for a fantastic day trip whether you return to Matsumoto after your visit or continue on to Takayama on the other side of the mountains. Either way, ALPICO – working in tandem with the Nohi Bus Company of Takayama – has you covered the entire way.
Check the following links for all the information you need.
TRAIN & BUS FROM MATSUMOTO TO KAMIKOCHI
Private cars are not permitted to enter Kamikochi, though it is possible to drive up to the Sawando Bus Terminal, park your car, and take a shuttle bus in. Otherwise, unless you plan on hiking or biking in (laborious but free) or taking a taxi (quick and very expensive) you’ll travel from Matsumoto to this alpine playground via train and/or bus, both of them run by ALPICO.
Two buses run directly from the Matsumoto Bus Terminal to Kamikochi. All seats on these buses are reservation-only. Outside of these two buses, your journey to Kamikochi involves both train and bus. Your journey starts at Matsumoto Station where you’ll jump on ALPICO’s Kamikochi Rail Line.
At Shin-Shimashima Station (the end of the line, you can’t miss it) you’ll switch to a bus for a winding and scenic journey up into the mountains. Trains on the Kamikochi Line and Kamikochi-bound buses departing from Shin-Shimashima are all non-reserved.
The Kamikochi Line train departs Matsumoto Station from Track 7. Buses to Kamikochi depart from right in front of Shin-Shimashima Station. Station attendants are generally present to politely guide you on your way, so there’s no problem making your connection.
Kamikochi Line trains depart Matsumoto Station twelve times daily for the thirty-minute trip to Shin-Shimashima Station. Buses for Kamikochi generally depart from Shin-Shimashima Station approximately ten minutes after the train arrives. The bus ride up to Kamikochi takes about an hour.
The return trip from Kamikochi to Matsumoto likewise involves a bus ride down to Shin-Shimashima and a train into Matsumoto, with a fifteen to twenty minute wait in between. Note that all return buses are reservation-only, with reservations made online or at the Kamikochi Bus Terminal.
Also be aware that buses running between Matsumoto and Takayama do not stop at Kamikochi. If you wish to visit Kamikochi on your way over the mountains you must purchase two separate tickets, one to Kamikochi and one from Kamikochi.
And hey, Kamikochi isn’t the only alpine playground around. A few buses departing Shin-Shimashima run to Norikura. If you are going to Kamikochi you can still take a Norikura-bound bus, just transfer buses at the Sawando Bus Terminal. Piece of cake.
FARES & TIMETABLE
The direct reserved bus from Matsumoto Station to Kamikochi is 2,570 yen one-way for adults, 1,290 yen for children ages 6 – 11. Children under 6 are free, but only if they sit on your lap. A train/bus trip between Matsumoto Station and Kamikochi is 2,710 yen for adults, 1,360 yen for children.
Reminder: if you are planning to visit Kamikochi and then continue on to your next destination you must buy two separate tickets.
Also note that some buses serving the Matsumoto-Takayama route are operated by the Nohi Bus Company out of Takayama.
For the current timetable for the Matsumoto-Kamikochi-Takayama express buses as well as a few other area routes, please see our ‘Train & Bus Timetable From Matsumoto to Kamikochi’ page.
BUYING TICKETS FOR TRAIN & BUS
How you purchase your ticket to Kamikochi depends on how you are getting there.
(1) For the reserved bus direct from the Matsumoto Bus Terminal to Kamikochi you can purchase your ticket online or at the ticket counter in the ALPICO Plaza Matsumoto Bus Terminal. You can pay with cash or credit card.
(2) If you are taking the Matsumoto Dentetsu Line train to Shin-Shimashima and then catching a bus to Kamikochi you can purchase your tickets with cash or credit card at the Matsumoto Bus Terminal ticket counter or via the blue ticket machine in Matsumoto Station (cash only). To purchase your ticket from the machine, touch the English box near the top right of the screen, tap the Norikura-Shirahone-Kamikochi box near the bottom left, then among the boxes in the center of the screen hit Kamikochi and insert your money.
(3) Tickets for all buses departing Kamikochi can be purchased at the Kamikochi Bus Terminal ticket counter (cash or credit) or online.
**If you are driving to the Sawando Bus Terminal and taking the bus from there you can purchase your ticket at the Sawando Bus Terminal ticket window (cash or credit).
15 THINGS TO DO IN KAMIKOCHI & WHERE TO STAY
A visit to Kamikochi makes for an unforgettable chapter in the story of your visit to Japan. Sitting in its alpine perch right between the alluring twin cities of Matsumoto and Takayama, Kamikochi is also easy to fit into your overall adventure. Most visitors make a day trip out of it – and are plenty happy they did. But there are several ways and many reasons to spend a little more time here on the roof of Japan. Check out our ’15 Things To Do Around Kamikochi & Where To Stay’ page and see how much time you’ll want to set aside to satisfy your personal mountain exploration appetite.