How to Get to Matsumoto Castle
Matsumoto is firmly established as a popular stop on the route between Tokyo and Kyoto. Home to the castle, the city has also quickly become known as one of Japan’s most pleasant little cities – a great place to spend a day or two exploring the surrounding localities. Getting to the castle using public transport is straight-forward. We hope that the following directions are of assistance:
From Matsumoto Station
The castle is only 15-20 minutes walk from Matsumoto Station. Exit the station via the main exit and follow the signs to the castle. We recommend walking as Matsumoto is a pleasant city and walking will take you past the historic streets of Nakamichi and Nawate/Frog Street – well-worth exploring while you are in town.
Alternatively, the ‘Town Sneaker’ bus runs to and from that station and takes approximately 5 minutes to reach the castle. Simply disembark when you hear the announcement for the castle stop.
Nagano – Shinonoi – Hijiri-Kogen – Akashina – Matsumoto – Shiojiri – Kiso-Fukushima – Agematsu – Nagiso – Nakatsugawa – Ena – Taijimi – Chikusa – Kanayama – Nagoya*
There are many services every day including the Limited Express Wide View Shinano – taking around 50 minutes / JPY2370 – and local services – taking around 1.5 hours. For the daily train schedule, please refer to our ‘Limited Express Shinano Line Timetable’ page.
Both services are covered by the Japan Rail Pass. Even if you are buying tickets, we recommend spending that little bit extra and using the Shinano limited express. This comfortable train features large windows, affording a fantastic view of the surrounding landscape as you move quickly to and from Matsumoto.
Alpico operates several bus services from Nagano to Matsumoto each day. While the train is likely to be your most convenient option, to use the bus exit the station via the Zenko-ji Exit and head over the large intersection. Look to your left for the Alpico bus stop and office.
*Please note, stations marked in bold are stops on all services. Those not marked in bold are only serviced by certain services throughout the day.
From the Snow Monkey Park
To reach Kanazawa from the Jigokudani Monkey Park takes time but is relatively straight-forward when done via Nagano Station. From the park, you have the option of: 1. a direct express bus from the park to Nagano Station or 2. a local bus to Yudanaka Station followed by an express train to Nagano Station.
Starting from the park, the express bus costs JPY1500 each way and takes 55 minutes to reach Nagano Station. In comparison, taking the local bus from the park to Yudanaka Station followed by the train, takes 15 minutes and costs JPY310 before the limited express train to Nagano takes 45 minutes and costs JPY1290 – a total journey of around 60 to 70 minutes and costing JPY1600.
Once at Nagano Station, follow the directions above to reach Matsumoto.
Nagoya Station and Matsumoto are stops on the Shinano Line – as detailed above. Regular services connect the two cities each day. It takes approximately 130 minutes and costs JPY5610. Please use the link above to access the timetable.
From the Nakasendo Trail
Visitors to the Nakasendo Trail are likely to use the Limited Express Wide View Shinano – refer to above information- via either Nakatsugawa Station or Kiso-Fukushima Station. From those stations, it is easy to reach Matsumoto: from Nakatsugawa 75 min / JPY3840 and from Kiso-Fukushima 40 min / JPY2190. Please use the link above to access the timetable.
There are no direct buses from Kamikochi to Matsumoto. To travel between the two, you can take the bus from Kamikochi Bus Terminal to Shin-Shimashima Station and once there, transfer to the Kamikochi Line bound for Matsumoto Station.
The total journey takes around 2 hours and costs JPY2500 per adult and JPY1250 per child. For full details, please refer to the following timetable and fares page.
Takayama to Matsumoto is an increasingly popular route for many international visitors. The Nohi Bus company operates multiple services each day, taking approximately 2.5 hours to reach Matsumoto. The bus departs from the Takayama Bus Terminal, located next to Takayama Station.
From Shirakawa-go and Gokayama
From the villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama, take the bus onto Takayama Station and follow the directions above. Please see the following page for information including timetables and fares to and from Takayama.
From the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route
The easiest way to reach Matsumoto from the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route is to descend on the Nagano-side of the mountain range to Ogizawa Station and from there, take the 40 min bus to Shinano-Omachi Station. From the station, take the Oito Line to Matsumoto Station – a total journey of around 2 hours.
Alternatively, you can reach Matsumoto via the Tateyama Station/Toyama-side of the mountains but the journey takes much longer and we do not recommend doing so, unless you have to go via Toyama. To do so, take the Chiho Railway Line to Dentetsu Toyama Station and switch to the Hokuriku Shinkasen (refer to the link below) at Toyama Station. Take the shinakansen to Nagano and transfer to the Shinano Line bound for Matsumoto.
The Limited Express Azusa service runs to and from Shinjuku Station to Matsumoto Station and takes around 2.5 hours and costs JPY6620. There are two services per hour.
Take the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line either Tokyo Station or Ueno Station to Nagano. The journey takes between 90 to 110 minutes (depending on which train you take) and costs approx. JPY8000-9000 one-way.
The Kagayaki and Hakutaka services starting from Tokyo Station are the fastest while the Asama service, which originates at Ueno Station, is slower, stopping at more stations en route to Nagano. Once at Nagano, follow the directions above to reach Matsumoto
A highway bus also operates between Shinjuku Bus Terminal and Matsumoto Bus Terminal, located near Matsumoto Station. The bus takes around 3 hours.
Kanazawa Station is the northern terminus of the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line – refer to links above. The easiest way to reach Matsumoto from Kanazawa is to take the shinkansen to Nagano Station and once there, switch to the Shinano Line.
The journey from Kanazawa to Nagano takes around 80 to 85 minutes and costs JPY8590. From Nagano follow the direction above to reach Matsumoto.
Both Nagano Station and Karuizawa Station are stops on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line, meaning that getting from one to the other is quick and easy – taking only 30 min / JPY3210. Once at Nagano, follow the directions above to reach Matsumoto.
From Narita Airport
From Narita Airport visitors need to head into Tokyo to make their way onto Matsumoto. From Tokyo, you have two options: 1. using the Limited Express Azusa service from Shinjuku Station to Matsumoto, or 2. taking the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station or Ueno Station to Nagano, and then switching to the Shinano Line bound from Matsumoto.
1 / to use the Limited Express Azusa, take the Keisei Skyliner – see Narita Airport page for details – to Nippori Station and transfer to the Yamonote Lop Line bound for Osaki. Disembark at Shinjuku Station and switch to the Limited Express Azusa bound for Matsumoto. The total journey takes around 4 hours and costs JPY9140.
2 / take the Narita Express – see Narita Airport page for details – to Tokyo Station or the Keisei Skyliner to Ueno Station and transfer to the Hokuriku Shinkansen bound for Nagano. Once at Nagano, follow the directions above. This option is also likely to take around 4 hours but is more expensive, around JPY13,000.
From Haneda Airport
From Haneda Airport visitors need to head into Tokyo to make their way onto Matsumoto. From Tokyo, you have two options: 1.take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Nagano, and then switch to the Shinano Line bound from Matsumoto, or 2. head to Shinjuku Station from the airport and take the Limited Express Azusa to Matsumoto.
1 / take the Tokyo Monorail to Hamamatasucho and then head onto to Tokyo Station – see Haneda Airport page for details. Once at Tokyo, switch to the Hokuriku Shinkansen bound for Nagano and once at Nagano Station , transfer to the Limited Express Shinano bound for Matsumoto – a total travel time of around 200 minutes and just over JPY10,000 – see directions above.
2 / to use the Limited Express Azusa, take the monorail to Hamamatsucho Station and then take the Yamanote Line to Kanda Station, and from Kanda, the Ome Line to Shinjuku. At Shinjuku, transfer to the Limited Express Azusa bound for Matsumoto – a total journey of around 210 minutes / JPY7120.
From Kyoto & Osaka
From either of these cities, the easiest way to reach Matsumoto is via Nagoya Station. Both cities are on the Tokaido Shinkansen, making Nagoya readily accessible: taking 35 min / JPY5170 from Kyoto Station and 50 min / JPY5940 from Shin-Osaka Station. Once at Nagoya, follow the direction above to reach Matsumoto.
Private Tours & Charters to/from Matsumoto
Based in Nagano City and 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.
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 including transport to and from any ski resort in the region.
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 Matsumoto? Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get planning together!