How to Get to Nagano City
As the largest city in Nagano Prefecture and the broader region, Nagano City is your gateway to Central Japan. Easily accessible using the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line – which runs from Tokyo to Kanazawa – Nagano is an ideal base from which to explore Central Japan including moving to and from its many ski resorts.
Host of the 1998 Winter Olympic Games, Nagano remains proud of its Olympic heritage – something that can still be enjoyed today at its popular ski resorts. As the nearest major station to the hot spring-loving monkeys of Jigokudani, Nagano is one of Japan’s premier winter destinations with just as much to offer in spring, summer and autumn.
Operating all year round, we are Nagano’s No.1-rated tour and charter operator offering group tours to some of the region’s most unique and enjoyable destinations with the option of private charters and tours (as detailed below).
We hope the following information helps you plan your visit to Nagano and Central Japan.
From the Jigokudani Monkey Park
To reach Nagano from the Jigokudani Monkey Park is straight-forward. 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 Nagaden local bus from the park to Yudanaka Station – 15 min / JPY310 – followed by the Nagano Dentetsu Line to Nagano Station – 45 min / JPY1290 = a total journey of around 60 to 70 minutes and costing JPY1600.
The Hokuriku Shinkansen runs from Tokyo to Kanazawa via Nagano Station and includes the following stations:
Take the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line from either Tokyo Station or Ueno Station to Nagano. The journey takes between 80 to 110 minutes (depending on which train you take) and costs between JPY8000-9000 one-way.
The Kagayaki and Hakutaka services starting from Tokyo Station are the fastest while the Asama service is slower, stopping at all stations from Tokyo to Nagano (where it terminates).
From Narita Airport
Nagano can be reached in a two-stage journey from Narita via Tokyo Station. Two rapid train services connect Narita Airport to central Tokyo:
1 / the Narita Express (NEX) runs from Narita to Tokyo Station. It takes 55 minutes to reach Tokyo Station (depending on the service) and costs JPY3070 with trains departing every 30 to 60 minutes. Once at Tokyo Station, follow the directions above.
2 / the Keisei Skyliner runs from Narita to Ueno Station. It takes between 40 to 55 minutes to reach Ueno Station and costs JPY2520 with trains departing every 30 to 40 minutes. Once at Ueno Station, transfer to the Hokuriku Shinkansen bound for Nagano.
From Haneda Airport
Nagano can be reached in a two-stage journey from Haneda via Tokyo Station. Two train services connect Haneda Airport to central Tokyo:
1 / the Tokyo Monorail connects the airport to Tokyo Station via Hamamatsucho Station in around 30 minutes. From the airport take the monorail to Hamamatsucho Station (20 min/JPY170) and then switch to the JR Yamanote Line or JR Keihin-Tohoku/Negishi Line Rapid bound for Tokyo Station (5 min/JPY160) – a total journey of around 30-minutes / JPY660 one-way. Once at Tokyo Station, follow the directions above.
2 / the Keikyu Railway connects the airport to Tokyo Station via Shinagawa Station. Take the Keikyu Airport bound to Shinagawa Station (approx.11 min/JPY300) and transfer to the Yamanote Line bound for Osaki to reach Tokyo Station- 13 min / JPY170 or a total journey of around 30 min / JPY470. Once at Tokyo Station, follow the directions above.
As the northern terminus of the Hokuriku Shinkansen, the journey from Kanazawa Station to Nagano Station is easy. There are four services on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line – the Kagayaki, Hakutaka, Asama and Tsurugi – however only the Kagayaki and Hakuata services connect Kanazawa and Nagano. Using the Kagayaki, the journey from Kanazawa to Nagano takes 65 minutes / JPY8920 or 85 to 90 minutes / JPY8590 using the Hakutaka.
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.
The Limited Express Shinano operates approximately once an hour and makes the journey between Nagano and Nagoya in approximately 3 hours and costs JPY6930.
For further details including daily timetable, please refer to our ‘Limited Express Shinano Line Timetable’ page.
*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 Nakasendo Trail
Nagano and the historic Nakasendo Trail are also connected by the Shinano Line running from Nagoya to Nagano. Both Nakatsugawa Station and Kiso-Fukushima Station are convenient stops for enjoying the beauty of the Nakasendo. Please refer above for information regarding using the Shinano Line.
From the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route
From Ogizawa Station – on the Nagano-side of the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route – take the Alpico Bus to Nagano Station – approximately 100 minutes journey time. From Tateyama Station on the Toyama-side, take the Toyama Chiho Railway to Toyama and transfer to the Hokuriku Shinkansen at Toyama Station, bound for Nagano.
From Matsumoto Station, take the Limited Express Shinano to Nagano Station. There are many services every day including the Limited Express Wide View Shinano – taking around 50 minutes – and local services – taking around 1.5 hours. For the daily train schedule, please refer to our ‘Limited Express Shinano Line Timetable’ page.
There is no direct bus service from Kamikochi to Nagano and public transport is a little time-consuming. From the Kamikochi Bus Terminal, take the bus to Shin-shimashima Station and transfer to the Kamikochi Line bound for Matsumoto Station. Once at Matsumoto, follow the directions above to reach Nagano.
There is no direct public transport from Takayama Station to Nagano, presenting travelers with different options. For those traveling by train, the easiest option is to take the Limited Express Hida north to Toyama – approximately 50 minutes – and then switch to the Hokuriku Shinkansen bound for Nagano. The total journey takes around 2.5 to 3 hours depending on which services you use.
Alternatively, take the bus to Matsumoto Station and then switch to the Limited Express Shinano headed for Nagano.
From Shirakawa-go & Gokayama
Regular bus services operated by the Nohi Bus company connect Takayama with its world-famous neighbor. Take the bus from Shirakawa-go and Gokayama to Takayama and then follow the directions above.
Please see the following page for information including timetables and fares to and from Takayama.
From Kyoto & Osaka
For visitors coming from Kyoto or Osaka, you have three options to reach Nagano: 1. also take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Tokyo and transfer to the Hokuriku Shinkansen to reach Nagano Station; 2. take the Limited Express Thunderbird service to Kanazawa and transfer to the Hokuriku Shinkansen heading south to Nagano and Tokyo; or 3. take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Nagoya Station and transfer to the Limited Express Wide View Shinano bound for Nagano.
All routes take 4+ hours with options 2 and 3 being notably cheaper than option 1.
Private Tours & Charters to/from Nagano
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 Nagano and Central Japan? Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get planning together!