There is more than one way to reach Hakuba. Taking a direct bus from the airport is often the easiest (and cheapest) option but will add transit time. Taking the world-renowned shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo Station is perhaps the more enjoyable route. The shinkansen will only take you as far as Nagano Station, however. From there, a local bus is required.
Getting to Hakuba from Narita / Haneda Airport
Japan’s largest international airport is located in Narita, an hour outside of Tokyo. The Narita Express train is the easiest way to reach the capital from the airport.
If you arrive at Haneda International Airport (also in Tokyo), you’ll first need to take the monorail to Hamamatsucho station. From there, change onto the JR Yamanote Line (colored green on the JR rail map). Tokyo Station is only three stops away.
Getting to Hakuba from Tokyo Station
From Tokyo Station, take the Asama shinkansen to Nagano Station via the Hokuriku Shinkansen line. A one-way ticket from Tokyo to Nagano costs approximately ¥8000 (US$70). The route is not covered by the Japan Rail Pass. If you are travelling on a Japan Rail Pass, you will also need to purchase a JR East Nagano Niigata Area Pass. This can be purchased for ¥17,000 online, allowing unlimited travel between Tokyo and Nagano for any 5 days within a 14 day time frame.
Getting to Hakuba from Nagano Station
Depart the station via the East Exit from which you can take an Alpico bus to Hakuba (¥1800-2000). Buses stop at Hakuba Goryu, Hakuba Station, Hakuba Happo, Iwatake Shinden, Ochikura, Tsugaike Kogen and Hakuba Norikua. Buses run from 8:20 am to 8:00 pm and take from 1-2 hours to reach the various Hakuba resorts.
Alternatively, the local Oito-sen train line also runs through the valley, starting at Matsumoto City and finishing at Itoigawa City. Some of Hakuba’s hotels offer a free shuttle service to and from the nearest Oito-sen train station.
Taking a direct bus to Hakuba
Alternatively, various bus companies offer direct routes to Hakuba from both Narita and Haneda airports. Alpico’s Hakuba-bound buses run from Narita once per day (10:55-11:05 am), stopping at all terminals. This service costs ¥9,500 (¥7,500 for children) and takes 6+ hours. From Haneda, buses set off at 11:40-55 am. These are luxury buses with free wi-fi and copious leg room.
Nagano Snow Shuttle operates a similar service with (almost) identical prices. The shuttle departs from Narita four times per day, from 9:15 (earliest) to 8:30 pm (latest). Buses from Haneda depart at 7:30 am.
For more information on Hakuba Valley, read our comprehensive guide to the resort.
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