Translated by Takuya Erik Watanabe
What’s The Most Convenient Fare?! How To Get To Nagano From Tokyo
Written by Inou masahiro
Nagano prefecture is known for its rich nature, Jigokudani Monkey Park where monkeys bathe in hot springs, the pitch-black Matsumoto Castle, as well as other attractions. In this article we'll be introducing the ways to reach Nagano from Tokyo.
Nagano prefecture is known for being nature rich and for its ski resorts and onsen.
Jigokudani Monkey Park (Jigokudani Yaen Park), an onsen where monkeys can be seen bathing in the hot water, is an especially popular spot for foreign visitors. Matsumoto Castle, also known as the "Crow Castle" (Karasu-jō) for its pitch black appearance, is also a famous tourist attraction.
In this article, we'll be introducing the different ways to get to Nagano prefecture from Tokyo, as of June 2016.
Fastest: Hokuriku Shinkansen
Using the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo station is the fastest way to get to Nagano station.
The Hokuriku Shinkansen just opened in 2015. It runs from Tokyo to Kanazawa station in Ishikawa prefecture and passes through Nagano prefecture as well. Thanks to this Shinkansen, transportation to Nagano has become easier and faster than ever before.
You can get to Nagano from Tokyo if you use the "Kagayaki", "Hakutaka", or "Asama" trains of the Hokuriku Shinkansen. The fastest is the Kagayaki, which will take you to Nagano station in just 79 minutes.
In addition, the "Gran Class" seats have an interior like that of a First Class airplane seat, offering an exciting riding experience. The price is 7680 yen for an unreserved seat, and 8200 yen for a reserved seat.
Enjoy the Window View: Super Azusa
Photo by t-mizo
Before the Hokuriku Shinkansen opened, the fastest form of transportation from Tokyo to Nagano was the Super Azusa. You might think you should just ride the Hokuriku Shinkansen because it's faster, but the Super Azusa offers a great view for your travel experience.
The Super Azusa passes through Yamanashi prefecture on its way to Nagano prefecture, therefore passing by Mt. Fuji. You'll be able to take some nice shots of Mt. Fuji from inside the train. The train also goes through many mountains, allowing you to experience a different view of Japan's nature from the Hokuriku Shinkansen. Also, the last station isn't Nagano station, it's Matsumoto station, so if you're headed to Matsumoto Castle, using the Super Azusa might be a good idea.
The price is 6380 yen, and it will take you about 2 hours and 50 minutes. Just so you know, if you're going to Nagano station from Matsumoto station, you'll be using the Shinonoi Line. It will get you directly to Nagano station in about 1 hour and 20 minutes for 1140 yen, so the total fare is slightly cheaper than using the Hokuriku Shinkansen.
If You're on a Budget: Express Bus
There is an express bus from Shinjuku station's South Exit that will take you to Nagano station. What is most appealing about the bus is its price. You can ride the bus for as little as 1000 yen, to 5000 yen at most. It will take you approximately 3 hours and 40 minutes, so if you depart in the morning you will be in Nagano by lunch.
For Detours: Rent-a-Car
We also recommend renting a car. The drive from Tokyo to Nagano is pleasant, and you won't need to pay too much for gasoline. Depending on the model of rental car you select, it will cost from 5000-10,000 yen for 12 hours of use, and 7000-15,000 yen for 24 hours of use.
For example, ignoring the cost to rent the car and assuming you started from Shinjuku station and are using the highways, you would arrive at Nagano station in about 3 hours and 20 minutes. You should think that you'll be needing about 5000 - 6000 yen for the highway toll. Even considering the cost of gasoline, one-way should be less than 8000 yen.
If you're traveling in a group of four, each person would only have to pay 2000 yen. You'll also be able to make some detours on the way.
Of the four ways to get to Nagano from Tokyo introduced here, time-wise, the Hokuriku Shinkansen would be your most efficient choice.
However, depending on what you want to use your money on, or what kind of trip you want to have, the type of transportation you want to use might differ. Choose the one that best fits your needs and enjoy your trip to the fullest!
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