How To Get To Hakuba

Trains, Planes and Automobiles, which to choose.  I can’t count the number of times that I have been asked how to get to Hakuba.  It has to be one of the most asked questions. With the number of guests coming to Hakuba every year you would think that the answer would be easy to give, but like many things in Japan, it’s a little more complicated.  There are lots of options on how to get to Hakuba, but a lot of the information on how to get here isn’t in English and the English information that’s out there is not as complete as the Japanese information.  Below we have tried to create the most complete list of ways to get to Hakuba.  We hope this helps you plan your best trip to Hakuba.

 

Things to consider when deciding on how to get to Hakuba

  1. How much luggage are you bringing: For anyone who is carrying their own luggage, mass transit options are probably not the best.  Unless of course, you have already decided to ship your luggage in advance. (See our guide on shipping your luggage)
  2. How Many People are in Your Party: Things can get more expensive when you are in a larger group if you have to pay individually.  If you are in a bigger group it’s worth thinking about either renting a vehicle (Make sure you have an International Driving Permit) or hiring a shuttle.
  3. Cost vs. Convenience vs. Time: This is usually the crux of the argument.  There are some very convenient and very fast options, but they will definitely cost more than slower options.

Weigh up your options and choose which one is best for you.

 

Public Transit Options

Pros:

  • The fastest way to get to Hakuba (2-3 hrs from Tokyo)

Cons

Bullet Trains & Buses To Hakuba

Starting Point – Nagano – Bus To Hakuba

Starting Point – Matsumoto – Local Train to Hakuba

To plan travel on public transport in Japan I always use hyperdia.com they also have an app available on both the Google Store and the Apple store.  Many people try to use Google maps to plan public transport here and it works, but it’s not the best.  Sometimes things get missed when the information gets transferred over to Google. Hyperdia is your best resource.

Direct Train To Hakuba

There is one direct train to Hakuba from Shinjuku called the Azusa Express Train it departs at 7.30am and arrives in Hakuba at 11.28am.  This is the only direct train from Tokyo that won’t require any transfers.

If you are planning to use trains extensively during your stay make sure to purchase your Japan Rail Pass in Advance.

Click Here To Get Your Japan Rail Pass 

 

Airport Shuttle to Hakuba

The airport shuttles are great for those looking to simply get from the airport to Hakuba with little to no hassle.  A bus picks you up at the terminal and drops you off at your hotel in Hakuba and they bring all your luggage.  There are two options for Airport Shuttles – The Nagano Snow Shuttle and Alpico Express Bus Hakuba.

Pros:

  • Simple and easy (airport to your hotel)
  • No Need to Worry about your luggage

Cons

  • Can be busy, you need to book in advance
  • The bus times can be limited and are targeted to Australian flight arrival times.  If travelling from a different country the bus schedule may or may not meet up with your flight times.
  • Limited to the airport transfers
  • Slower than the bullet train

Book a ticket on the Nagano Snow Shuttle

Book a Ticket on the Alpico Express Bus Hakuba

 

Shared Taxi To Hakuba

For anyone arriving at irregular times, this is a great service.  This service will bring your bags and drop you off directly at the hotel door.  The shared taxi works very similarly to a normal taxi, but it may make stops along the way to pick up other passengers travelling in the same direction.  It’s like a bus with private bus stops along the route.

Pros:

  • Customizable arrival and departure times
  • If your flight is delayed they will wait or have another taxi pick you up

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Not as fast at the bullet train
  • Limited destinations (primarily just for airport transfers)

For more information Take a Look at the Chuo Shared Taxi Site

 

Chartered Bus/Taxi To Hakuba

If you have a larger group the chartered taxi can be a great option.  It’s more expensive, but with a larger group, it can be quite reasonable.  It’s also not limited by where you start or your destination.

Pros:

  • Customizable arrival and departure times
  • Flight delays are not an issue

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Only cost-effective for groups that are large enough
  • Not as fast at the bullet train

Click Here To Reserve a Charted Taxi

 

Renting a Car To Get To Hakuba

A rental car provides ultimate freedom.  You can travel when you want where you want.  It does take more time than the bullet train, but it pays off in the level of freedom you have.

Pros:

  • Freedom

Cons

  • Someone has to drive
  • You need an International Driving Permit
  • You have to pay for gas

Both of the following companies have English reservation websites and locations at the major airports.

Toyota Rent a Car

Orix Car Rental

 

Travelling Between Resorts Within Nagano

If you’re planning on hitting up more than just Hakuba on your trip, Nozawa Onsen, Myoko, Shiga Kogen then Nagano snow shuttle is your best bet.  Leaving from Hakuba base in Echoland, Nagano Snow shuttle offers resort transfers in Nagano.

 

Book your inter-resort shuttle now 

If there is anything we have missed or you want to share your experiences without other readers make sure to comment below.

 

Good Luck and Happy Travels