Hakuba Access | Getting to Hakuba

How to get to Hakuba from Tokyo & Osaka

Hakuba Access Guide

How to get to Hakuba from Tokyo and Osaka

Welcome to the Hakuba Access Guide. Getting to Hakuba Valley from Tokyo and other major Japanese cities is quite straightforward via bus, train, taxi or shuttle.

Where is Hakuba?

The Hakuba Valley is located in the NW corner of Nagano Prefecture in central Honshu Island, Japan.  The area is easily accessed from both international airports in Tokyo (Narita & Haneda) by shinkansen (bullet train), airport shuttle, taxi, rental car or bus.

How long to get to Hakuba?

The total travel time from Tokyo to Hakuba is usually between 3-4 hours via shinkansen bullet train/bus or around 5 hours via airport shuttle. There are also several options from the international airports in Nagoya and Osaka (Kansai). This usually takes between 3.5-4.5 hours.
getting to hakuba access map
How to get to Hakuba. A Hakuba access map

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From Tokyo, Narita & Haneda to Hakuba

Via Shinkansen and Connecting Bus

Catch the train from Narita Airport or Haneda Airport to Tokyo Station (see here for full instructions).

Follow the green signs for the Nagano Shinkansen which usually leave from Platforms 22 or 23 at Tokyo Station (see map here). Take the Nagano ‘Asama’ Shinkansen on the Hokuriku (Nagano) line to the Nagano station terminus or the faster (and more expensive) Hokuriku Shinkansen bound for Kanazawa.

The journey usually takes between 1.5 – 2.5 hours (average is 1 hour, 50 minutes). The Nagano Shinkansen runs frequently until 10.00pm each day. The non-reserved cars are to the rear heading to Nagano (usually car nos. 1-3). All cars are non smoking. There are between 2-3 trains per hour. If staying overnight in Nagano City you can book hotels here. You can reserve your tickets using the Japan Rail online reservation system.

Here’s how you change trains to the shinkansen in Tokyo

Nagano Station to Hakuba (via bus)

The local trains from Nagano to Hakuba are quite inconvenient – we recommend taking the express bus. Buses from Nagano to Hakuba run every hour, with the last non-reserved bus departing Hakuba at 8:10pm (see timetable). Buses depart from the East (Higashi) exit of Nagano Station (see map). Hakuba station (‘Hakuba eki-mae’) is the 4th stop. For larger groups we can organise a taxi van direct to your hotel from Nagano Station. Request a quote here.

Nagano Station Bus MapVia direct Tokyo-Hakuba train

There is a direct ‘Azusa’ express train once a day from Shinjuku Station to Hakuba. This is a very pleasant way to travel if arriving early in the morning can be quicker/cheaper than going via Nagano.

Tokyo to Hakuba Schedule

  • Azusa 5: Leaves daily at 8:00 from Shinjuku Station (Platform 9), arriving at 11:41 at Hakuba Station.
  • Azusa 46: The only direct train (no switching) leaving Hakuba daily at 15:16 and arriving at Shinjuku Station at 19:06.
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From Osaka, Kyoto & Nagoya to Hakuba

There are three main choices for getting to Hakuba.

1. From Shin-Osaka or Kyoto station, catch the Tokkaido Shinkansen to Nagoya (usual travel time is 40-55 minutes). Transfer at Nagoya Station to the Chuo Honsen line and catch the Shinano Limited Express bound for Nagano Station (normal transit is 3 hours) that travels through the scenic Kiso Valley. Keep your camera out as there is some beautiful scenery along the way.

When coming from Nagoya on the Shinano Limited Express DO NOT go all the way to Nagano City. Get off at Matsumoto and transfer for trains bound for Hakuba (the local Oito line or the Super Azusa Express). The latter is faster but more expensive.

From Osaka and Nagoya 2. Take the express train to Kanazawa Station and then change to the Hokuriku Shinkansen. This journey goes via the Japan Sea coast and is a more expensive option. Get off at Itoigawa and transfer to a very local train on the Oito Line. You will to need to change trains again at Minami-Otari. Important. Most visitors alight at Hakuba Station. However another station may be closer to your accommodation. Please check with your booked hotel to see which station stop is best. 3. A direct overnight highway bus from to Hakuba from Kyoto & Osaka is available from Alpico Bus Line.

Private transfer to Hakuba

For medium-large groups we can help organise a direct private transfer at reasonable cost from the airport to Hakuba (and/or return). This chartered direct service from the Tokyo airports or your Tokyo hotel to your most hotels in the area would be between 95,000-199,000 each way depending on numbers & bus type. Check here for more details. Taxi/charter journeys will usually take 4-5 hours depending on traffic and weather conditions. Comfort stops are included. Private transfers from Tokyo City or other Nagano resorts are also available. private hakuba resort transfer

Driving to Hakuba

There are two options to get from Tokyo to Hakuba by car:

1. Take the Chuo Expressway to the Okaya J.C.T and head towards Nagano on the Nagano Expressway. Exit at the Toyoshina Interchange and follow Route 147 & 148 through Omachi and onto Hakuba.
2. Take the Kanetsu Expressway to the Fujioka J.C.T and head towards Nagano on the Joshinetsu Expressway. Exit at the Nagano Interchange and follow the Hakuba Nagano Olympic Road to Hakuba. Both routes take approximately four hours.

From Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya:

Take the Chuo expressway to the Okaya Junction and transfer to the Nagano expressway. Follow this to Toyoshina and exit the expressway. Follow the signs to Hakuba which will take you through Omachi and on to Route 148. It is approximately 3.5 hours from Nagoya and approximately 5 hours from the Kansai area.

Hakuba Rental Car

For ease of pre-booking a rental car online and great selection check out the options here. There are now numerous companies offering Hakuba car rentals in English (as well as support in English), plus some cars can come with English GPS. Most major car rental companies have branches in Nagano and Matsumoto but obviously can also only be found in major cities such as Tokyo or Narita. Check the bottom of this page for tips on renting cars in Japan.


hakuba japan car rental


Hakuba Access Guide. More info on getting to Hakuba soon!