Most important things to know
More details below, but these are the most important things to know about travelling to Kamikochi:
- Kamikochi is open from the end of April until November 16 and is closed in winter.
- Private cars are not allowed to enter Kamikochi (not even motorbikes).
- Transport is non-JR (your JR Pass is not valid) and is fairly expensive. There are excellent 2- and 4-day passes, however.
- On your way back, you will need reference ticket (seiriken) to get on the bus. Get one in time if you are not to stay or get back by taxi.
How to go to Matsumoto or Takayama
Train bound for Matsumoto or Takayama
You can get to Kamikochi either from Matsumoto or Takayama.
Matsumoto will be your choice if you come from Tokyo (take the JR Azusa Express from Shinjuku / about 2h30min. ), or from Nagano (take the JR Shinonoi Line / about 70min. or JR Shinano Express / about 50min. ).
If you come from the Japan Sea (Kanazawa/Toyama), take the JR Takayama Line to Takayama( about 90min.from Toyama / about 2-3hours from Kanazawa).
If you come from Western Japan (Osaka, Kyoto, etc.), then you should probably get to Nagoya first (Shinkansen is the fastest), and you can either take the JR Shinano Express to Matsumoto ( about 2hours) or the JR Hida Express to Takayama( about 2h20min.).
You can use high-way express buses from Shinjuku( about 3hours ),Nagoya( about 90min.)and Osaka( about 5h40min.) to Matsumoto. more information
How to get to Kamikochi
Train & local bus from Matsumoto
Take the Matsumoto Dentetsu(Electric Railway) line from Matsumoto to Shin-Shimashima(30 minutes), followed by a bus ride to Kamikōchi(60 minutes). There are also a few direct buses from the Matsumoto bus terminal. more information / Article about access to Kamikochi from Matsumoto
The one-way fare is 2,450 yen, a discounted round trip ticket costs 4,550 yen (prices are current as of 2014 April). The train and the bus are operated by the same private (non-JR) company Alpico, so the Japan Rail Pass is not valid on the train and the buses. But if you plan to stay or travel just a little in the neighborhood (which you probably should, there is a variety of spots to see in and around Matsumoto), we recommend the 2- or 4-day passes.（If you have any questions about the 2- or 4-day passes , please contact us at Facebook-kamikochi.)
Local bus from Takayama
Take a Nohi bus from Takayama to Hirayu Onsen (60 minutes, 1,570 yen, one bus per hour), from where there are two buses per hour to Kamikochi (25 minutes, 1,160 yen one way, 2,050 yen round trip, 2014 April prices).
You can use high-way buses to Kamikochi from Shinjuku( about 4h40min.) , and Nagano( about 2h30min.).
Private car from Matsumoto or Takayama
You can take Route 158 from Matsumoto or Takayamato get to the entrance (but not into) Kamikochi. Private cars or motorbikes are not allowed to enter Kamikochi, but there are parking lots around the entrance into the Kamikochiarea (or down in the closest villages Sawandoor Hirayu) and they typically cost 500-1,000 yen per calendar day. From the parking lots you can reach Kamikochiin about 20-30 minutes by bus (around 1,000 yen) or taxi (around 4,000 yen).
As long as you cover your bicycle, you can take it on JR to any distance for 270 yen (same fee for 1 and 1,000 km), and although not a particularly easy trip, it is absolutely possible to ride up to Kamikōchi on National Route 158. From Matsumoto it is about 50 km one-way and you will have to climb about 1,000 m (a little more because it is not uphill only), so it may be a good idea to go for more than one days (you can camp up in Kamikōchi at the Konashidaira camp site).
Local transportation in Matsumoto
Town Sneaker is a city circle bus network around the center of the Matsumoto City on four courses: Northern, Eastern, Southern and Western Courses. You can take the bus at a small fare, 200yen (or 150 yen) for an adults, and 100 yen (or 80 yen) for a child. Or you can get the One-Day ticket at 500 yen for an adult (250 yen for a child). more information