DIRECT BUS SERVICE

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Written by: Sodai Taira
Date: 2011/05/17

   In the 1960s, at the middle of Japan’s high-growth period (1955-1973), the road improvement of Kamikochi was completed. Following its completion, a huge number of people began to access Kamikochi with their own cars or in tourist buses.

   Not surprisingly, those numerous vehicles traveling towards Kamikochi polluted the surrounding environment.

   As a result, traffic regulation was introduced in 1975 to preserve the beautiful mountain resort for future generations. The regulation prohibited the private vehicles, and only allowed shuttle buses to enter Kamikochi.

 

Takayama or Matsumoto

   In order to go to Kamikochi, you will need to go via either Matsumoto or Takayama. You are advised to go to Kamikochi via Matsumoto if you are planning to depart from Tokyo (Haneda/Narita Airport) or Nagoya (Chubu Airport/Centrair). Takayama is best for people who are coming from Toyama or prefectures along the Japan Sea coast (Kanazawa etc). For those of you coming from Osaka (Kansai Airport), you have the option to come via either Matsumoto or Takayama.

   Furthermore, there is a useful website called “Train Route Finder” made by JORUDAN Corporation. It searches train routes and fares by simply entering a date and time with a departure point and destination. You can use this program effectively to plan your trip. The “Train Route Finder” is free to use at the JORUDAN’s official website. General information about access also can be found from at this website.

 

Step by Step

   Getting around in Japan is not that difficult, but even experienced travelers should take care about a few things when visiting Kamikōchi, like the mandatory numbered boarding ticket for the return trip. To avoid any inconvenience and to help you concentrate on the sights and not worry about the details, we created an exhaustive, illustrated list for you on how to get to Kamikōchi from Takayama and back. If you like planning trips in detail, you'll love this list. If not... well, you can still enjoy the pictures... ;-)

1.

Takayama station.

2.

Nohi bus terminal is located next to Takayama station.

3.

Inside of Nohi bus terminal. Purchase the round trip ticket to Kamikochi here.

You can find the price of a round trip ticket for Kamikochi from the "Scanned Pamphlet" section that is located at the end of this article.

4.

OR purchase the round trip ticket from ticket machines outside of the Nohi bus terminal.

You can find the price of a round trip ticket for Kamikochi from the "Scanned Pamphlet" section that is located at the end of this article.

5.

The Hirayu Onsen line (leads to Kamikochi line) bus departs from the No.5 stand.

6.

Travel from Nohi bus terminal to Hirayu Onsen bus terminal (60mins).

You can find a Hirayu Onsen line timetable from the "Web Reference" section that is at the end of this article.

7.

Arrive at the Hirayu Onsen bus terminal.

8.

The ticket window at Hirayu Onsen bus terminal. You do not have to purchase any tickets here as long as you bought the round trip ticket for Kamikochi back at the Nohi bus terminal.

9.

The Kamikochi line bus departs from the No. 2 stand.

 

10.

Travel from Hirayu Onsen bus terminal to Kamikochi bus terminal (25mins).

You can find a Kamikochi line timetable from the "Web Reference" section that is at the end of this article.

11.

Arrive at the Kamikochi bus terminal.

12.

Upon arrival at the Kamikochi bus terminal, go to the building called the "Kamikochi Sight Seeing Center".

13.

Choose the bus you want to return on, and ask for a numbered boarding ticket (seiriken) at the window.

You can find a bus timetable from the "Web Reference" section that is at the end of this article.

14.

Hold onto the numbered boarding ticket (seiriken) while you are in Kamikochi.

15.

You should ensure that you arrive at the bus terminal at least 10mins before its departure time.

Present the numbered boarding ticket to staff before you board the returning bus.

16.

Present round trip ticket to return to Nohi bus terminal at Hirayu Onsen bus terminal.

 

17.

Back at the Nohi bus terminal.

 

Round trip ticket on Hirayu onsen and Kamikochi line

   You are advised to complete the purchase of your full round trip ticket at Nohi bus terminal, as it will be much more expensive and complicated for you to buy a ticket at each stage along the way. The round-ticket can be used only once but is valid for 6 days.

 

Numbered Boarding Ticket (seiriken 整理券)

   First things first. You are advised to ask for a numbered boarding ticket (seiriken) as soon as you arrive at the Kamikochi bus terminal. The ticket window can be found at the “Kamikochi Sight Seeing Center” building. Convey your desired date and time of return bus trip to window staff who will then provide you with a numbered boarding ticket.

   Most likely, the last returning bus from Kamikochi bus terminal to Hirayu Onsen bus terminal will be full, and only people with the numbered boarding tickets will be able to board it. If you miss the final returning bus, you may have to pay for accommodation to stay overnight at Kamikochi. So make sure you get the ticket as soon as possible.

 

Free Passport

   The Free Passports shown below offers an incredibly economical way to travel to Kamikochi. It also offers various sightseeing spots for you to travel:

  • 4 Days Alps Wide Free Passport Shinshu/Hida:

   The Wide Free Passport allows you to travel freely on the Nohi buses (Hirayu Onsen and Kamikochi line etc) and Matsumoto Dentetsu. Please be aware, however, that some restrictions apply. Please check the English version of pamphlet from ALPICO group’s website for further information. You can purchase this free passport from the Nohi bus terminal, Gero bus center ALPICO (Matsumoto) bus terminal or Shin-shimashima station
 

Web References

   Further information about access to Kamikochi from Takayama can be found from these websites:

 

Scanned Pamphlet