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639 2018/2/20 Winter Wonderland: Snowshoeing in Kamikochi
Theresa 
GERMANY
Dear Team,
thanks for all the information provided on this website.
I'm very keen on going for a snowshoeing hike in Kamikochi this February/March after I read the blog article on this page.

How can I get there best? I'd like to do it individually rather than joining a group or a guided tour but can't find proper information.

Thanks a lot in advance!


Note of webmaster: Hallo Teresa,

We would highly recommend using a tour to hike in Kamikochi during the winter because all facilities, including emergency facilities, are closed until April. It can be dangerous if you do not know there area well (there can be small avalanches and there are no well-kept trails).

The best place to schedule a tour would probably be Little Peaks located in Norikura Highlands. They offer a one-day tour for 9,000 yen, or two-day tours where you spend the night in Kamikochi for 23,000 (camping) to 31,000 yen (stay at an inn). Unfortunately, their site is only in Japanese, but you can also try to contact them via email (info@littlepaks.jp) or phone (0263-93-1243). I believe that the staff can at least speak some English, but we can try to help if necessary.

If you insist on doing the hike without a guide, you will need to drive yourself/take a taxi to the Sawando parking area near the Kama Tunnel, and then take a taxi from there to the Kama Tunnel which is the entrance to the road that leads to Kamikochi. There is some information on this blog post, but I cannot find more detailed info else where:
http://welcome.city.matsumoto.nagano.jp/modules/xpressme/outdoor/winter-wonderland-snowshoeing-in-kamikochi

You will want to make sure you are thoroughly prepared for winter weather, have a map and supplies, and make sure you inform your hotel or someone that you are going on the hike, in case anything happens. And make sure you don't go alone :)

Sorry I can't give you specific details, but let me know if you have any other questions!

- Felice



638 2018/2/13 Shinhotaka ropeway
Kwan 
THAILAND
I plan to Shinhotaka next Thrusday from Matsumoto. Is it possible to go there on that day because I heard it’s too much snow this year?


Note of webmaster: Hello Kwan,

Next Thursday (2/22) should be okay. However, this may change if there is large snowfall. Please check their website (machine translation) before you go: http://shinhotaka-ropeway.jp.e.uk.hp.transer.com/
If you are driving, please be sure that your vehicle has proper winter tires. The roads may be snowy and/or icy.

Safe travels!

Paige



637 2018/2/13 Return bus from Kamikochi to Matsumoto
Michelle 
AUSTRALIA
Hello,

I've read that when travelling on a return ticket from Matsumoto to Kamikochi, you need to collect a numbered ticket for the return bus from Kamikochi. How quickly do the tickets disappear for the buses leaving Kamikochi between 3-5pm on a weekday in July? I'd like to get off the bus and start hiking from Taisho-ike, but am worried that reaching the Bus Center around mid-morning will make me too late to get a ticket for my preferred return bus.

Thank you!


Note of webmaster: Greetings Michelle,

Weekdays in July, especially those before the 20th, are not in peak season, so ideally you should be able to get a seat on one of the buses that depart between 3 and 5 p.m. You cannot reserve seats on the Kamikochi-Matsumoto bus line, so even if you get a ticket early, you will need to be physically present to secure a seat on the bus. While there are only a few buses that run direct from Kamikochi to Matsumoto (Station/Bus Terminal) there are a number of buses that run from Kamikochi to Shin-Shimashima from which you can take a Kamikochi Line train to Matsumoto Station. You can purchase round trip tickets that are valid on both the bus and train lines. See ALPICO's site for more details https://www.alpico.co.jp/tourists/en/kamikochi/route01/

Enjoy the park!

Paige



636 2018/2/9 cliff
cliff 
UNITED STATES
Plan to be in Matsumoto April 16-18. Will the cherry blossoms be in bloom? Considering a day trip to Takato castle park. Is this possible by train? Will cherry blossoms be in bloom there? Thanks


Note of webmaster: Hi Cliff,

Although it varies by year, the cherry blossom schedule for Takato Park is usually as follows (give or take a few days):
Begin blooming: around Apr 5
Full bloom: around Apr 10-23
Finished: around 4/29
As for the park hours, they are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Apr 1-30. The trees will be lit up at sunset starting Apr 6. When the cherry blossoms are at their peak, the park will be open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Note: Last entrance is 21:30.
You can access the park via a combination of train and bus. From Matsumoto Station you will take the JR Chuo Line or the Super Express Azusa to Okaya Station. Transfer at Okaya Station to the JR Iida Line and get off at Inashi Station. Take a bus to the Takato Eki stop then walk about 15 minutes to the park. The buses depart about every 20 minutes.
Admission to the park is 500 (250 for elementary and middle school students) during the festival.

Cherries in Nagano near Matsumoto are forecasted as,
Begin blooming: around Apr 12, 2018
Full bloom: around Apr 17-23

Happy Hanami!

Paige



635 2018/2/8 Visit Matsumoto and Kamikochi?
Elisa 
NETHERLANDS
Hello,

My friend and I are visiting Matsumoto from April 23th till April 27th. We'd love to do a dayhike in Kamikochi. We read on the site that Kamikochi will open on the 27th of April. But we also read that buses allready drive to Kamikochi from the 17th of April. Is it possible to visit Kamikochi by bus in the days before the 27th of April for a dayhike?

And if that's not an opportunity. Are there more hikes you can recommend in the area of Matsumoto?

Thanks in advance!

Kind regards,
Elisa


Note of webmaster: Hello Elisa!

The 27th is a festival celebrating the opening of the mountain for the season, so many people visit from that day, but the mountain will be accessible by bus from the 17th. You and your friend can visit Kamikochi and hike before the 27th. There will still be some snow on the trails (due to the weather and altitude), so just be sure to have proper footwear.

Safe hiking!

-Paige



634 2018/2/6 Driving around Matsumoto - April 9-12 2018
Winter Visitor 
UNITED KINGDOM
Hi everyone. Great website.

We're thinking about spending a few days in the Matsumoto area in the second week of April 2018. My question is about what it would be like hiring a car and driving to some of the onsens in and around the mountains close to Matsumoto (for example, Shirahone).

From looking at weather reports from previous years, I know that there's a chance that it could be very cold, but I don't know what to expect the roads to be like. Will they have ice and snow? Will it be pleasant to drive at this time of year, or would people try to avoid it?
Thanks for any help you can give...


Note of webmaster: Greetings Winter Visitor!

They will be taking care of snow removal on the major roads so the onsen areas should be accessible. Please be aware that some areas will still have snow and it may snow even in the second week of April. If you do not have any experience driving on icy roads, we don't recommend that you drive. If you do rent a car, however, rest assured that they will come with the necessary winter tires. Our website lists car rental companies in the area, most of which have English websites: http://welcome.city.matsumoto.nagano.jp/modules/contents02/index.php?id=1
Onsens with day-trip bathing like Shirahone, Norikura Kogen (Highlands), and Asama are accessible by bus. Bus timetables may change in April (start of the new fiscal year) so be sure to double check the times if you would like to take the bus.
The bus timetable for Norikura Kogen and Shirahone is here: http://www.go-nagano.net/tripinfo/bus-timetables/matsumoto#shirahone
Asama Onsen bus timetable: https://www.alpico.co.jp/tourists/en/matsumoto/route02/

Hope this helps. Enjoy the onsen!

-Paige



633 2017/12/30 Bus to shinhotaka
Kwan 
THAILAND
I plan to go to Shinhotaka from Matsumoto in february 2018. Is there a bus to go Shinhotaka from Matsumoto? How is bus timeable? Can I go in one day trip? Please give me all information I need.
Thank you


Note of webmaster: Hi Kwan

You can get to Shinhotaka and back to Matsumoto in one day, but you will need to plan carefully.
There are no direct buses to Shinhotaka, so you will need to transfer at Hirayu Onsen. The timetable to get to Hirayu Onsen is here: http://www.alpico.co.jp/access/express/matsumoto_takayama/. Please be careful; the bus times in the yellow columns are only for Dec 29 through Jan 3. The other buses do not stop at Shinhotaka.
The earliest bus you can take is the 7:50 from Matsumoto Bus Terminal. You could also take the 9:55 and still have enough time. The 12:30 bus will probably be too late.
When you transfer at Hirayu Onsen, you will then take the Nohi bus. Their timetable is here: https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/route_bus/shinhotaka-line-en/
When you come back, I recommend trying to catch the 15:50 (3:50 p.m.) bus from Hirayu Onsen to Matsumoto. If you miss this bus, there is one more bus that leaves at 17:50 (5:50 p.m.).
Recommended schedule:
Going: Leave Matsumoto Bus Terminal 7:50 -> Arrive Hirayu Onsen 9:15 -> Leave Hirayu Onsen 9:40 -> Arrive Shinhotaka Ropeway 10:16
Coming Back: Leave Shinhotaka Ropeway 14:55 (2:55 p.m.) -> Arrive Hirayu Onsen 15:28 (3:28 p.m.) -> Leave Hirayu Onsen 15:50 (3:50 p.m.) -> Arrive Matsumoto 17:15 (5:15 p.m.)

Hope this helps!
-Paige



632 2017/12/11 Christmas and Winter Events
Theresa 
UNITED KINGDOM
Dear Team of the Welcome Matsumoto Website,

I've already checked the Event Calendar but in past years there have been things going on like "multilingual carol singing", "candle illuminations in Azumino National Park" ... and I was wondering if there will be such events this year as well.
Or would you be so kind to advice me some special winter events in the area around (+/- 2 hours) I should definitely not miss?

Big thank you for your help!


Note of webmaster: Hi Theresa,

The "multilingual carol singing" has not been held in recent years, but other upcoming events can be found here: http://welcome.city.matsumoto.nagano.jp/modules/xpressme/events/december-events-2017

Information on winter illuminations can be found here: http://welcome.city.matsumoto.nagano.jp/modules/xpressme/events/winter-light-displays

You can also visit our facebook page where we share upcoming events: https://www.facebook.com/pg/matsumotowelcomesyou/events/?ref=page_internal

Enjoy!
-Paige



631 2017/12/9 Accommodation Receommendations
Richard 
AUSTRALIA
Dear Matsumoto Tourim,

We are seeking your advice on a ryokan for our stay for two nights from 10 April 2018. Would like somewhere outside of the main centre but within 20 minutes bus ride. We like luxury.


Note of webmaster: Hi Richard,

We recommend ryokan in the following two areas↓

Asama Hot Springs Area (about 20 min by bus from Matsumoto Station/Matsumoto Bus Terminal https://www.alpico.co.jp/tourists/en/matsumoto/route02/)
Kai http://kai-ryokan.jp/en/matsumoto/ is the most luxurious of the ryokan, but we recommend the following ryokan, which are slightly less luxurious, but still very impressive accommodations:
Tamanoyu Ryokan: http://www.hoteltamanoyu.book.direct/en-gb/
Hotel Koyanagi: https://www.japanican.com/en/hotel/detail/5190007/?ref=matsumoto
Hotel Omoto http://www.omoto.co.jp/en/
Other ryokans in the area include: http://welcome.city.matsumoto.nagano.jp/modules/contents09/index.php?id=5

Utsukushigahara Hot Springs Area (about 20 min by bus from Matsumoto Bus Terminal https://www.alpico.co.jp/tourists/en/matsumoto/route03/ More convenient bus access, but less ryokan than the Asama Hot Springs Area)
Hotel Shoho: A ryokan-type hotel with a free shuttle service from JR Matsumoto Station http://www.hotel-shoho.jp/en/
Other ryokans in the area include:
http://welcome.city.matsumoto.nagano.jp/modules/contents09/index.php?id=10

Have a nice stay!
- Paige



630 2017/12/7 Takayama - Komikochi - Matsumoto
Stell 
AUSTRALIA
Hello you have such a great info on the region.

We will be travelling from Takayama to Matsumoto on 10April 2018. I wonder if Kamikochi is open for visitors then.
Do you think we need to book the bus for this journey? April is a cherry blossom time so is a peak tourist time. We also like to visit Kiso valley - Nara and perhaps Tsumago- Magome if you think we can get accommodation without booking? Your advice will much appreciated.


Note of webmaster: Hi Stell,

Kamikochi opens mid-April, so the park will not be open for regular visits when you come on the 10th. If you would really like to visit the park, you can enter Kamikochi on foot preferably by reserving a tour with a private guide or travel agency.

Tickets cannot be reserved for the Takayama-Matsumoto Route (not so crowded). Seats are available on a first-come first-serve basis (standing not allowed). The buses are operated jointly by Nohi https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/english/highwaybus/ and Alpico https://www.alpico.co.jp/tourists/en/kamikochi/route08/.

Since April can be a busy time and smaller lodgings need time to prepare for guests, we recommend booking an accommodation in advance.
Tsumago Accommodations: http://tumago.jp/english/infomation.html
Magome also has a few minshuku (guest houses).
There is a luggage transport service between the two areas.

More information about the Kiso Valley and Nakasendo Road is available here: http://www.go-nagano.net/killer/kiso

Have a nice trip!
-Paige



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