The Official Tourism Site of Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan
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My Time in Matsumoto (Guest's Blog)

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643 2018/2/6 Driving around Matsumoto - April 9-12 2018
Winter Visitor 
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:
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:
Asama Onsen bus timetable:

Hope this helps. Enjoy the onsen!