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

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286 2018/3/22 Visiting Matsumoto in March.
Charles Taylor 
Hello there!
I’m visiting the beautiful region of Nagano very soon and plan to do some exploring in Matsumoto, after checking the website of Kamikochi I’ve noticed they will officially be closed until April. Can you give me any information regarding what routes we can take while the park is closed so we can still get some hiking done in the off season. Are we still able to visit certain areas during the “winter” season in late March?
Looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks

Note of webmaster: Hi Charles,

Even at the end of March, conditions in Kamikochi are still those of winter. Since buses do not run to Kamikochi until April 17 (and cars are not allowed into the park) you will most likely need to snowshoe to get to the park. No facilities at the park are open, and you would be entering at your own risk. We strongly recommend that you have hiking/snow shoeing experience in winter conditions or plan to visit with a guide. Experienced guides can be found here and may be able to guide you even in the winter: Or you may be able to find a guided tour through a travel agent.

We recommend snowshoeing in places like Norikura, where companies offer snowshoe rentals/guided snowshoe tours. You can find more information here:

Enjoy the mountains!


285 2018/3/5 Kamikochi and Hoppo
My plan in Japan is around 4-13 April'18. I've seen Kamikochi in many websites and it is very interesting. Unfortunately, I found that it was close and it will open on 17 April'18 referring from

I'm not sure that there is a way to go in my vacation. It's really good to see...

Anyway, if I miss Kamikochi could you please recommend the place where is similar to this place. I'm interested in natural trip.

I've heard about Hoppo pond trip. Could you please inform about this program.

Thank you very much in advanced.

Note of webmaster: Hello Ippo,

Unfortunately, since the mountain is still closed, the only way to see Kamikochi would probably be a guided tour. Winter weather conditions remain so it is still cold on the mountain, and there is snow is on the trails.
If you would like to see a view of the Japan Alps up close, you could try the Shin-Hotaka Ropeway.

The Daio Wasabi Farm, although not in the mountains, offers a nice area for a stroll and great views of the Japan Alps up close.

As for Hoppo Pond, it is accessible by gondola and ski lifts, but requires hiking. Like with Kamikochi, snow remains even in April, so the only way to access it may be by snowshoe. More information is available here:

If you are interested in a snowshoe tour, some are available in the Norikura Highlands. Please see our Winter Activities page for more information.

Hope you are able to enjoy the outdoors!

- Paige

284 2018/2/9 cliff
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!


283 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!


282 2017/12/9 Accommodation Receommendations
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
Kai 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:
Hotel Koyanagi:
Hotel Omoto
Other ryokans in the area include:

Utsukushigahara Hot Springs Area (about 20 min by bus from Matsumoto Bus Terminal 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
Other ryokans in the area include:

Have a nice stay!
- Paige

281 2017/11/16 Another question

Thanks for answering so quickly. I have another question.

Are there buses running from Shirahone Onsen to Shin-Hotaka in the winter of December 2017? And, on the way back are there buses going from Shin-Hotaka back to Matsumoto? Where can I find their time tables?

I would like to go to the Shin-Hotaka ropeway in December 2017 after Shirahone Onsen?


Note of webmaster: Hi Anukal,

There are buses that will take you from Shirahone Onsen to Shin-Hotaka and back to Matsumoto, but you will need to transfer.

Shirahone Onsen -->Shinhotaka Ropeway
Step 1: From Shirahone Onsen, take the bus bound for Matsumoto and get off at Oyako-daki (K17). Two buses leave from Shirahone Onsen: the 10:05 a.m. and the 15:45 p.m. (3:45 p.m.) The timetable is available here (Japanese only)

Step 2: From Oyako-daki, take the express bus bound for Takayama and Shinhotaka. Get off at Hirayu-Onsen (the last stop).
The timetable is available here (in English and Japanese). Please be aware that while two buses (shown in yellow) appear to be running to the Shinhotaka Ropeway stop, they are NOT in service during the winter.

Step 3: From Hirayu-Onsen, take the Nohi Bus to the Shinhotaka Ropeway. The timetable is available here (in English).

Shinhotaka Ropeway -->Matsumoto

Step 1: From the Shinhotaka Ropeway stop, take the Nohi Bus back to Hirayu-Onsen.

Step2: Take the express bus from Hirayu-Onsen to Matsmoto Bus Terminal
The timetable is available here

Hope this helps!
- Paige

280 2017/11/15 Questions about Alpico buses in the winter to Shirahone Onsen

I am planning to visit Matsumoto area in December 2017. I plan to visit Shirahone Onsen. I would like to know if there are buses from Matsumoto to Shirahone Onsen. Or, are there other transportations to get there in December? I cannot find out about this information on Alpico website.

Note of webmaster: Hi Anukal,

Yes, Shirahone Onsen is accessible by direct bus or by a combination of bus and train on Alpico's Matsumoto - Shin-Shimashima - Norikura Kogen (Highlands) Line. Please note that the following times are all Japan Standard Time.
Discount round trip tickets are also available. They are valid for 7 days and can be used for both the bus and the train.

Direct Bus to Shirahone Onsen: Departs from Matsumoto Bus Terminal at 13:30 (1:30 p.m.) and arrives at Shirahone Onsen (the last stop) at 15:33 (3:33 p.m.).
Train and Bus to Shirahone Onsen: The Kamikochi Line train departs from Matsumoto Station at 7:16 a.m. and arrives at Shin-Shimashima Station at 7:49 a.m. From there, you will need to transfer to the bus that departs at 8:05 a.m. You will arrive at Shirahone Onsen at 9:28 a.m.

Direct Bus to Matsumoto: Departs from Shirahone Onsen at 10:05 a.m.
and arrives at Matsumoto Bus Terminal at 12:03 p.m.
Bus and Train to Matsumoto: The bus departs from Shirahone Onsen at 15:45 (3:45 p.m.) and arrives at Shin-Shimashima Station at 17:08 (5:08 p.m.). From there, you will need to transfer to the Kamikochi Line train that departs at 17:23 (5:23 p.m.). You will arrive at Matsumoto Station at 17:52 (5:52 p.m.)

Have a nice visit!
- Paige

279 2017/11/5 Mr
English speaking guide required from 7th nov - 9th nov for a husband and wife

Note of webmaster: Hi, Aman
A professional guide, Ms. Kubo will e-mail you.
Have a nice trip,
- Andy

278 2017/10/29 Matsumoto to MMJ Airport
Hi there,
Trying to figure out which way is better to get from Hakuba to Sapporo.
1) Kamishiro to MMJ Airport or
2) Nagano to Haneda Airport (will have JR pass)

How do you get from Matsumoto station to MMJ Airport? If by bus, is there a timetable? Trying to work out if we'll make the one flight in time!


Note of webmaster: Hi Wei-san,

> 1) Kamishiro to MMJ Airport or
is faster but only one flight per day
> 2) Nagano to Haneda Airport (will have JR pass)
is much cheaper and more flights by some airlines.

The bus info including timetable to MMJ Airport is
here and it departs to match the flight time.

Enjoy Hakuba and Hokkaido,

- Andy

277 2017/8/16 Asama onsen taimatsu matsuri 2017
Sebastian von Gumpert 

We're going to Japan in September and October 2017 and heard about the Asama onsen taimatsu matsuri fire festival which we would love to visit. On another website we found the date of the 8th of October for it , which would be perfect but here it says it's gonna be on the 14th which would be a pity cause we are leaving Japan on the 11th of October. Can you tell me whats the correct information?

Thanks, your help is much appreciated! Sebastian

Note of webmaster: Hi Sebastian,

That festival is held on the 2nd Saturday of October every year, so the correct date for this year is Oct. 14. (Oct. 8 was the date from last year...).

Let us know if you have any other questions!

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