Sample itinerary of day trip to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route from Tokyo

Snow Walls is very very popular on Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.  (C) Tateyama Kurobe  Kanto / JTOA
Snow Walls is very very popular on Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. (C) Tateyama Kurobe Kanto / JTOA

I have never thought visiting Alpine Route from Tokyo as day trip. But I have received some inquiries and check the timetable. And I found that we can do it.

Actually it is quite easy trip. Please fine the sample itinerary of day trip to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route from Tokyo.

*The information in this article is current at the time of writing.

From Tokyo to Shinano-Omachi

There are two routes to get the gateway, Ogizawa.

All JR train access

Limited Express Azusa is only train to go to Shinano-Omachi from Tokyo (Shinjuku) directly.
Limited Express Azusa is only train to go to Shinano-Omachi from Tokyo (Shinjuku) directly.

This is the best route for JR pass user all time.

Shinjuku 7:30 – (Limited Express Azusa 3) – Shinano-Omachi 11:03
Shinano-Omachi 11:15 – (Local bus) – 11:55

If you use JR Pass, this route is recommended because Shinjuku to Shinano-Omachi is fully covered by JR Pass. Limited Express Azusa 3 is only train to get Shinano-Omachi directly from Tokyo without any transfers. Limited Express Azusa 1 departs at 7:00, it goes only Matsumoto. You can take a local train to get Shinano-Omachi from Matsumoto. But arrival time is 10:48. You leave 30 minutes early but you can arrive 15 minutes early. Limited Express Azusa 3 is the best choice.

Hokuriku Shinkansen and express bus route

The new fleet, E7/ W7 series run on Hokuriku Shinkansen.
The new fleet, E7/ W7 series run on Hokuriku Shinkansen.

Hokuriku Shinkansen and Express bus can take you to Ogizawa much faster than All JR train access above

Tokyo 6:16 – (Hokuriku Shinkansen Kagayaki 501) – Nagano 7:39
Nagano 7:55 – (Alpico express bus) – Ogizawa 9:40

You have to leave more than 1 hour earlier but you can get Ogizawa more than 2 hours earlier. This route was not recommended for JR pass user because express bus is not covered by JR Pass.

But JR East has introduced new deal, Tateyama Kurobe Option Ticket at 9,000 yen on September 1, 2015.
Tateyama Kurobe Option Ticket (JR East official site)

This deal covers all part of the trip from Nagano to Toyama. And actually this deal is cheaper than even regular fare between Shinano-Omachi and Toyama, 10,850 yen.

The bus service takes you to the gateway, Ogizawa of Kurobe Tateyama Alpine Route directly from Nagano. As I mentioned above, you can get there 2 hours earlier than Limited Express Azusa route. As long as Tateyama Kurobe Option Ticket is on sale, this route is the best way for all travellers.

You can find the timetable and the fare of Alpico Express Bus at the link below:

Alpico Bus Line, Express bus service for Nagano – Omachi, Ogizawa

Travelling on Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

You can walk on Kurobe dam. (C) Nagano Prefecture / JNTO
You can walk on Kurobe dam. (C) Nagano Prefecture / JNTO

Total trip time is about 2 hours for Ogizawa to Tateyama. But you will walk on the trail and enjoy alpine view and fresh air. Official site recommend to spend 6 hours for Ogizawa to Tateyama one way trip. Official site gives you timetable and model course.

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route timetable and fare
Model course from Ogizawa to Tateyama

Go back to Tokyo from Toyama

There are many Hokuriku Shinkansen trains to Tokyo. The fastest Hokuriku Shinkansen train “Kagayaki” runs once an hour.

For example, if you start from Ogizawa at 9:40, you will be Toyama around 16:00. You can take the following train.

Toyama 16:58 – (Hokuriku Shinkansen Kagayaki 510) – Tokyo 19:12

Of course, you can stay on Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route more and take later Hokuriku Shinkansen train.
The last two of Hokuriku Shinkansen trains are the following:

Kanazawa 19:39 – (Hokuriku Shinkansen Kagayaki 516) – Tokyo 22:12
Kanazawa 21:00 – (Hokuriku Shinkansen Kagayaki 518) – Tokyo 23:32

You have 4 extra hours if you take the last train to Tokyo. You can enjoy Toyama and try to eat local cuisine for dinner.

Even if you take All JR trains route (Shinjuku – Shinano-Omachi route), you can reach Toyama around 18:00. You can take these trains very easily.

Now you know how easy to make a day trip to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route from Tokyo.

Which way is better, from Ogizawa/Shinano-Omachi or from Toyama?

If you stay Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route as much as you want, the route from Ogizawa is better. Because Hokuriku Shinkansen runs late night. But if you take the route from Toyama, the last bus to Nagano from Ogizawa is 16:30 departure. You can have a bit more time on Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route if you start from Ogizawa.

However if you start from Toyama, you can stop at Nagano a little bit. The bus arrive Nagano at 18:10. The last Hokuriku Shikansen train to Tokyo from Nagano depart at 22:08. If you are interested in Nagano, you may start from Toyama. You can visit Zenko-ji temple even in night time. It is open for public 24 hours.

Add Kanazawa if you want to have more

Higashichayagai area is one of most popular spots in Kanazawa. (C) Kanazawa City / JNTO
Higashichayagai area is one of most popular spots in Kanazawa. (C) Kanazawa City / JNTO

As I explained above, you can reach Toyama around 16:00. If you love to challenge and visit the places as many as you want, you can add Kanazawa. This is not very recommended but it is possible.

Toyama 16:26 – (Hokuriku Shinkansen Hakutaka 565) – Kanazawa 16:48
Kanazawa 21:00 – (Hokuriku Shinkansen Kagayaki 518) – Tokyo 23:32

You have 4 hours in Kanazawa if you are okay in night time. I recommend you to spend more in Kanazaawa. But your schedule is very tight and want to see Kanazawa, this is one of the options.

Suggested deal

Tateyama Kurobe Option Ticket is on sale from April 16 to November 9, 2016. This ticket is valid for 5 days and it is sold at 9,000 yen. You may use this ticket until November 13, 2016. Please see the official site at the link below to find the detailed information.

Tateyama Kurobe Open Ticket (One Way)

For other part of this trip, Japan Rail Pass is the best choice. This is only deal to cover both Tokyo – Nagano (or Shinjuku – Shinano-Omachi) and Toyama – Tokyo. JR East Pass does not cover Toyama. You need to add fare for Toyama – Joetsu-Myoko. The additional fare is 5,630 yen for this segment. If you add this fare on top of JR East Pass at 22,000 yen, it is not much different from JR Pass 7 days at 29,100 yen.

If you pay single fare, the total fare is 20,930 yen (Toyama – Tokyo 12,730 yen and Tokyo – Nagano 8,200 yen). You cannot pay off JR Pass by only this trip. But you may add one more long trip, 7 days pass is paid off.

Don’t forget to check the timetable before you go

The above sample itinerary is built by timetable of September 2015. When you use this sample itinerary, please check the updated timetable.

Hyperdia (check the train timetable)
Alpico Bus Line, Express bus service for Nagano – Omachi, Ogizawa
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route timetable and fare

At last, one of my readers, Jonathan gave me his experience of Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. Please refer this post about Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.

Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route, one of most spectacular sightseeing route in Northern Japan Alps

125 thoughts on “Sample itinerary of day trip to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route from Tokyo”

  1. Hi Takeshi san, will it be possible to visit yuki-no-otani on Fri, 14th April 2017? I will be leaving Japan on 15th April already 🙁

  2. Hi, need advise. I plan to do 1 day trip to Tateyama Kurobe Alphine Route via Takayama and exit either Matsumoto or Nagano to Tokyo.

    May I know the following:
    1. Duration and how early? : Takayama to Toyama
    2. What would be the fastest route to Tokyo? Is it via Matsumoto or Nagano?
    3. Do I purchase online and DIY myself or should consider choosing a 1-day tour, anything that you can recommend based on service?

    Thanks
    Intan

    1. Hi Intan,

      1. Actually this segment is not very convenient. You have only two choices.
      Takayama 5:31 (local train) 6:40 Inotani 6:57 (local train) 7:52 Toyama
      Takayama 7:40 (local train) 9:04 Inotani 9:09 (local train) 10:05 Toyama

      There is no direct trains and express trains in early morning. If you want to have lots of time on alpine route, you have to leave Takayama at 5:31.

      2. Nagano is faster.

      3. You can do by yourself it but you should have option ticket.
      http://www.jrtateyama.com/e/

      If you will in Osaka or Tokyo before reaching Takayama, you may buy this ticket in advance. You cannot buy it at Takayama. You can buy it in Toyama but you should save your time for this day.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi Takeshi,

    I will be heading to Alpine route from Toyama station this coming 17th April. I have a few questions:
    1) Am i right that i should be taking the Toyama Chiho Rail to Tateyama Station?
    2)Any idea why i cannot book the Alpine tickets online or is there other ways to buy advance tickets?
    3) Should i buy the JR pass?

    Thank you for your advise.

    Kwok

  4. Hi Takeshi-san,

    I’m Kelly. My family and I plan to visit the Kurobe Alpine Route from Tokyo in mid April, either Apr 15 or 16. However, due to time constraint, we are exploring the possibility to do a 1-day trip (i.e. return to Tokyo within the same day). Thus, may I get some advise from you:

    – is it still possible to do the 1-day trip on the first few days of the opening of the Kurobe Alpine Route?
    – From the info I’ve gathered so far, the place will be VERY PACK with visitors and will incur a lot of waiting time to take the transportation (i.e. cable car, buses etc). Hence, we only plan to visit the priority places (i.e. the snow corridor) and maybe a short walk around the Kurobe Dam. With this in mind, would you think 1-day trip on these 2 days is still feasible?

    BTW, I’m travelling with my hubby, a 20-month old toddler and my mum who aged ard 70++.

    Thank you in advance for your help on this. Hope to hear from you soon.

    1. Hi Kelly san,

      Even if you visit only Murodo (snow wall place) and Kurobe dam, you will go through all part of alpine route. So you will be in super packed tourist anyway. One day trip is still possible but not recommended. Because you will start the trip late because you need to access there from Tokyo. I recommend you to stay in Toyama and start the trip as early as possible. Especially you have 20 month baby and senior. I don’t recommend you to carry stroller for your child. So eventually you or your husband will carry your child.

      In this season, Alpine route will open fully on 15th. So 15th and 16th are the first two days after open. These days will be the busiest day in this year. If you go there, I strongly recommend you to stay in Toyama or Tateyama or Shinano-Omachi and start your trip as early as possible. Even if you do this, it will be super busy but it will be better than starting from Tokyo.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi-san,

        Thanks for the information. I’m still exploring the possibility to stay at the places mentioned by you. Will reach out to you for advise again if need be.

        Thank you.

        Regards,
        Kelly

      2. Hi Takeshi-san,

        It’s me Kelly again. I understand that it is possible not to complete the whole route. For e.g. if I start from Nagano and I go up to murodo, I can “turn back” and go back to Nagano without going through the whole route (I.e. end at tateyama).

        A) Do you know if this is true and visitors are allow to do this?
        B) can we use buy option tics for this arrangement?

          1. Hi Takeshi-san,

            I’m still drafting out a plan to visit between Apr 15 – 18. However with the expected number of visitors, I’m abit concern if we can really make in time to take the last transportation service (e.g. express bus etc) be it we complete the whole tour or turn back half way at murodo.

            May I ask if visitors not able to catch the last express bus service from ogizawa to Nagano stn or miss the last train from tateyama station:

            A) what other transportation available for the visitor to make their way to the nearest JR train station?
            B) What will be the average charges for these transportation?

            Thank you for your help again.

            Regards,
            Kellyn

          2. Hi Kellyn,

            A. The last express bus to Nagano departs at 18:05. There is no later bus available, even local bus. Shinano-Omachi is the nearest station but you need to take taxi. Taxi fare is super pricey. I don’t have any exact fare but I expect more than 5,000 yen.
            Usually if there are many more passengers than bus capacity, they will have an extra bus. But it’s not guaranteed.

            B. If you get Shinano-Omachi station, you need to take a local train to Matsumoto. And then take another train from Matsumoto to Nagano. Trip time is varied by the type of train and connection time at Matsumoto. It takes at least 2 hours 15 minutes from Shinano-Omachi to Matsumoto.

            Cheers,

            Takeshi / JPRail.com

          3. Hi Takeshi-san,

            Most likely I’ll spend 1 nite in tateyama area and start the alpen tour the following day. I’m also planning to drop my baggage to shinano-omachi (use the baggage service) and go back to shinjuku. However, I can’t find the official website for JR Oito line to get the train timetable between shinano-omachi to Matsumoto. The timetable that I found seems to show there is only 1 ride from shinano-omachi to Matsumoto.

            A) Do u know where I can find the official website to the get the correct train timetable info?
            B) is it true that there is only 1 train timing between shinano-omachi and Matsumoto?

            Thank you.

            Regards,
            Kelly

  5. Hi Takeshi,
    It’s likely that we’ll stay at a place that the nearest station is Kita Matsudo. We learned that it is a little bit far from that Kita Matsudo station to Tokyo Station. If we take a 6.16 train from Tokyo to Nagano, I am afraid that we have to leave very early from Kita Matsudo (considering the kids). Do you think we can take a later train schedule from Tokyo to Nagano. Will the time be sufficient for the whole Alpine Route trip until Toyama/Tateyama and back to Kita Matsudo?

    Many thanks!
    Ninin

    1. Hi Nirin,

      You can take later train, such as the following schedule:
      Tokyo 7:20 – 8:43 Nagano 09:00 – 10:45 Ogizawa.

      This still works but I don’t recommend you to take later than this.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. Hi Takeshi,

    We will be coming from Kyoto to do the alpine route, and then head to Hakone afterwards. It looks like it makes more sense to start from Toyama. However, you mentioned that starting here didn’t allow for as much time because the train leaves early. What do you recommend? We were planning to stay at Matsumoto and head out the next morning, but now we’re thinking starting at the other city might be better given our itinerary. We’re planning to go near the end of April, and will plan to purchase JR pass. Thanks!

    1. Hi Minh,

      When you start from Kyoto, you should start from Toyama because more accessible than Shinano-Omachi or Nagano. So you can go to Toyama from Kyoto to start Alpine route. You can stay in either Matsumoto or Nagano. Actually Nagano is more accessible but if you want to stay in Matsumoto, that’s okay. You need to go back to Tokyo when you go to Hakone. Nagano is more accessible to Tokyo than Nagano because Shinkansen connects Nagano and Tokyo.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Hi Takeshi

    This is my first trip to gifu area ie nagoya/takayana/shiragawa. I plan to go to Tateyama Alpine route in oct 2017. What would you recommend For me to get there? Is it best to go from takayama station?

    1. Hi Kimchi,

      I recommend you to start the trip to alpine route from Toyama. You can do it from Takayama but you have to leave very very early morning and you have to take local train for more than two hours with one transfer. It’s not recommended.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. Hi Takeshi, thanks for a very useful information.
    I (with amily) plan to go to Alpen Route by May 6. This is the 2nd time (the 1st one was May 2015). Last time, our trip was Tokyo-Tateyama-Murodo -Tateyama and back to Tokyo. At that time, we thought that we could not take a whole route in one day trip. But from your post, seems it is possible.
    So, just to confirm, our route will be Tokyo (Shinzuku?) – Ogizawa – Tateyama in about 6 hours. Is it right? All the routes are covered by JR Pass? And the fare is cheaper than Tateyama-Murodo-Tateyama.
    Your advice and further information will be very valuable for us. I am so happy to find ths very useful information!

    1. Hi Ninin,

      I recommend you to take Hokuriku Shinkansen to Nagano and take Express bus. This is earlier access to Ogizawa. You can use JR pass to take Hokuriku Shinkansen to get Nagano. And you can use Tateyama Kurobe option ticket from Nagano to Toyama.
      http://www.jrtateyama.com/e/

      Even if you take train from Shinjuku to Shinano-Omachi, you need to have Tateyama Kurobe option ticket because JR pass does not cover anything on alpine route.

      If you make the round trip to Murodo from Toyama, single fare is 6710 yen and it’s cheaper than Tateyama Kurobe option ticket. The choice is yours.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi,
        Many thanks for your prompt response. Very useful.
        So, with Yen 9000 we can get Nagano – Toyama (the whole Alpen Route)? If it is the case, worth it!
        I think, we’ll take this one.

        Again, many thanks, Takeshi..
        Ninin

  9. Hi Takeshi, I’d like to ask you 1 thing, about the Tateyama Kurobe Option Ticket , can we buy round trips ( means 2x Yen 9000)?
    Or we just can buy 1 trip and the way back need to pay full charge ( Yen 10850) ? Thanks

      1. Thanks so much for your advice, Takeshi.
        But now I’m considering to go to Osaka First and then
        go to Tateyama and back to Tokyo on the same day, is it possible to do so? Kindly help to advise, thank you

  10. Hi Takeshi, This is Gie, and it is my first time to go to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, i will be in shinjuku, what will you recommend for me to get there with my family..thank you so much!

    1. Hi Gie,

      As you read the post above, you can access to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route from either Nagano or Toyama. The common route is going through this route from either Nagano or Toyama to other point. You can make a day trip from Shinjuku if you want. You can take local train to get Tokyo in 15 minutes and follow the route. Of course if you have enough time, you can stay in Nagano or Toyama. The trip will be much easier.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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