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

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

  1. Hi Takeshi San,
    We are family of 3 arriving in Narita Airport from 1June, 0800hr, and depart from HND Airport on 11Jun 2017, 1705hr.

    Our tentative itinerary is as follows:
    – Travel from Narita direct to Matsumoto
    – Stay 2 or 3 nights at Matsumoto, with day trips to Azumino & Hakuba
    – 1 way Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route from Omachi side to Toyama.
    – Stay 2 or 3 nights at Toyama with day trips to Kurobe Gorge, Kanazawa
    – Toyama to Takayama (side trip to Shirakawago)
    – Stay 1 or 2 nights at Takayama
    – Takayama to Matsumoto ( may be 1 night at Matsumoto)
    – Matsumoto to Fuji Lake Kawaguchi (1 or 2 nights)
    – 2 nights in Tokyo.

    May i seek your kind advice and suggestions
    – Is the plan feasible?
    – Do we need at 7 days rail pass or other suitable or cheaper options ?
    -Would we walk the snow corridor on 1st week of June?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Redzuan san,

      – Is the plan feasible?
      Yes.

      – Do we need at 7 days rail pass or other suitable or cheaper options ?
      7 days pass is too short to cover your trip. And you cannot get the worth either. JR East pass is the best option but it does not give you a big saving. And also it does not cover Kanazawa – Toyama and Toyama-Takayama. You need to add regular fares.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/jr-east-pass-niigata-and-nagano-flex-5-days-pass-in-14-days-period-to-cover-kanto-region-nagano-and-niigata.html

      -Would we walk the snow corridor on 1st week of June?
      Maybe. Usually it can be seen until early or mid June. It depends on weather.
      You can use Tateyama Kurobe option ticket for alpine route.
      http://www.jrtateyama.com/e/

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi,

    The one way trip-ticket is from Ogizawa to Tateyama, do I have to buy another ticket from Tateyama to Ogizawa to reach Tokyo, or is there a train from Tateyama to Tokyo?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi J,

      Usually travelers take Toyama Chiho railway from Tateyama to Toyama and then take Shinkansen back to Tokyo. Please check the chapter of “Go back to Tokyo from Toyama” in the post above.

      You don’t need to go back to Ogizawa. That means you have to go through alpine route again.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi Takeshi San,

    Hello. I plan to gp tp Tokyo on May 15. I plan to visit the following places:

    – Tateyama Alphine Route
    – takayama
    – ashikagawa area to see wisteria flowers
    – Mount Fuji and Lake Kawaguchico
    – disney sea
    – yokohama

    Please advice what pass I need to buy.

    Thank you.

    Owena

  4. Hi Takeshi-san,

    I will be visiting the Kansai region for about 10 days in May and i plan spend a few days to visit the Alphine route and Shirakawa-go. My plan is as follows:

    24 May: Kansai Airport to Toyama
    25 May: Alphine route
    26 May: Shirakawago (stay Kanazawa)
    27 May: Kanazawa – Kyoto
    28-30 May: Kyoto
    31 May-2 Jun: Osaka

    Can you please recommend which pass should i buy? Are there any pass that i can buy which will cover the above mentioned places?

    I also intend to visit the Alphine route from Toyama, may i ask which is the best way to travel? Do a partial route till Murodo or Kurobe dam and turn back? The Alphine route website mention that we will be able to do a round trip from Toyama, may i check how? Which is the most efficient way to take (partial or round)? Are there any passes for doing this trip? Can i buy the Tateyama Kurobe Option Ticket? Or do i have to buy individual ticket?

    Thank you very much for your help and advice.

    Cheers.
    Jun

    1. Hi Jun,

      I recommend you to use Takayama Hokuriku area pass for the first 5 days.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/takayama-hokuriku-area-pass-perfect-deal-to-get-takayama-kanazawa-toyama-shirakawago-from-nagoya-or-osaka.html

      You can have round trip to either Murodo or Kurobe dam. You can purchase a ticket online at official site or buy on the spot. If you buy it online, you can save your time to wait on the line.

      You cannot use Tateyama Kurobe option ticket. This is available for one way trip from Toyama to Nagano (or Shinano-Omachi) or versa. You have to purchase regular tickets. If you have one way trip to go through alpine route, you need to pay for Nagano to Toyama by Shinkansen. It costs around 7,000 yen. The trip will be more expensive than round trip.

      You may use local deals after using Takayama Hokuriku area pass.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-osaka.html
      http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/how-to-choose-the-deals-for-access-tofrom-kansai-airport.html

      Add single fare for Kyoto to Osaka.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi-san,

        Thank you for your reply.

        Reference to the Takayama Hokuriku area pass, understand that this pass cover the bus ticket to Shirakawa-go. As i heard that the bus to Shirakawa-go get fully booked quite fast, can i check if we can reserve our seats online from overseas?

        For the Alphine route, you have recommended a round trip to either Murodo or Kurobe dam. As i want to visit both Murodo and Kurobe dam, do i buy just 1 round-trip ticket from Dentetsu-Toyama to Kurobe dam or do i need to buy 2 round-trip ticket (ie. from Dentetsu-Toyama to Murodo; and Murodo to Kurobe dam)? Do i make my reservation here: https://tateyama-kurobe.alpen-route.com/ticket/en/start.html

        Thank you.

        Cheers,
        Jun

        1. Hi Jun san,

          As long as I know, online is not available for pass user. It’s available for cash payment user only. Otherwise you can make a call to book it. It’s overseas call but you can book it even if you use the pass.

          Advanced booking for alpine route online is recommended. It’s crowded if you purchase a ticket on the spot. If you purchase a ticket on the spot, you will purchase round trip ticket at Tateyama station, not Dentetsu Toyama.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi Jun san,

            You don’t need to book for Dentetsu-Toyama to Tateyama. The link which you mentioned is correct. You can book a ticket there. If you have any questions about online booking, please contact them to find it. You can find “Contact” in the online booking site.

            Cheers,

            Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Hi,
    My plan is to travel from Tokyo to the alpine route from May 12-14, spending two nights, one night at each end.
    Any suggestion as where to start and end before returning to Tokyo? Any also the most economical travel plan.
    Thank you
    Majid

    1. Hi Majid,

      You can start either Nagano or Toyama. Nagano is closer than Toyama from Tokyo. So it depends on the time of departure from Tokyo.
      Tateyama Kurobe option ticket is your choice for alpine route:
      http://www.jrtateyama.com/e/

      You can use JR East Pass Nagano Niigata and extra fare for Joetsu-Myoko to Toyoma which is around 5000 yen. Because this segment is outside coverage area of JR East Pass.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/jr-east-pass-niigata-and-nagano-flex-5-days-pass-in-14-days-period-to-cover-kanto-region-nagano-and-niigata.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi San,
        Thank you for your reply.
        Say if I stay at Nagano on the first night,arriving early and enjoy the city. Early next day I will travel the alpine route and end at Toyoma in the evening and stay a night at Toyoma and returning the next day from Toyoma to Tokyo in the late afternoon.
        Can you recommend me the most economical means of transport. The JR east does it cover Toyoma to Tokyo?

        Thank you and warmest regards

        1. Hi Majid san,

          You can do the plan which you thought.

          The best deal is still same. JR East Pass, Tateyama Kurobe option ticket and extra fare for Toyma to Joetsu-Myoko. When you go to Tokyo from Toyama, you can use JR East Pass but you need to pay to Joetsu-Myoko from Toyama. There is no better deals available.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi Takeshi San ,
            We will now travel from Tokyo Ueno to Toyama, and return to Tokyo from Nagano, will the JR east Nagano Niigata pass cover my ride from Tokyo to Toyama?

            Thank you

          2. Hi Majid san,

            You need to add the fare for Joetsu-Myoko to Tokyo which is outside coverage area. The extra fare for this segment is around 5000 yen. It includes Shinkansen seat fee and base fare. You can buy and book this ticket when you exchange JR East pass. You can get same seat from Tokyo to Toyama. You don’t need to get off at Joetsu-Myoko.

            Cheers,

            Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. Hi takeshi,
    We are planning to go to the alpine route from tokyo on may 13 and thinking of staying overnight in hotel tateyama in marudo.
    What pass can u suggest us to use? Because after marudo and alpine route , we are planning to visit kanazawa and shirakawago also the next day before going back to tokyo .

    1. Hi Dennies,

      I recommend you to use Hokuriku Arch Pass and Tateyama Kurobe option ticket.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/tokyo-osaka-hokuriku-arch-pass-user-guide-clarify-valid-trains-coverage-area-and-compare-single-fare-and-pass.html
      http://www.jrtateyama.com/e/

      Bus to Shirakawago from Kanazawa is not covered by this pass. Please see the link below to find the fare:
      https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/english/highwaybus/shirakawago.pdf

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Hi,

    We are I Nagoya for 5 days towards the end of April and would like to make a day trip for Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. We also have a weekly JR pass.
    At which station do you suggest that we get on/off from Nagoya.
    And is it possible to cover it in a day?
    What part of the journey is not covered by the JR pass?
    Thanks in Advance

    CJ

  8. Hi Takeshi,

    I am planning to visit this Alpine route for our upcoming visit to japan with friends. We are thinking of doing this 1 day trip, departing from Toshima-ku and returning there again.

    What time do you suggest and how much will it cost me with the entire trip? We don’t have JR Pass, do you think it is better for us to purchase JR Pass? Our whole itinerary would be like:
    23 April Osaka – Tokyo
    24 April Disneyland
    25 April Mt Fuji
    26 April Alpine route
    27 April Tokyo and Gotemba

    before heading to Tokyo, we will spend 5 nights in Osaka. hence would appreciate your suggestion, so that we can prepare the cost for train.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Rina,

      You should have JR pass. It’s way cheaper than other deals and single fares. You should leave very early morning. First Shinkansen train departs from Tokyo at 6:16 and arrive in Nagano at 7:40 and arrive in Toyama at 8:27. You need to take this. And also you must purchase Takayama Kurobe option ticket in advance. Don’t try to purchase it at Nagano or Toyama on the day of trip. The window will be very crowded.
      http://www.jrtateyama.com/e/

      Alpine route in this period is super busy.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  9. Dear Takeshi-san,

    I am interested to change my itinerary, and wants to walk over the snow corridor at Tateyama.

    I am in Kyoto by tomorrow, and will be in Tokyo on 9th of Apr, with my husband and son. I am planning to have a 1-day trip on the 10th of April, from my hotel in Tokyo (Shinjuku).

    Please advise in detsil on what I should do effectively and efficiently.

    Thank you.

  10. Hi,
    I am planning to go to the alpine route from toyama on 15 Apr, and i am thinking of getting the kurobe option ticket as well.
    May I know how do i use this ticket? I.e., do i just head to dentetsu toyama station and exchange/show the ticket somewhere? Or do i have to buy another entrance ticket to enter?

    Is there any fixed timing given in this option ticket? Or is it free and easy to enter? Why do people buy that advanced ticket from https://tateyama-kurobe.alpen-route.com/ticket/en/index.html ?

    1. Hi Robyn,

      You don’t need to exchange it. Just show your pass to take train, bus and other transportation on alpine route.
      Online ticket is the best way to avoid line up at the window. And some travelers want to have round trip to some points on Alpine route, such as Toyama – Murodo round trip. Tateyama Kurobe option ticket cannot be used for this kind of round trip. It’s valid for one way trip only.

      You also can avoid the line up by Tateyama Kurobe option ticket but you may spend many minutes when you purchase this ticket. Don’t purchase it on trip date. You should purchase it in advance as official site says.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        Thank you for your prompt reply. Yes i am looking to buy it in advanced on the 14th. It seems that they will be opening up the sales early.

        However, I have just read here http://www.alpen-route.com/en/information/faq.html that ‘A. Before entering the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, we will pass you the limited tickets for use within the Alpine Route. The place for handing over the tickets is either Dentetsu Toyama Station, Tateyama Station or Ogizawa Station. Please show the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Ticket to the station staff. In return, the staff will pass you the tickets for the Alpine Route.”‘
        May I know if the rules have changed or? I am slightly confused by this statement.
        Thanks!

        1. Hi Robyn,

          Actually I have never heard this before. But I guess alpine route is getting busier and busier. I think they pass you the sort of ticket which is limited for option ticket user. Anyway all you have to do is just showing your ticket and get a ticket at Dentetsu Toyama station to proceed in my understanding.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

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