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.

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

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

  1. Hi Takeshi.

    I have read your post and it made me very interested to have a day trip to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route from Tokyo. I am likely to get the JR pass but I have some questions that I hope you would be able to answer for me.

    1) With the JR Pass, is the entire route covered?

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

    According to what you wrote, for both Limited Express Azusa 3 and the local bus, are they both covered by the JR pass?

    2) You mentioned after that, that the total trip time is about 2 hours for Ogizawa to Tateyama. However, after reaching Shinano-Omachi as written above, how do we get to Tateyama? Is it with the same Alpico Bus Line that you listed in your post?

    3) Is it the same way back?

    I am mainly confused because I am not sure as to what is covered and how going on the route works. If it is not too inconvenient for you, do you mind writing down the route that I should take to get to the Alpine route from Tokyo and back with the JR pass? Would really love it if I can see which part is covered and what I would need to top up because I got too confused reading since I intend to make full use of my pass.

    Thank you in advance. I love reading your site.

    1. Hi Mir,

      Please see the link below to find the info about Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. This is the route which you will take between Shinano-Omachi and Tateyama/Toyama.
      http://www.alpen-route.com/en/transport_new/overview.html

      Basically you don’t go back to Shinano-Omachi. You will take this route and go through the route to Toyama.

      JR Pass covers Shinjuku to Shinano-Omachi and Toyama to Tokyo. You need to add Tateyama Kurobe option ticket for taking this route:
      http://www.jrtateyama.com/e/

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        Thank you for the reply. Just to sum it up, can I be sure that I just need to follow the route you stated: Tokyo – Shinano-Omachi (JR Pass covered) – continue the entire route with the Tateyama Kurobe option ticket – From Toyama back to Tokyo (JR Pass covered) ?

        Also, if we are buying the Tateyama Kurobe option ticket, is it like everyone is travelling the same route so all we do is show the ticket and follow through the route or we have to manually find the transfers ourself? For example, according to the route on the site http://www.jrtateyama.com/e/ , after reaching Shinano-Omachi, we have to head to Ogizawa with the Alpico bus, and later on the trolley bus and cable car and so on. So, are we supposed to personally find the right alpico bus, trolley bus etc throughout the route on our own, or will there be signs/ only one route that everyone follows and having the ticket just means we have paid for all the rides for the route? I hope you understand what I mean.

        Also, since the focus of Tateyama Kurobe is mostly during the snow season, can I ask if it is actually still as pretty in July where we will be in a few days? Or is it not worth it?

        Do let me know. I look forward to your reply 🙂

        1. Hi Mir,

          When you take a bus at Shinano-Omachi, you need to find the bus stops because there are several stops. But it has a big sign and not hard to find it. Shinano-Omachi is quite small station.

          After arriving Ogimachi, you need to show your Tateyama Kurobe option ticket at the ticket counter. Another ticket will be attached to take all transportation on alpine route. On alpine route, you can change it by yourself but it’s very very easy. You need to walk for 10 to 15 minutes on Kurobe dam. But in other stations, you just need to change it at same buildings. It has many many signage and staff will take care of your. Even kids can find it.

          All you have to do is just follow the signage and staff.

          Summer day in Alpine route is amazing too. As long as weather is good, it’s worth visiting.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi,

    I am travelling to Tokyo in Oct (14- 19 Oct) and I would like to have your advise on my trip and what is the most economical way either by getting the JR pass or not.

    14 Oct: Staying at a friend place at Kawasaki. Plan to visit Kamakura.

    15 Oct: Move from Kawasaki to Shinjuku. Take train from Shinjuku (JR Ltd Exp Azusa) to Matsumoto. From Matsumoto to Shinano machi (JR Oito Line). Then local bus from Shinano Omachi to Ogizawa. Start the Alpine route, Ogizawa to Toyama Dentetsu. Overnight at Toyama (I am just wondering, is there an express bus from Shinjuku straight to Ogizawa )?

    16 Oct: Take Nohi bus from Toyama to Shirakawago. Spend about 4hrs at Shirakawago, then take Nohi bus from Shirakawago to Takayama. Overnight at Takayama.

    17 Oct: Take Nohi bus from Takayama to Shinjuku. Overnight at Shinjuku.

    18 Oct: One day trip to Mt Fuji
    19 Oct: Walk around Tokyo (Asakusa) in the morning. Afternoon go to Narita airport.

    Appreciate your advise on this! Many thanks!

    Regards
    Lay

    1. Hi Lay,

      You can take a bus from Shinjuku to Shinano-Omachi. The following link shows in Japanese mostly but you may find some info in English. If your friend understand Japanese, please ask him/her to book a seat.
      https://www.alpico.co.jp/access/express/hakuba_shinjuku/

      So JR pass is not your choice. But you may get Tateyama Kurobe option ticket for sightseeing on Alpine route.
      http://www.jrtateyama.com/e/

      For other part of your trip, there are some options. Please see the link below:
      https://jprail.com/destinations/chubu-area/fuji-hakone-access-guide-by-train-and-bus-from-both-tokyo-and-osaka-kyoto-nagoya.html
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kanto-area/yokohama-and-kamakura-access-guide-find-the-right-deal-and-route-from-your-place-to-stay.html
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/narita/the-list-of-deals-for-access-to-downtown-tokyo-from-narita-airport.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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