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.
- 1 From Tokyo to Shinano-Omachi
- 2 Travelling on Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
- 3 Go back to Tokyo from Toyama
- 4 Which way is better, from Ogizawa/Shinano-Omachi or from Toyama?
- 5 Add Kanazawa if you want to have more
- 6 Suggested deal
- 7 Don’t forget to check the timetable before you go
From Tokyo to Shinano-Omachi
There are two routes to get the gateway, Ogizawa.
All JR train access
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
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.
If you use Tateyama Kurobe Option Ticket at 9,000 yen, you can take this express bus.
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:
Travelling on Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
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.
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
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.
Tateyama Kurobe Option Ticket is on sale from April 16 to November 6, 2018. 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.
For other part of this trip, Hokuriku Arch Pass may be the best choice. It covers Tokyo to Nagano, and Toyama to Tokyo.
Japan Rail Pass may be considerable. This covers both Tokyo – Nagano (or Shinjuku – Shinano-Omachi) and Toyama – Tokyo. You cannot get the worth of JR pass by this day trip. But if you have other trip in your trip plan, JR Pass is more convenient and more versatile.
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 more expensive than Hokuriku Arch Pass and 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). Actually this is cheaper than both JR Pass and Hokuriku Arch Pass. But both pass covers local train in Tokyo, Haneda or Narita airport access. You may get the worth by this day trip + some more trips. If you add one more long trip, you can get even 7 days JR Pass.
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.
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.