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

1 to 3 days
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

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.

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:

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 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.

Hokuriku Arch Pass user guide. Clarify valid trains, coverage area and compare single fare and pass
Tokyo, Kanazawa, Kyoto and Osaka are covered by this deal. (C) ©Sue Ann Simon (upper left), Osaka Government Tourism Bu...

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.

Hyperdia perfect guide, train timetable and route search engine
If you want to build your itinerary by yourself, Hyperdia will help you a lot. This site is transportation search engine. You can search the timetables and routes of all trains, flights and airport shuttle bus. But this site is a bit tricky and too many functions and options to you. This guide will help you to find the way to use this site.

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
This post is written by Mr. Jonathan Ayre. He is one of the frequent visitors. He offered me some images, writing ar...


  1. Vivien says:

    Hi Takeshi-san

    Many thanks for your hard work on this blog.

    I just have a question because you recommend for JR Pass users to take the train from Shinjuku then change to local bus. But I noticed that it seems to be a much better use of time even for JR Pass users to take the Shinkansen from Tokyo Station first thing to Nagano, pay extra for the Express Bus, then head back to Tokyo from Tateyama/Toyama side?

    Could I double check if you would recommend buying the Tateyama Kurobe Option ticket then if we use JR Pass to head to Alpine Route?

    Many thanks,

    • Hi Vivien san,

      It depends on the departure time. Because there is only one train from Shinjuku to Shinano-Omachi directly. But as you said, Shinkansen route is a good too. The train runs more frequently. If you use Tateyama Kurobe Option Ticket, the express bus from Nagano to Ogimachi is covered too. You can take this route too.


      Takeshi /

  2. Ann Ong says:

    Hello again Takeshi san.

    It is proven that the Kurobe Tateyama Alpine Route can be done as a day trip from Tokyo. But what if we plan to stay for the night within the area, where is the best area to stay? Is it worth the stay? or go back to Tokyo just the same?

    Thank you Takeshi san.

    Best regards,

    • Hi Ann san,

      I recommend you to stay in the middle of Alpine route, such as Murodo. The hotel is pricey but it’s worth staying.


      Takeshi /

      • Ann Ong says:

        Hi Takeshi san.

        I checked availability of the Murodo hotel in your link and I found out No Availability from DECEMBER onwards! Maybe not yet open for booking coz its too early?

        Anyways, I did some researches and what do u think of these areas if booking a hotel for overnight stay for Alpine route? Besides Murodo of course, what is your next preference?

        Hotels near:
        Shinano-Omachi Station (Omachi Onsen Village)?
        Nagano Station?
        Toyama Station?
        or somewhere much better?

        Thank you, Takeshi san.

        Best regards,

        • Hi Ann san,

          The reservation was open on November 20th in the last year. So check the official site around 20th in next month.
          All places are okay if you are interested in these places. Otherwise you can go back to Tokyo


          Takeshi /

  3. Raks says:

    Dear Takashi-san,
    Thank you for all the above information.
    We ( couple + 8 year old daughter) is planning to make a Japan Trip around June 12th to 20th, the preliminary itinerary is as below
    1) 12th night land at Kansai Airport – travel to Akashi and stay there
    2) Akashi kaiyo bridge tour and stay in Akashi
    3) travel to hiroshima and stay there
    4)Hiroshima sight seeing and stay in hiroshima
    5) morning bullet train to tokyo – stay in tokyo
    6) alpine route day trip
    7) Mt Fuji day trip
    8) Tokyo tour
    9) fly back from Tokyo

    Can you let me know which rail pass should we be taking.

      • Rakul Remanan says:

        Takeshi- San,
        Thank you so much


        • No worries, Raks san.


          Takeshi /

          • Raks says:

            Takeshi San,
            One more doubt (there could be more in the coming days :)). we land at Kansai at 9 35 pm and I see that last Haruka train is at 10 :16 pm and we might not be able to get that . Is taking ‘Kansai Airport rapid service-Kyobashi, get down at OSaka station, transfer to Shin-Osaka by taxi (have luggage and a child) and then take the San-yo Shinkansen to Nishi AKashi and OK proposal?
            is the JR pass valid for ‘rapid service – kyobashi’ train as well?
            If i buy the rail pass through the web, can i use it for my first journey from teh airport itself, should i change it for a normal ticket at the counter at the airport?
            Thank you in advance for your time

            • Hi Raks san,

              You will spend many more minutes at Kansai airport. I think you will spend 1.5 hours to go through custom, immigration, baggage pick up and then go to the station to exchange the pass. Kansai airport station has been busy in these days. It’s not rare to spend more than 30 minutes to exchange the pass. Even if you buy the pass online, you still have to exchange the pass.

              So please expect that you will leave Kansai airport around 23:00. Of course you cannot take the last Haruka. But you can take Kansai airport rapid by JR pass. Your route is the following:
              Kansai airport 23:09 (Kansai airport rapid) 00:14 Osaka 00:25 (Special rapid) 01:10 Nishi-Akashi

              Both trains are covered by JR pass but these are sort of the commute trains. You may have to stand up. You cannot reserve a seat. There is no trains of Sanyo Shinkansen. And also this is the last train connection from Kansai airport to Nishi-Akashi. If you miss it, you cannot get Nishi-Akashi by train. The bus is still running to Kobe-Sannomiya:

              But this is not covered by JR pass and there is no trains and buses to Nishi-Akashi from Kobe-Sannomiya. You have to take a taxi but the taxi fare is expensive. I don’t have any taxi rate but I’m not surprised if it costs around 10,000 yen.


              Takeshi /

              • Raks says:

                Takeshi San,
                Thank You again for your quick reply.
                i was about to take the rail pass, but when i was making my schedule, saw that Nazomi trains are much more frequent and also direct from hiroshima to tokyo, but thats not covered by the pass. so went ahead checking again, as per my trip if i take the tickets separately it would be as below? or am i missing something?
                Kansai to Shin osaka: 1360+ 970 = 2330
                Shin osaka to Nishi AKashi: 920+ 1730= 250
                Nishi AKashi to Hiroshima: 5080+ 3340= 8420
                Hiroshima to Tokyo: 11660+6380 = 18040

                this totals to 31440 yen . the rail pass is 29110 yen, so the difference is not much. or am I missing something? Is it more convenient with pass? anything about reserved vs non reserved etc. if you could throw some light on this, will be easy for me to take decision.

                yes if i use this for other sight seeing ( alpine route and mount fuji) it will be additional around 120,00 i think .


  4. Yullie says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I would like to seek your advise should we get a JR Pass 7 for the below itenerary or should we just ‘do it your self’ trip? which is cheaper?

    May 9- Arrival at Osaka 8pm
    May10- Whole day at USJ
    May11- Kyoto trip
    May12-Osaka city sightseeing. Planning to take overnight bus to tokyo
    May13-Tokyo City sightseeing
    May15- Departure from Narita

    Also could you please help to elaborate on the DIY trip from tokyo to Tateyama Kurobe Alpline Route and back to tokyo without using JR shinkansen with the estimated cost. I’ve been researhing but were not able to find a definite match to our itenerary. looking forward for your respond. Thank you


  5. Eileen Teo says:

    Dear Takeshi san,

    We will arrive in Tokyo and depart from Tokyo. Here is how our itinerary looks like now:

    Day 1 – Spend a day in Tokyo
    Day 2 – Tokyo – Wisteria (Ashikaga Flower Park) – Tokyo
    Day 3 – Tokyo – Shibazakura (Kawaguchiko) – Tokyo
    Day 4 – Enter from Nagano to Alpine Route Exit to Kanazawa
    Day 5 – Spend a day in Kanazawa
    Day 6 – Kanazawa – Gokayama – Shirakawago – Takayama via bus
    Day 7 – Spend a day in Takayama
    Day 8 – Takayama – Kiso – Nakatsugawa (via bus) and then take the train to Odawara (Hakone)
    Day 9 – Spend a day in Hakone
    Day 10 – Spend a day in Hakone
    Day 11 – Hakone – Tokyo (Ghibli Museum)
    Day 12 – Tokyo
    Day 13 – Departure from Tokyo

    I can’t seem to work out which pass to take as our route consists of bus journeys as well. And there are bus passes available. We want to catch the wisteria and shibazakura before they wither too.

    Would you be able to help enlighten us? Thank you so much!

  6. David Lee says:

    Dear Takeshi San
    We plan to visit Japan in November 2019 and these are our planned itinerary.
    Day 1 Narita Airport to Kawazu Station (stay 2 nights)
    Day 3 Kawazu Station to Hamamatsu Station (stay 2 nights)
    Day 5 Hamamatsu Station to Shinjuku JR Station (stay 2 nights)
    Day 7 Shinjuku JR Station to Kawaguchiko Station (stay 2 nights)
    Day 9 Kawaguchiko Station to Shinjuku JR Station (stay 1 night)
    Day 10 Shinjuku JR Station to Narita Airport by Airport Limousine Bus.
    Please advise:
    1) we plan to buy the JR East 5 days flexi Pass, can this Pass cover our whole trip? (we plan to use this Pass only on the Days stated above).
    Thank you and Best regards,
    David Lee.

    • Hi David san,

      Hamamatsu is outside the coverage area. So you have to pay for Atami to Hamamatsu. And also this pass does not cover Shinkansen between Tokyo and Hamamatsu even Tokyo – Atami part is in the coverage area. So you have to pay whole part of the trip of Hamamatsu to Tokyo on day 5.

      And also Kawaguchiko is outside the coverage area either. This pass covers Shinjuku – Otsuki and you have to pay for Otsuki – Kawaguchiko. You can add the fare on board to the conductor or when you exit Kawaguchiko station. Just show your pass and they will let you know the extra fare. So I recommend you to use this pass for Shinjuku to Narita instead of using it on day 5.


      Takeshi /

      • David Lee says:

        Dear Takeshi san,

        Please advise if the 7 Days Japan Rail Pass will cover Hamamatsu and Kawaguchiko?
        I read from the news paper that Japan Rail started a direct Ltd Express Train between Shinjuku and Kawaguchiko.

        Best regards,
        David Lee.

        • Hi David san,

          JR pass covers Hamamatsu but Kawaguchiko is not. JR has started to operated the direct train to Kawaguchiko as you said. But Otsuki to Kawaguchiko is Fuji Kyuko railway line and it is not covered anyway.

          JR pass does not cover Ito to/from Kawazu. And also you cannot get the worth of JR pass by this trip plan actually.


          Takeshi /

  7. Doreen Too says:

    Dear Takeshi san

    4 of us planning to go to Tateyama Snow Wall from Shinjuku Station on 21st April by train. We intend to stay overnight in Toyama as we want to go to Tonami Tulip Park on 22nd April. Please advise whether it is possible and the trains to take. I will also take a day trip to Mt Takao on 19th April by train. May I know whether a JR Pass worth it for my above plan.

    Thank you in advance.


    • Hi Doreen san,

      I recommend you to switch trip to Alpine route and trip to Tonami. So you will travel to Tonami from Shinjuku and stay in Toyama. And on next day, on 22nd, you can go to Alpine route. Because in this season, Alpine route is crazy busy. You should start your trip in early morning. If you start to do it, you can start earlier than departing from Shinjuku. And also 22nd is Monday. It may be slightly slower than 21th.

      Total fare for this trip, including trip to Takao, is slightly cheaper than 7-day JR pass. But you can use it for airport to/from Shinjuku and local train ride in Tokyo. I believe you can get the worth.


      Takeshi /

  8. Vivian says:

    Dear Takeshi,
    We are planning to visit in August. I already book for a 3 day stay in Takayama . Is it possible to finish 1 day trip the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route for 1 whole day and be back again in Takayama.(Our homebase is in Takayama)
    Thank you and would appreciate reply.

    • Hi Vivian,

      This is possible. But you have to take the early train from Takayama to Toyama and have to take very late train from Toyama to Takayama. Both trains are local trains and you have to change trains at Inotani. There is no direct local trains running between Takayama and Toyama. You will spend more than 2 hours for Takayama to Toyama one way. And then you will start the trip to Alpine route. After alpine route, you have to take an express bus to Nagano, and then take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Nagano to Toyama.

      It’s not impossible but it will be a long trip.


      Takeshi /

      • Vivian says:

        Dear Takeshi,

        Thank you for your prompt reply. Having a Takayama Hokoriko Area Pass. I think it does not cover the Shinkansen from Nagano to Toyama. How about if we take a round trip route up to Kurobe Dam only? Will it be possible to get back in Takayama within the day?

        Thank you and best regards,

        • Hi Vivian,

          Actually it’s not much different. If you go to Nagano and go back to Toyama, it takes about 3 to 3.5 hours. If you go back to Toyama from Kurobe dam, you still spend 3.5 hours.

          Please remember that you can do it within day. But you have to leave from Takayama very early morning and come back to Takayama very late night. I think you have to take these trains:

          Takayama 05:31 (local) 06:30 Inotani 06:57 (local) 07:52 Toyama
          Toyama 19:49 (local) 20:38 Inotani 20:40 (local) 21:45 Takayama

          The earlier train to Takayama leaves at Toyama at 17:13. This is the express train and takes you to Takayama directly. But you cannot have enough time on Alpine route if you go back to Toyama by 17:13. So your choice is taking these early/late local train connections, or shorten your trip on Alpine route, like round trip to Murodo.

          In my opinion, if you really want to see Alpine route, you should take early and late local trains. You should see whole part of Alpine route. If you feel it’s tight and too much, give up it and try to visit there next time.


          Takeshi /

  9. May says:

    Dear Takeshi

    I almost give up with alpine route as I have my small baby even though this is my dram to visit the place. Until I saw one comment go to murodo and turn back same route so I would like to know long will it take from Tateyama to Murodo ?
    2.Is it possible with 1.5 old baby go as well?
    3.Anywhere I can park car in Tateyama near alpine route entrance?

    Thank you very much

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