Access to Nagano from Nagoya and Osaka. Limited Express Shinano

Limited Express "Shinano"
Limited Express Shinano runs 13 round trips a day.

Limited express train “Shinano” takes you to 1998 Winter Olympic host city, Nagano (長野) from Nagoya (名古屋). And also one of 13 round trips is extended to operate to Osaka (大阪). If you go to Hida Mountains (a.k.a. Norther Alps), you can use this train to Matsumoto (松本), and transfer to local train Oito line bound for Shinano-Omachi (信濃大町), Hakuba (白馬) and Minami-Otari (南小谷). And also there are some preserved small town in Kiso Valley (木曽谷) along Chuo line where this train goes through. These towns are getting popular for the tourist from overseas these days.

This train is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass with no restriction. Let’s see the details.

*Trip from Osaka to Nagano was discontinued in March, 2016. Limited Express Shinano runs between Nagoya and Nagano only since then.

Route, schedule and time required

It takes 2 hours 55 minutes to get Nagano from Nagoya. Most of Shinano depart from both side Nagoya and Nagano once every hour.


View Limited Express Shinano in a larger map

Stations

Nagoya (名古屋) x
Kanayama (金山駅) *
Chigusa (千種) x
Tajimi(多治見) x
Ena (恵那) *
Nakatsugawa (中津川) x
Nagiso (南木曽) *
Agetsu (上松) *
Kiso-Fukushima (木曽福島) x
Shiojiri (塩尻) x
Matsumoto (松本) x
Akashina (明科) *
Hijirikogen (聖高原) *
Shinonoi (篠ノ井) x
Nagano (長野) x

x:All trains stop *:some trains stop

Accommodation

Green class at Car #1 gives you a spectacular panoramic view. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Green class at Car #1 gives you a spectacular panoramic view. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Shinano is serviced by 383 series. The seat configuration is 2+2 for both Green and Ordinary. Green car is car#1. It has a huge glass window at the cockpit. If you get the front row seat when you go to Nagano, you will enjoy the beautiful scenery. The seat pitch is 1160mm in Green class and 1000mm in Ordinary class. 1000mm in Ordinary is bigger than the standard.

*Sonic Rail Garden has copyright for all images of accommodations below.

Train formation

1 2 3 4 5 6
G R R R NR NR

*2 or 4 more cars are added during the peak season.

*G=Green seat R=Reserved seat NR=Non reserved seat
Smoking is not allowed on this train.

Images
Green seat Shinano 383 series Green seat Shinano 383 series Green seat Shinano 383 series Green seat Shinano 383 series Green seat Shinano 383 series Green seat Shinano 383 series Green seat Shinano 383 series Green seat

Ordinary seat Shinano 383 series Ordinary seat Shinano 383 series Ordinary seat Shinano 383 series Ordinary seat Shinano 383 series Ordinary seat Shinano 383 series Ordinary seat

Sanitary space Shinano 383 series sanitary space Shinano 383 series sanitary space Shinano 383 series sanitary space Shinano 383 series sanitary space Shinano 383 series sanitary space Shinano 383 series sanitary space

54 thoughts on “Access to Nagano from Nagoya and Osaka. Limited Express Shinano”

  1. Konichiwa,

    I am travelling on 12 November from Takayama to Yudanaka (nearest station to Snow Monkey).

    I know I need to take a bus from Takayama to Matsumoto. From there, I understand that I can take the Limited Express Wide View Shinano from Matsumoto to Nagano.

    I have been searching online on booking the train from Matsumoto to Nagano but I can’t seem to find anything.

    Can you please advise as we are coming from Malaysia and wish to confirm all transportation arrangements prior to arriving Japan.

    Also, we need to travel from Nagano station to Shinjuku / Tokyo station via Shinkansen. How and where can we buy the tickets beforehand.

    Thank you . …arigato!

    1. Hi Dee,

      Unfortunately you cannot book a seat for Wide View Shinano outside Japan. You need to book it after you arrive in Japan.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/timetable-and-reservation/how-to-reserve-seat.html

      You can book and purchase a ticket for Shinkansen from Nagano to Tokyo in the site below.
      https://www.eki-net.com/pc/jreast-shinkansen-reservation/English/wb/common/Menu/Menu.aspx?_ga=1.4778995.1325107855.1421419524

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi,
    I wanted to ask about Shinonoi Station – I have to transfer from a Limited Express Shinano to a Shinano Tetsudo train, but the timetable doesn’t leave much time for a transfer, so I wanted to check if it is possible.

    I found this map of the station http://www.jreast.co.jp/estation/stations/801.html – would you know which platforms I would be arriving (Limited Express Shinano) and departing (Shinano Tetsudo) from?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi CY,

      #1 Bound for Matumoto or Bound for Komoro, Ueda, Karuizawa
      #2 and #3 Bound for Nagano

      So if you arrive by Shinano from Matsumoto, Nagoya or southern part of the place, you will be arriving at #2 or #3. And you will transfer to Shinano Tetsudo train at #1. If you do opposite way, you will move from #1 to #2 or #3. There are lots of signage and it will be shown in English too. You will be okay. You can change trains in even couple of minutes.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi Takeshi san, need your advise again..

    More change to my itinerary: –
    Day 1: Narita -> direct to Shibu Onsen
    Day 2: Shibu Onsen -> Nagano Station
    Day 3: Around Nagano
    Day 4: Nagano to Kanazawa
    Day 5: Kanazawa to Nagoya
    Day 6: Around Nagoya (maybe go Shirakawa/Takayama)
    Day 7: Nagoya to Chubu Centrair International Airport

    Based on the revised plan, your advise is much appreciated.

    Thanks & regards,
    Jen

  4. Hi Takeshi-san,

    Appreciate your advice on which JR Pass I should get for my itinerary: –

    Day 1: Narita Int’l Airport to Nagano
    Day 2 – 3: Around/day trips from Nagano
    Day 4: Nagano to Nagoya
    Day 5: Around Nagoya
    Day 6: Day trip to Shirakawago/Gokayama/Takayama
    Day 7: Nagoya to Chubu Centrair International Airport

    Many thanks,
    Jen

    1. Hi Jen san,

      You have two options.

      1. JR Pass 7 days
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/japan-rail-pass-user-guide-how-to-use-jr-pass-to-its-maximum.html

      2. Single ticket to Nagoya from Narita via Nagano, and Takayama Hokuriku area pass
      https://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 may not be able to get the worth of JR pass 7 days. But if you make a day trip outside Nagano on day 2 and/or 3, it may work. Otherwise take option 2.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi-san,

        Thanks for the super quick response.

        Re option 2: Single ticket to Nagoya from Narita via Nagano
        a) As I would be staying in Nagano for 3 days before going to Nagoya, can this single ticket still be used on Day 4 (since I would have used it on my 1st day already)
        b) Can I buy this ticket from Narita Airport Terminal 1? JR East Travel Service Centre?
        c) Is there a name for this single ticket?

        Thanks!
        Jen

        1. Hi Jen san,

          1. Yes, you can. You can purchase a ticket for Narita airport – Tokyo – Nagano – (via Matsumoto) – Nagoya route. You can make a stopover at Nagano. It’s valid for 4 days if you take this route.
          https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/for-non-jr-pass-travellers-guide-to-use-jr-single-ticket-basic-rules-validity-and-stopover.html

          2. Yes, you can.

          3. No. It’s just a regular ticket.

          I want to tell you one more thing. When you go to Nagoya from Nagano, sometimes Nagano-Tokyo-Nagoya route is faster than Nagano-Matsumoto-Nagoya route. In the distance, Nagano-Matusmoto-Nagoya route is much shorter, but if you take Nagoyan-Tokyo-Nagoya route, you will take two Shinkansen trains which are much faster. If you take this route, trip time may be shorter. But in this case, JR pass is your choice because of distance and Shinkansen surcharge.

          If you are overwhelmed and it’s too complicated, you can use JR pass 7 days. Takayama Hokuriku area pass covers bus to Shirakawago but JR pass does not cover. If you use JR pass, you need to add bus fare.
          https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/english/highwaybus/shirakawago.pdf

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi Takeshi san,

            Yes, it does get a little complicated..

            If I get the JR pass 7 day,
            – I saw from Hyperdia: from Nagano to Nagoya, there is a direct train LTD. EXP (WIDE VIEW) SHINANO 8
            – Can the JR pass be used on the Ltd Exp trains?

            Thanks & regards,
            Jen

          2. Hi Takeshi san,

            There is a slight change in my itinerary:
            Day 1: Narita -> direct to Shibu Onsen
            Day 2: Shibu Onsen -> Nagano city
            Day 3: Around Nagano
            Day 4: Around Nagano
            Day 5: Nagano to Nagoya
            Day 6: Around Nagoya
            Day 7: Nagoya to Chubu Centrair International Airport

            I am not sure if I will go to Shirakawago/Gokayama/Takayama.. If I don’t, is it still worthwhile to get the Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass?

            Thanks & regards,
            Jen

          3. Sorry, I forgot to also ask..

            If I decide to go to Takayama/Shirakawago from Nagano, can I use the Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass?

            Thanks & regards,
            Jen

          4. Hi Jen san,

            If you don’t go to Takayama and Shirakawago, Takayama Hokuriku area pass is not required. JR pass is not required either. Just use regular ticket.

            If you go to Takayama and Shirakawago from Nagano, Takayama Hokuriku area pass and JR pass are not required either. If you do this, your route is the following:

            Nagano (train) Matsumoto (bus) Takayama (bus) Shirakwago (bus) Takayama (bus) Nagoya

            https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/english/highwaybus/matsumoto.pdf
            https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/english/highwaybus/shirakawago.pdf
            https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/english/highwaybus/nagoya.pdf

            Cheers,

            Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Hi Takeshi-san. We are thinking of traveling to Japan in June. I wanted to go up to Matsumoto for 1-2 nights. Will the 7 day JR pass cover the Shinkansen Hikari (Osaka to Nagoya) and the Shinano 3/10 (Nagoya to Matsumoto)?
    Thanks in advance.

      1. Dear Takeshi-san,

        Apologies for my late reply! Your mail ended up in my spam folder. Thank you very much for answering my question re Osaka to Matsumoto.

        Apologies,
        Ashish

    1. Hi Vivique,

      If you have round trip to Takayama from Nagoya and intend to visit Shirakawago, you can use Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass.
      https://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

      But it’s too expensive for one way trip. Single fare is cheaper.
      Komagane is not covered by any deals.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. Good morning,
    could you please help me to find timetable of this train “shinano” limited edition? I need it to plan my roundtrip from Nagoya to Nakatsugawa in march/april 2017.

    Thanks a lot in advance

    Dario

    1. Hi Dario,

      All trains schedule can be found at Hyperdia.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/timetable-and-reservation/hyperdia-perfect-guide-train-timetable-and-route-search-engine.html

      However JR will revise timetable in March 4th. The revised timetable is not available in Hyperdia yet. I don’t think it will be a big change. You may use the result by Hyperdia now. And recheck the schedule sometimes in late February. You will find the update info.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Stopped at Shiojiri from Otsuki to board Shinano to Nagano unfortunately the station was limited in English info so I boarded Shinonoi line instead, which is 30 minutes slower. Damn does the Shinano use different line than Shinonoi Line? I should have stopped at Matsumoto which is larger station than Shiojiri, since obviously larger stations do have more English info than smaller ones.

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