Matsumoto station guide. How to catch the bus to Takayama, Hotaka and Kamikochi. How to take a train to Nagano, Hakuba, Shinano-Omachi.

Matsumoto station from Oshiro-guchi (east side)
Matsumoto station from Oshiro-guchi (east side)

Matsumoto is the second biggest city in Nagano prefecture. But the station is not a huge terminal station, like Tokyo. But Matsumoto is the junction of many destinations by trains and buses. If you travel this area, you may have to change the trains and the buses at Matsumoto.

In this post, I would like to explain about Matsumoto station and Matsumoto bus terminal with many photos of this station.

Matsumoto station overview

Limited Express Asusa (left) and Limited Express Shinano (right). These express trains connect Matsumoto and Nagoya or Shinjuku.
Limited Express Asusa (left) and Limited Express Shinano (right). These express trains connect Matsumoto and Nagoya or Shinjuku.

Matsumoto station is located in the middle of Shinshu region. Trains depart and arrive at Matsumoto from the following destinations:

  • Chuo line (west) to/from Nagoya, Nakatsugawa (Kiso Valley)
  • Chuo line (east) to/from Shinjuku (Tokyo), Otsuki, Kofu
  • Shinonoi line to/from Nagano
  • Oito line to/from Shinano-Omachi (gateway to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route), Hakuba, Minami-Otari, Itoigawa
  • Alpico Railway Kamikochi line to/from Shinshimashima (gateway to Kamikochi)

And also the express bus depart and arrive at Matsumoto Bus Terminal to/from Takayama, Shin-Hotaka and Kamikochi (seasonal).

You may find some more information about the location and route in this region in the links below:

Guide for train access to Nagano, Matsumoto and other places in Shinshu and surrounding area
How to access to Takayama by trains and buses

Station structure, tracks and platforms

Overview of Matsumoto station platforms from walkway inside ticket gate
Overview of Matsumoto station platforms from walkway inside ticket gate

Before I start to explain about this station, I would like you to refer the station map in JR East official site. It is in English.
JR East official site, Matsumoto station English map

Matsumoto station is two levels structure. All platforms are located on the ground. Matsumoto station building is on the bridge. This bridge has the walkways both inside and outside the ticket gate. The walkway outside gate connects both side of the station, east side and west side. This walkway is public. Anyone can use this walkway without a ticket to access to other side of the station.

Walkway outside the ticket gate is open for public.
Walkway outside the ticket gate is open for public.

The walkway inside the ticket gate connects all platforms. You can go down to the platforms by stairs, escalators and elevators from the walkway.

Walkway inside the ticket gate
Walkway inside the ticket gate

Platforms

Track# Lines/Trains Destination
Local, Rapid on Chuo line (east) Shiojiri, Kofu, Shinjuku
Local, Rapid on Chuo line (west) Shiojiri, Nakatsugawa, Nagoya
1 Limited Express Shinano
Local, Rapid on Chuo line (west)
Nakatsugawa, Nagoya / Nagano
Limited Express Azusa / Super Azusa
Local, Rapid on Chuo line (east)
Shiojiri, Kofu, Shinjuku
2,3 Limited Express Shinano
Local and Rapid on Shinonoi line
Nagano
Limited Express Azusa / Super Azusa
Local, Rapid on Chuo line (east)
Shiojiri, Kofu, Shinjuku
Oito line Shinano-Omachi, Hakuba, Minami-Otari
4 Limited Express Shinano
Local and Rapid on Shinonoi line
Nagano
Limited Express Azusa / Super Azusa
Local, Rapid on Chuo line (east)
Shiojiri, Kofu, Shinjuku
5 Limited Express Azusa / Super Azusa
Local, Rapid on Chuo line (east)
Shiojiri, Kofu, Shinjuku
Limited Express Shinano
Local and Rapid on Shinonoi line
Nagano
Local and Rapid on Chuo line (west) Shiojiri, Nakatsugawa, Nagoya
6 Oito line Shinano-Omachi, Hakuba, Minami-Otari
7 Matsumoto Dentetsu Railway Kamikochi line Shinshimashima
Matsumoto station platforms from track #6. The train in the photo is Oito line local train.
Matsumoto station platforms from track #6. The train in the photo is Oito line local train.

Matsumoto station does not have many tracks. It is not hard to find the platforms and tracks. There is a departure/arrival information board at the ticket gate. You can find which track you need to go very easily.

Ticket gate/Exit

Matsumoto station ticket gate from public walkway. Depature/arrival information board can be found above the gate. It is shown by red and green LED in the photo. Those are shown in both English and Japanese.
Matsumoto station ticket gate from public walkway. Depature/arrival information board can be found above the gate. It is shown by red and green LED in the photo. Those are shown in both English and Japanese.

Matsumoto station has only one ticket gate. If you stay in or drop by Matsumoto, you can exit the station from the ticket gate. And there are two exit at west and east side.

Ticket gate from inside.
Ticket gate from inside.

West side exit is called “Alps-guchi (means Alps exit)” and East side exit is called “Oshiro-guchi (means castle exit)”. But most of you goes to east side. Because west side is residential and local business area. Most of hotels, tourist attractions and Matsumoto Bus Terminal are located at east side.

Alps-guchi (west side) of Matsumoto station
Alps-guchi (west side) of Matsumoto station
Escalators and stairs to Oshigo-guchi (east side)
Escalators and stairs to Oshigo-guchi (east side)

Matsumoto station is very simple layout and you will not lose your way.

Matsumoto Bus Terminal

Matsumoto Bus Terminal building. You can find this building from Oshiro-guchi.
Matsumoto Bus Terminal building. You can find this building from Oshiro-guchi.

Matsumoto bus terminal is located a few minutes away from Matsumoto station by walk. When you exit from Oshiro-guchi, you can find the bus terminal building. It is very easy to change between train and bus at Matsumoto.

There is a signage to Matsumoto Bus Terminal at Oshiro-guchi exit.
There is a signage to Matsumoto Bus Terminal at Oshiro-guchi exit.

Please find the location in the map below:

Nohi Bus operates the express bus between Matsumoto Bus Terminal and Takayama or Shin-Hotaka.

Nohi Bus official site (click “Express Bus” and find “Matsumoto-Takayama Line”)

A few trips of express bus to Kamikochi run in summer season. But the primary route to Kamikochi is train and bus. You can take Matsumoto Dentetsu Railway Kamikochi line to Shinshimashima from Matsumoto, and need to change to the bus to Kamikochi. The train and bus run almost every hour during summer season. Unfortunately Alpico Railway does not provide any information in English. I put the link in Japanese.

Matsumoto Dentetsu Railway train and Alpico bus to Kamikochi via Shinshimashima

The ticket window is located at left side of the building. And the bus bays located at other side of the building. There is a huge signage on the wall. You can find the direction very easily.

Signage on the wall
Signage on the wall
Ticket window in the building
Ticket window in the building
Bus stops
Bus stops

There are lots of shops in this building.

You can go through shops to get the bus stops.
You can go through shops to get the bus stops.

You can grab something to eat and drink before on board.

How to get Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto castle is listed on National Treasure.
Matsumoto castle is listed on National Treasure.

Even if you do not stay in Matsumoto, I recommend you to drop by Matsumoto to visit Matsumoto castle. This castle is one of a few castles that has original castle tower. You can view this castle and beautiful Japan Alps mountain range in the distance. It is worth visiting just to see this scenery.

Please see the map below to find the route to get this beautiful castle.

You can get there from Matsumoto station by even walk. I spent 20 minutes to get the gate of this castle. Please find my trip report in the link below:

Trip to Tohoku, Chubu and Chugoku in 2016 winter – Part 4, Nagoya to Matsumoto via Magome

I am glad if this post assist you to build your plan.

16 thoughts on “Matsumoto station guide. How to catch the bus to Takayama, Hotaka and Kamikochi. How to take a train to Nagano, Hakuba, Shinano-Omachi.”

  1. Dear Takeshi san,

    How are you?
    First of all thanks a lot for your advise on my last trip in Nagano & Takayama last year.

    This Oct, I’m planning to visit Kamikochi and Japan Alp.
    I have full 6-7 days for travelling. Mostly stay at Matsumoto as a base location. If I buy JR ALPINE-TAKAYAMA-MATSUMOTO AREA TOURIST PASS, it will be cover only 5 days. My question is…

    1. If I arrive at/return from Nagoya airport, any pass should I have to buy more to cover additional 2 days?

    Please advise.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Tip san,

      Welcome back. I’m happy that you go back to Japan and visit other places.

      If you want 7 days coverage, only JR pass is the choice.
      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

      But I have no idea that you can get the worth of 7 days JR Pass. I think it’s not enough. Please build your trip plan completely. Probably regular ticket is the best solution.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi,

    I would like to re-confirm with you that I read on Alpico Bus website that Return Express Bus Ticket is valid for 7 days.
    Is it counted from the 1st day the ticket used or counted from the next day?

    Please tell me if I can use the Round Trip ticket for my itinerary below.

    Please see below:
    Matsumoto-Takayama Bus Time 505pm for 26 Jan.
    Takayama-Matsumoto Bus Time 1250pm 1 Feb.

    My itinerary:
    26 Jan – Shinjuku-Matsumoto, 1 way Ticket, Buy online.
    26 Jan – Matsumoto-Takayama, Buy at Matsumoto ticket window. Round Trip or Single Trip Ticket?

    27 Jan – Takayama Sightseeing.
    28 Jan – Takayama Sightseeing.
    29 Jan – Takayama Sightseeing.
    30 Jan – Shinhotaka Ropeway.
    31 Jan – Shirakawago.

    1 Feb – Takayama-Matsumoto.
    2 Feb – Matsumoto-Shiojiri & Narai Juku.
    3 Feb – Matsumoto Sightseeing.
    4 Feb – Matsumoto Sightseeing.
    5 Feb – Matsumoto-Nagoya

    Which train berth no. should I take to Shiojiri from Matsumoto Station? The train that cost Yen240 with JR Chuo Line for KOFU?

    Lastly, may I know the ”Shinshu Hida Alps WIDE Free Passport” with
    Shinhotaka Ropeway Return Ticket Yen 9800 Valid 4 Days,
    See the link http://www.alpico.co.jp/access/ticket/006.html

    Do I have to follow the bus route fixed with certain city from Day 1 to Day 4?
    Or can I use it at my own leisure for 4 consecutive days starting from 29 Jan with reservation made
    for Shinhotaka & Shirakawago at Alpico Matsumoto Bus ticket window at the time of purchase on 26 Jan?

    Please advise. I hope to hear from you soon.
    Thank you very much.

    1. Hi Emy,

      You can use 7 days pass for 26 Jan and 1 Feb.

      I cannot say the track # for train to Shiojiri. It departs from many tracks. It’s varied by departure time and please check it at the station.

      Alps Shinsyu/Hida Open Ticket is sold at Takayama bus center only. It gives you unlimited ride in the coverage area. You can take Nohi bus as you like.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi there,

    Thank you for your detailed write-up! I need to travel from Matsumoto to Takayama on 1st Jan 2018, do you know if it be possible to get a seat on the Nohi Bus line without any reservation, or would it normally be too crowded on New Year’s Day itself?

    If a reservation is advised, how best can I do it? I see that online reservations are not allowed; there is a phone number listed but I am not sure if they speak English. Do you know if they do?

    I will be coming from Tokyo and most probably getting a JR East pass. I have already reserved a ticket from Shinjuku to Matsumoto on 1 Jan 2018.

    Thank you for your help!

          1. Hi Takeshi,

            May I also ask about the bus schedule, I realize i might be interpreting the schedule on their site wrongly:

            https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/highwaybus/matsumoto/#timetable

            As I am traveling on new years day, does this mean that only the timings in red are available on that day? Are all timings in black also available?

            I am not familiar with the convention here, thank you very much in advance for your help!

  4. I would like to go to Shirakawago and see the snow monkey at Nagano, I will be coming from Kyoto in February 2017. What train should I take from Kyoto to Matsumoto station. I Can you help me plan my route.
    Thank you
    Hasnah

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