Kyoto, Nagoya & Osaka to Nagano
Hint: Print these Osaka to Nagano directions out and carry safely with you.
Kyoto, Nagoya & Osaka to Nagano
ACCESS: Train Kyoto, Nagoya & Osaka to Nagano
2. For access from Tokyo to Nagano click here
3. For onwards transport options to Nozawa, Myoko, Jigokudani and Togakushi from Nagano City click here.
4. For transport options to and in Hakuba click here.
5. For map links click here
- Go to this page to help calculate your train fares to/from Nagano, or
- Use this useful link to find time tables to/from Osaka/Nagoya/Kyoto
From Shin-Osaka or Kyoto station, catch the Tokkaido Shinkansen to Nagoya (usual travel time is 40-55 minutes). Transfer at Nagoya Station to the Chuo Honsen line and catch the Shinano Limited Express bound for Nagano Station (normal transit is 3 hours) that travels through the scenic Kiso Valley. Keep your camera out as there is some beautiful scenery along the way.
Note: If going to Hakuba DO NOT go all the way to Nagano City. Get off at Matsumoto and transfer for trains bound for Hakuba (the local Oito line or the Super Azusa Express). See here for more details.
Returning to Osaka from Nagano there is one train a day that goes all the way to Osaka from Nagano via Matsumoto. The train leaves at 2.00pm and takes five hours and twenty minutes to Osaka station with no need to change trains the whole way through.
There was previously also an overnight train from Osaka to Nagano via Nagoya and Matsumoto but now appears to be discontinued. Some special trains may run during peak times however and in winter there are ‘special ski’ trains and buses (see below) that run from Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya. Ask at the tourist information offices in any of the above train stations. See the Kansai Airport access map below.
During winter there are a number of ski buses that take skiers directly from the Kansai area (Kobe, Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya) to Nagano ski resorts, including Hakuba, Myoko Kogen (Akakura), Nozawa Onsen, Tangram/Madarao Kogen, Togakushi and Shiga Kogen. Tickets can be prebooked but service is only in Japanese.
HIGHWAY BUS – OSAKA, NAGOYA AND KYOTO TO NAGANO CITY
A direct highway bus from Kyoto to Nagano via Osaka is available from Alpico Bus Line. It can be caught from Umeda Station. From Nagoya you can catch an Alpico Bus from the Meitetsu Bus Center at Nagoya Station. From Nagano you can catch a bus or train to your destination in Myoko, Nozawa Onsen, Jigokudani Snow Monkeys, etc.
From Kansai International Airport (KIX) there is a limited express “Haruka” train that connects Kansai Airport with Shin-Osaka (bullet train connection) as well as Kyoto. Note that this train DOES NOT stop at Osaka station because it follows a different route. Fast train services are also available from the airport and these services stop at Osaka station. Another private railway company “Nankai Densha” provides limited express services and fast services for/from Nanba Station – their terminal station in the south of Osaka.
Left luggage storage is available in both Kansai Airport and Osaka Station (see map in Japanese). For left luggage (荷物一時預り所) look for the luggage icon on the map. You have to take the escalator up outside of the gate to the “Travel Court” on the 2nd floor. There is no access between 8pm-8am. The cost is about ¥400-¥500 per piece. FYI luggage icons with a key at the top represent coin lockers (コインロッカー). See below for more information on coin lockers or if needing to forward your luggage.
FROM NAGOYA AIRPORT TO NAGANO
Centrair Airport in Nagoya is served by Meitetsu trains but not JR. Some Meitetsu trains go to Nagoya station whilst others terminate at Kanayama station (see below). If you are taking the JR Express Shinano for Matsumoto and Nagano, you need to change to the JR line either at Kanayama station or Nagoya station. However, Shinano does not stop at Kanayama, so you need to catch a local train to Chikusa and transfer to the Shinano Limited Express (see instruction as above for Osaka and Kyoto).
Note of caution. If arriving during peak hour be careful about which train you take or you might end up like the following.
Video – Japanese train during peak rush hour
If just stopping over for a few hours in Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya or Nagano train stations (or bus stations) it’s very easy to find secure coin lockers to store your luggage. These cost from ¥100 for a small locker up to ¥800 for a very large locker. JR’s large coin lockers are not only tall but deep. If your bag won’t fit then you’re using some really scary large luggage. There are no lockers for skis or snowboards. You will need to store these at left luggage counters.
Coin lockers are available by both the East and Zenko-ji Exits of JR Nagano Station (cost is ¥300-¥600).
Note: Stations close overnight! If you want to retrieve your luggage make sure you get there before closing! If left after station closing extra charges will accrue. More info on coin lockers here. See here re sending your luggage via courier service.
Japan has a well-developed courier service, commonly known as takkyubin. Luggage, including skis and snowboards, can be delivered anywhere in Japan, usually overnight. The courier companies operate out of the airports, so you can send your luggage as soon as you pass through customs. Look for the many service counters that are usually sited at the end of the departure lounge (for collection) or arrivals hall (for sending). Many convenience stores also handle takkyubin service. The company’s name is Yamato Transport symbolised by a black cat logo. A luggage forwarding FAQ can be found here and a ski/snowboard forwarding FAQ here.
The cost depends on the destination but is usually around 2,000 yen. The service is safe and reliable, and highly recommended. A It allows guests to travel to their destination without having to try to negotiate luggage up and down stairs and in crowded train stations. There is no restriction on taking luggage on board the shinkansen (bullet train), but in practice these trains are designed with quite a lot less luggage space than most other train services. Nonetheless, all trains in Japan have very limited luggage space; overhead storage and a small luggage shelf at either end of the carriage are standard on all trains.
The larger train stations in Japan have escalators, but smaller ones usually do not. There are no luggage trolleys available at train stations. Most suitcases and bags can be stored in lockers at the larger stations, however there is no storage for skis and snowboards.
IMPORTANT POINTS TO REMEMBER ABOUT LUGGAGE DELIVERY SERVICES
When sending luggage to the airport, sufficient time must be given to guarantee your luggage arrives on time. Luggage sent from the Japan ski areas to either Nagoya or Kansai airports requires luggage to be sent two days before departure. Luggage will be stored up until the date of your departure and this information is specified on the luggage tag before it is sent. The luggage will be held by the luggage courier company at the airport and must be collected from there and then checked in to the flight departure counter by the owner of the luggage. Luggage cannot be stored at the airport if customers have onward flights and are wishing to collect luggage on their return flight home via Japan
View Nagano Travel Map, Ski Resorts and Highlights in a larger map