To and from Matsumoto
We came to Matsumoto from Kamikochi, for a few hours' stopover on our way back to Tokyo. Our journey involved a bus to Shinshimashima and from there a small local train to Matsumoto. The bus journey was about an hour and the train about half that, with 20 minutes between the two.
We left Matsumoto some hours later on a limited express train service to Tokyo's Shinbuka Station. This journey took about two and a half hours, making Matsumoto just about do-able as a day trip from the capital. Incidentally this train service is called the "Azusa" or "Super Azusa" limited express, named after the river we had enjoyed walking and staying beside in Kamikochi).
The station in Matsumoto is about 10/15 minutes walk from the castle that is the city's main attraction. It is fairly small but has good facilities - some shops and eating places, a waiting room, coin lockers (which we found very useful as we didn't want to carry our bags around the town).
And once we had all deposited our bags we set off to walk to the castle
Matsumoto Station as central link to other places
You can access here via an Express Chuo Line from Shinjuku Station (three hours by JR special express "Super Azusa"). Matsumoto is located in relatively central Japan, and is a convenient transfer point to Tokyo (three hours by JR special express "Super Azusa"), western Sea of Japan coastal town such as Toyama (via the Tateyama Alpine Route trek), as well as to the famed ski slopes of Nagano Prefecture which hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics.
How to get to Matsumoto.
The easiest way to include Matsumoto on your Japan trip itinerary is to take a train there from either Tokyo of Nagoya. Both these cities have international airports. If you are staying in Kyoto or Osaka, trains connect through Nagoya.
The train to Matsumoto from Tokyo departs from Shinjuku station. The train is called the Limited Express Super Azusa and costs JPY3740 for a reserved seat from Shinjuku. Tickets should probably be bought a day in advance from any large JR station.
The "Town Sneaker"
These nifty little town buses are an easy way to see the entire town. The cost is just 100 yen per ride (or a day pass may be purchased from the driver for 300 yen).
There are three loop routes running:
1. North (Orange) Route - stops along Matsumoto Castle
2. East (Blue) Route - stops along Matsumoto Fine Arts Museum, Matsumoto Citizens' Museum and Agata Forest Park
3. South (Green) Route - stops along to Matsumoto Citizens' Museum
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There is no Shinkansen connected to Matsumoto but you can get there by Limited Express train ( Shinano ) from Nagoya (4000 yen) and a Limited Express train ( Azusa ) to Shinjuku,Tokyo which takes 3 and a half hours.
If you are planning to do a lot of train travel in Japan there is a Japan JR Rail Pass available to foreign travellers. See the JR East website for details:
It must be bought abroad and stamped in Japan before you can use it. There are several options including one week (unlimited JR travel except for the super fast Nozomi service), two week, JR East and JR West passes. Check with your local travel agent for the best option or click on the link to see for yourself!
Here is a link to a very cool page that lets you see the routing between cities/stations/ports within Japan. It will tell you the route and includes the cost and time. http://www.jorudan.co.jp/english/norikae/.
Matsumoto has a good bus service connecting it with many other cities both in Nagano Prefecture and beyond. The bus company that provides these services is alpico . They have a website in Japanese http://www.alpico.co.jp which you are welcome to look at. If you can read kanji you can click on the destination you wish to go to and it will take you to a timetable with fare information all available in English! If you can't then I'm going to try my best to put the details here for you :-)
Matsumoto - Nagano 1530 Yen (16 buses daily)
Matsumoto - Shinjuku (Tokyo) 5950 Yen (8 buses daily)
Matsumoto - Osaka 5710 Yen (2 buses daily)
Matsumoto - Nagoya 3460 Yen (4 buses daily)
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Matsumoto is serviced by an airport with regular flights to and from Fukuoka, Osaka and Tokyo.
The three major airlines are JAL,
ANA and JAS
Matsumoto City water and sewer commission
You go down from Matsumoto interchange of Naganodo highway, then you can see Matsumoto City water and sewer commission in front of your sight.
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Azusa Express Train
The Azusa express train goes direct from Shinjuku station in Tokyo to Matsumoto on around an hourly basis.
Takes just under 3 hours, and costs around about 7000 yen.
Inside the "Town Sneaker" bus
Another nifty idea about this bus is that if you happen to be caught in the rain without an umbrella, no problem - just feel free to borrow one of these!
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