Getting to Nagano region from Tokyo and other major Japanese cities via public transport is straightforward. If you are wanting to travel Tokyo to Nagano via taxi, bus service or Nagano shuttle please see the information here. Wanting to travel around Nagano Prefecture? Go here for maps, schedules and fares.
Tokyo to Nagano | Getting to Nagano
Where is Nagano?
Nagano is the capital city of Nagano Prefecture based in central Honshu Island, Japan. The area is easily accessed from both international airports in Tokyo (Narita & Haneda) by shinkansen (bullet train), airport shuttle, taxi, rental car or bus. The total travel time from Tokyo to Nagano is usually between 1.5 – 2.5 hours via shinkansen bullet train.
How to get to Nagano from Narita Airport
After your arrival, passport and customs clearance, head downstairs to the train stations at the basement levels, located in Terminals 1 & 2 of the airport. The most convenient train is the JR Narita Express (N’Ex), which leaves roughly every half hour for a 53-minute trip to Tokyo Station. Tickets for the entire trip up to Nagano Station can be purchased at the airport whilst JR East passes and JR Passes can also be exchanged at the JR East Travel Service Centres (see below). Alternatively visitors can take the private Keisei Line to Keisei Ueno Station and change to the shinkansen at nearby JR Ueno Station (roughly 7-9 minute walk). Please note that, if you are travelling on from Nagano City, some local railways are private lines (inc. the line to Myoko Kogen and Snow Monkeys/Yudanaka Onsen) and the JR Pass is not usable.
Here’s how you change trains to the shinkansen in Ueno
The Skyliner is usually a cheaper option than the N’Ex and a little quicker (44 minutes). However visitors can buy a ticket at the airport all the way through to Nagano Station if riding the N’Ex. For more information see below.
If you are wanting to travel Tokyo to Nagano via taxi, bus service or ski shuttle please see the information here.
If you are wanting to rent a car in Nagano or Tokyo go here for information on car rental.
From Tokyo Station to Nagano
At Tokyo Station, head upstairs for the shinkansen platform (the station is always busy, but all lines are well marked – just follow the signs). The walk is roughly 7-10 minutes at regular pace. These trains depart from platforms 20 through 23; all trains stop at Nagano Station, and some terminate. You can check your schedules at hyperdia.com.
Here’s how you change trains to the shinkansen in Tokyo
Tokyo to Nagano: JR Pass information
You can buy JR Passes online here
JR East Travel Service Centres at Narita Airport
JR East Travel Service Centres can be found at both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 at Narita Airport. The centres are open every day from 11:30 am to 7 pm, and handle the sale and exchange of the JR East Pass (available only to visitors from overseas on short-term visas of no longer than 90 days) as well as the Japan Rail Pass (covering all six JR regional companies, and which can only be pre-purchased overseas). Other services include ticket sales and sightseeing information.
Hours of operation: 10 am to 6 pm (closed during the New Year holidays)
If the JR East Travel Service Centre is closed, go to the JR ticket office.
Hours of operation: 6:30 to 11:30 am, 7:00 to 9:45 pm
Coming by train from Haneda Airport
Make your way from Haneda Airport to Tokyo Station via one of the following options:
- Take the Keikyu Airport Line from Haneda Airport to Shinagawa Station (14-20 minutes, 410 yen) or Shimbashi Station via Sengakuji (24 minutes, 570 yen)
- Take the Tokyo Monorail (13-26 minutes, 490 yen) to Hamamatsucho Station.
From there transfer to the JR Yamanote or JR Keihin-Tohoku Line to Tokyo Station.
Alternatively, limousine buses depart from Haneda Airport to Tokyo Station every 30 to 60 minutes (20 minutes, 580 yen).
From Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya
There are two choices for getting to Nagano.
1) From both Osaka or Kyoto, take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Nagoya. At Osaka, go to Shin-Osaka Station to catch the train; the trip to Nagoya will take 55 minutes. From Kyoto Station, the trip to Nagoya will take 40 minutes. At Nagoya Station, transfer to the Chuo Line for the Shinano Limited Express train, a roughly three-hour trip that travels through the delightful Kiso Valley.
2) Take the express train to Kanazawa Station and then change to the Hokuriku Shinkansen. This journey goes via the Japan Sea coast and is a more expensive option.
Nagano Station Maps
Airport Taxi Transfer to Nagano
Don’t want the hassle of carrying bags, herding children and changing trains? Let us organise a taxi transfer for you. A shared taxi van ride right to the hotel door (ex Haneda or Narita airports) is 19,900 one way, per adult/teen (70% for U/12) including luggage allowance, taxes and name sign at the airport. Taxis usually depart the airport within 30-90 minutes of your arrival time. Sometimes these are full, other times it may be yourselves only. Check here for more details.
For medium-large groups we can help organise a direct private transfer from the airport to Nagano (or return) at reasonable cost. This chartered direct service from the Tokyo airport to your most hotels in the area would be between 99,000-149,000 each way depending on numbers & bus type. Check here for more details. Taxi/charter journeys will usually take 3-4 hours depending on traffic and weather conditions. Comfort stops are included.
Private Limousine Nagano (Lampya) is pleased to offer a Nagano ski resort shuttle for foreign guests visiting Japan. Lampya offers a Nagano airport transfer to/from Narita, Haneda and Nagoya Airports as well as Nagano ski resort transfers, day trips and tours. Lampya is a great option for medium to large groups as you are chartering the vehicle for your own personal use.
Driving to Nagano
From the Shinjuku district of Tokyo go west in the direction of Hachioji and from the urban expressway enter onto the Chuo Expressway. After Kofu, look for the Okaya junction which takes you in the direction of Nagano. Alternatively take the Kanetsu Expressway to the Fujioka J.C.T and head towards Nagano on the Joshinetsu Expressway. Distance: 250-300km Time: 4.30-5.00 hours
Osaka or Kyoto to Nagano
Take the Meishin Expressway to the Komki J.C.T, head up the Chuo Expressway and the follow instructions as below. Distance: 450-500km Time: 5.30-6.30 hours
Nagoya to Nagano
Take the Chuo Expressway to the Okaya J.C.T and head towards Nagano on the Nagano Expressway. Distance: 250-300km Time: 4.30-5.00 hours
Nagano Rental Car
For ease of pre-booking a rental car online and great selection check out the options here. There are now numerous companies offering Nagano car rentals in English (as well as support in English), plus some cars can come with English GPS. Most major car rental companies have branches in Nagano and Matsumoto but obviously can also only be found in major cities such as Tokyo or Narita. Check the bottom of this page for tips on renting cars in Japan.
Remember to book snow tyres and make sure your radiator has anti freeze. *If you can only get a Japanese GPS here are video instructions to help you.