In the 1960s, at the middle of Japan’s high-growth period (1955–1973), the road improvement of Kamikochi was completed. Following its completion, a huge number of people began to access Kamikochi with their own cars or in tourist buses.
Not surprisingly, those numerous vehicles traveling towards Kamikochi polluted the surrounding environment.
As a result, traffic regulation was introduced in 1975 to preserve the beautiful mountain resort for future generations. The regulation prohibited the private vehicles, and only allowed shuttle buses to enter Kamikochi.
Takayama or Matsumoto
In order to go to Kamikochi, you will need to go via either Matsumoto or Takayama. You are advised to go to Kamikochi via Matsumoto if you are planning to depart from Tokyo (Haneda/Narita Airport) or Nagoya (Chubu Airport/Centrair). Takayama is best for people who are coming from Toyama or prefectures along the Japan Sea coast (Kanazawa etc). For those of you coming from Osaka (Kansai Airport), you have the option to come via either Matsumoto or Takayama.
Furthermore, there is a useful web page called “Route Search” made by the JORUDAN Corporation. It searches train routes and fares by simply entering a date and time with a departure point and destination. You can use this program effectively to plan your trip. The “Route Search” is free to use at JORUDAN’s official website. General information about access also can be found at this website.
Step by Step
Getting around in Japan is not that difficult, but even experienced travelers should take care about a few things when visiting Kamikōchi, like the mandatory numbered boarding ticket for the return trip. To avoid any inconvenience and to help you concentrate on the sights and not worry about the details, we created an exhaustive, illustrated list for you on how to get to Kamikōchi from Takayama and back. If you like planning trips in detail, you’ll love this list. If not… well, you can still enjoy the pictures… 😉
Round trip ticket on Hirayu onsen and Kamikochi line
You are advised to complete the purchase of your full round trip ticket at Nohi bus terminal, as it will be much more expensive and complicated for you to buy a ticket at each stage along the way. The round-ticket can be used only once but is valid for 6 days.
Numbered Boarding Ticket (seiriken 整理券)
First things first. You are advised to ask for a numbered boarding ticket (seiriken) as soon as you arrive at the Kamikochi bus terminal. The ticket window can be found at the “Kamikochi Sight Seeing Center” building. Convey your desired date and time of return bus trip to window staff who will then provide you with a numbered boarding ticket.
Most likely, the last returning bus from Kamikochi bus terminal to Hirayu Onsen bus terminal will be full, and only people with the numbered boarding tickets will be able to board it. If you miss the final returning bus, you may have to pay for accommodation to stay overnight at Kamikochi. So make sure you get the ticket as soon as possible.
The Free Passports shown below offers an incredibly economical way to travel to Kamikochi. It also offers various sightseeing spots for you to travel:
- 4 Days Alps Wide Free Passport Shinshu/Hida:
The Wide Free Passport allows you to travel freely on the Nohi buses (Hirayu Onsen and Kamikochi line etc) and Matsumoto Dentetsu. Please be aware, however, that some restrictions apply. Please check the English version of the pamphlet on ALPICO Group’s website (near the bottom of the page) for further information. You can purchase this free passport from the Nohi bus terminal, Gero bus center ALPICO (Matsumoto) bus terminal or Shin-shimashima station
Further information about access to Kamikochi from Takayama can be found from these websites: