Access to Kamikochi from Matsumoto

   In the 1960s, in the middle of Japan’s high-growth period (19551973), the road improvement of Kamikōchi was completed. Following its completion, a huge number of people began to access Kamikōchi with their own cars or in tourist buses.

   Not surprisingly, those numerous vehicles traveling towards Kamikōchi polluted the surrounding environment.

   As a result, traffic regulation was introduced in 1975 to preserve the beautiful mountain resort for future generations. Private vehicles were banished and now only shuttle buses and taxis are allowed to enter Kamikōchi.

Matsumoto or Takayama

In order to go to Kamikōchi, you will need to go via either Matsumoto or Takayama. You are advised to go to Kamikōchi 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 Matsumoto and back. If you like planning trips in detail, you’ll love this list. If not… well, you can still enjoy the pictures… 😉


The recently rebuilt Matsumoto Station.
2.Entrance of Matsumoto Station.
3.Inside of Matsumoto Station.
4.The tourist information center.
5.The ticket machines in Matsumoto Station.
6.A ticket machine for the Kamikōchi line. Note that this is NOT a JR line (even if you have a JR Pass, it is not valid).


Screen button (1) is to change the language to English.

Screen button (2) is to choose a round-ticket on the Kamikōchi line.

Button (3) is to select the number of round-tickets you require.

8.Press screen buttons (1) and (2) to get the same screen as shown in the picture on the left.

Select the number of round-trip tickets you are purchasing using buttons (3).

Press button (4) and insert the total required amount of money.

Receive the round-trip ticket from the machine.

9.Ticket (a) is for Matsumoto to Kamikōchi.

Ticket (b) is for Kamikōchi to Matsumoto.

10.Insert ticket (a) at the ticket gate.
11.Floor signs for all train lines.
12.Blue is for the Kamikōchi line. Note that this is NOT a JR line.
13.Walk the hallway that leads to the Kamikōchi line.
14.Board a train on the Kamikōchi line.
15.Travel from Matsumoto station to Shin-shimashima station (30 min).

You can find a train timetable from the “Web Reference” section that is at the end of this article.

16.Arrive at the Shin-shimashima station.
17.Shin-shimashima station and bus terminal are in the same building.
18.Present ticket (a) to staff, and then board the bus.
19.Travel from Shin-shimashima bus terminal to Kamikōchi bus terminal (60 min).

You can find a bus timetable from the “Web Reference” section that is at the end of this article.

20.Upon arrival at the Kamikōchi bus terminal, go to the building called the “Kamikōchi Sight Seeing Center”.
21.Choose the bus you want to return on, and ask for a numbered boarding ticket (seiriken) at the window.

You can find a bus timetable from the “Web Reference” section that is at the end of this article.

22.Hold onto the numbered boarding ticket (seiriken) while you are in Kamikōchi.
23.You should ensure that you arrive at the bus terminal at least 10 min before its departure time.

Present the numbered boarding ticket to staff before you board the returning bus.

24.Present ticket (b) to return to Matsumoto station at Shin-shimashima station.
25.Back at the Matsumoto station.

Round-ticket on Kamikōchi line

You are advised to complete the purchase of your full round-ticket at Matsumoto station, 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 Kamikōchi bus terminal. The ticket window can be found at the “Kamikōchi 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 Kamikōchi bus terminal to Shin-shimashima 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 Kamikōchi. So make sure you get the ticket as soon as possible.

Free Passport

The Free Passports shown below offers an incredibly economical way to travel to Kamikōchi. 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 Matsumoto Dentetsu (Kamikōchi line trains and Kamikōchi line buses etc) and Nohi Bus. Please be aware, however, that some restrictions apply. Please check the English version of pamphlet from ALPICO group’s website for further information. You can purchase this free passport from the Matsumoto (ALPICO) bus terminal, Shin-shimashima station, Takayama (Nohi) bus Terminal or the Gero bus center.

  • 2 Days Free Passport Kamikōchi/Norikura:

   The 2 Days Free Passport allows you to travel freely on the Matsumoto Dentetsu (Kamikōchi line trains and Kamikōchi line buses etc). You can also check the pamphlet from ALPICO group’s website, but unfortunately, the pamphlet is only available in Japanese. You can purchase this free passport from the Matsumoto Bus Terminal or Shin-shimashima station.

Web References

Further information about access to Kamikōchi from Matsumoto can be found from these websites: