Autumn Season Back on Track (mostly…)


There may be rain in the forecast for this weekend, but on the whole things are looking much better than they did this time last week. With Typhoon 19 now behind us, buses and trains in and around Matsumoto are operating as normal.

Many would be travelers to Kamikochi have been frustrated by the issue of access to Matsumoto. Most notably, the Azusa trains liinking Shinjuku and Matsumoto are out of operation until the end of October, leaving highway buses and more circuitous train routes as the main alternatives.

On the Buses:

(By which we mean, “on the topic of the buses,” not matters pertaining to the ribald 70s sitcom.)

Here’s a list of the highway buses which are running between Tokyo and Matsumoto on a day by day basis. Just to be clear, buses listed below are running; any buses not listed are not running:

Friday, October 18th

Matsumoto to Shinjuku: 6:50、7:20、7:50、8:20、8:50、15:20、16:20、17:20、18:20
Shinjuku to Matsumoto: 7:05、7:55、8:55、9:55、15:55、16:25、16:55、17:25、17:55

Saturday, October 19th:

Matsumoto to Shinjuku: 6:50、7:20、7:50、8:20、8:50、15:20、16:20、17:20、18:20
Shinjuku to Matsumoto: 7:05、7:55、8:55、9:55、15:55、16:25、16:55、17:25、17:55

Sunday, October 20th:

Matsumoto to Shinjuku: 6:50、7:20、7:50、8:20、8:50、15:20、16:20、17:20、18:20
Shijuku to Matsumoto: 7:05、7:55、8:55、9:55、15:55、16:25、16:55、17:25、17:55

*Please note that in all cases, detours caused by road conditions may result in buses taking considerably longer than usual to reach their destinations.

Trains not in Vain

You can also access Matsumoto by rail, albeit in a more roundabout fashion. If you have a rail pass, consider catching a Hokuriku Shinkansen to Nagano City and then heading to Matsumoto by the Shinonoi line. The latter leg of your trip can be done by either express trains or slower local trains. While the express train might seem like a no-brainer, the local trains travel at more relaxed pace through some very scenic mountain vistas, including the famous Obasute observation point. You can also see autumn foliage in motion while travelling through locations like Hijiri Kogen.

Autumn foliage near Hijiri Kogen. Not bad at all, really.


It’s also possible to reach Matsumoto from Nagoya via the Shinano Limited Express. It’s a journey of roughly 2.5 hours through some very scenic terrain.

And now, back to regularly scheduled programming:

Let’s turn our attention back to the unfolding autumn season and all the delights it brings.

Intrepid Five Sense blogger Nanamin recently posted these images from the Taisho Pond area:


Myojin may be the more popular spot for autumn leaf viewing, but Taisho is certainly no slouch as this vivid yellow foliage confirms.

Not to be outdone, fellow Five Sense blogger Ume posted these shots of Tokusawa:

The first picture shows early traces of red on maple leaves while the second shows yellow foliage on a Japanese horse chestnut tree.

As of last Sunday, there were also dazzling scenes at Karasawa, as you can see on the Karasawa Hyutte hompage.

We hope these pictures give you an idea of what to expect from a visit to Kamikochi this weekend or next week. Please remember to prepare warm clothing as temperatures have dropped sharply over the past few days. And be sure to have some rain resistant gear on hand as rain will be a constant possibility over the next week.

That’s all for now. Thanks as always to Five Sense for posting valuable images and info. and to all our readers, stay warm, dry, and safe as you embark on your autumn adventure.

Sources of Information:

Alpico Website:

Nature Guide: Five Sense, Kamikochi blog:

Karasawa Hyutte homepage: