Getting Away From The Big Cities – Japanese Alps in 1-2 Weeks

Want to get away from the big cities like Tokyo and Osaka? Try this itinerary!  It will take 1-2 weeks, depending on how much hiking and/or snowboarding or skiing you want to do.  This guide is therefore showing just our recommended route.

As there are so many different bus companies and train companies, you probably don’t need a Japan Rail Pass or Japan Bus Pass.  Take night buses, local buses and normal trains to save on money.

Cost: 55000 yen – 75000 yen per person (per week)

  1. Take the night bus from Tokyo to Nagano.
  2. Take a day trip to Yudanaka to see the monkey hot spring.  Return to Nagano and check out Zenkoji Hondo Temple in the evening.
  3. If it’s winter time, go to Hakuba for some cheap skiing or snowboarding for a few days.  Use Alpico Bus from Nagano station east exit.
  4. Next head to the castle city of Matsumoto and spend a day there.  From Hakuba take the train or bus. From from Nagano use Alpico Bus from Nagano station east exit.
  5. After Matsumoto, in the summer head to Kamikochi for some hiking and walking in the Japanese Alps.  In winter continue straight to Takayama.  Buses are available from Matsumoto Bus Terminal outside Matsumoto station east exit.
  6. Spend a day or two in Takayama.
  7. Enjoy a side trip in the quieter town of Hida Furukawa.
  8. Make your way back to TokyoOsaka or Nagoya with Nohi Bus.


Published by Matthew Baxter

Matthew Baxter is a British travel author who lived in New Zealand and Japan for many years. Having traveled across these countries, without much money, he has built up an extensive knowledge of budget travel, and also worked at many leading tourism companies in both countries. He also writes professionally for several websites and publications, such as the GaijinPot, All About and the Japan National Tourist Association. Those heading to Taiwan should check out his new site, Taiwanna Travel.