Getting to Nozawa

Transport

(Based on 2016/17 rates)

 

Directions from the International airports to Nozawa Onsen

There are shared taxi, and hire car options, that will meet you at the airport and take you direct to Nozawa. If you are interested in this option, please contact us . You will need to give at least 48 hours advance notice.

 

Simple version

You need to get from the airport to Tokyo, then from Tokyo to Iiyama, then from Iiyama to Nozawa Onsen.

  • Total approximate time three to three and a half hours, about JPY11,000-JPY12,000
  • Hint: pack your first day’s things in handcarry and everything else in a suitcase… then use “takkyubin” courier service in the airport arrivals area (the biggest company is Yamato, known as “black cat” following its logo of a black cat on a yellow background) to send your big luggage to the accommodation. Just show the takkyubin staff the address, they’ll do the rest, and your bags will arrive 24 hours later. No stress. And cheap…
  • You can use international credit cards at station booking counters. The automatic ticket machines have an easy-to-use English menu but only take cash or domestic credit cards.
  • Note that all public transportation in Japan has cheap child fares so if you have children, say so when you buy the ticket

 

Detailed version

From Narita International Airport:

You have four ways to get from Narita to Tokyo.

  1. This is very expensive (>JPY30,000) and not necessarily faster… but good to know that you have the option.
  2. Limousine Bus. The bus ticket counter is in the arrival hall. There are buses at least every half hour to Tokyo station, and they cost JPY3,100 per person. It’s a comfortable ride, perhaps 15 minutes slower than the train. Avoid it during morning rush hour on a weekday as it gets caught in traffic. It’s a useful option if the train departures are inconvenient or there’s a long wait for the next train.
  3. Narita Express (NEX). This is a JR (national railway company) service. You can buy a ticket in the basement of the airport (reserved seats only) for JPY3,020 to Tokyo station, but as it’s a JR train you might as well book your onward shinkansen from Tokyo station to Iiyama (JPY11,520 total) on the same ticket. Note: do not take a local train! It’ll be very slow.
  4. Keisei Skyliner. This is a private railway line, which runs to Ueno station. If the departure time from Narita is imminent, this is the fastest route and is as comfortable as NEX. Reserved seats only, JPY2,470. There are “morning liner” and “evening liner” trains which are rapid enough to be worth taking. Otherwise do not take a local train – too slow.
  5. At Ueno you walk inside the station complex to the JR part of the station, buy your shinkansen ticket, and catch the shinkansen there. Allow 10-15 minutes for the connection.

Suggested decision tree:

  • Am I tired, do I need to make lots of phone calls now, and do I have a lot of money? If “yes”, take a taxi.
  • Is there a NEX or Skyliner leaving in the next 25 minutes? If “yes”, take whichever leaves first (if both NEX and Skyliner leaving at about the same time, take Skyliner). If “no”, take the limousine bus to Tokyo station.

 

Haneda International Airport:

You have three ways to get from Haneda to Tokyo.

  1. This is will cost about JPY7,000, and is a good option if there are 3-4 of you or if you have a lot of luggage. In low-traffic times it can be faster than public transport by 5-10 minutes.
  2. Limousine Bus. The bus ticket counter is in the arrival hall. There are buses at least every hour to Tokyo station, and they cost JPY930 per person; it’s a 55 minute ride, Avoid it during morning rush hour on a weekday as it gets caught in traffic. It’s a useful option if the train departures are inconvenient or there’s a long wait for the next train.
  3. Monorail/local train. This is a good option if you have little luggage (or kids who like trains!), and there are departures every 5-10 minutes. Take the monorail from Haneda to Hamamatsucho (the terminus), then transfer to the JR Yamanote line (green line) to Tokyo station. It’ll take about half an hour in total; they are run by different train companies so you’ll need separate tickets, costing in total JPY690.

 

Tokyo to Nozawa

In Tokyo station, take either the Kagayaki train (mandatory reserved seating, a little faster, few departures) or Hakutaka trai (reserved/non reserved seating, more stops, more departures). If you don’t have a reservation for the Hakutaka line, don’t worry – the train starts at Tokyo station so you’ll almost certainly get a seat in the unreserved carriages even in busy periods.

There’s roughly one departure every hour.

If you got the Keisei Skyliner to Ueno, pick up the relevant shinkansen there. It’s the second stop after Tokyo so there’s a good likelihood you’ll get a seat even without a reservation.

At Iiyama, take the Nozawa Liner bus (25 minutes, JPY600) or local bus (50 minutes, JPY700) to Nozawa Onsen. The bus stops are just outside the station and are well signposted.