|From Tokyo:||3-5 hours|
|From Osaka:||4-7.5 hr|
How to Get There
Chubusangaku National Park encompasses the Hida Mountains (also known as the Northern Alps). The park includes parts of Toyama, Nagano, Gifu, and Niigata prefectures. Popular locations in the park include the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, Kurobe Gorge, the Kamikochi and the Hakuba valley. Some of these sites (and others) close from late November through mid-April due to heavy snow, so plan accordingly. The cities of Takayama, Matsumoto, Nagano and Toyama serve as transport hubs to various parts of the park.
To reach the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, take the JR Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Toyama Station (2 hr 45 min) or get off at Nagano Station (1 hr 40 min) then take a direct bus to Ogizawa (1 hr 45 min). For Kurobe Gorge Railway, ride the JR Hokuriku Shinkansen to Kurobe-Unazukionsen Station (2 hr 30 min), then take a Toyama Chiho train departing from nearby Shin-Kurobe Station to Unazukionsen Station (25 min). The railway station is only a few minutes on foot. To see Kamikochi's beautiful autumn colors, take the JR Azusa or Super Azusa limited express trains to Matsumoto Station (2 hr 30 min), transfer to the Alpico Kamikochi Line, continue to Shin-Shimashima Station (30 min), then take a bus to Kamikochi (60 min). Options for accessing the Hakuba Valley include taking the JR Hokuriku Shinkansen to Nagano Station, then a bus to Hakuba (2 hr 45 min); taking the JR Azusa limited express (make sure the train goes all the way to Hakuba) to Matsumoto Station (4 hr 40 min); or taking a highway bus from Tokyo to Hakuba (5 hr). Public transportation is preferred as a way to help preserve the natural environment.
The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route and the Kurobe Gorge Railway can both be reached via the JR Thunderbird limited express to Kanazawa Station then transferring to the JR Hokuriku Shinkansen. Ride the shinkansen to Toyama Station for the Alpine Route (3 hr). For the Gorge, alight at Kurobe-Unazukionsen Station (3 hr), then transfer to the Toyama Chiho Railway, which departs from the adjacent Shin-Kurobe Station where you can ride to Unazuki-Onsen Station (25 min). Kurobe Gorge Railway trains are a five-minute walk from there. For Kamikochi, take the JR Tokaido Shinkansen to Nagoya Station (60 min) then transfer to the JR Hida limited express train for Takayama Station (2 hr 20 min). After that, take a Nohi Bus to Hirayu Onsen (60 min) and another bus to Kamikochi (25 min). For the Hakuba valley, take the JR Tokaido Shinkansen to Nagoya Station, transfer to the JR Shinano limited express and get off at Matsumoto Station (2 hr) then take the JR Oito Line to Hakuba Station (1 hr 30 min).
Many park locations, such as Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route and Kurobe Gorge, have specially designed transportation systems that allow visitors to enjoy the park's natural beauty without damaging it. Private vehicles are useful for exploring the park but be prepared to leave them behind when entering certain areas. For those without a car, buses operated by Alpico Kotsu and Nohi Bus are a great way to get around. Detailed route information is available on each companies' English-language websites.