Getting to Hakuba by Train or Transfer Direct?
13th August, 2013
If you decide to travel to Hakubafrom Narita Airport by train, as you are going to be doing a side trip, then SnowbedsTravel highly recommends the purchase of a JR East 4 Day Flexi pass. These passes are only available to non Japan residents and must be purchased by yourself in your country of origin and picked up in the train station at Narita upon presentation of your passport.
The JR pass we recommend gives you 4 non consecutive days travel in a month time frame, giving you the luxury of side tours or Tokyo stopovers without increasing your transfer costs to Hakuba. If you are however just coming for a ski holiday to Hakuba then just purchase your tickets at the ticket box. All you need to say is Nagano Station (Reserve) and they will give you three tickets for each person plus your receipt. One ticket is your total journey and the other two are your individual train tickets - one for the Narita Express to Tokyo Station and the other from Tokyo Station to Nagano Station on the bullet train. Make sure you also ask for Reserved ticket as otherwise there is a chance you could be standing if the train is full.
If all these tickets get too confusing, however they are also in English, just give them all to the ticket inspector at the gate rather than hold up everyone at the automatic gate entry trying to figure out which ones to put in the ticket hole.
If arriving during the day at the airport it is quicker to go by train to Hakuba than by road transfer which can add an extra two hours to your journey. Once you arrive at Nagano Station which is the last stop on the shinkansen we can arrange a transfer the further one hour to Hakuba or you can get the local bus.
Alternatively arriving at night is much the same in time as the train as the roads are less busy. Depending on the time you land this also may be your only option. There is a scheduled coach that leaves at 8pm or we can also book a seat in a minivan for you which can leave at any time after your flight arrives.
Basically no matter what time you arrive there is a way to get to Hakuba the same day, or at worst early hours of the morning, to then wake up in the snow ready to take on the mountains. Too easy.