Getting to Hakuba
There is almost an infinite amount of combinations getting to Hakuba, we will list some of the most convenient and commonly used options below. When you confirm your stay with us we will be happy to send you a step by step detailed guide how to navigate your way to the Firefly Apartments.
Please note Tokyo has 2 major international airports. So the directions may be slightly different depending which airport you chose to fly into.
Shinkansen Bullet Train
If you feel like getting here 'Japanese Style' or you have a stopover in Tokyo before or after your stay consider taking the Shinkansen also known as the Bullet Train. The Shinkansen operates between Tokyo Station, Ueno Station (North Tokyo) and Nagano Station. Departures are very frequent, usually punctual to the second and takes between 80mins and 100mins to make the journey between Tokyo and Nagano. The Kagayaki is the fastest service between the cities. On board the Shinkansen it is very comfortable, smooth and quiet. Sit back and enjoy a beer while watching Japan whizz past at 275Km/h - an attraction in itself!
From Nagano Station you catch the Alpico Highland Bus (coach service) which will tie in departures to certain Shinkansen trains and takes just over an hour to Hakuba or Happo Bus Stations. Otherwise the coach service departs every 30 to 60 mins depending on time of day and season. Nagano Station is a major interchange with plenty of restaurants, cafe's (including a Starbucks) and even has a massive shopping mall attached to it.
Connecting to Tokyo Central Station is fairly easy from Narita Airport. JR Railways operates the Narita Express train that will run without stopping between Narita and Tokyo stations. The journey takes around 45 minutes and is very comfortable with all reserved seats and areas to store your luggage. Seat reservations can be made at the airport reservations center or english vending machines all the way through to Nagano including your Shinkansen booking.
Connecting to Tokyo Central Station from Haneda Airport requires you to change trains once in Shinagawa Station. From Haneda Airport use the metro Keikyu Line to Shinagawa station. Catch the blue ''Airport Express'' or green, red or orange ''Limited Express'' but be careful as half the trains from Haneda turn South away from the Tokyo area to Yokohama and beyond. There are electronic maps on the platform train time signboards indicating which direction the train will be servicing. It is easier than it sounds and all the signs are in English. Once in Shinagawa follow the signs for JR Lines transfer and take the Yammanote line that runs about every 2 minutes to Tokyo Station.
When you arrive in Tokyo Station it is well signposted in English leading you to the Shinkansen tracks. Tokyo station is a busy place and there are plenty of shops inside the station to stock up on supplies for your upcoming Shinkansen ride ahead - do it in style!
Consider getting a ''JR East Nagano Pass'' from the JR Travel Service Centre in both airports. It can be used any 5 days in a 14 day period, for about the the same price as a return train journey from Tokyo to Nagano. The extra days are useful if you want to take a day trip from Hakuba to see the castle in Matsumoto or have a few days in Tokyo planned after you leave the mountains.
JR East Pass Coverage
Renting a car in Japan is a great way to give you freedom and flexibility, especially on those powder mornings when you are salivating for some first tracks. Because we have 9 resorts in the valley having a car unlocks a world of possibilities. We can arrange a hire car for you and the process is very simple. All the winter gear including winter tyres, chains and 4wd (Even Minivans can be equipped with 4wd) will be included. The cars can be provided with a GPS system in English which is extremely beneficial.
Driving from Haneda Airport it will take about 4 hours plus any roadhouse stops. From Narita Airport it will take about an extra 30 minutes. The highways are all toll roads and they are in excellent condition with many fantastic roadhouses on the way with very tasty food courts, clean space age toilets and many are equipped with the mandatory Starbucks keeping the driver well fuelled.
An International Drivers Licence is a non-negotiable must have before hiring a car in Japan. Speak to your local Auto Club to get one.
Hakuba has a JR train station just on the outskirts of Echoland. It is serviced once a day by an express train called the ''Asuza" which departs from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo in the morning and returns back to Shinjuku station in the mid afternoon. It takes just under 4 hours. At other times of the day the Azusa runs regularly between Shinjuku and Matsumoto which connects with a local train that takes you the rest of the way to Hakuba. The train takes a route that is incredibly scenic navigating valley after valley and on a clear day you will get clear views of Mt Fuji. As you approach Hakuba the train snakes past many beautiful lakes with our famous snow capped peaks in the background.
Another convenient way to get to Hakuba is using the Nagano Snow Shuttle or Alpico Highland coach service. Both have been operating for many years and have a good reliable reputation. Their main bus terminal is in Echoland very close to the Firefly Apartments which is super convenient. They have multiple departures a day from and to both Tokyo airports that will cater for most international flights, especially from Australia, Europe and the USA. Alpico also runs additional services to Osaka and Kyoto for those wishing to see more of Japan.
Chuo Taxi operates an airport pick up/drop off service between Hakuba and Tokyo's Airports. It is a private on demand service. They also offer a ride share that can take additional time if they have passengers to drop off in the neighbouring valley's first.
Don't want to carry those cumbersome board/ski/boot bags maybe even your suitcase too? Then let a luggage delivery service take the pleasure of transporting your luggage direct to the Firefly Apartments. TA-Q-BIN (Yamato's) is one of the major players throughout Japan and has been doing it for many years offering delivery Airport-Hotel, Hotel-Hotel, and Hotel-Airport delivery service. Japanese airlines also offer an Airport-Hotel-Airport service too. All have delivery desks with English speaking staff in the Arrivals Halls of Haneda, Narita and Kansei Airports. Their service is very reasonably priced and speedy.
The delivery service is particularly beneficial if you sight-see elsewhere in Japan before or after your visit. You can send your ski gear up from the airport and have it waiting for you when you arrive or vise-versa leaving you to travel more freely. Contact us and we can arrange it for you!