By taxi

Chuo Taxi www.chuotaxi.co.jp This is by far the easiest way to travel to Hakuba, especially for large groups, as you will often end up with your own private transport at public transport prices. Meeting you at the airport in luxurious Toyota Hiace vans, Chuo Taxi will bring you right to the front door of your Big Bear Chalet or Apartment. The length of the trip will be influenced by traffic conditions, but will usually take about 4.5 hours from the airport.

By Train

From Shinjuku Station in Tokyo, there is one daily Super Azusa limited express service that runs to Hakuba. The ride takes 3 hours, 45 minutes and costs ¥8070 each way. As of November 2009, the outbound service leaves at 7:30am, and the inbound service (to Shinjuku) departs from Hakuba at 2:57pm. There is also an additional Azusa service on certain dates, making the run to Hakuba in about 4 hours. Otherwise, you will have to take an Azusa or Super Azusa to Matsumoto  city and then take one (possibly two) Oito Line local trains, increasing the journey to at least 4.5 hours.

The fastest route from Tokyo is by Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo Station to Nagano (105min / 8,170 JPY), then by bus from Nagano to Hakuba (65min  /1,500 JPY). Trains from Tokyo run every half hour or so, with buses every hour during the winter months. The last bus from Nagano Station to Hakuba is 8:30PM. This whole trip takes about 3 hours, depending on connections, and costs 9,700 JPY one way. This method of transport is also useful for Japan Rail Pass holders.

Please note that the Narita Express from the airport to Tokyo Station takes 1 hour and this should be added to the overall journey time.

 

By bus

From Tokyo, buses run from outside Shinjuku Station (west side) every two or three hours and stop at several places in the Hakuba region. The trip takes around 4.5 hours, depending of traffic conditions, and at 8500 JPY return for adults (half-price for children), is easily the cheapest way to travel to Hakuba. 

Direct from Narita Airport:

There are now several comfortable, hassle-free and economical bus services traveling directly from Narita Airport to Hakuba. One of these is the Nagano Snow Shuttle, which is a full-sized, limousine bus, departing Narita twice a day at 9:45am and 8:00pm. Prices are 8,500 JPY for adults, 6,375 JPY for children aged 12 or younger and free for children 4 and under. Should your flight arrive very early in the morning, Alpico Bus Service also operates the Highland Express Direct Bus Service, leaving Narita at 8:25am and arriving in Hakuba at 2:20pm. Current pricing is 9,000 JPY for adults, 6,500 JPY for children up to 12 and free for children under 5 if they share a seat.

Getting Around

Outside of the winter months, there are plenty of bike trails and walking paths to get around the area. Many hostels have bike rental which helps if you are a little bit outside of Hakuba proper.

If you are based around Kamishiro station, you are on the main rail line and road so a trip into Hakuba proper is only five minutes by JR or by Bus.

During the peak winter months (December to March) there are many daily shuttles running from various parts of Hakuba (with the Happo Information Center acting as the main hub) to all the resorts in the valley. The Shuttle Bus "Genki-Go" covers the wining and dining areas and operates during the same period in the evenings from 5pm. Three lines run throughout Hakuba for 300 JPY a ride.

Access to Big Bear chalets