I will be staying in Lake Nojiri for around six weeks starting in late May/early June, so I will have lots of time to explore the area such as Nozawa Onsen, other historic towns/onsens, hiking trails & the like.
This, I would like some information as to how to get around:
I would prefer to travel by public transport (bus & train) whilst staying in the area – is this wise?
Please let me know if there is a bus from Lake Nojiri to Nozawa Onsen & other sites of interest?
If public transport is not ideal, is there a local car hire site so I can mix public transport with car hire?
Since I am staying in the area for so long, is there a site where I can hire trekking guides to show me the trails in the area & tutors to teach me Japanese?
I am very excited to get to know the area, so sorry about my many questions for you : )
Thank you in advance for your help.
There aren’t many buses between Shinanomachi and other areas of Nagano, so the most common way to travel between them is by train. For Nozawa Onsen in particular, you would take the train from Kurohime Station to Toyono Station and switch to the Iiyama line train, getting off at Iiyama Station (about 50 min.). From there, buses run regularly to Nozawa Onsen (about 25 min.).
There is also a bus that runs to Tangram Madarao, one of the ski resorts nearby which has a variety of activities in summer. Another bus runs between Tangram Madarao and Iiyama Station, so it is also possible to get to Iiyama by bus. You can find the bus timetable listed here in Japanese; Tangram Madarao is タングラム斑尾, Kurohime Station is 黒姫駅, and Iiyama Station is 飯山駅
Mt. Madarao is the beginning of the Shin’etsu Trail, which crosses the Sekida mountain range from Iiyama to Niigata. The full trail takes about six days, but you can do day trips along parts of the trail as well.
If you’d like to rent a car, I’d recommend renting one from Nagano City. There are a few rental shops in Shinanomachi, but the company only rents to people who have Japanese driver’s licenses. If you use Toyota Rent-a-Car, you can rent a car with an international driver’s license.
For trekking and other outdoor activities, there is an outdoor tour company in Shinanomachi called Sunday Planning that offers a variety of excursions in the area.
For Japanese language classes, you may want to visit the International Corner at Monzen Plaza in Nagano City. They offer free courses to foreigners.
I hope that helps answer your question!
Thanks Blair – what a wonderful and comprehensive answer to my myriad of questions : )
You have given me lots of food for thought that I will follow up on
I’m glad I could help! Let me know if you have any other questions.