I am planning to visit Nagano and then Matsumoto from 21-25 June 2017, return to Tokyo on 26 June. My initial plan is to spend two days 21-23 June in Nagano, and then 24-25 June in Matsumoto. Now I get worried that 24-25 June is a weekend. Would it be too difficult to get on a bus from Matsumoto as Kamikochi is very popular. Since I only intend to spend a day trip in Kamikochi, do round trip bus tickets guarantee that I would have a place on the bus when I return to stay in Matsumoto. Are there alternate ways to go to Kamikochi as I would be staying in Matsumoto? I heard that people get in from another nearby onsen town. Can bus tickets be booked a day in advance at the bus station? If it is too busy for Kamikochi on weekends, I might have to go to Matsumoto first, then Nagano, and need to change all my hotel bookings again! Thanks for your information.
While Kamikochi is busier on weekends, I don’t expect that it will be so busy that you can’t get a spot on the bus. Maybe if it were a three-day-weekend, Golden Week, or peak autumn leaves season it would be that busy, but you should be alright.
Most people take either the direct bus from Matsumoto Station or take the Kamikochi line train to Shinshimashima bus terminal and ride the bus from there. You can see the Kamikochi bus schedule here. Also, the Kamikochi line bus does not accept reservations.
I hope that answers your question.