My family and I plan to travel to Kamikochi from Nagoya this June with itinerary as below:
2 June – Nagoya (sightseeing, unsure on accomodation options yet)
3 June – Travel to Kamikochi via bus? Open to overnight stay at Kamikochi as we probably will not have time to travel to Toyama.
4th June – Travel from Kamikochi to Toyama and tour the whole alpine route, with overnight stay at Hotel Tateyama.
5th June – Travel to Tokyo
I was wondering what would be the best option via rail pass, and what sights we can see along the way or at Kamikochi since we will have probably have time to see a few things. Considering it is weekend, afraid it will be crowded. Also, we will probably use the baggage forwarding service to get our luggage to Hotel Tateyama.
Thanks in advance!
Thanks for your question.
Traveling from Nagoya to Kamikochi, you would take the Ltd. Exp. Shinano Wide View from Nagoya Station to Matsumoto Station (125 min., 5,510 yen). Then, take the Kamikochi line train to Shinshimashima station and change to the Kamikochi bus to Kamikochi bus terminal (bus+train: 95 min., 2,450 yen).
If you have the Japan Rail Pass, the Shinano Wide View would be covered, but the Kamikochi train and bus would not.
Between Nagoya and Kamikochi there are many great sightseeing areas to visit if you have time. I recommend seeing part of the Nakasendo, either Magome, Tsumago, or Narai post-towns, for the beautiful nature of the Kiso Valley and the splendid Edo-period buildings that still stand there.
In Matsumoto City, just 15 minutes from the station (where you would change trains to head to Kamikochi anyway) is Matsumoto Castle, one of Japan’s five national treasure castles. You can walk through the castle and climb all the way to the top for views of the surrounding city and even see the distant Japanese Alps from its grounds.
Kamikochi itself is great for trekking and you’ll find many picturesque spots there. The most popular include the Kappa Bridge, Taisho Pond, and Myojin Pond. You can see more details about Kamikochi here.
June isn’t the busiest time of year in Kamikochi, but weekends may still be busy. However, there shouldn’t be any issues.
I hope that answers your questions.