I’m going to be staying in Nagano with my family on October 7-9 but I have no plans as of yet and the information I got from the internet are kind of confusing me. Could you give me some suggestions. I’m thinking of buying a JR East Pass (Niigata, Nagano). Also, is there even a tiny chance of seeing snow on these dates.
Thanks in advance.
Thanks for your question about traveling to Nagano this autumn. I’m not sure what kind of activities and sights you’re interested in, but here’s a short model course that would be suitable for a family traveling with the JR East Nagano/Niigata pass.
- Take the Super Azusa express train from Shinjuku Station to Matsumoto Station.
- Visit Matsumoto Castle
- Take a Soba-making lesson at Soba Takagi near the castle.
- Visit the Nawate-dori and Nakamachi streets around the castle, or go to the Matsumoto City Museum of Art to see Kusama Yayoi’s work.
- Stay in Matsumoto City
- Take the Oito line train from Matsumoto Station to Hakuba Station, then the Tsugaike line bus* to Happo Bus terminal. Walk to the Hakuba Happo One Adam Gondola (10 min.).
- Take the lift up to Happo Pond to see beautiful views of the mountains and autumn colors.
- Return to Hakuba Station. Take the Oito line train to Hotaka Station. From there, take a taxi* to the Daio Wasabi Farm (10 min.).
- Visit the Daio Wasabi Farm.
- Return to Hotaka Station and take the Oito line train to Matsumoto. Stay in Matsumoto.
- Take the JR Chuo line train from Matsumoto Station to Shiojiri Station. Walk to Hara Noen or Fumondi Orchard (about 15 min.).
- Pick apples or grapes at Hara Noen or Fumondi Orchard.
- Return to Shiojiri Station. Take the JR Chuo line train to Matsumoto to return to Shinjuku, or take the JR Chuo line* to Narai Station to see Narai post town.
*The Tsugaike bus, taxi service, and JR Chuo line train between Shiojiri and Narai stations are not covered by the JR pass.
I hope that model itinerary gives you an idea on how you can enjoy a few days in Nagano in autumn with your family. If you have any other questions or concerns, please let me know!