Hi, good day!
My family with 3 kids will be travelling by train to and from Shinjuku on 22nd of December till the 26th heading to Iiyama Station/ board a bus to Nozawa snow resort.
On these days, we will be staying in Nozawa Onsen ryokan.
I would like your help and love to hear your suggestions for the itinerary.
Thanks for your question. I can recommend a few activities to try around Northern Nagano during your visit.
Of course, I recommend visiting the snow monkeys of Jigokudani Yaen Koen while you’re here. During winter, there are day tours from Nozawa Onsen to the snow monkeys.
Nozawa Onsen’s ski resort is planning to open on November 23rd this year (depending on snowfall), and you’d be amiss not to try skiing once while you’re here during winter. You can see information about ski lessons on Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort’s English webpage.
Matsumoto Castle is one of Nagano’s most famous sightseeing spots. People of all ages enjoy looking at the castle and climbing up to the top of the keep. You can take photos with the costumed castle lord and lady and then take a soba-making lesson at the nearby Soba Takagi restaurant.
I hope these suggestions help you in your trip planning. Let me know if you have any other questions.
Thank you for your suggestions. May i also ask if we should buy the JR East pass?
22Dec Shinjuku to Nagano. Have lunch at Nagano before going to Nozawa Onsen
23Dec Nozawa to Jigokudani Snow Monkey
24Dec Nozawa to Matsumoto Castle
26Dec Nozawa to Shibuya
With the schedule you’ve included, it looks like it would be beneficial to purchase the JR East Nagano-Niigata Pass. Below are the fares that you would be paying during your trip that are covered by the pass:
- Tokyo—Nagano (Hokiriku Shinkansen): 7,680 yen x1
- Nagano—Iiyama (Hokuriku Shinkansen): 1,360 yen x3
- Nagano—Matsumoto (Ltd. Exp. Shinano Wide View): 2,320 yen x2
- Iiyama—Tokyo (Hokuriku Shinkansen): 8,110 yen x1
These train fares would cost 24,510 yen total while the JR East Nagano-Niigata Pass costs only 17,000 yen (when purchased overseas), saving you a total of 7,510 yen.
Buses are not covered by the JR EAST pass, so you will have to pay for your transportation between Iiyama Station and Nozawa Onsen separately. As I recommended earlier, taking a bus tour to the snow monkeys from Nozawa Onsen is the easiest way to travel there. The portions of your travel that aren’t covered by the JR pass are listed below:
- Iiyama Station—Nozawa Onsen (Nozawa Onsen Liner): 600 yen x4
- Snow Monkey Bus Tour: 5,500 yen
The total for buses to Nozawa and the Snow Monkey tour come to 7,900 yen. Added to the JR EAST pass’s cost, you would pay a total of 24,900 yen for all of your travel between Tokyo and Nagano.
I hope that helps answer your question.
Thank you so much for these.. It’s a big big help.
Good Day! May i bother you question on JR East Nagano-Niigata pass.
If i purchase the ticket, can we use the same pass twice in one day?
22Dec Tokyo- Nagano in the afternoon after touring Nagano, Nagano-Iiyama
Yes, JR passes can be used without limit during their period of validity.