I am reaching Japan on 19th April and will be going to Kyoto to 20th morning. I plan to leave Kyoto on 20th evening and would like to reach a place close to the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route. I have done some research and found that Nagano and Toyamo are the places from which I can start the Alpine Route. I have few questions as I have to book my accommodation in any of these areas:
1) I read that there will be some time restrictions if I start alpine route from Toyama as the last Alpico express bus leaves Ogizawa at 4:30 but when I checked it on Alpico’s website, it shows a bus departing at 6 PM also. I just wanted to check if there are actually any issues in starting the route from Toyama?
2) How much time will it take to reach from Kyoto to Nagano and where should I stay in Nagano?
3) At what time should I start from Nagano/Toyama so that I get enough time to spend on the route?
4) What all are the major sightseeing points on the routes and what is the expected time that one should spend at these points? I am only aware of the Kurobe Dam and the Snow fall..Are there some short hikes/trails that can also be covered in the day trip?
5) Is it possible to do this as a day trip from Tokyo and if yes, at what time should one leave Tokyo?
6) Is there a luggage forwarding service available in Kyoto/Nagano/Toyama from where I can send my luggage to Tokyo so that I can collect it next day?
I request someone to please guide me so that I can plan my trip accordingly.
Thanks for your questions. I’ve answered them below:
1. The last bus from Ogizawa Station to Nagano is at 18:05. Traveling from Toyama to Nagano is no problem.
2. Travel from Kyoto to Nagano takes about two hours and 40 minutes by train. You can check train times using the Hyperdia Website.
3. The route takes about six hours, so you’ll want to arrive at the start of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route around 9:00 or 10:00. You can also arrive earlier if you want to get a head start.
4. You can see the highlights of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route here. The overall route usually takes six hours (transportation accounts for about 1.5 hours), so you have plenty of time to enjoy the scenery as you see fit.
5. It is possible, but I can’t say whether or not its worth it. You would depart Tokyo on the 6:28 shinkansen, take the 8:15 Ogizawa bus from Nagano Station and arrive at Ogizawa at 10:00. After six hours on the route, you will arrive at Tateyama Station around 16:00, and from there the trip back to Tokyo takes about 4.5-5 hours.
6. Some hotels can arrange luggage pickup and delivery for you. Otherwise, consider using a Kuroneko Yamato service counter to ship your luggage (see details here).
I hope that helps answer your questions.