Hi we are a group of 5 people. 26th Dec 2017 we will come and visit Matsumoto castle from Kawaguchiko. After that we’ll head for Hakuba for skiing and will stay there until 27th night. 28th Dec 2017 we will come back to Nagano and visit Snow Monkey pass and Zenkoji temple. After that we will head for Kanazawa and sleep there and the next day we’ll visit Shirakawa-go. What will be the best way to go Hakuba from Matsumoto? Is there any pass for us so that we can save some money? Any recommended to do other than I mentioned as well? Thank you.
I’ve transcribed your trip below as well as I could and have included some advice regarding transportation.
Kawaguchiko to Matsumoto (about 190 min. / 6,070 yen)
-Fujikyu Railway to Otsuki St.(Non-JR)
-LTD. EXP. Kaiji to Kofu St.(JR)
-LTD. EXP. Super Azusa to Matsumoto St.(JR)
Matsumoto to Hakuba (about 120 min. / 1,140 yen)
-Oito line train to Hakuba St.(JR)
Hakuba to Nagano (about 75 min. / 1,800 yen)
-Alpico Hakuba line bus to Nagano St. (Non-JR)
Nagano to Yamanouchi Roundtrip (oneway: 50 min. / 1,260 yen)
-Nagano Dentetsu Railway to Yudanaka St. (Non-JR)
Nagano to Kanazawa (about 80 min. / 8,440 yen)
-Hokuriku Shinkansen to Kanazawa St. (JR)
Kanazawa to Shirakawago(about 75 min. /1,850 yen)
-Nohi or Hokutetsu bus to Shirakawago (Non-JR)
The total cost for one person comes out to 21,820 yen. Because there are a number of non-JR lines and buses involved, a JR pass will not be suitable for your trip. You may be interested in the Snow Monkey Pass which will save you a couple hundred yen on transportation and entrance fees to the snow monkey park.
Regarding transportation to Hakuba from Matsumoto, the cheapest and fastest option will be taking the Oito line train (JR) from Matsumoto Station to Hakuba Station.
If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Actually I am planning to go to Hakuba on the same day after exploring Matsumoto castle.
Probably about 3pm I will leave Matsumoto and head for Hakuba.
I used Hyperdia and check the schedule. The next train after 15:08 on 26th Dec 2017 is 16:48. Which is like about 90 minutes later. Anyway I had never been to Matsumoto before not sure how long do we need to explore Matsumoto castle.
So the other alternative is head to Nagano and take Alpico bus? Is there any better route?
Anyway I believe I can take Hakuba shuttle bus from Hakuba JR station if i am able to catch the Oito traing to Hakuba?
For Matsumoto Castle, you may want to spend 1 to 1.5 hours there taking photographs and looking at the displays inside the castle. Nearby the castle are also several picturesque streets with cafes, shops, and museums. I particularly recommend Nakamachi Street and Nawate-dori (sometimes called the frog street). You can see their locations relative to the castle here.
Regarding alternatives, I would not recommend traveling from Matsumoto to Hakuba via Nagano; it would be a very roundabout way to travel there and take more time and money.
As for the shuttle bus in Hakuba, yes, you can take it from Hakuba JR Station.
I hope that answers your question!
If that’s the case if we miss the train to Hakuba then we’ll wait for another train and explore more places in Matsumoto.