Matsumoto/Chino Hikes




Total Spend
  • JPY38,690 over four days. 

Itinerary

Day 1. Utsukushigahara
Budget: 
JPY8,410
  • JPY2,410. One day allocated, Seishun 18 ticket.  
  • JPY2,000. Bus, Matsumoto Station < >  Nature Center
  • JPY4,000. Hostel. 
Itinerary
  • 06:20am. Train, Tokyo to Matsumoto Station. 
  • 12:14pm. ETA: Matsumoto Station. Try to buy the pass for Norikura. 
  • 01:15pm. Bus, Matsumoto Station to Nature Center.
  • 02:30pm. Start hike.
  • 02:50pm. ETA: Summit.
  • 04:30pm. Bus, Nature Center to Matsumoto. 
  • 05:45pm. Matsumoto Station. 
Day 2. Norikura Hike
Budget
  • JPY3,400. Matsumoto Station < > Norikura Kogen Tourist Info Center
  • JPY3,000. Norikura Kogen < > Tatamidaira
  • JPY4,000. Hostel near Suwa Lake. 
Itinerary
  • 07:15am. Train, Matsumoto Station. 
  • 07:49am. ETA: Shinshimashima Station.
  • 08:05am. Bus, Shinshimashima Station to Norikura Kogen Tourist Information Center
  • 09:08am. ETA: Norikura Kogen Tourist Information Center. 
  • 10:00am. Bus, Norikura Kogen Tourist Information Center to Tatamidaira
  • 10:50am. ETA: Tatamidaira
  • 11:00am. Start hike.
  • 12:35pm. ETA: Summit. 
  • 02:20pm. ETA: Tatamidaira. Bus schedules at 1:05pm and 3:05pm.  
  • 03:05pm. Bus, Tatamidaira to Norikura Kogen Tourist Information Center
  • 03:55pm. ETA: Norikura Kogen Tourist Information Center
  • 04:13pm. Bus, Norikura Kogen Tourist Information Center to Shinshimashima Station.
  • 05:22pm. Train, Shinshimashima Station to Matsumoto Station
  • 05:52pm. ETA: Matsumoto Station.
Day 3. Mt. Tateshina Hike
Budget: 
JPY12,700
  • JPY770. Train, Matsumoto to Chino Station. 
  • JPY1,300. Bus, Chino Station to Yatsugatake ropeway. 
  • JPY1,200. Cable car up.  
  • JPY10,000. Overnight stay at Tateshina Hut. 
Itinerary
  • 06:17am. Train, Matsumoto Station to Chino Station. 
  • 07:12am. ETA: Chino Station. 
  • 07:20am. Bus, Chino Station to Yatsugatake Ropeway. (JPY1,300)
  • 08:35am. ETA: Yatsugatake Ropeway. Take cable car up (JPY1,200 one way). 
  • 09:00am. Start hike. 
  • 10:25am. ETA: Summit, 北横岳
  • 11:25am. ETA: 大岳
  • 01:40pm. ETA: 双子山
  • 01:55pm. ETA: 大河原峠
  • 03:15pm. ETA: Tateshina Hut. Stay for the night. 
Day 4. Mt Kirigamine Hike
Budget
  • JPY510. Bus, Tateshina -tozanguchi to Kurumayama-kogen. 
  • JPY1,600. Bus, Kurumayama-kogen to Chino Station.  
  • JPY2,410. One day allocated, Seishun 18 ticket.  
Itinerary
  • 06:00am. Start hiking down. 
  • 08:37am. ETA: Tateshina-tozenguchi. 
  • 08:53am. Bus, Tateshina-tozanguchi to Kurumayama-kogen (JPY510)
  • 09:24am. ETA: Kurumayama-kogen. 
  • 09:30am. Start hike.
  • 10:34am. ETA: Kurumayama-summit.  
  • 11:04am. ETA: Kurumayama-kata. Next buses are at 11:40am and 04:05pm. There's a bus that comes at Kurumayama-kogen at 3:00pm, so that's an alternative. 
  • 11:40am. Bus, Kuramayama-kata to Chino Station (JPY1,600)
  • 12:50pm. ETA: Chino Station. 
  • Train, Chino Station to Kami  Suwa Station.

Actual Itinerary

Day 1. Utsukushigahara
Budget: 
JPY8,410
  • JPY2,410. One day allocated, Seishun 18 ticket.  
  • JPY2,000. Bus, Matsumoto Station < >  Nature Center
  • JPY4,000. Hostel
  • JPY1,250. Lunch
  • JPY430. Ice cream at the summit
  • JPY570. Ice cream and fries at McDonalds
  • JPY150. Milk tea from 7 11
Itinerary
  • 06:20am. Train, Tokyo to Matsumoto Station. I was using the Seishun18 ticket, and boy there where plenty of tight transfers. 
  • 12:14pm. Arrived at Matsumoto Station, went straight for lunch. Went back to Matsumoto Station, exited via  West Exit (アルプス口(西口)). Down the stairs, turned left to the only bus stop. Waited for the bus. 
  • 01:15pm. Not a bus, a shuttle. Shuttle, Matsumoto Station to Nature Center. Paid upon boarding, JPY1,000, cash only. 
  • 02:31pm. Arrived at the Nature Center. Started hike following the main road. Seven minutes later there was a fork, left road goes up, right continues the rough road. I turned left. 
  • 02:58pm. Arrived at the hotel, which sells ice cream in that heat. So I went in, bought ice cream. The trail to summit is to the right of the hotel/cafe entrance (while facing the hotel). 
  • 03:09pm. Arrived at the summit, flew my drone, continued on to Ougahana (王ヶ鼻).
  • 03:40pm. Arrived at  Ougahana (王ヶ鼻). Flew my drone again. Retraced my steps back, and turned left at the second fork. 
  • 04:20pm. Arrived back at the nature center. 
  • 04:30pm. Bus, Nature Center to Matsumoto. 
  • 05:50pm. Arrived at Matsumoto Station, looked for where to buy my Norikura tickets, had dinner, and had to find my hostel.  
Day 2. Norikura Hike
Budget
  • JPY3,400. Matsumoto Station < > Norikura Kogen Tourist Info Center
  • JPY3,000. Norikura Kogen < > Tatamidaira
  • JPY4,000. Hostel near Matsumoto Station. 
  • JPY700. Breakfast at McDonalds
Itinerary
  • 07:15am. Train, Matsumoto Station. Platform 7. Bought my roundtrip tickets from Matsumoto Station to Norikura Kogen Tourist Center (discounted) at the ticket machines 9 and 10. IC Cards are not accepted in the train, so even if you don't want a roundtrip ticket you'd still have to buy from here.
  • 07:49am. Shinshimashima Station. The bus to Norikura Kogen Tourist Center is waiting just outside. There are people guiding everyone upon exiting the station. When boarding, I was asked if I'm going to Tatamidaira after. I said yes, then we boarded. 
  • 08:05am. Bus, Shinshimashima Station to Norikura Kogen Tourist Information Center. I sat on the left side (opposite the driver side), and overall I think that's the better side to enjoy the view. A lot of people went down in the middle to transfer to Kamikochi. 
  • 09:08am. Arrived at Norikura Kogen Tourist Information Center. Crossed the street straight to the counter (left side/higher side when crossing). There is a manned counter and a ticket machine. Both only accept cash. There were a couple in front of me who didn't have cash, and the guy simply said nope, no other options (I talked to them and had them wire me money in exchange for cash so everybody was happy, don't worry). So I got my ticket, went to the restroom, and fell in line. The bus stop is right across the counter to buy tickets. There was a long line when I went, and they had an extra bus to accommodate everyone.
  • 09:30am. Bus, Norikura Kogen Tourist Information Center to Tatamidaira. This was not on the schedule online (online says the next bus was 10am), but I'm not complaining. Earlier the better.
  • 10:26am. Arrived at Tatamidaira. There are restrooms inside the restaurants (paid) and in the middle of the parking lot (free, but a tad smelly). Started the hike. There is a shrine in there. Go to the building in front of it (not to its left side), and the trailhead is down the stairs to the far left. Walked past that, and just followed the signs (plenty of signs all over). I took a segue to one of the summits with the round top. No markers or anything, so not really something I'd recommend. 
  • 11:45am. Arrived at the mountain huts, continued hiking. From here on was a very steep ascent with loose rocks. As this is the only trail, plenty of people going up and down, so it was very crowded. 
  • 12:25pm. Arrived at the summit! Oh, wait, no. The summit was behind this fake summit. The real summit has a shrine and a torii. I continued on. 
  • 12:34pm. Almost there! But the hike ground to a stop, and I had to wait in line and slowly go up. I ate my snacks, made some calls, flew my drone....
  • 01:16pm. Arrived at the summit marker! Apparently this is what the line is for. I thought the summit was just too crowded. At this point the rain has started, and visibility was soon almost zero. I descended as quickly as I can, and skipped the other summit I wanted to do (no point, zero visibility). 
  • 02:34pm. Arrived back at the trailhead, where people are falling in line. I followed their lead and fell in line (big mistake, should have just entered the restaurants and waited til the bus came). 
  • 03:05pm. Bus, Tatamidaira to Norikura Kogen Tourist Information Center. They prioritized people going to Shinshimashima Station, so pay attention if someone goes asking about it. 
  • 03:55pm. Arrived at Norikura Kogen Tourist Information Center. 
  • 04:13pm. Bus, Norikura Kogen Tourist Information Center to Shinshimashima Station. The bus stop was across the bus stop I got off at earlier. 
  • 05:22pm. Train, Shinshimashima Station to Matsumoto Station. There was a long line here too. Sigh. 
  • 05:52pm. Arrived at Matsumoto Station, where it was pouring full on. Had dinner, and tried to withdraw some cash (as I gave away my cash earlier). All ATMs rejected my card, so I had to call Tateshina Hut to ask if they accept credit card/Pay pay. They said no. So I had to cancel my reservation, and shift my plans. What changed was I now booked a hotel near Suwa Lake, and was just doing two day hikes. 
Day 3. Mt Kirigamine Hike
Budget
  • JPY770. Train, Matsumoto Station to Chino Station. 
  • JPY4,000. Two day bus pass. 
  • JPY6,500. Hotel near Lake Suwa. 
  • JPY900. Lunch near Suwa Lake. 
  • JPY500. Snacks
Itinerary
  • Train, Matsumoto Station to Chino Station. 
  • 07:33am ish. Arrived at Chino Station. Followed the signs for West Exit (西口). The counter to buy tickets were closed due to shortened hours for covid. But there's a girl that came at 7:50am, and she sells the bus passes directly. I bought the two day pass from her. 
  • 07:55am. Bus, Chino Station to Kuramayama-kogen. 
  • 08:55am. Arrived at Kurumayama-kogen. I walked across the Skypark with the chair lifts. The trailhead is on the far end. It was a very gentle ascent (if it was even and ascent?), until I got to the first chair lift, at which point it got a little bit steeper, but still not steep. 
  • 10:24am. Arrived at Kurumayama-summit, which has a big white ball, a shrine, and a deck. The summit marker is behind that white ball. I took plenty of pictures then continued on. 
  • 11:25am. Arrived at Kurumayama-kata. 
  • 11:40am. Bus, Kuramayama-kata to Chino Station.
  • 12:50pm. Arrived at Chino Station. 
  • 01:05pm. Train, Chino Station to Kami-Suwa Station. I found a place to eat lunch in, walked around the lake a bit, then went to my hotel. 
Day 4. Mt. Tateshina Hike
Budget:

  • JPY200. Train, Kami Suwa Station to Chino Station. 
  • JPY2,410. One day allocated, Seishun 18 ticket.  
  • JPY1,500. Dinner, Yatsugatake burger. 
Itinerary
  • 07:05am. Train, Kami Suwa Station to Chino Station. 
  • 07:13am. Arrived at Chino Station. Exit via West Exit (西口), look for bus stop 2. 
  • 07:20am. Bus, Chino Station to Tateshina Tozanguchi. The bus basically goes all over the place visiting al hotels etc. Ugh.  
  • 08:53am. Arrived at Tateshina-tozanguchi. The trailhead is right across the bus stop. Started hike. The hike started deceptively easy, but then the steep ascent started, and never really ended except for a break here and there. I was climbing with my hands, and I can only imagine how slippery the rocks could be in rainy weather. The last leg of the hike was pretty sketchy. I would not bring a beginner here, at least using this trail. 
  • 11:08am. Arrived at the summit. With a 12pm cut off, I had plenty of time, so I flew my drone for a bit, and resumed my hike down the mountain huts. The descent was as steep as the ascent - so my arms had plenty of exercise. The steep rocky section ended at Tateshina Hut though. After that, it was mainly gravel-y descent.
  • 12:50pm. Arrived at the fork - to the left was Okawara, to the right was Ryugenbashi. I turned right. From here on it was a mainly flat, though bushy, path. Took the time to fly my drone again. 
  • 02:05pm. Arrived at Ryugenbashi (竜源橋). Sat down at the nice rock beside the bus stop, and waited for the bus. 
  • 02:53pm. Bus, Ryugenbashi to Chino Station. But the bus drive told me that it will be faster if I transfer at Ishisudai-bessochi (石臼台別荘地), so he dropped me off there at 02:59pm, and the bus from came at 3:01pm. 
  • 03:55pmish. Arrived at Chino Station, and looked for a place for dinner. 
  • 04:45pm. Train, Chino Station to Tokyo.

Picture Log

Utsukushigahara

Lunch near Chino Station. Apparently that fried chicken is a Matsumoto delicacy. It was... meh. 

Walking towards the West Exit. 

The bus stop. 

Inside the shuttle. 

Driving towards the trailhead. 

Bus drop off. 

Walked towards the rough road. 

At this point there's a fork - took the left path going up. 

First part of the ascent. It remained fairly not-steep. 

Summit! Oh, no, not yet. The's a nice hotel up here though, and there is a shuttle going to the hotel. 

The summit is to the right. 

But some ice cream first. 

Here's the summit marker, about 30 meters from the hotel? 

Ougahana marker. 

With gorgeous views. 

Views on my way back. 

Almost back at the trailhead. 

The bus stop returning to Matsumoto Station is to the left of the center - do you see the shuttle?

Mt. Norikura Hike

Buying the round trip tickets to Norikura Tourist Center. 

There's an English option, and I chose this ticket. 

Got the tickets! They are valid for seven days. 

Arrived at Shinshimashima Station (yes, it's a mountful)

The bus to the tourist center. 

Enjoying the view at the bus. 

The tourist center. The counter is at the right. 

Got the tickets. The bus going to Tatamidaira is right in front of the counter. 

Arrived at Tatamidaira!

The trail is down these stairs. 

Yey!

Some nice views. 

The summit I went to. There's nothing here. 

But it has some views of the Norikura summit. 

Going back down. 

Going up to the summit. The steep section starts here. 

Rocky... and crowded. 

Summit! Oh, wait, no. 

That's the summit!

Almost there!

aaaand I was stuck in the line. 

So I flew my drone!

The summit marker and the torii. 

Going back down. 

A fork to another summit. With zero visibility, I decided to skip it and just backtrail to the bus stop. 

The looooong line for the bus. 

Enjoying the view in my bus ride. 

Another looooooong line to the train. Sigh. 

Mt. Kirigamine Hike

At Chino Station, I followed the signs for the bus at the West Exit. 


And dropped by bag to "fall in line" at bus stop 3. 

Bought the two day pass. 

Bus going to Kuramayama-kogen. 

Kurayamayama-kogen. The trailhead is on the far end here. 

Starting my hike!

It was fairly flat. 

Slowly getting steeper. But still mainly flat. Looking back at the gorgeous view. 

Ok, a lot steeper, but still not steep. This was the last push up the summit. 

Summit marker!

Another summit marker!

Going down. 

Oh, a flower field!

Beautiful, isn't it? 

At Kurayama-kata. I walked a little bit further in so I can take a picture of the summit (the white ball) with the facilities at the trailhead. 

At the bus stop. You can still see the summit (white ball)

Had lunch near Lake Suwa. 

Lake Suwa. 

Still Lake Suwa. That's a big lake. 

The onsen in my hotel. It was too hot though (plus it's summer)

Mt. Tateshina Hike

Back at Chino Station! This time bus stop 2!

Inside the bus. 

Passing through the ropeway. 

Some parking lots along the way. 

Bus stop! The trailhead is right across the road. 

Here it is. 

Deceptively flat. 

The ascent is starting. 

This is the first taste of the rocky ascent. This is about to get a LOT steeper. 

Plenty of signs all over the place. 

Some of the trail was really mossy. 

The final push. 

Ok, this was the final push. But this was very sketchy, and I am reminded that I am afraid of heights. T.T

Looking down. 

There's the summit! Once you see the people, just go up!

Summit marker. 

The hut about 30 meters away from the summit marker. 

Continuing on my hike. 

Beautiful view down. 

That was a steep descent. Had to use my hands a lot. 

Yup, still steep. 

Tateshina hut. 

Toilets are JPY200! That's steep!

From here on the path is not as steep. 

Some gravelly section. 

Some bushy section. 

At two sections, the path opens up and you can see Mt. Tateshina!

Mossy section. 

Oh, done! That's the road right there. I turned left. 

And arrived at the bus stop. 

Back at Chino Station, I had Yatsugatake burger! 


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