For those wishing to travel around the Azumino countryside, there are several options available to visitors. Local trains running along the Oito Line connect the Azumino area to Matsumoto, a major city that acts as a central hub for most travel in and around Nagano prefecture. Train stations throughout Azumino are typically no longer than 30 minutes away from Matsumoto City and are easy and affordable to use.
Although many of the attractions in Azumino are within easy walking distance of its train stations, it is recommended that visitors rent bicycles or hire taxis in order to reach some the area’s further-to-reach destinations such as the Azumino National Park, the Daiõ Wasabi Farm and some of the museums running along the Azumino Art Line. For transportation to Nakabuse Onsen, visitors may wish to take the Nakabusa Line bus, a service that runs from Hotaka Station throughout the day during the summer and autumn months. Also, a limited season bus tour of the Azumino area operates during Golden Week (typically from late April to early May) and from July to August. Details of all these respective services may be found below.
Bicycle & Car Rental
Two bicycle rental shops are located just outside Hotaka Station, both of which offer car-hire services as well*. The following shops are recommended and provide friendly services at very reasonable prices:
Shinanoan (0263) 82 3730
Hitsujiya (0263) 82 3888
*Please Note: Please be sure to be in possession of a valid international driving license when driving in Japan. Drivers should also note that vehicles drive on the left-hand side of the road in Japan. Cars may be hired from Mazda in Matsumoto City. It is recommended that visitors reserve cars one day in advance of their traveling needs as it can take up to 2 hours for cars to be hired having not booked in advance.
Three taxi companies operate in the Azumino area and run services from Azusabashi, Hitoichiba, Toyoshina, Hakuyacho, Hotaka, and Ariake stations (spanning the local Oito Line), from early morning till late evening.Azumi Kanko Taxis (0263) 82-3113
Nanan Taxis (0263) 72-2855
Vitall Taxis (0263) 72-6688
Hotaka Station - Nakabuse Onsen Bus
The Nakabuse Bus service runs from late April to the end of November, and takes visitors up to Nakabuse Onsen, a retreat high up in the Azumino mountainside that acts as the beginning of the trail leading up to the summit of Mount Tsubakuro. The journey is about an hour each way, with stops at Shakunage-So and Ariake-So, two ryokans (traditional Japanese-style inns) that welcome those visiting the area. Nakabusa Onsen can also be accessed by taxi (please see above for further details), although visitors are advised that this option is more expensive.
Price: ¥1700 one-way
See here (Japanese page, sorry!) for schedule and more information.
Azumino - Hotaka Seasonal Excursion Bus
Operates only in the “Golden Week” holidays, (end of April to the first week of May), May, summer vacation season (July 20 - Sep 6), Sep 21-27, and weekends/natinal holidays during May - July 3.
Contact: (0263) 82 3113