From Tokyo - Haneda or Narita are the main international airports and are very convenient for Nozawa Onsen. Haneda slightly more so.
From Osaka - If you’re combining a trip to western Japan, Kansai International is also a good gateway with good Shinkansen connections to Iiyama.
From Fukuoka - another international gateway airport with good train connections to Iiyama.
Other airports - Kanazawa, Matsumoto, and Toyama airports are geographically close to Nozawa Onsen but currently have very few international flights.
Once in Japan, the most popular and convenient way to get to us is by train. Iiyama is the nearest station on both the Shinkansen and normal Japan Rail lines. Japanese trains are comfortable, clean and incredibly on-time.
On the Shinkansen, there are three classes of seats are normal, Green Car or business class seats, and Gran Class or first class. Reservations are recommended but if you don’t have one, unreserved seats can still be found in the normal class cars.
The ticket dispensers at major stations have English-language menus but you’ll need cash and navigating them can be challenging. Leave time to go to the JR Rail ticket counters. Here, English speaking staff are often available and can help with routing. They also take international credit cards.
Remember, there are JR Rail ticket offices at the airports, as well as in the train stations.
From Tokyo or Ueno to Iiyama is about one hour and 40 or 50 minutes. There’s a train once every one or two hours.
We would recommend taking a taxi to Tokyo station (about JPY7,000; you can pay by credit card). Then take the Hakutaka Express train on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line to Iiyama. This train normally passes through Ueno and Nagano.
You can take either the JR Narita Express to Tokyo, or the Keisei Skyliner to Ueno, whichever leaves first (they share the same concourse). Both require reserved seats so buy your ticket before you board. From either Tokyo or Ueno, take the Hakutaka Express on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line to Iiyama.
Navigating Tokyo Station
Tokyo Station is enormous and very busy. There are ample signs but the crowds can be disorientating for some. If you are one of those, here are some pointers.
Use the Yaesu Central Exit as your base point in Tokyo Station. It is at the direct opposite side to the Maranouchi Central Exit and has a taxi drop off right outside.
There is a JR Rail office at the Yaesu Central Exit (on your left as you enter) where you can buy your ticket or exchange the visitor friendly Japan Rail Pass (only available for purchase outside Japan).
From the central walkway leading off the main Yaesu Central Exit, you will find platforms for the Hokuriku Line (via Nagano) both to your left and right. Choose the right platform if you have luggage. There is a ramp and and a short escalator just past the ramp. Entrance gantries to the Hokuriku Line is in front, diagonally to the left.
You will find the platform information for your train on the board just after the entrance gantries. Escalators to all platforms are available. Look behind you if you don’t see the up escalator for your appropriate platform.
From the Yaesu Central Exit as a starting point, you will pass through a first ticket gantry. There is an onigiri shop, Honnori on the left after the gantry.
The Shinkansen platforms for the Hokuriku Line (via Nagano) are on both sides of the pedestrian corridor leading from Yaesu Central Exit. For those with luggage, the platform on the right has a ramp and there are also escalators just behind it.
** EATING SUGGESTION **
Honnori-ya Onigiri at Tokyo Station (near the Yaesu entrance)
Honnori-ya is just pass the Yaesu gantry and well worth a quick stop. If you have half an hour before your train, you have time to pick up a couple of Honnori-ya’s famous onigiri. They are so popular they have queue guides pasted on the station floor in front of the shop.
Onigiri are the Japanese equivalent to sandwiches. The warm rice triangles stuffed with delicious fillings and wrapped in nor (seaweed sheets) at Honnori-ya are freshly made onsite. Our favourites include the unagi (grilled eel, oyster, pickled vegetables and salmon. There are many other fillings to choose from. Each onigiri will set you back approximately ¥150-200 and are easily packed to take away and eat on the train. There are counter seats available too; try the set with miso soup and pickles if you have time to sit down.
Arrival at Iiyama
When you get to Iiyama station, there is a coach transfer to Nozawaonsen. The Nozawa Liner bus can be found to the left of the exit and will drop you off at the central bus stop in the village. It costs JPY600 per person. The village is compact so it should be a short 10-15 minute walk to Residence Yasushi from there.
There is also a local Nagaden (yellow and red) which has no luggage storage compartment but will drop you less than 100m from Residence Yasushi at its last stop in the village.
Take a taxi if you have not used the Takyubin luggage transfer or simply prefer not to walk. There are normally taxis at the station stand but we would recommend booking a taxi. We would be happy to help. Let us know at least a day in advance if you'd like help with bookings but please note that charges may be levied by the taxi companies if you do not take the booked transfers.
Driving in Japan is safe and easy. All rental cars have GPS (ask the rental office staff to set the address for you), and most GPS work in English. Almost all cars have automatic transmission.
A quirk of Japanese car rentals to be aware of is that you must have a valid international driving licence. These are generally easily obtainable in your home country but do need to be acquired before you leave home.
The journey from Tokyo will take from 4-5 hours. You’ll need cash (around JPY10,000) for highway tolls. The highway speed limit is usually 100kph but please look out for exception signs. Please note that there is zero tolerance for driving under the influence.
If you would like to have a car after arriving in Iiyama or Nozawaonsen, there are car rental agencies here. We would be happy to help arrange that for you.
For guests planning on driving to Nozawaonsen, be sure to book a parking space well in advance! The centre of the village comprises tightly packed buildings and narrow streets. The village has very limited parking and there is no parking available at Residence Yasushi. Some parking spots can be booked and we would be delighted to help you check if one is available; however, you are advised to book early as these can get taken up very quickly.
There are minibus services that will greet you at the airport, and drive you to Nozawa Onsen. Depending on demand, you may or may not be sharing them with other guests.
Advance booking is necessary, especially in peak season. We would be happy to help with that. Capacity is limited and we would recommend that you let us know once your reservation is confirmed. The journey from either of the Tokyo airports will take at least 5 hours and often longer as the drivers must make a certain number of mandatory rest stops.
From any hotel or the airports in Japan, you may send your luggage by “takkyubin” (express courier) from the airport direct to your accommodation. These will normally 24 hours later so all you will need to carry with you is an overnight bag. It saves lugging suitcases and ski/board bags around and if you are taking the train, saves a lot of grief as luggage compartment space is scarce.
At the airports, simply ask at the Information Counter for directions to the Takkyubin Service, or look for the ANA Baggage Delivery Services counter. You will need the address of the hotel ready at hand.
〒389-2502 長野県下高井郡 野沢温泉村豊郷 8853-1
At your hotel, as your reception or concierge to book the service for you.
We can send your luggage by Takkyubin to your next stop after Residence Yasushi - hotel, private address or airport.
The village is compact and it is only a short 10-15 minute walk to Residence Yasushi from the station. The village and amenities are only 5-10 minutes walk from us.
Meet and Greet
We can arrange for an English speaking host to meet you on arrival, help arrange for luggage transfers and guide you to your train. For those unfamiliar with Japan, you can then easily avail yourself of all the existing travel conveniences like luggage transfers and reserved train seats without worrying about the language gap.