Bus companies JR, Meitetsu, Nōhi and Alpico operate seasonal services from Nagoya, Takayama and Matsumoto to numerous destinations in Chūbu's mountainous middle.

Car & Motorcycle

While motorcycle rentals are not common, renting a car is well suited for trips to the Noto Peninsula, the Japan Alps and for those wanting to get up high and off the beaten track. Be prepared for slow, steep and winding roads that can be treacherous at times and are not for the faint-hearted; plan your explorations carefully.


Rail access to this mountainous region is surprisingly good.

The north–south JR Takayama and Chūō lines have hubs in Takayama, Matsumoto and Nagano.

The JR Hokuriku line follows the Sea of Japan coast, linking Fukui, Kanazawa and Toyama, with connections to Kyoto and Osaka.

The Hokuriku and Jōetsu shinkansen lines open up the nation's alpine interior with quick and easy access to the peaks, from Tokyo, Kanazawa and Niigata.