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Travel from HAKUBA to NRT for same day flight

Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
44 posts
1 review
2 helpful votes
Travel from HAKUBA to NRT for same day flight

Hi - we are trying to find out if it is feasible to have same day travel from HAKUBA to Narita airport for the afternoon flght on the same day. Our alternative is to leave a day earlier (23) and stay in Tokyo for one night. Looking on Google map we should be able to work out as:

1) 8:20am Aplico bus from HAKUBA to Nagano

2) 9:58 Shinkansen from Nagano to Tokyo station

3) tokyo station to NRT arriving before 1pm.

I check with my hotel front desk but they are not sure about the feasibility of this route. (In Niseko this is a common way to travel by bus then flight on same day).

So a few questions :

1) are the bus punctual? Or the route may take longer than 1.5 hours;

2) seems like the morning bus cannot be reserved in advance. Is that right?

3) Would the 8am bus be easily full so we should arrive bus station? As I thought may not many people take it if it’s not common route to fly out from tokyo on same day.

4) should we reserve Shinkansen in advance or only when we arrive the station? We are not sure at this timing if the train is popular so advance booking is needed. I saw a post saying that usually there were over 200 non-reserved seats available.

If anyone has done similar route please advise. Thanks a lot!

4 replies to this topic
Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hokkaido, Nagano
Level Contributor
16,299 posts
188 reviews
99 helpful votes
1. Re: Travel from HAKUBA to NRT for same day flight

Have been skiing almost annually in Hakuba and elsewhere in Japan since 2008. In general, the Alpico express bus and Shinkansen are punctual - buses might be 10-15 min late due to snowy road conditions beyond the control of drivers.

However, if you have a pm flight before say 5pm. Better travel back to Tokyo the night before. Nobody can predict if accidents might occur on the roads/trains/earthquake etc on your travel date.

re this local weather warning issed at 16:01 JST - roads might be subject to heavy snowfall in Kanto/Nagano area from today till 23rd.

https://tenki.jp/forecaster/yosh_ika/2023/12/21/26658.html

Also, it might be prudent to arrive at NRT 3 hours prior to departure to allow enough time to go thru' security, unless you have access to fast-track security if travelling on business/first class.

Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
44 posts
1 review
2 helpful votes
2. Re: Travel from HAKUBA to NRT for same day flight

Hi - our flight is 4:55pm so it is just before 5pm threshold and make work as well:) just a follow up question on the train. Given there’s uncertainty of the arrival time to Nagano, may be we should buy the ticket upon arrival? Would the train ticket be sold out for mid-day train given it’s around Christmas time? Thanks!

Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hokkaido, Nagano
Level Contributor
16,299 posts
188 reviews
99 helpful votes
3. Re: Travel from HAKUBA to NRT for same day flight

I always buy the next Shinkansen train ticket upon arriving at the Nagano train station. Allow 5+ min to walk from the bus station to the train station, esp if you have large luggage requiring the use of a slow lift at the east exit.

There should be enough vacant seats at Nagano station returning back to Tokyo. On Sat am there might be more travelling in the opposite direction. Note that all seats on Kagayaki are reserved. Normal car seats are from Train #1 to #10, ie. nearly 1,000 seats per Shinkansen train, excluding Green and Gran-classes.

https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2018_nagano.html

Christmas is not celebrated in Japan - no public holidays for such but illuminations in large cities. EOY travel crowds commence from around 29th Dec.

Edited: 21 December 2023, 16:52
Tokyo, Japan
Level Contributor
20,547 posts
50 reviews
14 helpful votes
4. Re: Travel from HAKUBA to NRT for same day flight

Snow storms can suspend bus and train operations. 

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