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Getting to Aya Lodge, Madarao Mountain Resort
From Narita Airport, Tokyo
Japan’s largest international airport is located in Narita, an hour outside of Tokyo. The Narita Express train is the easiest way to reach the capital city of Tokyo from the airport. The train trip to Tokyo Station takes approximately 1 hour. Japanese trains usually always run to a schedule so make sure you are on-time. They also run frequently so no need to pre-book. You'll arrange a ticket over the counter downstairs once you clear immigration and customs ( just follow the train signs ).
From Narita Airport to Ueno then Nagano or IIyama
I often get asked what is the easiest transfer via train to Aya Lodge Madarao. This is my preferred route. Take the Skyliner Train to Ueno Station then transfer to the Shinkansen tracks and catch the train to IIyama.
If you arrive in Narita Airport around 5 pm or later YOU REALLY NEED TO HUSTLE or you won't make it to IIyama in time to catch a Taxi to Aya Lodge. Let's look at a potential timeline (assuming you make all your connections ).
5 pm - Plane Arrives in Tokyo, no delays.
6 pm - Clear immigration and collect bags
by 6.30 pm - buy Skyliner ticket
6.09 or 6.37 pm departure time to Ueno
6.52 or 7.19 pm arrival time in Ueno
by 7.30 pm transfer to Shinkansen tracks and buy tickets
7.10 or 7.30 pm depart Ueno to IIyama
9.03 pm arrival in IIyama from either departure time
* If you miss the 7.30 pm Shinkansen the next train is 8.18 pm and arrives in IIyama at 10.05 pm. At this time there may not be any Taxi's at the station *.
As you can see from the above you really need to hustle. If you cleared customs with bags by 6 pm you could possibly make the 6.09 pm Skyliner. If you made that train you'd arrive at 6.52 pm and have 18 minutes to get the 7.10 pm Shinkansen. If not your on the 7.30 pm train.
If you don't arrive in Ueno until 7.19 pm you only have 11 minutes to transfer to the Shinkansen tracks and get your tickets etc. If you're a first time traveller or transferring with kids this may be impossible.
From Haneda Airport, Tokyo
If you arrive at Haneda International Airport, you’ll first need to take the monorail to Hamamatsucho station ( buy your ticket for the monorail and train from the service counter or ticket machine ). From Hamamatsucho Station, change onto the JR Yamanote Line (coloured green on the JR rail map) heading to Tokyo Station which is only three stops away.
From Tokyo Station to Iiyama via Shinkansen
From Tokyo Station, board the Hakutaka Shinkansen (bullet train) to Iiyama Station (one stop after Nagano Station). This is a limited stops service and you can arrange reserved seats or un-reserved seating over the counter at a JR Rail Shinkansen ticket office. Other trains on this line will not let you off at Iiyama so make sure you confirm Iiyama (pronounced "ee-ama". Make sure to gaze out to your left as you whiz past Mt Fuji which is visible on this trip.
The Hakutaka bullet train operates daily between Tokyo and Kanazawa, as part of the JR-East Railway System. It departs from platforms 20-23 on the Shinkansen Tracks. The journey to Iiyama takes less than two hours. The early bird train leaves from Tokyo Station at 6:28 am. Otherwise, trains run frequently (but irregularly) throughout the day - there is rarely more than an hour’s wait between rides. The last train departs at 8:12 pm, pulling into Iiyama Station at 10:06 pm.
HyperDia - the best Search for English Shinkansen Timetable
We have found it is somewhat difficult to pre-book and pay for Shinkansen tickets so our best advice is to get to the station early and enquire at a JR Ticket Office. Use this website for indicative trip planning only ( otherwise you may get 'Lost in Translation' ).
From Iiyama Station to Aya Lodge Madarao
The town of Iiyama is only 11 km from Madarao Mountain Ski Resort and Aya Lodge. Direct buses are available from right out the front of the station at the No.1 location (check to make sure the departure area hasn't changed), leaving between 8:45 am and 9:20 pm. Passengers disembark at the Madarao Kogen Hotel (village centre). The timetable may be subject to change.
The easiest way from IIyama Station to Aya Lodge is via TAXI, directly out the front of the station. A Maxi taxi will cost approx. 4,000 yen and drop you directly at the front door of Aya Lodge. We recommend this to all of our guests in the event that a shuttle pickup by the lodge car is not possible at your arrival time.
Transport to and from the slopes from Tokyo or other major cities isn’t really a huge expense. Aya Lodge Madarao is just 250 km from Tokyo. A one-way ticket from Tokyo to Iiyama on the Hakutaka shinkansen costs roughly ¥8,500 (AUD $95). A JR East Pass (Nagano, Niigata area) can be purchased for ¥17,000 online, allowing unlimited travel between Tokyo and Nagano for any 5 days within 14 days.
Click on the Images below to download the Train and Bus Timetable for getting to and from Madarao Mountain Resort and Aya Lodge Madarao.
Bus or Private Car
If you can stomach a long bus ride, Nagano Snow Shuttle offers a direct route from Tokyo to Madarao, arriving at Madarao Kogen Hotel. The shuttle operates out of both Narita and Haneda airports. The journey takes between 5 to 6 hours and stops at various Nagano-based ski resorts before reaching Madarao. This service costs ¥12,000 for adults and ¥11,000 for children so it's not much difference in price than the Shinkansen which is a much faster alternative.
A private car is also an alternative.
There are two options from Tokyo to get to Madarao by car. Take the Chuo Expressway to the Osaka J.C.T and head towards and past Nagano on the Nagano Expressway. Exit at the Toyota-Iiyama Interchange and follow Route 117 to Madarao Kogen. 4hr travel time.
Take the Chuo Expressway to the Okaya JCT and head towards and past Nagano on the Nagano Expressway. Exit at the Toyota-Iiyama Interchange and follow Route 117 to Madarao Kogen. 4hr travel time.
From Osaka or Kyoto
Take the Meishin Expressway to the Komki J.C.T, head up Chuo Expressway to the Okaya J.C.T and head towards and past Nagano on the Nagano Expressway. Exit at the Toyota-Iiyama Interchange and follow Route 117 to Madarao Kogen. 5hr travel time.
Transport to Local Resorts
IIyama to Nozawa Onsen
Nozawa Onsen (Chuou Terminal)
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