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Part of the Furniture
Ski Pass
Sep 29, 2010
An option when heading to Hakuba is to catch the Azusa Express from Shinjuku, as has been mentioned before. The seats are comfy, pretty much the same as the Shinkansen.
Only one train per day makes the trip directly to Hakuba Station, while others terminate at Matsumoto, and you end up on the local train for about two hours. Once a day, it leaves Shinjuku at 7.30am, and stops on its way back at Hakuba Station at 2.37pm.

However, I've just discovered that on Sundays, it departs at 8.00am!!! This may be a game changer, since the extra 30min makes it realistic to catch it after an early morning flight arrival. It gets to Hakuba at 11.41am.
This. It's my favorite mode of transport to get to Hakuba. Plus the final section is very scenic.
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