Iiyama markets itself as "Japan's Hometown". It is also known as 小京都 (Sho-Kyoto, little Kyoto) for its many traditional temples.
The closest airport serving Iiyama City is Matsumoto Airport (sometimes known as Shinshu-Matsumoto Airport), located just southwest of Matsumoto City.
From Matsumoto, you can easily take a JR train to Nagano City, or take a kousoku(highway) bus to just outside the Nagano Station. From the Nagano City station, Iiyama City is easily accessible via the JR飯山線 (Iiyama line), or you can take the Shinkansen (bullet train) toward Kanazawa.
If you fly in via Narita, you can get on the Keisei Skyliner from Narita to Tokyo, and change there to take the Hokuriku Shinkansen directly to Iiyama.
Service to Iiyama improved dramatically with the extension of the Hokuriku Shinkansen, and now one-seat rides are available from as far as Tokyo, Toyama and Kanazawa. Hakutaka trains generally stop every 1-2 hours in either direction. From Tokyo the journey is 1 hour 45 minutes and costs ¥8630, while from Kanazawa it takes 75 minutes and costs ¥7110. These journeys are valid with the Japan Rail Pass, and trips from Tokyo are also valid with the JR East Rail Pass.
Iiyama is also served by the JR Iiyama line, which is also covered by the Rail Pass. The Hachisu, Iiyama, and Kita-Iiyama stops are all within Iiyama city limits, although the Iiyama stop is closest to most tourist attractions.
Local trips on the JR Iiyama Line operate every 1-2 hours. From Nagano, Iiyama can be reached cheaply by taking the Shinano Railway and connecting in Toyono. Some Iiyama line trains start in Nagano, offering a one seat ride. Local trips from Nagano without connections take around 50 minutes and cost ¥570. Rail Pass users will have to pay ¥250 to travel from Nagano to Toyono.
The Nanohana (菜の花) bus runs year round, making stops at tourist destinations around the city. The bus makes continuous loops of the city, beginning the first of its six daily tours at 8:35, and ending at 3:25.
Most sites in Iiyama are easily accessible by car, and parking is generally easily available. Particularly in northern Iiyama, the roads become fairly narrow, so only those with experience driving in Japan should attempt to navigate them.
Some of Iiyama's best restaurants are tiny, tucked into side streets off the beaten path. Walking around the southern end of the city, you will encounter dozens of delicious restaurants, which sell everything from pastries to afternoon tea and snacks. Several restaurants near the station boast particularly delicious fare.
- In winter, go skiing to one of the many ski resorts that the region has to offer. From Iiyama Station, catch a bus to Nozawa Onsen, Togari Onsen, Madarao, ...
|Routes through Iiyama|
|Toyama ← Jōetsu Myōkō ←||W E||→ Nagano → Tokyo|
|Joetsu ← Myoko ←||N S||→ Obuse → Nagano|