Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass. Perfect deal to get Takayama, Kanazawa, Toyama, Shirakawago from Nagoya or Osaka

Tanabata festival decoration in Takayama ©Y.Shimizu/©JNTO
Tanabata festival decoration in Takayama ©Y.Shimizu/©JNTO

Takayama – Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass was released in 2014 and it has been one of the most popular deals so far. But it is supposed to be discontinued at the end of June 2015 because this deal is Shinkansen 50th years anniversary product. I have received many comments that said this deal would be continued to sell or not after July 1, 2015.

Now JR Central and JR West have made a decision to continue this product. I think they noticed this is very popular and lots of demand. The price is higher but coverage is bigger. In my opinion, it is good change even though price is higher.

In this post, I would like to share the information about this deal, Takayama – Hokuriku Area Pass with you. I will tell you the difference from Takayama – Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass (available until end of June) and compare the price of pass and single fare too.

*The information in this article is current at the time of writing.

This deal will be on sale after July 1, 2015. If you travel before Jun 26, please use the following deal.
Takayama – Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass

Who is eligible

Visitors who land as “Temporary Visitor” status can purchase this pass.

Types and prices

There is only 5 days pass.

TYPES Adult Child (6-11yrs)
5 Days 14,000 yen 7,000 yen

*5 year old or younger child is free. Maximum 2 children per one adult.

The pass must be used in consecutive days. The validity of a rail pass starts from 12 O’clock at night.

ex) If you start to use 5 days pass on May 1, the pass is expired at 23:59 on May 5.

So the price is 3,000 yen higher than Takayama – Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass. But the coverage area is bigger and I will tell you later about coverage.

Sales location

You CANNOT purchase this pass in Japan. You have to purchase an exchange order before you leave your country. I believe sales location is same as current pass Takayama – Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass:

Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass official site

This pass will be sold after July 1, 2015. But of course, you can purchase it in advance because this pass cannot be purchased in Japan. Since the official announcement has just placed, only PDF information is available at official site.

JR Central Tourist Pass official site

I think the detailed online information will come up soon at the site above.

Coverage area and valid transportation

Kentrokuen garden is one of three best Japanese Gardens.  ©JTA/ ©JNTO
Kentrokuen garden is one of three best Japanese Gardens. ©JTA/ ©JNTO
Coverage map of Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass (Click to enlarge)
Coverage map of Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass (Click to enlarge)

The pass covers Osaka, Kyoto, Kanazawa, Shirakawago, Takayama, Gero, Gifu and Nagoya as same as old version. And this pass also covers JR trains in Osaka city area, Kansai airport, JR Takayama line between Takayama and Toyama, Hokuriku Shinkansen between Toyama and Kanazawa, and Kaetsuno bus between Shirakawago and Shin-Takaoka. Now you can access to Toyama, Gokayama / Ainokura area, and Kansai airport. This additional coverage is a big difference for some travellers. Especially you can start to use this pass right after arrival in Kansai airport. This makes your trip be much easier.

I just want to list up of trains and bus services that are covered by this pass:

JR train (limited express Haruka) between Osaka and Kansai airport
JR train within Osaka city limit
JR train (limited express Thunderbird) between Osaka/Kyoto and Kanazawa
Hokuriku Shinkansen between Toyama and Kanazawa via Shin-Takaoka
JR train between Nagoya and Toyama via Takayama
Nohi bus between Takayama and Kanazawa via Shirakawago
Kaetsuno bus between Shirakawago and Shin-Takaoka

You can take limited express, rapid and local on the segments above. But it covers only ordinary class. This pass covers reserved seat up to four times too. And also you cannot use reserved seat on Limited Express Haruka (Kansai airport – Shin-Osaka/Kyoto) and Hokuriku Shinkansen. There are non reserved seats available on these train. So you still can take these trains. But the fastest train “Kagayaki” on Hokuriku Shikansen does not have any non reserved seat. You cannot take Kagayakai on Hokuriku Shinkansen. You have to take other two trains, Hakutaka or Tsurugi on Hokuriku Shinkansen.

Please find more details about Hokuriku Shinkansen at the following link:

Hokuriku Shinkansen, Direct access to Kanazawa, Nagano and Toyama from Tokyo

Nohi bus is major public transportation to get Shirakawago and express bus service is operated. This bus service is covered by this pass fully but you need to book before on board. You can find the phone number and timetable at Nohi Bus Official Site.

This pass also covers another bus line, Kaetsuno bus that runs between Shirakwago and Hokuriku Shinkansen station, Shin-Takaoka. Now you can access to Gokayama and Ainokura by this pass without any extra.

This pass does not cover any trains and bus services between Nagoya and Osaka/Kyoto directly. You cannot take Shinkansen either. It is same condition as old version of this pass.

takayama-hokuriku-pass2

If you want to make circle tour, Osaka / Kyoto – Kanazawa – Shirakawago – Takayama – Nagoya – Osaka, Kintetsu Rail Pass may be considerable

If you are okay with taking same route to go back to Osaka or Kyoto in 5 days, you do not need to pay any extra. Now this pass covers Takayama – Toyama. So you can take a different route to go back to Osaka. You do not need to take same bus service from Takaymaa to Kanazawa via Shirakawago.

But some of you want to go down to Nagoya and make a direct access to go back to Osaka. But you have to pay around 6500 yen to go back to Osaka by Shinkansen reserved seat. If you are okay with this additional charge, you can go for it. If you want to save your extra cost, Kintetsu Rail Pass may be considerable. Kintetsu Railway’s Limited Express has same quality as JR’s Limited Express trains. It is much slower than Shinkansen. But it is cheap and also if you go to Namba, Kintetsu takes you there directly. Please find more information about Kintetsu Rail Pass, please refer the following link:

Kintetsu Rail Pass, Most affordable deal for Osaka/Kyoto-Nagoya and access to Ise.

Compare cost between pass and single fare

First of all, please see the fare table for major segments below:

One way fare

Kansai airport – Shin-Osaka by Limited Express NON reserved seat 2330 yen
Kansai airport – Kyoto by Limited Express NON reserved seat 2850 yen
Osaka – Kanazawa by Limited Express reserved seat 7650 yen
Kyoto – Kanazawa by Limited Express reserved seat 6900 yen
Nagoya – Takayama by Limited Express reserved seat 6030 yen
Toyama – Takayama by Limited Express reserved seat 3360 yen
Toyama – Kanazawa by Hokuriku Shinkansen NON reserved seat 2810 yen
Kanazawa – Shirakawago by Nohi bus 1850 yen
Takayama – Shirakawago by Nohi bus 2470 yen
Kanazawa – Takayama by Nohi bus 3390 yen
Shirakawago – Shin-Takaoka by Kaetsuno bus 1800 yen

Let’s see the basic itineraries and compare costs. You may find more information about access to Takayama and Kazawa at the links beloiw:
How to access to Takayama by trains and buses
How to access to Kanazawa and Toyama from Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya

Round trip to Shirakawago via Kanazawa from Osaka by Limited Express Thunderbird and Nohi bus

Limited Express "Thunderbird"
Limited Express Thunderbird runs between Osaka/Kyoto and Kanazawa.

Return fares by Limited Express Thunderbird between Osaka and Kanazawa 7650 yen X 2 = 15300 yen
Return fares by Nohi bus between Kanazawa and Shirakawago 1850 yen X 2 = 3900 yen
Total 19200 yen

Even if you don’t go to Takayama, this pass is still cheaper than single fare. If you depart from Kyoto, the pass is way cheaper than single fare too.

Round trip to Shirakawago via Takayama from Nagoya by Limited Express Wide View Hida and Nohi bus

Wide View Hida at Toyama station
Wide View Hida by KIHA85 series at Toyama station (C) JP Rail

Return fares by Limited Express Wide View Hida between Nagoya and Takayama 6030 yen X 2 = 12060 yen
Return fares by Nohi bus between Takayama and Shirakawago 2470 yen X 2 = 4940 yen
Total 17000 yen

Many travellers who stay in Nagoya want to visit Shirakawago. This pass is much cheaper than single fare as well.

One way trip to Nagoya from Osaka via Kanazawa, Shirakawago and Takayama

World Heritage Shirakawago has lots of traditional Japanese residences. ©Akimasa Yuasa/©JNTO
World Heritage Shirakawago has lots of traditional Japanese residences. ©Akimasa Yuasa/©JNTO

Single fare by Limited Express Thunderbird between Osaka and Kanazawa 7650 yen
Single fare by Nohi bus between Kanazawa and Shirakawago 1850 yen
Single fare by Nohi bus between Kanazawa and Shirakawago 2470 yen
Single fare by Limited Express Wide View Hida between Nagoya and Takayama 6030 yen
Total 18000 yen

If you arrive in KIX and depart from Chubu and make this route in 5 days, you also include Kansai airport to Osaka. This itinerary is very attractive and this pass gives you a great saving!

Small circle trip from/to Osaka via Kanazawa, Shirakawago, Takayama and Toyama

Most of  train is operated by this fleet, E6 / W6 series.
Most of train is operated by this fleet, E6 / W6 series.

Single fare by Limited Express Thunderbird between Osaka and Kanazawa 7650 yen
Single fare by Nohi bus between Kanazawa and Shirakawago 1850 yen
Single fare by Nohi bus between Shirakawago and Takayama 2470 yen
Single fare by Limited Express Wide View Hida between Takayama and Toyama 3360 yen
Single fare by Hokuriku Shikansen and Limited Express Thunderbird between Toyama and Osaka via Kanazawa 8910 yen
Total 24240 yen

Now you can make a different route on the way back to Osaka by this pass. You have only 5 days. But you can include Toyama. this pass does not cover any local transportation in Toyama. But you can visit Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route when you are in Toyama.
*You cannot go through Alpine route to Shinano-Omachi in this itinerary. It is completely outside coverage area. You have to make a round trip to Murodo or other point on Alpine route.

Suggested itinerary
Day 1 Osaka – Kanazawa
Day 2 Kanazawa – Shirakawago – Takayama
Day 3 Takayama – Toyama
Day 4 Toyama – Alpine route – Toyama or Kanazawa
Day 5 Toyama or Kanazawa – Osaka or KIX or Kyoto

Yes. You can do it in 5 days. If you arrive in Kansai airport early morning, you can start this sample right after you arrive in Kansai. You can reach Kanazawa on day 1.

Small circle trip from/to Nagoya via Kanazawa, Shirakawago, Takayama and Toyama

Single fare by Limited Express Wide View Hida between Nagoya and Takayama 6030 yen
Single fare by Nohi bus between Takayama and Shirakawago 2470 yen
Single fare by Nohi bus between Shirakawago and Kanazawa 1850 yen
Single fare by Hokuriku Shikansen between Kanazawa and Toyama 2810 yen
Single fare by Limited Express Wide View Hida between Toyama and Nagoya 7650 yen
Total 20810 yen

It is similar plan as above but depart/arrive in Nagoya. You can make a trip to Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route in this itinerary too.

Suggested itinerary
Day 1 Nagoya – Takayama
Day 2 Takayama – Shirakawago – Kanazawa
Day 3 Kanazawa – Toyama
Day 4 Toyama – Alpine route – Toyama
Day 5 Toyama – Nagoya

Assessment

As you saw the above, even though price is higher than old version, this pass is still a great deal. Actually when old version of this pass was on sale, I said “I hope this pass will be sold as regular product.” I love JR Central and JR West decisions. This deal will be

533 thoughts on “Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass. Perfect deal to get Takayama, Kanazawa, Toyama, Shirakawago from Nagoya or Osaka”

  1. We are 4 Australians and will be purchasing a Green 14 day JR Pass. Our accommodation is already booked and our itinerary is as follows
    Tokyo to Takayama (stay 2nights)
    Takayama to Kanazawa (stay 2 nights)
    Kanazawa to Kyoto (stay 3 nights)
    Kyoto to Hiroshima (stay 3 nights)
    Hiroshima to Osaka (stay 1 night)
    Question is – will our JR pass cover all of these trips and how do we know which train to get on? Feeling very confused.

  2. Hi please help me with this itinerary. We are 4 adults and travel date apr 10-23 2017. In and Out Osaka (Kansai International Airport)

    Please suggest best pass to buy.
    1. Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass?
    (The Kansai-Airport Express “HARUKA”)
    2. Kintetsu Rail Pass?
    3. Single pass?

    Apr 10 – Arrival at Osaka (Kansai International Airport) 8:25am
    Travel to Kanazawa. Overnight at Kanazawa
    Apr 11 – Shirakawago. Overnight at Shirakawago
    Apr 12 – Tagayama. Overnight at Tagayama
    Apr 13 – Travel to Nagoya from Tagayama for 3d2n
    Apr 15 – Travel back to Osaka from Nagoya
    (Osaka, Kyoto,Nara,Kobe) till Apr 23 Apr 23 –
    Apr 23 – Fly back home sweet home

    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Noora,

      You can use Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass until you get Nagoya.
      Kintetsu rail pass is not recommended for one way trip to Osaka. Platt Kodama may suit your plan.’
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/platt-kodama-one-way-deal-among-tokyo-nagoya-kyoto-and-shin-osaka-by-shinkansen.html

      Knsai thru pass is the best choice for the trip to outside Osaka.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-use-kansai-thru-pass-compare-pass-and-single-fare.html

      You can pick one of the deal for the trip to KIX on the last day.
      http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/how-to-choose-the-deals-for-access-tofrom-kansai-airport.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi please help me with this itinerary if doable. We are 2 adults and 3 kids ages 11,8,6 travel date feb 3-11 2017.

    Please suggest best pass to buy. Initially, I consider shoryudo 3 days but no discount for kids Or the Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass?

    Feb 3 day 1 arrival nagoya 550am
    Travel to takayama Takayama visit hida folk village, stay 2 nights( hotel is paid already)

    Feb 5 shirakawago light up overnight
    Feb 6 travel to osaka
    Feb 7 osaka
    Feb 8 travel back to nagoya.
    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Greyzie,

      Itinerary is okay. And Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass is the best deal because you can get Osaka via Kanazawa by this pass. And kids price is available too.
      However you have to add single fare to get back to Nagoya. You may consider using Platt Kodama.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/platt-kodama-one-way-deal-among-tokyo-nagoya-kyoto-and-shin-osaka-by-shinkansen.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi thanks so much. Can i use this pass starting feb 3 from chubu airport to takayama correct? Im planning to stay overnight in kanazawa feb 6 since this is the way to osaka, then feb 7 to osaka then platt kodama from osaka back to nagoya. right?

      2. Hi again, how can i reserve the bus from takayama to shirakawago on feb 5 using this pass? I read it should be reserved one month in advance? Thanks

        1. Hi Greyzie,

          This pass does not cover Chubu airport to Nagoya. You have to add single fare and then start using this pass from Nagoya. And also you cannot exchange the pass it at Chubu airport. You have to do it at Nagoya station. So start this pass from Nagoya station on Feb 3 to Osaka on Feb 7.

          You have to make a call to reserve a seat for Nohi bus. There is online site but it does not accept for pass user. Contact is shown in the link below:
          https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/english/highwaybus/shirakawago.pdf

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi takeshi, this will be our final itinerary, i will be purchasing takayama hokuriku tourist pass for 2 adults and 3 kids (11,8 and 6)

            Feb 3 chubu airport to nagoya station then to takayama station. 2 nights

            Feb 5 shirakawago, i called nouhi bus and they said 8:50 am is fully booked already, the 9:50 am no longer need to reserve but i fear that since its light up event, there might be a problem with the bus.
            Stay overnight.

            Feb 6 shirakawago to osaka. How can i get to osaka using this pass?

            Feb 6 dotonbori/ shinsaibashi- can i use Jr trains to go here using the pass?

            Feb 7 usj this is 5th day of the pass, still covered going here?

            Feb 8 kansai to sapporo.- i believe this will be single fare from osaka station to kansai since its 6th day already. Right? What is the cheapest and shortest way to kansai since we have luggage.

            Thanks so much

          2. Hi Greyzie,

            You have to show up Takayama bus center really early to take 9:50 bus. I have no experience to visit Shirakawago during light up event. But I heard that it’s crazy busy. If I were you, I go to Takayama bus center one hour earlier to take 9:50 bus. I still don’t know this is enough early or not. When you get Takayama, ask the staff in Takayama bus center or staff in hotel how busy it will be.

            When you go to Osaka, you can take Nohi bus to Kanazawa and take train from Kanazawa to Osaka.
            http://jprail.com/destinations/chubu-area/takayama-kanazawa-and-shirakawago/how-to-get-kanazawa.html

            You can get Namba by this pass. Shinsaibashi can be accessed from JR Namba station by walk. But subway is easier to get there. Subway is not covered by this pass.
            http://jprail.com/destinations/kansai-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-osaka-how-to-choose-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html

            You can use this pass to get USJ.

            There are many ways to get Kansai. It depends on which place in Osaka you will stay. Please see the link below to find more info:
            http://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/how-to-access-from-kansai-airport-to-downtown-osaka-kyoto-and-kobe.html
            http://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/how-to-choose-the-deals-for-access-tofrom-kansai-airport.html

            Cheers,

            Takeshi / JPRail.com

          3. Thanks hiroshi! Sorry, i mean what cheapest pass to use from shin imamiya where we will stay to kansai airport for our flight to sapporo. Or single fare is okay? This is for feb 8, our takayama hokuriku will expire on feb 7. Thanks again

  4. Nice read. But what if I’m planning for an 8-9 days trip? The pass is only valid for 5 days. Should i do a combination of this pass + kintetsu rail pass? But the kintetsu rail pass won’t cover the trip to kansai airport right? which means I will have to buy a one way returning trip Haruka-icoca back to kansai airport? Or any better idea?

    1. Hi Elaine,

      Before choosing the deals, you have to make sure how you spend your days in Japan, such as location to stay and route. You don’t need to start using this pass right after you arrive in Kansai airport. If you spend less than 5 days for trip to Takayama, Kanazawa and/or Shirakaawgo, you can use this pass for these trips only. You can use other deals in Osaka, Kyoto and other places in Kansai region.
      There are many other deals available. But you cannot choose it before making the detailed itinerary.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Hi takeshi,
    im staying near shin immamiya station. I would like to know whether if I use this pass when I arrive kix, can I stop at shin immamiya station? (Arrive 14/2)
    2) can I use this pass to go kyoto on the next day? (15/2)
    3) can I use this pass again to go Kanazawa from Kyoto directly? (16/2)

    Thanks
    Belle

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        I just check hyperdia to get to takayama from Kyoto. This is the route, but does this pass cover these route?

        Kyoto – Nagoya (Shinkansen hilarious 464) – takayama (limited express hida 9)

        Thanks

          1. Hi takeshi,

            If so, I could use the train via toyama to takayama right ? If I don’t want to travel by bus. Does the pass cover that area?

            Thanks again 🙂

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