shirakawago winter

Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass user guide. Perfect deal to travel Takayama, Kanazawa, Toyama, Shirakawago from Nagoya or Osaka

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

This train pass has been very popular to travel Kanazawa, Takayama and Shirakawago. The train route to these destinations from Nagoya and Osaka are covered. However there are some restrictions. You may be confused how you use this pass.

In this post, I will clarify the condition and the coverage area of this pass. You will find what you can do and what you cannot do by this pass in this post. I also compare the price of pass and a regular fare. You will easily find how you can get the worth of this pass.

Who is eligible

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

Types, prices and conditions

There is only 5-day pass.

Purchasing placeAdultChild (6-11yrs)
Overseas travel agent
(Before arrival in Japan)
14,000 yen7,000 yen
At the designated station
(After arrival in Japan
15,000 yen7,500 yen

*5 year old or younger child is free. Maximum 2 children per one adult. But one of your adult traveler must share the seat with the child who is 5 years old or younger.

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

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

You may book a reserved seat on the train up to 4 times by this pass. This four times booking seat fee is covered. But you cannot book a seat on the limited express Haruka and the Hokuriku Shinkansen. This four times reservation does not include Nohi bus reservation. I will tell you about this restriction later.

Sales location

You can purchase this pass before or after you arrive in Japan. If you purchase an exchange order of this pass, the price is 1,000 yen cheaper than the price in Japan. You can find the sales location list in the official site in the link below:

Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass official site

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

The pass covers Osaka, Kyoto, Kanazawa, Shirakawago, Takayama, Gero, Gifu and Nagoya. Please see the coverage map below:

The coverage area of this pass is blue shaded.

Basically this pass covers JR trains, Nohi Bus and Kaetsuno Bus in the coverage area. I would like to show you the key train and bus services one by one.

The limited express Haruka and Kansai Airport Rapid train

The limited express Haruka connects Kansai airport, Tennoji, Shin-Osaka and Kyoto.

Haruka operation route shown by a bold red line

If you start using this pass right after you arrive in Kansai airport, you may take this train. This train has both reserved seat car and non reserved seat car. But this pass covers only non reserved seat car. This train does not stop at Osaka. Please see the link below to find more information about Haruka:

Kansai Airport Limited Express Haruka

If you cannot take Haruka, you can take Kansai Airport Rapid train too. This is a sort of commute trains. Haruka has nicer interior.

Kansai Airport Rapid Service

Local train services in downtown Osaka

This pass covers a local train in Osaka, such as Osaka Kanjo line (Osaka loop line). You can get many places by this pass in Osaka. Please see the link below to find the information about JR local train service in Osaka:

The limited express Thunderbird (Osaka, Kyoto – Kanazawa)

This train is a primary way to get Kanazawa from Osaka or Kyoto.

The limited express Thunderbird operation route shown by a bold red line

You can book a reserved seat on this train by this pass. But you have to make a reservation after you arrive in Japan.

Nohi Bus (Kanazawa – Shirakawago – Takayama), Kaetsuno Bus (Shin Takaoka – Shirakawago)

Both bus services are shown by a green line in the coverage map above.

Most of you take Nohi Bus to get Shirakawago. You also take this bus when you move between Takayama and Kanazawa. All bus services between Kanazawa and Shirakawago requires an advanced booking. You cannot book online and you have to make a call to book a seat. A few bus services can be taken without reservation between Takayama and Shirakawago. You can find the phone number and timetable in the link below:

Nohi Bus official site

If you want to visit Ainokura, Suganuma and/or Gokayama, you will take Kaetsuno Bus. Reservation is not required.

The Hokuriku Shinkansen (Kanazawa – Toyama)

The Shinkansen train runs very frequently between Kanazawa and Toyama.

The Hokuriku Shinkansen route which is covered by this pass. (shown by a red bold line)

This pass does not allow you to book a seat on the Hokuriku Shinkansen. There are three kinds of trains running on the Hokuriku Shinkansen. Those are Kagayaki, Hakutaka and Tsurugi. But the fastest train “Kagayaki” does not have any non reserved seat cars. You have to take other two trains, Hakutaka or Tsurugi on the Hokuriku Shinkansen. Usually Tsurugi has lots of empty seats and easily can take a seat in non reserved cars.

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

Find your hotels in 400 cities throughout Japan!!!

Hotels in Takayama
Hotels in Kanazawa
Hotels in Shirakawago

The limited express Wide View Hida (Nagoya – Takayama – Toyama)

This is very popular train to get Takayama. The scenery is very nice from this train.

Limited Express Wide View Hida operation route (shown by a bold red line)

This train runs once an hour in daytime between Nagoya and Takayama. But this train runs only a few times between Takayama and Toyama. If you cannot take this train between Toyama and Takayama, you can take a local train. But there is no direct local train between Toyama and Takayama. You have to change trains at Inotani between Takayama and Toyama.

Please see the link below to find more information about Wide View Hida:

You can book a reserved seat on this train by this pass. But you have to make a reservation after you arrive in Japan.

Train which is not covered at all or partially

This pass does not cover any train services between Gifu and Kyoto. This means you cannot make a circle tour by this pass. I would like to show you some trains which are not covered by this pass and how much you have to pay extra.

The Tokaido Shinkansen (Nagoya – Kyoto – Shin Osaka)

It is not covered at all. Even though the Shinkansen runs partially between Kyoto and Shin-Osaka in the coverage area, it is not covered at all. You may consider using Platt Kodama if you want to take the Shinkansen between Nagoya and Kyoto/Shin-Osaka.

Osaka departure of the limited express Wide View Hida (Osaka – Kyoto – Gifu – Takayama)

One round trip of Wide View Hida runs between Osaka and Takayama. However this train runs outside the coverage area partially.

This train runs outside the coverage area between Kyoto and Gifu.

If you take this train, you have to pay for Kyoto – Gifu. The one way extra cost (the base fare and the reserved seat fee) is around 4,500 yen. The reserved seat fee is covered in the coverage area. But you have to use two of four times seat booking for Takayama – Gifu and Osaka – Kyoto. If you take this route, you have to book a seat for both inside coverage area and outside coverage area at same time. You can get a same seat all the way.

The limited express Shirasagi (Kanazawa – Nagoya)

If you move between Nagoya and Kanazawa, the limited express Shirasagi is the fastest way. However this train runs outside the coverage area partially.

The segment between Tsuruga and Gifu is outside the coverage area.

If you take this train, you have to pay for Tsuruga – Gifu. The one way extra cost (the base fare and the reserved seat fee) is around 3,500 yen. Reserved seat fee is covered in the coverage area. But you have to use two of four times seat booking for Nagoya – Gifu and Kanazawa – Tsuruga. If you take this route, you have to book a seat for both inside coverage area and outside coverage area at same time. You can get a same seat all the way.

If you want to avoid this extra cost, you can take one of these following routes:

  • The limited express Wide View Hida (Nagoya – Toyama), the Hokuriku Shinkansen (Toyama – Kanazawa)
  • The limited express Wide View Hida (Nagoya – Takayama), Nohi Bus (Takayama – Kanazawa)

These routes are covered but the trip time is much longer than the limited express Shirasagi. If you take the limited express Shirasagi, the trip time is about 3 hours to get Nagoya from Kanazawa without changing trains. But if you take one of these above routes, the travel time is about 4.5 hours and you have to change trains or train/bus. Please think which choice is better for you, spending 1.5 hours or spending 3,360 yen.

Local train service in downtown Kyoto

You can get Kyoto by this pass. But after you arrive in Kyoto, this pass does not help you at all. You cannot get even some spots in Kyoto by this pass. JR lines connect Arashiyama and Fushimi from Kyoto station. But this pass does not cover these lines.

Trip to Nara, Trip to Kobe

These cities are a step away from Kyoto or Osaka. But these cities are not in the coverage area. Please do not think using this pass even partially. Just pay as you go or think about using other deal:

Compare cost between pass and single fare

First of all, please see the fare table for major segments below. These fares are approximate and may be varied by the seasonality:

One way fare

Kansai airport – Shin-Osaka by Limited Express NON reserved seat2,500 yen
Kansai airport – Kyoto by Limited Express NON reserved seat3,000 yen
Osaka – Kanazawa by Limited Express reserved seat7,800 yen
Kyoto – Kanazawa by Limited Express reserved seat7,000 yen
Nagoya – Takayama by Limited Express reserved seat6,000 yen
Toyama – Takayama by Limited Express reserved seat3,500 yen
Toyama – Kanazawa by Hokuriku Shinkansen NON reserved seat2,900 yen
Kanazawa – Shirakawago by Nohi bus2,000 yen
Takayama – Shirakawago by Nohi bus2,600 yen
Kanazawa – Takayama by Nohi bus3,600 yen
Shirakawago – Shin-Takaoka by Kaetsuno bus1,800 yen

You may find more information about the access to Takayama and Kanazawa at the links below:

You can find the timetable of the limited express Wide View Hida, Thunderbird, and Shirasagi in the link below:

JPRail.com PDF timetable (valid until mid March, 2020)

Assessment

This deal is highly recommended if you visit Takayama, Shirakawago and/or Kanazawa from Osaka, Kyoto or Nagoya. Especially the coverage of Nohi Bus and Kaetsuno Bus offers a big deal.

I hope this post helps you to build your trip plan.

1,149 thoughts on “Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass user guide. Perfect deal to travel Takayama, Kanazawa, Toyama, Shirakawago from Nagoya or Osaka”

  1. Hi Takeshi
    I plan to go to Gokayama , Kanazawa and Kyoto with Takayama hokuriku area pass. Takayama is optional .
    Could you advise which option is better ? I have no preference on Haneda , Kansai or chubu airport .
    1) Nagoya – Takayama – shiragawago + gokayama (day trip), Kanazawa (wide-hida train from Takayama) – Kyoto
    2) Kansai – Kanazawa- shiragawago + gokayma – kyoto

    There are buses going to shiragawago and gokayama so there is no issue .

    Could you share your expertise which route is better – less transfers ? Thanks !

    1. Hi Lyn,

      If you want to add Takayama, option 1 is better. If not, option 2 is better.

      But if you pick option 1, you have to get Kyoto from Kanazawa by the limited express Thunderbird. Otherwise Wide View Hida from Takayama to Kyoto is not covered by this pass fully.

      If you pick option 2, you can stay in Kanazawa as the base and make a day trip to Shirakawago and Gokayama. You can get Kanazawa from Kansai by the limited express Haruka and Thunderbird. All trips are covered.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi San,
    We are planning to visit Japan in mid of April & our itinerary is stated below. I would like to seek for your advise for the worth & efficient way, in terms of the public transport for us to travel around:
    Day 1: Kansai airport to Osaka Namba
    Day 2 – 4: Osaka to Higashimuro-gun
    (leisure cycling & walk in Higashimuro-gun)
    Day 5: Higashimuro-gun to Kyoto
    Day 7: Kyoto – Osaka Kansai Airport
    It will be appreciated if you have any recommendations for us to put in our planned routes.

    1. Hi Amy san,

      I have never heard the name of “Higashimuro-gun”. As far as I checked the location of Higashimuro-gun, it is located at the southern part of Kii peninsula, such as Kushimoto, Kii Katsuura. Is it correct. I have been these places but I didn’t know the name of Higashimuro-gun.

      If so, you may use Kansai Wide Area Pass for day 1 to 5.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/the-newest-jr-west-rail-pass-for-kansai-and-okayama-kurashiki-kinosakai-and-shingu-area-kansai-wide-area-pass.html

      You may start using it on day 1 from Kansai to Namba. But Nankai Railway is better to get Namba:
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/kansai-airport-to-from-namba-access-route-5-ways-of-transfer-for-kix-namba.html

      Nankai railway is not covered by Kansai Wide Area Pass. So if you want to take Nankai Railway, you may start using it from day 2. You can take JR local train in Kyoto by this pass:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/how-to-use-japan-rail-pass-in-kyoto.html

      You may use other deal in Kyoto if you start using the pass on day 1:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html

      At the end, you can take the bus to get Kansai from Kyoto:
      https://www.kate.co.jp/en/timetable/detail/KY

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Takeshi San,
        Thank you for your reply. Your information has given me a bigger picture of our routes & directions. We will be going to the South of Japan via Osaka, experience the walk & hike at the ancient pilgrimage trails at the mountainous Kumano, then to Kyoto. Please let me rephrase your suggestions & correct me if I have got it wrong,
        Day 1, Kansai to Namba
        – Nankai Railway (40-50 minutes)
        a) The Limited Express (1140 yen)
        Or
        b) Airport Express (930 yen)
        Day 2 – 7, Osaka/Wakayama/Kyoto
        – Kansai WIDE area pass (9200 yen)
        Day 8, Kyoto to Kansai
        – Airport Bus

        Thank you.

  3. Hi..I have purchased the Takayama-Hokuriku 5 Days Pass. My question, is this pass cover the train from Kyoto to Osaka? Which train should I take? Is it the Thunderbird train? Thanks a lot for your kind reply.

    1. Hi Lia,

      You can take the limited express Thunderbird, the limited express Super Hakuto, Special Rapid, Rapid and local train. Special Rapid, Rapid and local are commute trains. These run very frequently. The limited express gives more comfortable seats. But these run once an hour or less.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thank you for your kind reply, Takeshi. May i know is the thunderbird from Kyoto to osaka is covered by Takayama-Hokuriku pass? Which station should I head to?
        And can I book the seat in advance?

        1. Hi Lia,

          Actually I told you the trains which are covered by this pass.

          I don’t think you need to book because it’s only 30 minutes ride. The train has non reserved seat. Just hop on the train. The conductor may check your ticket and just show your pass.

          Thunderbird stops at Osaka, Shin-Osaka and Kyoto.
          https://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-type/limited-express/limited-express-thuderbird-raicho-%e9%9b%b7%e9%b3%a5.html

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Hi Takeshi, your website and explanation help me a lot! appreciate it.
    I have a few question, I already purchased the JR Takayama Hokuriku Pass, and will exchange it upon arrive at the Kansai airport.
    1. If I exchange the pass on 7th, but I want to use it on 8th, the expired date of my pass is on the 13th, right? or the pass already active on the day I exchange, which is 7th-11th?
    2. I want to make a seat reservation for thunderbird from osaka – kanazawa, can I reserve the seat on the airport ( when I exchange the pass)?
    3. Do I need to pay more for seat reservation in Thunderbird? or it is already covered by the pass?
    4. I want to go to Kanazawa this Sunday, using the Thunderbird, is it crowded? can I still have a seat on non reservation seat?

    Apologize for many question. And thank you for the guidance.

    Cheers,
    Winda

    1. Hi Winda,

      1. This pass is valid for 5 days so if you start using it on 8th, it will be valid until 23:59 on 12th.
      You can exchange it on 7th and start using it on 8th. It is no problem. When you exchange the pass, you can choose the date when you want to start using it. But it will be valid until 12th, not 13th.

      2. Yes, you can. You can book all seats if you want.

      3. It is covered. This pass covers the seat reservation on the trip up to 4 times. This 4 times does not include the seat reservation for Nohi bus.

      4. In my view, you will be able to book a seat upon arrival.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Hi Takeshi-san,
    Please advise what are the passes that I can purchase for my below upcoming trip in April.
    Please also advise if any buses need to be added. Thanks

    Osaka(IN/OUT)-Toyama-Tateyama Alpine route-Nagano-Shikoku (16-28 April 2020)

    Day 1 (16)
    Osaka (overnight)
    Day 2-5 (17-21) – 5D4N
    Osaka to Toyama
    Day 5-6 (21-22)
    Toyama to Tateyama Alpine route with 1 night stay at the alpine hotel
    Day 6-8 (22-24) – 3D2N
    Tateyama to Nagano (might -1 night from Toyama and +1 night in Nagano)
    Day 8-13 (24-28) – 5D4N
    Nagano to Shikoku to Osaka (evening flight). Will go straight to Kansai airport from Shikoku (Lightly will travel by bus). Or train if there is any pass that still usable on this day.

    1. Hi Lee Yong Hwee san,

      I recommennd you to use JR Pass but at this point, I cannot say which one is better, 7-day pass or 14-day pass.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/japan-rail-pass-user-guide-how-to-use-jr-pass-to-its-maximum.html

      JR Pass is only deal to cover your trip but I would like to know where you will visit when you will be Toyama and Shikoku. Please tell me the detailed plan for day 2 to 5 and day 8 to 13.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi-san,
        Thank you for your reply. Right now, I don’t have a concrete details plans yet.
        Day 2-5 in Toyama
        Likely to travel the surrounding area and maybe 1-2 outskirt trips. Can JR pass be used to get around?
        Day 8-13 – Shikoku
        Likely to base in Takamatsu and make day trip to other cities. And on the last day, will travel direct to Kansai airport from Takamatsu.
        Do advise if there is a better place to base other than Takamatsu. (Understand in Shikoku, they have their own passes to travel around, am I right?)
        As for Tateyama Alpine route, since we are staying overnight on the Alpine route, should we get the one day pass or the open ticket (a little confuse on the pass that saying no back track)?
        As in Nagano, can we use the JR pass to travel around?
        thanks

        1. Hi Lee Yong Hwee san,

          You can use JR pass to take JR train. For example, when you are in Toyama, you can get Kanazawa, Takayama. When you are in Nagano, you can go to Matsumoto, Karuizawa.

          I think Takamatsu is the best place as a base in Shikoku.

          So far, your information is not enough to make a decision. Probably 14-day pass will work but it depends on how much you use the pass when you are in Toyama and Takamatsu. Please make sure where you want to go before you choose the pass. If you don’t have any idea or you want some flexibility, go for 14-day JR pass.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi Takeshi-san,
            Below is our detailed itinerary. Understand we may not cover all places listed.
            So do we still go for the 14-day JR pass? if not please also advise what other pass we should be using.
            Thanks

            Day 1 (16)
            Osaka (overnight)

            Day 2-5 (17-20-4D3N) Osaka to Toyama
            Matsukawa river’s cherry blossoms
            Home of Doraemon, Takaoka City, Toyama
            Yuqing Coast / Ninja Spirit Train, Takaoka
            Tonami Hirano “scattered village”
            Tonami Tulip Park / Shiojiri / Kansui Park
            Kurobe Gorge

            Day 5-6 (20-21)
            Toyama to Tateyama Alpine route with 1 night stay at the alpine hotel

            Day 6-8 (21-24–4D3N) Tateyama to Nagano
            Kamikochi Matsumoto, Nagano 390-1516
            Takato Joshi Park / The apricot blossom in Chikuma City
            Obasute Station / Kaiko-en Garden in Komoro Castle
            Narai-juku / Tsumago-juku
            Ueda Johseki Park / SORA terrace / Shiga Kogen

            Day 8-13 (24-28) – 5D4N Nagano to Takamatsu to Kansai airport (evening flight)
            Kagawa
            Chichibugahama Beach
            Shōdo Island
            Ritsurin Garden

            Kochi
            Villa Santorini

            Tokushima
            Naruto whirlpools
            Iya village

            Ehime (roam the city?)
            Limestone terrain
            Bocchan Train

            1. Hi Lee Yong Hwee san,

              You may use Kansai Hokuriku area pass for the first part of the trip:
              https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/kansai-hokuriku-area-pass-perfect-deal-for-the-traveller-who-wants-travel-to-kansai-kanazawa-and-toyama.html

              And add Tateyama Kurobe option ticket for Alpine Route:
              http://www.jrtateyama.com/e/

              And you may use JR Pass 7-day for day 7 to 13.
              https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/japan-rail-pass-user-guide-how-to-use-jr-pass-to-its-maximum.html

              This combinaton is cheaper than JR Pass 14-day. You need Tateyama Kurobe option ticket even if you use JR pass 14-day.

              Cheers,

              Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. Dear Takeshi-san,

    It will be our first time to Japan and we would greatly appreciate if you can advise us on below arrangement. We have bought the 5 days Takayama Hokuriku Area pass and plan to use during our journey below:

    Day 1 (08/02)
    Arrive Kansai International Airport at 6AM
    Travel to Takayama

    Day 2 (09/02)
    Gokayama Ainokura & Shirakawago (Local Bus Tour)
    Finish and arrive Takayama Nohi Bus Center at 3:10pm
    Travel to Kyoto

    Day 3 (10/02)
    Kyoto

    Day 4 (11/02)
    Kyoto
    Travel to Osaka

    Day 5 (12/02)
    Osaka

    Day 6 (13/02)
    Osaka

    Day 7 (14/02)
    Departure from Kansai International Airport

    Thank you very much. Looking forward to hearing from you.

    1. Hi Wilson san,

      Your trip plan is feasible and I don’t see any issues. When you go to Takayama, you have to take the following route:
      Kansai airport – Shin Osaka – Kanazawa – Toyama – Takayama

      Actually the common route to Takayama from Osaka is
      Kansai airport – Shin Osaka – Nagoya – Takayama

      But this route is not covered by Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass. When you go to Kyoto, you have to take the route via Toyama and Kanazawa. Please keep it in your mind.

      You can take the train from Kyoto to Osaka, and ride a local train in Osaka.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/how-to-use-japan-rail-pass-in-downtown-osaka.html

      But this pass does not cover any local transportation in Kyoto. You must add subway and/or city bus pass:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html

      There are many deals availabl e for day 6 and 7. Please see the links below:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-osaka.html
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/how-to-access-from-kansai-airport-to-downtown-osaka-kyoto-and-kobe.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Hi! Will be travelling from Nagoya (2nights)-Takayama(2 nights)-Osaka (2nights) this January. Just to clarify, to get to Osaka from Takayama, I need to get to Kanazawa first to be able to take the shinkansen to Osaka? Is the pass covered by the trip from Takayama to Kanazawa?

    1. Hi Maureen,

      When you go to Osaka from Takayama, you can take either way, Takayama-(bus via Shirakawago)-Kanazawa-Osaka or Takayama-Toyama-Kanazawa-Osaka

      You may take Nohi bus from Takayama to Kanazawa which is covered by this pass. In the second option, you can take the limited express Wide View Hida from Takayama to Toyama, and take Hokuriku Shinkansen from Toyama to Kanazawa.

      After arriving in Kanazawa, you take the limited express Thunderbird. This is the limited express on the conventional line and not Shinkansen.

      In my opinion, Takayama-Toyama-Kanazawa-Osaka route is more recommended. The scenery is good from Takayama to Toyama. And you can make the Shinkansen ride from Toyama to Kanazawa.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thank you for your reply, Takeshi san.
        To cover more places, can we take a day trip to Kanazawa or Kyoto from Nagoya using the pass? If the schedule is too tight, what can you suggest for a day trip from nagoya (we will be going to Shirakawago and shinhotaka during our stay in takayama)?

        1. Hi Maureen san,

          This pass is not suitable for the trip to Kyoto or Kanazawa from Nagoya. The direct route to Kyoto from Nagoya is not covered by this pass. I mentioned that in this post. Please find the info in the post above.

          When you go to Kanazawa from Nagoya, you have to go through Takayama and Toyama (or Shirakawago). But you asked me the route from Takayama to Osaka. You can drop by Kanazawa on the way to Osaka from Takayama. Kyoto is very closed to Osaka than Nagoya. You may visit Kyoto from Osaka. It doesn’t make any senses to visit Kyoto from Nagoya.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. Dear Takeshi san,

    With all the details put into this website and all the information you have shared to us, we have now finalized our itinerary and we are leaving in a week !!!

    As you have suggested, we purchased the 7 days JR pass modifying a little on the suggested option for our 8 days stay:

    Day1 :Arrival in Chubu take the Meitetsu to Nagoya Station (overnight)
    Day2: Activate JR pass and go to Tokyo (overnight in Ueno) purchased
    24hour Tokyo subway pass to go around Tokyo
    Day3: go to Nagano (snow monkey) and purchase ticket Nagano
    Dentetsu until Yudanaka (We will be picked up by the hosts of the
    Ryokan)
    Day4: Kanazawa (I read that there are JR covered buses in Kanazawa
    that we can use to see Kenrokuen Garden/Kanazawa Castle?). I
    do not intend to buy available bus packages except for the night bus
    illumination if this will be available.
    Day5: I have already reserved our bus ride from Kanazawa to
    Shirakawago. We plan to spend the entire morning here.
    By noon, I have also reserved our bus ticket from Shirakawago to
    Takayama and spend overnight in Takayama
    Day6: Travel to Kyoto and leave luggage at the station and go around
    Kyoto (use JR pass to visit Kyoto Tower, Fushimi Inari). Take
    bus/taxi to Gion since JR pass does not cover Gionshijo. Go
    back to Kyoto Station and use JR pass to go to Tenryu-ji Temple
    and Bamboo Grove then back to Kyoto Station to pick up luggage.
    Go to Shin Osaka for the last 2 nights accommodation.
    Day7: Shin Osaka to USJ (use JR pass). In the evening, spend night in
    Dotonbori/shopping in Don Quijote then back to Shin Osaka, all
    using JR pass.
    Day8: Check out and leave luggage in Shin Osaka Station – spend half
    day in Hiroshima (use the bus loop which is covered by JR pass).
    Take the ferry and go to Miyajima using JR pass. Leave Hiroshima
    by 2-3pm the most and return to Shin Osaka to pick up luggage.
    We should leave Shin Osaka on or before 5pm and go to Kansai
    Airport for our 9:30 pm flight.

    I hope the planned itinerary is ok maximizing most of tourist spots that are covered by JR Pass. We plan to take a bus or taxi (since were 4 persons) to reach Gion rather than buy unlimited pass options for each of us that are available in Kyoto/Osaka since we don’t have much time to go around these places anyway. Also, I am not considering to get any prepaid (Pasmo/Suica/Icoca etc) as I do not see the need for it based on the above places were visiting. Is my decision correct? or do you still suggest for any 1 day pass?

    Do you think that visiting those places is even doable to complete in 8 days? I just planned it out to maximize our JR pass and visiting the best places in Japan during Winter.

    Please do let me know if I have missed out anything, any suggestions would greatly be appreciated.

    Thank you so much for such big help with all the details you have shared!

    Sincerely,
    Jonas

    1. Hi Jonas san,

      Your trip plan is very detailed. It is very busy trip but it’s not impossible. But I would like to share some more info with you.

      Day 1
      ok

      Day 2
      You may not need subway pass. Please see the link below to make sure how much JR pass covers:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/best-way-efficient-how-much-can-we-use-japan-rail-pass-in-downtown-tokyo.html

      If you have to take subway more than 4 times, you may be able to get the worth of 24 hours suwbay ticket. Otherwise regular fare ticket is okay as you need.

      Day 3
      ok

      Day 4
      As far as I know, JR pass covers JR bus. It takes you Kenrokuen/Kanazawa castle. But Hokutetsu bus runs more frequently. JR Bus sometimes runs once an hour. But Hokutetsu bus runs mostly every 5 minutes. One ride ticket is 200 yen and one day pass is sold at 500 yen. I recommend you to take Hokutetsu bus. When I visited there by JR pass, I bought this pass because it’s more convenient and I could maximize my time in Kanazawa.

      Day 5
      Okay

      Day 6
      It will be very busy in Kyoto. The first train from Takayama departs at 6:46. If you take this, you can get Kyoto before 11:00 am. But you cannot see the morning market in Takayama. The next one leaves Takayama at 8:00. If you take this, you will get Kyoto by noon. But the morning market starts at 7:00. 8:00 departure is still very tight.
      So if you give up morning market, you can complete sightseeing in Kyoto. But it is still very busy. As you think, you will use Taxi especially in Kyoto. That is smart way. City bus is always bus and slow. Taxi can maximise your time.
      Anyway please think about how you use your time on day 6 in Takayama and Kyoto. If you see the morning market in Takayama, you may have to give up one or two places in Kyoto.

      Day 7 and 8
      I think you should visit Hiroshima and Miyajima on day 7 and visit the places in Osaka on day 8. You will leave Osaka on day 8. It is too much to visit Hiroshima and Miyajima. You don’t have enough time to see Hiroshima and Miyajima on day 8. It takes 1.5 hours to get Hiroshima and another 1 hour to get Miyajima.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Dear Takeshi san,

        Thank you for your quick feedback.

        Day 2: Tokyo – based on areas we plan to visit such as Tsujiki, Winter illumination, it looks like I may need to get to the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line/Toei Oedo/Metro Ginza – I thought these are covered by the 24 hour subway pass?

        Day 4: I do agree that time is essential with this type of itinerary. Let me consider the Hokutetsu bus for the morning/afternoon stroll in Kanazawa. Also, this will be a Saturday so I think the bus rides /trip are discounted by 50% during weekends if I am not mistaken?

        Day 6: Unfortunately, we would have to skip the morning market as I reviewed that they open during Winter at 9am. If we have to wait for this, then we will miss out half of the day in Kyoto. We will leave first thing in the morning via Wide View Hida at 6:46am so we can be in Kyoto by 10:38am.

        Day 7&8: Let me reconsider switching USJ & Hiroshima – the daily plan is to depart first thing in the morning so we can explore each of the places well. In the case of Hiroshima-we opt to only choose a few landmarks from the Hiroshima Meipu ru-pu route (approx 2-3 hrs here) and take an hour or two in Himeji so we can leave at about 3pm and get to the airport by 6pm. Would you be able to suggest how many hours is required for us to be at the airport during this season if our flight is at 9:30pm?

        Again, thank you so much for always taking the time to answer all our queries.
        We’re all excited to be spending our Winter in Japan next week and you have helped us a lot in planning this trip well.

        Thank you so much and Happy Holidays!!!!

        Regards,
        Jonas

        1. Hi Jonas sam,

          Day 2
          If you make four or more trips by subway, you can go for subway pass anyway.

          Day 4
          Hokutetsu bus fare is 200 yen flat in all days. That is whey one day pass at 500 yen will work for your trip.
          http://www.hokutetsu.co.jp/en/en_round
          You also can get a discount at many major attractions by this pass.

          Day 6
          okay

          Day 8
          If I were you, I go to the airport by 18:30. 3 hours may be okay but I want some extra time at the airport. Haruka 43 leaves Shin-Osaka at 17:00 and arrive in KIX at 17:55. You should take this train.

          If you remove Miyajima and add Himeji, it is much easier. But if you go to Hiroshima, you should visit Miyajima. It is worth visiting.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Dear Takeshi san,

            All pointers taken and it seems were all set to go next week and I would again like to thank you for all the information you have shared.

            Also, I got a little mixed up in Day 8: Hiroshima + Miyajima (not Himeji).

            Cheers!
            Jonas

  9. Hi Takeshi,
    I am trying to buy 5 Day JR Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass from Klook but not available from 25th Dec anymore. Voyagin also doesn’t have the option to pick up in Japan. Can we buy that pass easily in Osaka when we arrive on 24th Dec?
    Thank you.
    Cheers,
    May

      1. Hi Takeshi-san,
        We are leaving today to Japan. After talking with a friend who had visited last year winter, I would like yo know whether we can squeeze snow monkey park to our plan. Is it possible to go there after Shirakawago before Kyoto. Thanks in advance. We are so excited to see amazing Japan.
        Cheers,
        May

        1. Hi May san,

          It is not impossible but this will be super tight. And you have to add lots of fares. Because it is totally outside of Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass. Please refer the link below:
          https://jprail.com/travel-informations/trip-report/2016-winter-tohoku-chubu-chugoku/trip-to-tohoku-chubu-and-chugoku-in-2016-winter-part-9-visit-snow-monkey-park-in-nagano.html

          I don’t think you have a time to see Shirakawago because you will spend most of time in Takayama and Kanazawa. Even if you take the first bus to Kanazawa, you will be Kanazawa at 10:05. It is about two hours behind my previous trip. You will take the fastest Shinkansen “Kagayaki” to Nagano. This is not covered by the pass. You have to pay more than 9,000 yen one way. And then you have to buy Snow Monkey Pass at Nagano as I did in my trip.

          If you planed to visit this place earlier, it’s much eaiser and more suitable deal. But at this point, you must spend much and travel schedule is very tight. If you really want to visit there, you can go for it. And the train will be very busy on this day. If you go there, you must book a train between Kanazawa and Nagano right after you arrive in Japan when you exchange Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  10. My partner and I will be going to Japan for the first time with this booking: Osaka (3 nights stay), Shirakawago (1 night stay), Kyoto (3 nights stay) and back to Osaka (1 night stay) arriving on 24th Dec at ITAMI airport. My current itinerary is as follows:

    Day 1 – Will arrive at Narita airport at 8.20am. I bought a limo bus ticket from Narita to Haneda airport departing at 10am. We will arrive on 2.05pm at ITAMI / Osaka airport. I am thinking to buy Kansai One Pass for transport for the remaining day. (Please advise if you have a better option. )I am thinking to go to Aquarium as the ticket for Aquarium will not include in Osaka Amazing Pass.

    Day 2 – Whole day at Universal Studio. We will take Kansai One Pass from Hotel to USJ and return. (Please advise if you have a better option. )

    Day 3 – Thinking to buy Osaka Amazing Pass and sightseeing.

    Day 4 – I am thinking to buy 5 day JR Rakayama-Hokiriku Area pass to go to Kanazawa and Takayama, before staying one night at Shirakawago. Sighseeing around these areas.

    Day 5 – Sightseeing around Shirakawago and go to Kyoto

    Day 6, 7 & 8 – One whole day to visit Kyoto and another day to go to Nara and Kobe from Kyoto. We are not sure in what order is better as we are coming back to Osaka for the last night before we fly off so thinking to buy 2 days Kyoto-Osaka sightseeing pass. Please advise if you have better option.

    Thank you so much for your help.

    Regards,

    May

    1. Hi May,

      On day 1, you can take a limo bus to get downtown Osaka. Please see the link below about the access to Osaka from Itami:
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/osaka-itami-itm/itami-osaka-airport-access-guide.html

      And you may use Osaka Kaiyu ticket. This is the perfect deal for visiting Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.
      https://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-type/subway/trip-to-osaka-kaiyukan-aquarium-by-osaka-kaiyu-ticket-2.html

      Osaka amazing pass is okay for day 3.

      I think you may start using Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass on day 2. Because this pass covers JR line to Universal city. And when you arrive in Kyoto from Shirakawago, this pass does not help much after arrival in Kyoto. You cannot get Nara and Kobe by this pass.

      If you travel lots on day 6 to 8, you may think using Kansai thru pass 3-day. It covers Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kobe. You can take many railways, subway and city bus.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-use-kansai-thru-pass-compare-pass-and-single-fare.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        Thank you so much for your quick and detailed reply. Do we still need to buy Kansia One pass or are we ok with all the passes you mentioned? This might be a silly question but want to confirm whether we should alight the Limo bus at Namba station as our hotel is Hotel Relief Namba Daikokucho. Also we would like to do some shopping on Day 1 after we came back from Aquarium. Do shops open until late?
        Thanks again for your kind assistance.
        Cheers,
        May

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