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.

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

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

  1. Hello, Takeshi
    I am planning my Japan trip in early December.
    Please kindly guide me with my 7~8 days itinerary as I wish to use the Takayama-Hokuriku area pass or which best pass for my trip?
    Day 1 Arrival at Chubu/Nagoya airport – Takayama (Okuhida onsen)
    Day 2 Takayama – Kanazawa (day trip)
    Day 3 Takayama – Shirakawago (day trip)
    Day 4 Takayama – Kyoto
    Day 5 Kyoto – Osaka (day trip)
    Day 6 ~ 7 – Kyoto
    Day 8 – Kyoto – Kansai airport (departure)
    Q1. Can I use the Takayama-Hokuriku area pass if I select to arrive at Komatsu airport?
    Q2. Which pass to use during my 3~4 days visit in Kyoto?
    Q3. Which pass is best departure Kyoto – Kansai airport?
    Q4. Which pass is best departure Osaka – Kansai airport if I stay in Osaka on day 7/8?
    Thank you so much for your advice.
    Best,
    Lin

    1. Hi Lin,

      1. Yes, you can. You can exchange a pass at Komatsu or Kanazawa.
      http://touristpass.jp/common/pdf/locations/locations_en.pdf

      2. Please see the link below:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-osaka.html

      NO deals is available for Kyoto-Osaka-Kyoto. Just use a regular fare ticket for Kyoto to Osaka, Osaka to Kyoto, and add a deal in Osaka as you need.

      3. If you leave from Kyoto, use Limousine bus by a regular fare ticket:
      http://www.kate.co.jp/en/timetable/detail/KY

      4. If you leave from Osaka, please see the link below:
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/kansai-kix/how-to-choose-the-deals-for-access-tofrom-kansai-airport.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi san,

    Good day.

    I am making my 1st trip to japan from 23/Dec 2018 to 01/01 2019, and finally have confirmed our itinerary (except day 7 & day 8 still haven’t decide stay in Kanazawa or Takayama) as below:

    Day 01 : Arrive in Osaka KIX airport-0845am (stay Osaka-Yodoyabashi area)
    Day 02 : Osaka day trip (stay Osaka)
    Day 03 : Osaka day trip (stay Osaka)
    Day 04: Kyoto day tour (stay Kyoto)
    Day 05: Kyoto day tour -Arashiyama (stay Kyoto)
    Day 06: Kyoto day tour (stay Kyoto)
    Day 07: Kyoto to Kanazawa or Takayama (stay Kanazawa/ Takayama)
    Day 08: Shiragawa Go (stay Kanazawa/Takayama)
    Day 09: Kanazawa to Nagoya (stay Nagoya)
    Day 10: Depart rom Nagoya (morning flight: 1030am)

    1) Which pass is recommend for day in Osaka & Kyoto, ICOCA and Haruka or Kansai one pass ?
    2) Which pass is most saving to visit Shiragawa go ? Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass 7 days or Takayama Hokuriku area 5 days pass ?

    Thank you.

    Cheers,

    Cass

    1. Hi Cass san,

      1. You can use subway and Nankai railway deal for arrival day.
      https://www.howto-osaka.com/en/ticket/ticket/chikatoku.html

      Please see the link below to find the deal in Osaka and Kyoto.
      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/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html

      Please use a regular ticket for Osaka to Kyoto.

      Takayama Hokuriku area pass is the best deals for day 6 to 10.

      Day 7 (Dec 29) will be busy day.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/timetable-and-reservation/2018-busiest-period-to-travel-by-train-tips-to-book-your-seat-in-even-busy-period.html

      Once you get Japan, try to book a ticket right away. There is no online booking available for train seat. You have to book it after you arrive in Japan. And also you should book a seat on Nohi bus to Shirakawago in advance too. If you use Takayama Hokuriku area pass, you have to make a call.
      https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/english/highwaybus/shirakawago.pdf

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi Takeshi,
    I am hoping you are able to help me some advice on my itinerary and which is the best pass to use for our trip.
    Day 1-9 Kyoto/Nara arriving Osaka airport
    Day 10-14 Hiroshima from Kyoto
    Day 14-20 Osaka from Hiroshima
    Day 21 Osaka Airport
    Thank you so much for your help!
    Best regards,
    Faith

  4. Hi Takeshi ,

    I will travel to japan on 13th to 21st October, so i plan to use takayama hokuriku area pass, my hotel at kanazawa, so i want to ask:

    1) if i book this pass from my country (Malaysia), and they will send exchange order (MCO) via mail, how to i want to reserve a seat for nohi bus (for shiragawago/takayama) and ordinary JR train (from osaka-shin to kanazawa & return) using this exchange order (MCO) if i don’t have a pass yet (need to exchange MCO for the pass at KIX after arriving in Japan) ?

    2) this pass will worth if i use this pass from KIX – Osaka – Kanazawa – Shiragawago – Takayama – (*Maybe go to Nagoya if still have some free time) – Toyama – Kanazawa – Osaka ? I stay nearby Kanazawa Station from 13th to 16th October before go back to Osaka.

    3) last question, can you suggest attraction place nearest main Station from Fukui, Kanazawa, Toyama, Takayama, Shiragawago, Gokayama, Gifu and Nagoya that i can reach just with walk, maybe around 1km from station, thanks for your time.

    *Sorry for my broken English

    1. Hi Dean,

      1. You have to make a call to book for Nohi bus. Please see the link below. You will find the phone number at the end.
      https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/english/highwaybus/shirakawago.pdf

      You cannot book a seat for trains before you exchange the pass. Please do so after arrival.

      2. Yes, you can. All routes are covered. But a part of Takayama line between Takayama and Toyama is closed. Please see the link below:
      https://jprail.com/train-operation-status

      3. Most of places in Takayama, Shirakawago, Gokayama are closed to the station and the bus stops.
      You have to take a bus or a train to get all places in Kanazawa and Fukui.
      https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e4208.html
      https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6603.html
      In Toyama, the castle may be reached by walk but tram is more recommended:
      https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e7501.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. We are planning to use this Takayama-Hokuriku area pass to travel from Kansai Airport to Takayama.

    Can I clarify if this pass covers the below 3 routes?

    1. From Kansai Airport to Osaka using the Kansai Airport Rapid Service
    (JR Hanwa Line – Hanwa-Kansaikuko Line Kanku-Rapid train)

    2. From Osaka to Kanazawa using the Limited Express Thunderbird

    3. From Kanazawa to Takayama using the Nohi bus

    I am confused for the route from Kansai Airport to Osaka as I understood that the pass also covers Limited Express Haruka which travels from Kansai Airport to Shin-Osaka but not on reserved seats. So can this pass be used on the Limited Express Haruka or can it be used only on the Kansai Airport Rapid Service?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Kelly,

      You can take either Kansai airport rapid or Haruka. Haruka has non reserved seat and reserved seat. This pass covers only non reserved seat on Haruka. Please see the link below to find more info about reserved seat and non reserved seat.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/travel-tips/reserved-seat-vs-non-reserved-seat-how-to-get-a-seat-on-non-reserved-car.html

      Thunderbird and Nohi bus are covered by this pass fully.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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