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.

1,076 thoughts on “Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass user guide. Perfect deal to travel Takayama, Kanazawa, Toyama, Shirakawago from Nagoya or Osaka”

  1. Dear Takeshi-san,

    About the Bus ride from Takayama to Shirakawago, how will I use the Takayama-Hokuriku-Area-Pass? For reserved and non-reserved bus schedule, should we just present the pass upon entering the bus or do we need to exchange it for the bus ticket in the ticket counter?

    Thank you and I am looking forward to your reply.

      1. Hello, the bus reservation by phone – do they take advance booking? say we want to book a specific date and time. I’m asking because I’m organizing a trip for 10 people, the logistics of using the pass is a bit difficult to arrange 😀

      2. Hi, about the bus reservation for Takayama-Shirakawago, can my friend based in Tokyo reserve it for us ahead of time? What are the information needed if ever? Will it need a code or number of the Takayama-Hokuriku-Area-Pass because we only have the MCO at the moment.

        Thank you in advance! 🙂

  2. My trip from 28 Dec 2019 to 10 Jan 2020. Itinerary will be as follows:

    28 Dec – arrival Kix airport around 10pm
    29 Dec – Osaka
    30 Dec – Osaka
    31 Dec – Kyoto, Nishiki Market, Yasaka Shrine, back to Osaka
    01 Jan – Kyoto, Osaka
    02 Jan – Osaka, kanazawa, shirakawago, takayama
    03 Jan – Takayama, Tokyo

    Question:
    1. should i purchase a Takayama Hokuriku tourist Pass instead of Jr Nationwide pass?
    2. Is Takayama Hokuriku pass covered all the way to Tokyo?
    3. Is Takayama Hokuriky pass covered Kyoto?

    1. Hi Don,

      Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass is better choice but you have to pay the additional fare for Nagoya to Tokyo. When you go to Tokyo from Takayama, you will take Takayama-Nagoya-Tokyo route. This pass covers Takayama-Nagoya segment only.

      You can get Kyoto by this pass, but it does not cover any local transportation in Kyoto. You have to add the fare or other deal in Kyoto, such as 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

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Dear Takeshi-san
    Thank you very much for sharing with us the different types of passes available

    It will be my first time to Japan and i would greatly appreciate if you help to assist me on my rout planning to Takayama.

    We have bought the Takayama Hokuriku Area pass and plan to use it on our 2nd to 6th day of our journey.
    Day 1 arrive at Kansai International airport and stay near to airport
    Day 2, to travel to Takayam, activate Takayama Hokuriku Area pass. If we start the day around 830am from
    1. Kansai airport to Kyoto (covered by the pass) follow by
    2. kyoto to Nagoya (not covered by the pass, need to buy ticket on this)
    3. Nagoya to Takayama (covered by the pass),
    Question,
    a. is there a more efficient and/ or more comfortable route to travel from Kansai aiport to Takayama?

    Day 4, travel from Takayama to Shirakawago by bus (covered by the pass)
    Day 5 travel from Shirakawago to Kanazawa by bus (covered by the pass)
    Day 6: Kanazawa to Kyoto (covered by the pass)
    (5 day pass utilisation)

    Question 2: Is there something else we should take note of when using the pass?

    thank you

    best regards
    Yuhua

    1. Hi Yuhua san,

      If you can leave earlier on day 1, you can catch the direct train to Takayama of the limited express Wide View Hida. It departs from Shin-Osaka at 7:58. Your schedule is the following:

      Kansai airport 6:30 (the limited express Haruka) 7:40 Shin-Osaka 8:03 (the limited express Wide View Hida) 12:23 Takayama

      You still have to pay the additional for Wide View Hida. The segment between Maibara and Gifu is outside the coverage area. But the additional is 2,150 yen (base fare + reserved seat fee). It’s cheaper than the Shinkansen between Kyoto and Nagoya.

      If you don’t want to leave early, keep your original plan. In this case, base fare + Shinkansen seat fee is around 6,000 yen.

      I have nothing to say anything about your trip plan. You have researched very well. 🙂

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Dear Takeshi-san,

    We will be arriving at Kansai Airport on 29th Jan 2020, travelling to Takayama on the same day where we will stay in Takayama area (most likely will use Nohi buses) until 3rd Feb 2020. On 3rd Feb 2020, we will need to travel back to Kansai Airport. We note that the Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass is only valid for 5 consecutive days, can you recommend another JR Pass for our trip? Thank you.

    Regards,
    Fiona

    1. Hi Fiona san,

      Unfortunately there is no deals to cover the trip to Takayama for 6 days. And also the best route to Takayama is Osaka-Nagoya-Takayama. Takayama Hokuriku area tourist pass does not cover this route fully. If you want to take the train to get Takayama, the regular fare is only choice. It costs about 14,000 yen for one way. If you take Nohi bus lots, you may use Takayama Hokuriku area tourist pass for the first 5 days of your trip. But you have to pay additional 14,000 yen to go back to Kansai anyway.

      If you want to save your cost, you may take the express bus to go back to Osaka.
      https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/highwaybus/osaka_en/

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Hello Takeshi san

    I will be visiting Japan this coming Nov, did some calculation and the Takayama Hokuriku pass seems to has more savings compare to single pass. Please see my itinerary below if i miscalculated anything?

    Day 1: Chubu Centrair > Meitetsu Nagoya Station > JR Nagoya Station (wide view hida to Takayama – JR pass)
    Day 2: Takayama > Shirakawago > Kanazawa (nohi bus – JR pass, baggage transfer to Kanazawa)
    Day 3: Kanazawa > Kyoto (Thunderbird express – JR pass)
    Day 4: Kyoto
    Day 5: Kyoto > Osaka (JR Kyoto line – JR pass)
    Day 6: Osaka > Nara
    Day 7 – 8: Osaka

    Questions:
    1) Does this pass cover green car for wide view hida? If not, can we top up the difference?
    2) As the wide view hida does not has luggage space, 2 of us will be travelling with 2 large luggages, will this be an issue? Or is taking a bus to Takayama a better option for someone with large luggage?
    3) Chances of reserving wide view hida tickets on the day i reach Japan? or do i need to make reservation earlier?
    4) Chances of reserving Nohi bus tickets from Takayama > Shirakawago and Shirakawago > Kanazawa 1 day before departure? or do i need to make reservation earlier?
    5) Saw from your post above that this pass does not cover Kyoto JR line to Arashiyama station, meaning this pass does not cover JR lines in Kyoto?
    6) Does this pass cover JR Kyoto line to Osaka?

    Thank you very much =)

    1. Hi AI KIAT WONG san,

      1) This pass does not cover Green seat. You have to pay full fare of Green seat.
      e.g
      For Nagoya to Takayama
      Green seat fee 4,910 yen
      Reserved ordinary seat fee 2,680 yen
      Reserved seat fee 2,680 yen is covered by Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass. But you have to pay 4,910 yen if you want to take Green seat. Extra charge is not 2,230 yen (4910-2680).

      2) It does not have any luggage space. Please see the link below how you manage your luggage in the train:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/travel-tips/baggage/managing-luggage-how-to-carry-your-baggage-on-board-and-how-to-store-your-baggage-at-the-station.html

      3) You have to make a reservation after you arrive in Japan anyway. There is no online reservation available unfortunately. Usually you can make it after you arrive in Japan.

      4) I recommend you to book earlier. But you have to make a call. Please see the bottom in the link below:
      https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/english/highwaybus/shirakawago.pdf

      5) That’s right. You can get Kyoto but you cannot take any local trains there.

      6) It is no problem to take the train to Osaka from Kyoto.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com
      You have to pay

      1. Hi Takeshi San

        Thank you for the advice. Have decided to baggage forward on day 1 to Kanazawa, so do not have to worry about space in Wide View Hida.

        Thank you =)

  6. Hi Takeshi-san,

    Thank you for sharing information on this website, it has been very helpful in planning for my upcoming trip in November: Nagoya – Kanazawa – Takayama – Nagoya.

    I have a few concerns and would like to seek your kind advice, as I am bringing my parents along for this trip and hope to not get lost.

    1. From Chubu airport, do I take the train to Meitetsu Nagoya station so that I can take the Limited Express Wide View Hida (JR Takayama line) to Toyoma using the Takayama-Hokuriku area pass?

    2. I understand that there are many train formations for the Limited Express Wide View, how can I check which car is the correct one which stops at Toyoma? Will the information be on the ticket?

    3. If I am taking the Nohi bus from Kanazawa to Takayama, will the entire bus ride be covered under the Takayama-Hokuriku area pass?

    Thank you for taking time to answer my queries, greatly appreciate it!

    1. Hi Grace san,

      1. Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass covers Wide View Hida from Nagoya to Toyama. But you have to pay for Meitetsu train. It’s not covered. And also you have to exchange Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass at Nagoya station. You cannot do it at Chubu airport. So you must have some extra time to exchange the pass.

      2. When you exchange the pass, you can book a seat. You will be assigned the seat on the car to Toyama. The ticket shows you the number of cars and seat number.

      3. Yes.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Hi Takeshi,

    You’ve been very helpful in my previous travels to Japan. Thank you for providing information. This time, my family and I (2 adults and 2 children) are planning to travel to Japan once again in January, particulary in Nagoya. We will be needing your help which pass would be suitable for our itinerary. I’m contemplating on getting either a Kintetsu Rail Plus Pass or Takayama Hokuriku Pass.

    Here is our itinerary:

    January 22- Arrival at Nagoya Airport, check in at our hotel in Nagoya
    January 23 Thursday (Day 1): Takayama, Shirakawa Go
    January 24 Friday (Day 2): Bokka No Sato (early morning), Nabano No Sato (afternoon)
    January 25 Saturday (Day 3): Nagoya to Universal Studios Osaka
    January 26 Sunday (Day 4): Nagoya City Tour

    I also have a question on using either of the pass that I mentioned in getting to Shirakawa-Go. I’m confused, can’t we take the train using a certain pass to Takayama then use the same pass to a bus to Shirakawa-Go or is it not covered at all? How do we reserve the bus? How soon can we call to reserve at Nohi Bus? And if we call them to reserve our ticket, how do we pay the tickets, should we pay upon arrival to Japan and upon picking up the tickets?

    Thank you so much for you help, Takeshi. Looking forward to hearing from you.

    1. Hi Ann,

      Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass covers the train to Takayama and the bus to Shirakawago. You can use this pass the trip on Jan 23. But this pass covers only this trip.

      You have to call to book a seat for Nohi bus. The seat is on sale one month prior to the travel date.
      https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/english/highwaybus/shirakawago.pdf

      Kintetsu Rail Pass covers the trip on Jan 23 and 24. But if you want to maximize your time in USJ, Kintetsu Rail Pass is not recommended. Because the Shinkansen is much faster. Please see the link below:
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kansai-area/how-to-transfer-between-nagoya-and-osaka-kyoto-by-train.html

      If you want to take the Shinkansen, there is no deals. You have to buy a regular ticket which is around 6,500 yen one way. If you take the Shinkansen, Kintetsu rail pass is not the choice. When you go to Nabana no Sato, you may take the direct bus from Nagoya.
      https://www.nagashima-onsen.co.jp/nabana/illumination/access/index.html#train

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thanks for replying, Takeshi. I’ve changed my itinerary to the ff:

        Thursday Day 1: USJ from Nagoya
        Friday Day 2: Shirakawa-go, Takayama
        Saturday Day 3:Kanazawa, Toyama
        Sunday Day 4: Nagoya City Tour

        Questions:
        1. Do you think purchasing Takayama-Hokuriku Pass would be a great value for money?
        2. Can we use also use Takayama-Hokuriku Pass from Chubu-Nagoya and Nagoya back to Chubu on the 5th day?
        3. Is it reasonable to purchase a separate pass which is a Kintetsu Rail Pass just for our Day 1 trip to USJ? Or should we just purchase a roundtrip Kintetsu Rail ticket to and from USJ?

        Thanks so much.

        1. Hi Ann,

          1. Yes.
          2. No. It’s not covered. You have to pay the regular fare to take a train or a bus.
          3. You can get the worth of Kintetsu Rail Pass. But you have to add the limited express fare on top of the pass. Kintetsu rail pass does not cover the limited express seat fee.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi Takeshi!

            Thanks for your previous responses to my queries. I think I’m going to change my itinerary to maximize the use of my Takayama-Hokuriku Pass.

            01/22/20: Wednesday, Day 1- Nagoya Airport Arrival at 7:00pm, head to Nagoya Station then take a train to Kanazawa Stn. Check in at a hotel in Kanazawa

            01/23/20: Thursday, Day 2- Explore Kanazawa, Toyama

            01/24/20: Friday Day 3- Explore Shirakawa Go, Takayama

            01/25/20: Saturday Day 4- Explore Nagoya City, take a train from Kanazawa

            01/26/20: Sunday Day 5-Universal Studios, take a train from Kanazawa to Osaka
            then head to Kansai Airport to travel to Seoul, South Korea

            *My question is, since the Takayama-Hokuriku Pass is valid for 5 days, what are your thoughts on my itinerary? Are they all covered by the pass? I’m aware that the Meititsu Train from Nagoya Airport to Nagoya is not covered so I would have to purchase separate tickets for that.

            How about Kanazawa to Osaka and Osaka to Kansai Airport, are those covered?

            Thank you so much for your help!

            1. Hi Ann,

              On day 1, 19:00 is too late to reach Kanazawa. And the shortest route to Kanazawa is not covered by Takayama Hokuriku area pass fully. And also it doesn’t make sense to go back to Nagoya from Kanazawa on day 4. If you take the trains which are covered by Takayama Hokuriku area pass fully, it take 4.5 to 5 hours to get Nagoya from Kanazawa. And also it’s too tight to see USJ after arriving in Osaka from Nagoya.

              So I recommend you to stay in Nagoya on day 1 and see Nagoya on day 2. I recommend you to do the following itinerary:

              Day 1 stay in Nagoya
              Day 2 Nagoya sightseeing and then to Takayama
              *Kanazawa is too far to reach after sightseeing in Nagoya.
              Day 3 Takayama to Shirakawago to Kanazawa
              Day 4 Kanazawa to Osaka
              Day 5 USJ and then to Kansai
              These train and bus trips are covered by Takayama Hokuriku area pass fully.

              If you really want to stay in Kanazawa on day 4, you can do. But it takes 2.5 hours to get USJ from Kanazawa. I think you should better stay in Osaka on day 4.

              Cheers,

              Takeshi / JPRail.com

              1. Hi Takeshi,

                Thank you for always providing valuable advice to all travelers. After careful consideration I think I have come to finalize my itinerary. Please let me know if this would make more sense rather than the previous itineraries I shared with you. I’ve decided not to include USJ anymore as I think our schedule would be too tight plus I’m traveling with my husband and kids so I want this travel experience to be memorable at the same comfortable for them.

                January 22- Arrival at Chubu Airport, check in at a hotel in Nagoya
                January 23- Day Tour Shirakawa-go, Takayama
                January 24- Day Tour Kanazawa, Toyama
                January 25-Legoland Hotel
                January 26-Nagoya City Tour

                Here are my questions:
                1. Would a 5-day Takayama Hokuriku be a great value for money? Do we need to pay extra for anything when we present the pass?

                2. I understand that the bus to and from Shirakawa-go is free when presenting the pass, is this from Takayama? Which is more practical, explore and take a train to Takayama from Nagoya Stn using our pass first then head to Shirakawa-go or reserve a bus from Nagoya and head directly to Shirakawa-go and just take the bus from there to explore Takayama then head back to Nagoya?

                3. When we call the Nohi bus to reserve bus tickets, do we need to tell them we’re using Hokuriku Pass? Is the roundtrip bus to Shirakawa-go completely free using our pass or do we need to pay extra?

                4. What is the best way to travel to Kanazawa for a Day Tour using our pass?

                Thank you very much, Takeshi!

                1. Hi Ann,

                  1. Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass covers Nagoya to Takayama/Shirakawago and Nagoya to Kanazawa/Toyama. It does not cover Chubu airport to Nagoya, Nagoya to Legoland and Nagoya city tour.

                  2. You should visit Shirakawago first because if you take the first Wide View Hida, you will arrive in Takayama at 10:15. The next bus to Shirakawago is 10:50 departure. This is the best connection. You can take either 13:30 departure or 14:35 departure at Shirakawago. If you want to spend more time in Takayama, your choice is 13:30. It will be very tight in Shirakawago but you have no choices. Please see the train timetable and bus timetable in the links below:
                  Train https://jprail.com/img/timetable/jprail-timetable-kamiki.pdf (page 23 and 24)
                  Bus https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/english/highwaybus/shirakawago.pdf

                  3. Yes. You have to tell it. But if you take 10:50 departure at Takayama, you cannot book a seat for this bus. This bus is first come and first serve basis. If the bus is full, you may not be able to take this bus. It’s hard to say how busy it will be there.

                  4. Actually this is very difficult. Because you have to take same route as Nagoya to Takayama. Some of the limited express Wide View Hida go to Toyama. You have to take this. Please check the train timetable again. Train #3 goes to Toyama. You can take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Toyama to Kanazawa. It takes about 25 minutes. So you will be Kanazawa around 13:15. Even if you take the first train to Takayama, you cannot connect the bus to Kanazawa. The next bus to Kanazawa is 11:20 departure. The arrival time in Kanazawa is 13:35. This is later than train connection via Toyama. And on the way back, you have to take same route by train for Kanazawa-Toyama-Nagoya. You have to leave Kanazawa by 16:45. Otherwise you cannot catch the last train to Nagoya from Toyama. So you have to spend 9 hours to move between Nagoya and Kanazawa. And you can get only 3.5 hours there. You don’t have a time to see Toyama.
                  If you can stay overnight in Takayama or Kanazawa for even one night, the trip is much easier. You will pass Takayama on the way to Kanazawa. It is a big time wasting.

                  Cheers,

                  Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. Hi Takeshi San

    I am interested in your itinerary but my starting and ending point is Tokyo, would this make sense, we have children (11 and 14 years) and some senior citizens so want to take it easy:

    Day 1 – Tokyo
    Day 2 – Toyama via JR Pass (overnight Toyama)
    Day 3 – Kanazawa
    Day 4 – Kanazawa
    Day 5 – Takayama via Shirakawa (overnight Takayama)
    Day 6 – Takayama
    Day 7 – Nagano or Matsumoto (overnight) before we return to Tokyo

    Its Day 7 that we are not sure whether it is easier to go from Takayama to Nagano to visit the Snow Monkeys and return to Tokyo Or should we go to Matsumoto and return to Tokyo. We don’t want too many changing of trains. Appreciate your kind advise.

    1. Hi Carol san,

      If you want to visit Snow Monkey Park, you should visit on the way to Toyama. It is much easier because Nagano is the gateway to Snow Monkey Park. Nagano is located in the middle of the trip from Tokyo to Toyama.

      If you go to Nagano from Takayama, you have to go to Toyama again and take the Hokuriku Shinkansen to get Nagano. It is okay but you have to spend 1.5 hours to get Toyama from Takayama.

      If you go to Matsumoto from Takayama, you should take the express bus. It is not covered by JR pass but it is much easier and faster:
      https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/highwaybus/matsumoto_en/

      If you take the trains to get Matsumoto from Takayama, you have to go to Nagoya and change trains. It is covered by JR pass fully but the trip time is more than 4 hours.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Day 1 – Tokyo
        Day 2 – Tokyo
        Day 3 – JR Train from Tokyo to Kanazawa
        Day 4 – Kanazawa
        Day 5 – Takayama via Shirakawa (overnight Takayama)
        Day 6 – Takayama
        Day 7 – JR Train from Takayama to Toyama
        Day 8 – JR Train from Toyama to Tokyo

        In this case, is it worth it for us to still take the 7-day Hokuriku Arch Pass or the regular 7-day JR Pass or buy individual train tickets? Appreciate your advice.

        1. Hi Carol,

          Hokuriku Arch Pass is slightly cheaper. Takayama is not in the coverage area of Hokuriku arch pass. So you have to pay the extra for Takayama to Inotani on the way to Toyama. If you take the limited express Wide View Hida, the extra fare (base fare + reserved seat fee) is 2,500 to 2,800 yen. Even if you add this fare on top of Hokuriku arch pass, it’s still cheaper than 7 days JR pass.

          But if you use JR pass, you can take the train to Nagoya from Takayama and then take the Shinkansen from Nagoya to Tokyo. You can take the different route and see the different scenery. That is other option for you.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  9. Hello Takeshi-san,

    My winter trip to Japan this round will be from 25/1 – 2/2. We are flying to and from Nagoya international airport. My family of 3 including our 5 year old plans to visit the following places:
    Day1: takayama (reaching airport at 8.30am) and Ainokura
    Day2: shin hotoka ropeway in the morning. Shirakawago in the evening and over night there hopefully for the light up
    Day3: Kanazawa
    Day4: Kaga or nearby onsen town
    Day5: Fukui dinasour museum, tojinbo and tsuruga
    Day6: okuibuki ski resort
    Day7-8: Nagoya

    We have been to Kanazawa before and would probably visit lesser places. As such 1 day is enough.

    My questions are:
    1) my original intention was to get the takayama hokuriku pass from day 1 to day 5 and rent a car from day 6-7. But after reading that the pass does not cover the trip to shin hotoka, i’m not sure if it would be worth it
    2) should I just rent car for the entire trip from day 1-7?
    3) does the nohi bus covered in the pass allow me to go to Shirawakago during light up and stay overnight or I need to leave the town? This is assuming I’m selected for the stay.

    Hopefully you can help me make a better decision. Thank you!

    1. Hi Jenny san,

      You cannot expect to have a big saving by using this pass. But you can get the worth of it.

      If you want to see the light up event in Shirakawago, you have to get a ticket to see it. Otherwise you cannot enter the village. Please read the link below carefully:
      https://shirakawa-go.gr.jp/en/events/lighup-2020/

      You can take the bus to Shirakawago by Nohi bus. But you have to book a seat in advance. In the light up season, it will be packed and super super busy. You have to make a call to book a seat in advance.
      https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/english/highwaybus/shirakawago.pdf

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thanks much Takeshi-san.
        One last question, I read that nohi bus goes to shin hotaka from takayama. Is this covered in the takayama hokuriku pass?

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