How to access to Takayama by trains and buses.

Preserved path in Takayama. It is very popular tourist district in Takayama.
Preserved path in Takayama. It is very popular tourist district in Takayama.

Takayama is one of the most popular destinations for overseas travelers. Especially spring and fall seasons are very popular since the festivals are held. This city is also known as the gateway to UNESCO World Heritage Site, Shirakawago.
I would like to tell you about the access to Takayama in this post.

Gateway stations

Takayama access map. Click to enlarge. (C) JP Rail
Takayama access map. Click to enlarge. (C) JP Rail

Nagoya is most common gateway station to get Takayama. But there are some more ways to access to Takayama, such as Kanazawa, Toyama and Matsumoto. I would like to show you the ways to get Takayama.

Access from Tokyo, Nagoya and many other cities by Limited Express Wide View Hida

Limited Express Wide View Hida at Takayama station
Limited Express Wide View Hida at Takayama station

Nagoya can be reached by Shinkansen from Tokyo, Shin-Yokohama, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka and many more stations on Tokaido Shikansen easily and directly. This route is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. If you don’t use Japan Rail Pass, you may able to get Nagoya directly from Okayama, Hiroshima, Hakata by Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Nozomi. If you cannot catch the direct train to Nagoya, simply transfer at Shin-Osaka. You can reach Shin-Osaka even from Kagoshima and Kumamoto in Kyushu by Kyushu-Sanyo Shinkansen, Mizuho and Sakura.

Most of travellers take Limited Express Wide View Hida from Nagoya to Takayama. Travel time is 2.5 hours to get Takayama from Nagoya. This train departs from Nagoya almost every one hour. Please see the post, Access to Takayama and Hida from Nagoya. Limited Express Wide View Hida to get the details.

And you can get Nagoya station layout at JR Central official site.

Access from Osaka by Limited Express Wide View Hida

There is only one round trip to Takayama from Osaka directly. As of July 2016, the timetable is the following:
Osaka 08:02 – Shin Osaka 08:07 – Kyoto 8:34 – Takayama 12:14
Takayama 15:35 – Kyoto 19:22 – Shin Osaka 19:46 – Osaka 19:51

If you can catch this train, it is convenient. But it is not frequent service. Most of travellers take Shinkansen to Nagoya and transfer to Limited Express Wide View Hida.

Access from Toyama by Limited Express Wide View Hida

If you travel in Hokuriku region, you may get on Limited Express Wide View Hida from Toyama. Travel time is 1.5 hours. However there are only 4 round trips a day. There are local trains too. But there is no local trains that connects Toyama and Takayama directly, And also it is very slow. Please check the timetable when you make your itinerary. You can check it at Hyperdia.

Gassho style housing in Shiakawago.
Gassho style housing in Shiakawago.

Access from Kanazawa via Shirakawago by bus

Nohi bus has the biggest network in this area.
Nohi bus has the biggest network in this area.

This route is not train trip and is not covered by Japan Rail Pass either. But this is very popular route because of Shirakawago. If you have a plan to go to Shirakawago, you may consider about visiting Shirakawago and Kanazawa. Please see the following posts to learn more.

How to access to Shirakawago from Takayama, Kanazawa, Takaoka and Toyama.
How to access Kanazawa from Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Yokohama, Hiroshima, Hakata and many more places. Which route is the fastest and the cheapest?

Now Kanazawa can be accessed from Tokyo by Hokuriku Shinkansen in less than 3 hours. It is much more accessible than before.

Access from Matsumoto by bus

This route is not train trip and is not covered by Japan Rail Pass either. However, if you use JR East Pass, you can get a bus ticket at the discounted price. You can get more information about this deal at City of Takayama official site (English).

JR East Pass does not cover Takayama. And Matsumoto is the closest city in JR East Pass area.

Takayama station and Takayama bus terminal

Both station and bus terminal are located at same place.

Takayama station (left / white building) and Nohi bus Takayama Bust Terminal (right / Brown and green sign)
Takayama station (left / white building) and Nohi bus Takayama Bust Terminal (right / Brown and green sign)

Takayama station is very small. It has only two platforms and three tracks. Station building is very small and it has only one ticket gate. It was under construction when I visited there in February, 2016.

Overview of Takayama station
Overview of Takayama station

There are many bus services from Nohi Bus Takayama bus terminal. You can catch the bus to Shirakawago, Kanazawa, Matsumoto, Shin-Hotaka at this bus terminal.

Takayama bus terminal
Takayama bus terminal
Bus stops are located in front of bus terminal.
Bus stops are located in front of bus terminal.
Ticket window in bus terminal
Ticket window in bus terminal
Convenience store is in the terminal building.
Convenience store is in the terminal building.

216 thoughts on “How to access to Takayama by trains and buses.”

  1. Hi Takeshi,

    Thanks for the extensive information. But I couldn’t find the route from Nagano to Shirakawago. I’ll be getting a 7-days JR pass this December but a little confused which route are covered by JR Pass, and which are not.
    Day 1-2: Arrive at Narita then head to Yudanaka at Nagano (train from Nagano to Yudanaka covered by JR pass?)
    Day 3: from Yudanaka to Shirakawago (train from Yudanaka to Nagano covered by JR pass?)
    Day 4: from Shirakawago to Kyoto (Any extra fees for Thunderbird Shinkansen from Kanazawa to Kyoto train covered by JR pass?)
    Day 5: Stay at Kyoto
    Day 6: Explore Osaka, stay at Kyoto (covered by JR pass)
    Day 7: from Kyoto to Tokyo (covered by JR pass)
    Day 8-9: Explore Tokyo (7-day JR pass expired)
    Day 10: from to Tokyo to Narita

    Would like to know how to define the 7-day pass?
    1. From the date & time we exchange our JR pass at Narita airport / JR station?
    2. From the date & time we tap into JR station?
    3. From time 12 AM of the day I tap in JR line?

    Thanks! This is Yee Mun.

    1. Hi Yee Mun,

      The segment between Nagano and Yudanaka is not JR and it’s not covered.

      Thunderbird is covered by JR Pass fully. By the way, Thunderbird is limited express trains and it’s not Shinkansen.

      You will exchange JR Pass in Narita airport station. You will use the pass right after you exchange it. The pass is valid from midnight to midnight. So even if you exchange the pass and start using it at 23:00, you will spend one day for just one hour. Your JR Pass will be expired at 23:59 on day 7.

      When you exchange the pass, the activation date and the last date will be stamped. Once you get it, you cannot change the date.


      Takeshi /

  2. Hi, Takeshi.I will be going to Japan this December. Here’s my suggested itinerary. Can you suggest suitable passes for this?
    Day 1: Arrive at Kansai at 10pm to Namba
    Day 2: Osaka (staying at Osaka)
    Day 3: Kyoto (staying at Osaka)
    Day 4: Kobe (staying at Osaka)
    Day 5: Hiroshima (staying at Osaka)
    Day 6: Takayama and Shirakawago (staying at Osaka)
    Day 7: Depart

  3. Hi Takeshi,
    Good day!
    Would like to seek your advise on the most economical pass/transportation to use for below itinerary. I’m still building it and I’m open to suggestions.

    Day 1 – (PM) Arrival at Chubu Centrair then check-in Nagoya Hotel
    Day 2 – Takayama and Shirakawago day tour, back to Nagoya
    Day 3 – Explore Nagoya and Nabana no Sato
    Day 4 – Nagoya to Kyoto and explore Kyoto (check-in Kyoto)
    Day 5 – Arashiyama day tour
    Day 6 – Fushimi Inari (AM) then Kyoto to Osaka (check-in Osaka)
    Day 7 – Universal Studios
    Day 8 – Explore Osaka
    Day 9 – Osaka to Kansai Airport

    Thanks in advance! Cheers! – Lex

    1. Hi Lex,

      You need Takayama Hokuriku area pass for trip to Takayama and Shirakawago.

      This pass is valid for 5 days but you can use this for trip on day 2 only. This pass can take you to Kyoto but you have to go through Takayama, Toyama and Kanazawa. It’s a big detour and take more than 5 hours. If you get Kyoto from Nagoya directly by Shinkansen, it takes less than one hour. You cannot use this pass from airport to Nagoya and trip to Nabana no Sato. You need to add regular fare for these trips.

      You may add other deal or single ticket from Nagoya to Kyoto. Platt Kodama is most affordable deal.

      You need to add single ticket to get Arashiyama and Fushimi. But you can restart using Takayama Hokuriku area pass from Kyoto to Osaka. Remember that you will use this pass from day 2. It’s still valid on day 6.

      Single ticket is okay for day 7. You may add other deal for day 8 and 9. Please see the links below:


      Takeshi /

      1. Thank you Takeshi for your inputs. If I remove shirakawago from the itinerary and just tour within nagoya on day 2, what will be our best transportation option?

        Day 1 – arrival at Chubu Centrair
        Day 2 – tour around nagoya
        Day 3 – nabana no sato
        Day 4 – nagoya to kyoto, tour kyoto
        Day 5 – arashiyama
        Day 6 – tour kyoto then transfer to osaka
        Day 7 – universal studios japan
        Day 8 – tour osaka
        Day 9 – osaka to kansai airport


        1. Hi Lex,

          Only difference is Takayama Hokuriku area pass. You can remove it but other part of your trip is basically same. You need to use single ticket. And also you need to use single ticket from Kyoto to Osaka and trip to USJ as well.


          Takeshi /

  4. Hi Takeshi, we are planning to travel from Tokyo 5 nights – Osaka 3 nights – takayama 2 nights – shirakawago 2 Nights – Tokyo. Please advise if 7 day pass would cover us for the above return trip to Tokyo? Thank You.

    1. Hi Eileen,

      As I looked your trip plan, you will spend 8 days for other than Tokyo. If you use JR pass for other than Tokyo, you need to pay for this one day. If so, 7 days pass will not work. But if you complete it in 7 days, it works.


      Takeshi /

  5. Hi Takeshi,

    We are going to buy a 14 days JR Pass and we would like to go to Shirakawa-Go from Kyoto, but we don’t want to pay extra for the Thunderbird Shinkansen. So, can you please tell me if this route is covered by the JR Pass? I already asked the JR customer support but I didn’t get a straight answer:

    Shin-Osaka – Nagoya via Tokaido Shinkansen (covered)
    Nagoya – Takayama via Limited express Wide View Hida (covered?)
    Takayama- Shirakawago – Kanzawa vía Nohi/Hokuriku Bus (not covered by JRpass)
    Kanazawa – Tokyo via Hokuriku Shinkansen (covered?)

    What we want to do is going to Takayama-Shirakawa-Kanazawa from the south-west and go to Tokyo after the visit. Are we doing it right? Is there a better way fully covered by the JRP? We are aware the buses are not included.

    Thank you very much in advance and excuse so many questions.


    1. Hi Mai,

      All train trips are covered by JR Pass. As you noticed, only bus to Shirakawago is not covered.

      By the way, 14 days pass seems to be too much for your trip. I haven’t seen whole part of your trip plan yet. But even if you go back to Kyoto or Osaka after staying in Tokyo, 14 days pass is too expensive than single fare. If you arrive in Osaka and depart from Tokyo, even 7 days pass is very closed to total fares.

      If you show me whole part of your plan, I can tell you some more things.


      Takeshi /

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