How to get to Takayama by a train and a bus

TakayamaChubu Area
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Preserved path in Takayama. It is very popular tourist district in Takayama.
Takayama Old Town is very popular tourist district.

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.

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Overview

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

Takayama is a small town but it is one of most popular tourist places in Japan in these days. The old preserved district is busy in all season. Please watch the movie below about this charming old town:

This town is located in the middle of Nagoya, Toyama, Kanazawa and Matsumoto.

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 the 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 the Shinkansen from Tokyo, Shin-Yokohama, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka and many more stations on the Tokaido Shinkansen easily and directly. This route is fully covered by JR Pass.

Most of travellers take the 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, below to find more information about the limited express Wide Veiw Hida:

And you can get more information about Nagoya station in the link below:

Access from Osaka by the limited express Wide View Hida

There is only one round trip to Takayama from Osaka directly. Please find the timetable in the link below:

Due to COVID-19, it may be operated on a schedule different from the normal timetable. Check the train schedule on Hyperdia.
Hyperdia perfect guide, train timetable and route search engine

If you can catch this train, it is convenient. But it is only one round trip a day. Most of travelers take the Shinkansen to Nagoya and transfer to the limited express Wide View Hida.

Access from Toyama by the limited express Wide View Hida

Gassho style housing in Shirakawago.

If you travel in Hokuriku region, you may get on the 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 in the link below:

Due to COVID-19, it may be operated on a schedule different from the normal timetable. Check the train schedule on Hyperdia.
Hyperdia perfect guide, train timetable and route search engine

Access from Kanazawa or Toyama via Shirakawago by Nohi bus

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

This route is not a train trip and is not covered by JR Pass. But Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass covers this bus service. This is very popular route because Shirakawago is located on the way. If you have a plan to go to Shirakawago, you may consider about visiting Shirakawago and Kanazawa. Please see the link below to find the timetable and the fare of Nohi bus:

Nohi Bus official site

The following posts also may help you to build your trip plan:

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?

Access from Matsumoto by bus

This route is not a train trip and is not covered by JR Pass either. But if you want to access to Takayama from Nagano or Matsumoto, you may use this route. This bus service is also operated by Nohi bus:

Nohi Bus official site

This route is not covered by Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass either.

I traveled from Matsumoto to Takayama via Shin-Hotaka by this bus. Please find my trip report in the movie below. You can find the interior of the bus, the scenery and the bus stops on the way.

Takayama station and Takayama bus terminal

Both the station and the bus terminal are located side by side.

Takayama station and Nohi bus Takayama Bust Terminal (behind the staiton building)

Takayama station is very small. It has only two platforms and three tracks. The station building is very small and it has only one ticket gate.

Please watch the movie below to see whole Takayama station and the bus terminal:

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.

I hope this post helped you to build your trip plan to Takayama.

Comments

  1. Li says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I’m planning to go to Kanazawa, Takayama and Shirakawago, however I’m not sure which would be a better route. Could you pls advise me?

    Plan 1
    Day 1: Osaka – Kanazawa (catch noshi bus after lunch time) to Shirakawago (1night) – Day 2: takayama (1 night)
    Day 3: Takayama to Kyoto

    Plan 2
    Day 1: Osaka to takayama (1night)
    Day 2: travel to shirakawago (1night)
    Day 3: Kanazawa to Kyoto

    Which is a better route?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Li,

      Actually it’s not much different. You can choose whichever you like.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      • Li says:

        Hi Takeshi,

        Can the route be fully covered by Takayama Hokuriku area pass? What line should I take for going to Kyoto?

        Thank you.

        • Hi Li,

          It’s covered with some condition. For trip between Kyoto (or Osaka) and Kanazawa, you can take limited express Thunderbird. But for the trip between Takayama and Osaka (or Kyoto), you have to go through Shirakawago or Toyama. You cannot go to Gifu or Nagoya because this pass does not cover the trip between Gifu/Nagoya and Kyoto.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Cathy F says:

    Hello Takeshi ~

    My family will be traveling to Japan in July to celebrate my grandmother’s 100th birthday. We fly into Tokyo and then plan on stopping in Takayama (Hida Furukawa) for one night before moving on to Kagoshima.

    Can you tell me the best way to get from Hida Furukawa to Ibusuki, Kagoshima? How long will this take? And then from Kagoshima to Osaka? How long will this take?

    We will be purchasing a 14 day rail pass.

    Thank you!
    Cathy

    • Hi Cathy,

      It’s a quite long trip.
      Hida Furukawa (Limited Express Wide View Hida) Nagoya (Tokaido Shinkansen Hikari) Shin-Osaka (Kyushu Shinkansen Sakura) Kagoshima-Chuo

      When you go back to Osaka from Kagoshima, you can take same way.

      Please see the links below to find the trip time.

      Hida Furukawa to Nagoya
      http://www.hyperdia.com/en/cgi/en/intervaltime.html?dep_node=HIDAFURUKAWA&arv_node=NAGOYA&search_target=intervaltime&diagram=200805&year=2017&month=7&day=9&searchday=20170709

      Nagoya to Kagochima-Chuo
      http://english.jr-central.co.jp/info/timetable/_pdf/westbound.pdf
      http://english.jr-central.co.jp/info/timetable/_pdf/eastbound.pdf

      You can take the trains which are shown by H (Hikari), S (Sakura) or K (Kodama) by JR Pass in the timetables above. JR pass does not cover Nozomi (N) and Mizuho (M).

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      • Cathy Fukunaga says:

        Thank you, Takeshi. I don’t think we could do 15 hours on the train. I was looking at different routes.

        When I use the HyperDia website and select Takayama to Hirakatashi, it says that is takes 3 hours to the Kyoto station and an additional 1 hour to the Hirakatashi station. Can I get off at Kyoto station using this route?

        This route seems shorter to arrive in Tokyo than Takayama to Kyoto station. HyperDia says its takes over 4 hours.

        I do not understand why the route is different and why it would take longer. Can you please let me know if I am not understanding the schedule correctly?

        Thank you!
        Cathy

        • Hi Cathy,

          I’m wondering why you compare the trip time to Tokyo and Kyoto. Tokyo, Kyoto and Hirakatashi are completely different locations and cannot compare. Hirakatashi is in Osaka. If you go to Tokyo, it takes about 4.5 hours. If you go to Hirakatashi, it takes 4 hours as you said. You can drop by Kyoto. You need to change trains at Kyoto anyway.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          • Cathy Fukunaga says:

            Thank you for your quick reply! I am sorry I made a mistake in my question. I did not mean to type Tokyo. I meant to say Kyoto.

            I am wondering why it is faster to get to Kyoto by taking the Takayama to Hirakatashi route than the Takayama to Kyoto route.

            Also, if I take the Takayama to Hirakatashi route, can we get off at Kyoto station?

            Thank you, and sorry for my earlier mistake.

            Cathy

            • Hi Cathy,

              I don’t think it happens. There is no direct routes from Takayama to Hirakatashi. Usually if you go to Hirakatashi, you will go through Kyoto. In this case, you can get off Kyoto if you want.

              Cheers,

              Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Yee Wen says:

    Hello,
    We are planning to travel to Takayama directly from Kansai Airport via Shin Osaka and then Nagoya. Would like to find out if JR Pass covers thru and fro Kansai Aiport? Is there is direct train from Kansai Airport to Shin Osaka without any transfer? We are planning to get a JR Pass for our 12 days trip in Japan. Thank you

  4. Owena Cua says:

    Hi Takeshi San,

    Good day to you.

    We are a group of 4 adults. We will stay in Toyama for one night. Then, We plan to go to Takayama in the morning and go back to Toyama same day and back to Tokyo by shinkansen same day. We have booked hotel in Tokyo.

    Kindly advice what transport systems we need to take. We also have 7 days JR pass.

    Regards,
    Owena

  5. stella says:

    We have bought the Alpine-takayama-matsumoto Area Tourist Pass. After taking the Alpine Route we will stay in the Toyama hotel for two nights. We want to go to Takayama and Shirakawago for a one day trip then back to the Toyama Hotel on same day. Would appreciate if you can tell me is there an office in Toyama where we can buy the reserved seat ticket for the next day?

  6. Catherine Lee says:

    Hi Takeshi
    (16-30 Nov – Nagoya-Kyoto-Kanazawa-Shirakawago-Takayama-Nagoya)
    We (4 pax) will be traveling on the above date and routes.
    Would like to seek your advice on which pass is suitable and the feasibility for our itinerary below –
    Day 1 – 5 (16-20 Nov): arrive Nagoya 8.40am would travel to Kyoto (day trip to nearby area)
    Day 5-10 (20-25 Nov): Kyoto- Kanazawa/Toyama (going for Shogawa River Cruise and may stay a night at Omaki Spa Kanako ryokan)
    Day 10-11 (25-26 Nov): Kanazawa/Toyama – Shirakawa-go (1 night)
    Day 11-12 (26-27 Nov): Shiragawa-go- Takayama (one night at Takayama)
    Day 12-15 (27-30 Nov): Takayama-Nagoya-Home
    Please also advise whether we are spending too much time on 1 location. Or should we do a reverse route (Nagoya-Takayama-Shirakawago-Toyama-Kanazawa-Kyoto-Nagoya)?
    Our main objective is to see autumn leaves.
    Many thanks. Looking forward to your advice.
    Best Regards
    Catherine

  7. John McAleenan says:

    Hi takeshi
    We want the cheapest way to get from Takayama to Tokyo on April 12th. (Our plans have had to change and our 7 day rail pass has run out. Grateful for any help.

  8. Kim says:

    Hello Takeshi,

    We’d like to visit Takayama, Shirakagawo and Hokkaido and are thinking of getting a JR Pass. Unfortunately we already booked our accommodations in Tokyo for 8 days already. I wonder is it possible to visit these places on a daytrip? And if it is, is it better to get a JR Pass?

    Below is a summary of what we already booked.

    Day 1 Sun 11AM Arrival
    Day2 M 7PM Robot Show
    Day3 T Disney Sea
    Day4 W 430PM Concert/Show
    Day5 Thur Takayama? Shirakawago?
    Day6 Fri Hakone Day Trip Tour
    Day7 Sat Hokkaido??
    Day8 Sun Departure

    If it’s not possible to do a daytrip to these places, is the schedule below enough time?
    Day1 Arrive – Straight to Takayama
    Day2 9am Takayama to Shirakawago
    2pm Shirakawago to Tokyo

    Thank you for your help!

  9. Hi Takeshi

    My sister n I will be arriving KIX on 20 sep night by Airasia. We plan to stay in an apartment nearby Nagai station, Osaka. Would like to seek your advice on which pass is suitable for our itinerary below –
    Day 1 – arrive KIX at around 9.40pm – would we be able to check into our apartment or we need to stay near the airport for the night
    Day 2 – possible for a day trip to Shiragawa-go or alternative
    Day 2 – Shiragawa-go via Kanagawa – Takayama (one night at Takayama)
    Day 3 – Takayama-Kanagawa-Kyoto
    Day 4 – Kyoto-Osaka
    Day 5 – Osaka
    Day 6 – Kansai afternoon flight

    Many thanks. Look forward to your advice.

    Regards Kathryn

  10. Aulina Tjahjadi says:

    Hi Takeshi

    I would like to visit Takayama from Nagoya via Toyama. I’ll also be going to Alpine route on the next day. Can you kindly suggest which mode of transport will be most efficient. I tried checking hyperdia but the trip from Toyama to Takayama seems to be quiet tedious.

    My planned itin is as follow:
    1. Osaka- Nagoya
    2. Nagoya -Toyama – Takayama (stay in Toyama)
    3. Toyama – Alpen route incl.Kurobe dam and snow wall ( stay in Toyama)
    4. Toyama-Tokyo

    I’m planning to buy JR Pass for this trip. I’ve also found there are very few Nohi bus available from Toyama to Takayama. I was suggested to have Toyama as my base so I could fit in my Alpine route on the next day.

    Perhaps you have better itin for my planned trip this June? I’ll be taking elderlies in this trip, so less transfer would probably work best.

    Thank You and really appreciate your reply.

    • Hi Aulina,

      You can keep this itinerary but you should visit Takayama on the way to Toyama from Nagoya. If you go to Toyama first, you will waste your time. Especially you will use JR pass. You should take a train as many as you can and try to avoid using bus. Nohi bus is not covered.

      There are few trips of limited express Wide View Hida from Takayama to Toyama in the afternoon.
      Takayama 15:10 – Toyama 16:36
      Takayama 17:17 – Toyama 18:52

      If you leave Nagoya in early morning, you can have half day.

      For Alpine route, you can use Takayama Kurobe Option ticket.
      http://www.jrtateyama.com/e/

      You can go through Nagano and take Shinkansen back to Toyama. Or you can use luggage transfer service from Toyama to Nagano and you can stay in Nagano.
      http://www.alpen-route.com/en/transport_new/baggage.html

      If you use this service, you don’t need to go back to Toyama.

      But in this case, JR pass may be more expensive than single fare.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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