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. Winnie says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    My friends and I will be going to Japan next mid-April and it is our first time there. Would appreciate if you can advise on which rail pass to get for our trip.

    Our itinerary is as follows:
    Day 1: Arrive at Kansai International Airport (arrival time estimated at 10.30pm, but I have read your article on late arrival at KIX so we have an idea of how to manage this part of our trip).

    Day 1-3: Osaka sightseeing
    Day 3: Osaka-Kyoto
    Day 3-6: Kyoto sightseeing
    Day 6: Kyoto-Takayama
    Day 6-7: Takayama sightseeing
    Day 7-8: Takayama-Matsumoto
    Day 8: Matsumoto-Tokyo
    Day 8-11: Tokyo sightseeing
    Day 11: Depart from Haneda International Airport

    During our Tokyo sightseeing we will be squeezing in a day trip from Tokyo to Lake Kawaguchiko for Shibazakura Festival as well.

    I have thought about getting Takayama Hokuriku Pass but it only covers JR line in Osaka and we might not be able to make use of it before we go from Kyoto to Takayama. Maybe we should take JR Kansai Wide Pass to cover our Osaka and Kyoto trip, and take bus from Kyoto to Takayama?

    Also for our stay in Tokyo, is it ok if we take Tokyo Subway 3-day Ticket? I have read that there is a special promotion for train from Shinjuku to Lake Kawaguchiko during Shibazakura festival period, so perhaps we can take the Subway 3-day Ticket and add on extra money for the trip from Shinjuku to Lake Kawaguchiko.

    Your advice would be highly appreciated. Thank you!!

  2. Malcolm Ziegler says:

    Hi Takeshi, my wife and  I will be traveling in Japan April 2018. I have a few questions. On April 12, 2018 we want to take the Nohi express bus from Kanazawa to Takayama. Will the bus run this time of year and how far out do I need to make reservations online? On April 13, 2018 we want to take the Nohi express bus from Takayama to Matsumoto. Will this bus service run at this time in April 2018? Also, I want to make advance reservations online for the Takayama to Matsumoto Nohi express bus leg but I don’t think I can I did not see online. How can I make these advance reservations? My concern is I will be in Takayama without a way to get to Matsumoto by bus on April 13? Biggest concern of ours is that bus service will not run in April on the dates we picked 12 and 13 because of weather/snow and we will have to change our itinerary. Is the Nohi bus the right company for travel between Takayama and Matsumoto? Thank you for your help!!

    • Hi Malcolm,

      All Nohi bus will run on your travel period. Of course it will not run in severe weather but it does not happen very often in April.

      You can book bus for Kanazawa to Takayama one month prior to travel date. Unfortunately you cannot book a seat for Takayama to Matsumoto. This bus service does not take a reservation. It’s first come first serve basis. I think if you go to Takayama bus terminal 30 minutes prior to departure time, it will be okay. But if you still worry, you can ask the staff when you arrive in Takayama to make sure how busy it will be.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. ST says:

    Hi Takeshi-San,

    I left my comment on the wrong post which might makes you confused.

    Here’s my enquiries:

    I am not sure whether to buy any passes and how to plan my journey to and fro takayama as the timing seems a bit packed.

    Itinerary:
    8 Nov: Reaching Kansai Airport at night
    9 – 13 Nov: Osaka and Kyoto (Staying in Osaka)
    14 – 16 Nov: Takayama (visiting shirakawago too)
    16 Nov: Departing from Kansai Airport at 10pm

    Would appreciate if you could assist to advise.
    I’m just afraid I won’t be fully utilising the pass and would like to figure out the most cost and time effective way.

    Thank you!

    Regards,
    ST

  4. Pearly says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    We are glad to come across your website and hope you could provide some advice to our upcoming trip to Japan in Dec. It will be a free and easy trip for us.

    Our itinerary as below:
    Day 1: From Nagoya airport to Kyoto (Hotel Gimmond Kyoto)
    Day 2: Free & Easy in Kyoto
    Day 3: From Kyoto to Takayama (Hotel K’s House, Gifu)
    Day 4 & 5: 2 day trips to Shirakawago
    Day 6: Might do a day trip to Kanazawa
    Day 7: From Takayama to Nagoya (Hotel Sanco Inn Shinkansenguchi)
    Day 8: To Nagoya Airport

    Base on the above itinerary, we plan to purchase a 5 days Takayama – Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass (Yen 14000), either to cover Day 1 – Day 5 or Day 3 – Day 7, which do you recommend?
    For other days, which transportation plan do you recommend us to purchase to cover the transportation?

    From Kyoto to Takayama, which is the best transportation mode do you recommend which is convenient for us to put big luggage (we have 3 luggage) and kid friendly (we have a young child traveling with us) and also low cost (as we are tight in budget).

    Appreciate your kind advice.

    Thanks, Pearly

    • Hi Pearly,

      I recommend you to use Takayama Hokuriku area pass for day 3 to 7 because this pass does not cover Nagoya to Kyoto direct route. Even if you start using this pass on day 3, you may need to add some fares. Because the easiest route is taking limited express Wide View Hida from Kyoto to Takayama. As you see the post above, there is one direct trip which is Kyoto 8:34 – Takayama 12:14. This is the easiest way but you need to pay for the segment from Kyoto to Gifu which is not covered. It costs around 4,000 yen for base fare and limited express seat fee.

      Technically you can get Takayama from Kyoto without extra charge by this pass. But you need to get Kanazawa first and then take Nohi bus from Kanazawa to Takayama via Shirakawago or take Shinkansen from Kanazawa to Toyama, limited express Wide View Hida from Toyama to Takayama. If you take one of these routes, you don’t need to pay but you have to go through Kanazawa and Shirakawago (or Toyama) and need to change trains/buses at least once. Trip time is one hour longer. You cannot take both saving and easy way. Please think about 4000 yen is worth while for direct and shorter trip route.

      There is no deals available for Nagoya to Kyoto one way route. The most common route is taking Shinkansen from Nagoya to Kyoto. It costs around 6,000 yen. By the way, children who is 6 to 11 years old applies half amount of adult rate. Children who is younger than 5 year old is free of charge if kids share the seat with adult passengers. If you want to give one seat for even 5 or younger, you need to pay child rate.

      And also you need to pay for Chubu airport to Nagoya. This fare is not included in all prices above which I mentioned.
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/chubu-ngo/chubu-nagoya-airport-transportation-guide-find-info-about-airport-station-and-access-to-nagoya.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      • Pearly says:

        Hi Takeshi, thanks for your advice.

        I would like to further enquire :
        For the tourist pass, does it cover Kyoto – Takayama using Willer express (which cost JPY 2800 or more)?
        Also for Takayama station to Nagoya hotel (Sanco Inn), which is a more suitable transportation method:
        JR limit express train or JR local train or highway bus?
        Thank you once again for the advice
        Best regards, Pearly

        • Hi Pearly,

          Takayama Hokuriku area tourist pass does not cover bus lines which you mention. This pass covers bus route for Takayama-Shirakawago-Kanazawa and Shirakawago-Takaoka only.

          You can take limited express train “Wide View Hida” from Takayama to Nagoya by this pass.
          https://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-type/limited-express/limited-express-wide-view-hida.html

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          • Pearly says:

            Hi Takeshi,
            Really appreciate your advice.
            We have some further question as below concerning the transfer from chubu airport to kyoto:
            Refer to the chubu airport website, there’s an airport bus from chubu to kyoto which needs to transfer through Kintetsu -Yokkaichi station.
            1) Would like to know if the ticket can be purchase at chubu tourist information service counter?
            2) If yes, is the fare jpy 3k already covers from chubu to kyoto?
            3) We saw that Kintetsu -Yokkaichi station – Kyoto need to have prior booking, meaning we need to call earlier to book or how ?
            4) Lastly, what is the luggage allowance and how is it being charge? Is stroller allowed on board?
            We would like to explore this transport method since it seems quite easy and not too expensive.
            Thank you once again for the advice
            Pearly

  5. Maika Villanueva says:

    Hi Takeshi!

    We will be arriving on Nov 5 (8:00 p.m.), and will be leaving on Nov 12. We’re planning on getting the JR 7 days pass, our itinerary is as follows:

    Nov 5 (8:00p.m.) – arrival
    Nov.6 – Takayama – Shirakawago (stay at either Takayama or Nagoya)
    Nov.7 – From either Takayama or Nagoya go to Mt. Fuji overnight stay at Kawaguchico
    Nov. 8 – Kobe
    Nov. 9 – Kyoto
    Nov. 10 – Explore Osaka
    Nov. 11. – Hiroshima
    Nov. 12 – half day to explore Hiroshima then depart Japan via Kansai Int’l Airport in the evening

    Question: Is this itinerary feasible – particularly the Nagoya to Mt. Fuji part? What areas will be covered by the JR pass? Lastly, when can we start using the 7-day pass given that we will arrive in the evening of Nov 5? My understanding is, we have to start using it on Nov. 6 so that our trip from Hiroshima to Kansai airport will be covered by the pass, is my understanding correct?

    Thank you in advance.

  6. Yee Mun says:

    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.

  7. Anzu says:

    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

  8. Lex says:

    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

  9. Eileen says:

    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.

    • 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.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  10. Mai Bo says:

    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.

    Mai

    • 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.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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