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

Gassho style housing in Shirakawago.

This segment is partially closed at this point due to the landslide by typhoon. It will be repaired in mid November, 2018.

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.

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.

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

  1. 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!!

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        Apologies for the repeat inquiry as I did not realize that you had replied to my previous inquiry.

        Thank you so much for your help! 😀

  2. 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!!

    1. 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.


      Takeshi /

  3. 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.

    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!


    1. Hi ST san,

      The only available choice is Takayama Hokuriku area pass.

      However if you use this pass, you need to take the route via Kanazawa. The most common route from Osaka/Kyoto to Takayama is Osaka/Kyoto-Nagoya-Takayama. But this pass does not cover Kyoto-Nagoya.

      You can reach Kansai airport by 22:00 even if you take Kanazawa route. So if you want to save your cost, this pass is the best choice. You can use this pass for the last 5 days of your trip.

      You can use this pass to take JR train between Osaka and Kyoto. But you need to add the other deal to take subway, city bus or other local trains in Kyoto.

      You may find the other deals for KIX to Osaka and Osaka in the links below.


      Takeshi /

  4. 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

    1. 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.


      Takeshi /

      1. 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

          1. 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

  5. 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.

      1. Hi! This is in connection to my previous email,
        Sorry it would seem my information is incomplete. We will be arriving on Nov5, 8p.m at KAnsai International Airport. We have yet to decide if we are going to spend the night at the airport or check in at Osaka, then the following day, Nov. 6, we will proceed to either KAnazawa or Takayama then Shirakawago.

        1. Hi Maika,

          You may use JR pass 7 days from day 2 to the end of your trip. If you go to Osaka on arrival day, you can use other deal if you like.

          When you go to Fuji, you need to take a bus from Mishima to Lake Kawaguchi. This bus is not covered by JR pass.

          Bus to Shirakwago, subway and bus in the cities are not covered by JR pass either. Please see the link below to find more info:

          Your itinerary is okay. You can keep this plan.


          Takeshi /

  6. 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 /

  7. 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. 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 /

  9. 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 /

  10. 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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