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.

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

  1. Hey,

    I will be travelling from Matsumoto to Takayama to Kanazawa in Early December (between 6 – 19th). If possible, could you please confirm that 1) one or more buses between these towns are operational during this time; 2) Is it necessary to book a ticket a couple of days in advance or just on the day? 3) As I do not speak Japanese, should I provide a note in Japanese to assist in buying a bus ticket?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Amy B.,

      Nohi Bus covers all trips.
      https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/highwaybus/matsumoto_en/
      https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/english/highwaybus/shirakawago.pdf

      Reservation is not required for Matsumoto to Takayama. However advanced reservation is required for Takayama to Kanazawa. This line is very popular and always crowded. You can find a phone number and online booking address in the link above.

      Nohi bus is very familiar with foreign travelers. They can take care of you in English.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi,

    I will be arriving in Nagoya in Oct, staying for 3 nights then going to Takayama (staying for 2 nights), then do a day trip to Shiragawago, and then travel to Kanazawa staying for 2 nights, and then going to Kyoto. I am thinking to buy the 5 days Takayama-Hokuriku pass, which I will activate it when I reach Takayama. This pass will allow me to use the Nohi bus to go to Shiragawago, and also to Takayama, and also covers the JR tain to Kyoto? I believe this should be more worth it then going by regular JR train? I understand that the JR Takayama line is suspended from Takayama to Toyama to Kanazawa. Therefore I can only ride the bus from Takayama to Kanazawa.

    1. Hi Smile,

      I think you can start using Takayama Hokuriku area pass when you leave Nagoya. You can take Limited Express Wide View Hida from Nagoya to Takayama. It covers Nohi bus and Limited Express Thunderbird from Kanazawa to Kyoto. Of course you can use this pass and you can get the worth of it easily.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thank you Takeshi!
        How do I reserve seats for Nohi bus? I will need to buy the Takayama-Hokuriku pass first? Then call Nohi bus?

        Also, from what I read online, the JR Takayama line is suspended from Takayama to Toyama to Kanazawa until late November 2018. That was what I can see from the English website. Can you please double confirm to me if that’s the case?
        Thank you very much again!

        1. Hi Smile,

          Actually I’m not sure that you have to prove the pass holder or not when you make a reservation for Nohi bus over the phone. But you can book within one month. You cannot book a seat for Nohi bus for later than one month. So you may get the pass first.

          Train does not run a part of the segment between Toyama and Takayama. You have to take a substitute bus. You may take Nohi bus to Kanazawa too if you like. Please see the link below to find the info about the substitute bus.
          https://jprail.com/train-operation-status

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi Takeshi,

            Using the Takayama Hokuriku pass, which will allow me to take the JR Thunderbird limited express from Kanazawa to Kyoto, how do I reserve a seat? By calling well in advance? Or I can only reserve at the JR station?

            Thanks for your help!

  3. In October, we are travelling by bus from Nagoya to Takayama on the 13th, then to Gujo Hachiman on the 14th and back to Nagoya on the 15th.

    Can we use a return bus ticket to Takayama (valid for 4 days) breaking our journey in Gujo Hachiman for a day, or do we need a 4-coupon ticket, which is more expensive?

      1. Thanks Takeshi!

        Can you also explain what a 4-coupon ticket is?

        I can only see the price but not what it is used for? Could this help me?

        Thanks,

        Stephen

            1. Hi Stephen,

              This is a discount ticket for a frequent traveler. A person who travel on same segment frequently, such as a salesman, may buy this deal. Anyone can purchase this but this is not for your choice.

              Cheers,

              Takeshi / JRPail.com

              1. Hi Takashi-san,

                Thank you for your quick reply. That’s very useful – but not for us, as you said.

                Now we know what to do for our trip.

                ありがとうございました!

                Cheers,

                Stephen

  4. Hi Takeshi San,

    Very usefull web page – Congrats! I’d like to ask one question. I will be in Japan in August and for >3 weeks. I’ve already bought JPRail Passes. And now I try to plan my full itinerary and logistic of train travelling using hyperdia.com. The question is – how to recognize which train is covered by JPRail Pass and which is not? Very often you receive the combination of few trains (like this query for a trip Kyoto-Takayama: http://www.hyperdia.com/en/cgi/en/search.html?dep_node=KYOTO&arv_node=TAKAYAMA&via_node01=&via_node02=&via_node03=&year=2018&month=08&day=19&hour=10&minute=00&search_type=0&search_way=&transtime=undefined&sort=0&max_route=5&faretype=0&ship=off&lmlimit=null&search_target=route&facility=reserved&sum_target=7) and there is no chance to verify this. Do you have any way to resolve it? Maybe is there another web system covering this kind of information? Or should I check any single train? Best, Robert

    1. Hi Robert san,

      You may find “Input the search parameters” at the bottom of the link which you gave me. When you use hyperdia, please remove check at the following:
      Airplane
      Airport Shuttle Bus
      Nozomi / Mizuho / Hayabusa (Shinkansen)
      Private Railway

      And then search again to find the route which is covered by JR pass fully.

      Actually Hayabusa is covered by JR Pass. This runs between Tokyo and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto. So if you intend to visit Tohoku and/or Hokkaido regions, you can check at Nozomi / Mizuho / Hayabusa (Shinkansen).

      You also find some info about the coverage of JR pass in the link below:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/japan-rail-pass-user-guide-how-to-use-jr-pass-to-its-maximum.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Hello,

    We are arriving at chubu int’l airport at 830pm, is there a way to go straight to toyama for the kurobe alpine route? and also from Toyama to Takayama

  6. Hi Takeshi.
    We are a family of 5 arriving Nagoya on May 12 and will like to go directly to Takayama for the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Tour the following day.
    Can you please tell me the best way to get to Takayama from Nagoya?
    Thanks.

  7. Hi
    I will go to Takayama from Tokyo
    When i search the route via Hyperdia, it said took the Shinkansen Kagayaki 503 from Tokyo to Toyama, from Toyama use the Ltd exp wida no. 8 to Takayama

    My questions are: s it cover by JR Pass to use the Ltd exp wida train? How to book the train from Toyama to Takayama?

    Please advice

    Thx

    1. Hi Mega,

      Both trains are covered. You can book Wide View Hida at any JR stations which have the reservation window. In Tokyo, most of stations have the window. You can book both Kagayaki and Wide View Hida at same time.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. Is it possible to catch a direct train from Takayama to Osaka Kansai to arrive on time to catch a flight the same afternoon at 4.40 pm for Kuala Lumpur?

    1. Hi Anna,

      There is no direct trains from Takayama to Kansai airport. You have to change trains at least twice, Nagoya and Shin-Osaka. Trip time is around 5 hours. If you leave early morning, you can get Kansai airport by noon.
      Please use hyperdia to check the timetable:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/timetable-and-reservation/hyperdia-perfect-guide-train-timetable-and-route-search-engine.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  9. Hello, I will be travelling from Matsumoto to Hirayu Onsen, where I will spend one night. The next day I will travel from Hirayu Onsen to Takayama. Please could you tell me how to buy bus tickets for these two journeys? Thanks, Amy

  10. Hello Takeshi,
    Need advise on which JR Pass to purchase if would like to travel from Osaka to Takayama , Takayama to Shirakawago and return back to Osaka. Should I just get a return Shinkansen ticket or JR Pass, which would be cheaper ?

    1. Hi Teri,

      You cannot get the worth of JR pass by this trip. Regular ticket is cheaper. You may use Takayama Hokuriku area pass if you are okay with traveling via Kanazawa:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/takayama-hokuriku-area-pass-perfect-deal-to-get-takayama-kanazawa-toyama-shirakawago-from-nagoya-or-osaka.html

      You cannot take the route via Nagoya from Osaka to Takayama by this pass.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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