Highlighted in colour = included in the Takayama-Hokuriku JR Pass
More Photos and Information:
Day 1: Half a Day in Gifu, Takayama
Day 2: Takayama, Shirakawago
I’ve received overwhelming responses on my instagram DM. Most of you are asking for my 6D5N Takayama-Hokuriku Experience Itinerary. I think that it was really a great trip, because seeing Shirakawa-go in winter was a bucket-list item for me, and it did not disappoint. This UNESCO World Heritage site is famous for its gassho-zukuri, a unique architecture style special for the Hida district of Japan. Do you know that just one hour away from Shirakawa-go, there are another two gassho villages called Ainokura and Suganuma?
For this trip, I’ve covered 4 prefectures (Hida, Toyama, Ishikawa, Fugui) and passed by 3 prefectures (Aichi, Kyoto, Osaka) by using the Takayama-Hokuriku JR Pass. For only 14,000 yen, this pass is GREAT value for money because the transport between Shirakawa-go, Toyama and Kanazawa alone is more than 10,000 yen.
Takayama-Hokuriku JR Pass (THJR)
How much is it?
Adult: 14,000 Yen (Children: 7,000 Yen) * children: 6 to 11 years of age
Valid for 5 consecutive days
What is included in the pass?
- Non-reserved seats of ordinary cars of JR limited express, express, rapid, and ordinary trains between Nagoya － Toyama station (via Tokaido/Takayama lines), between Kanazawa － Kyoto station － stations within Osaka City area (via Hokuriku/Kosei/Tokaido lines), between stations within Osaka City area － Kansai-airport station (via Hanwa/Kansai-airport lines)
- Non-reserved seats of ordinary cars of the Hokuriku Shinkansen between Toyama － Kanazawa station
- Nohi Bus/Toyama Chiho Railway/Hokutetsu Bus: Shirakawago/Kanazawa line and Takayama/Toyama line between Takayama Nohi Bus Center – Shirakawago – Kanazawa (with some exceptions; reservations required)
- Kaetsuno Bus: World Heritage Bus between Shirakawa-go － Shin-Takaoka station
This pass does not allow you to travel on the Tokaido Shinkansen between Kyoto － Shin-Osaka station. Please be aware that to travel on the Tokaido Shinkansen, you will need to pay the required basic fare and any additional fees separately. Be aware that additional fees will also be required for reserved seats of the Hokuriku Shinkansen between Toyama － Kanazawa station.
Reserved seats for ordinary trains of JR conventional lines are usable up to 4 times (excluding Kansai Int Airport return (Haruka Train), non- reserved seats are included in the pass).
In other words, it includes all the inter-city transport marked with blue & red lines in the map below.
Where can I buy it?
This pass is NOT available for purchase in Japan. You can get it from JTB/HIS/Apple and other tour agencies offices. Alternatively, you can buy it online via KLOOK. Remember to use code “KLOOKKBCG” for RM 20 off your first purchase. Upon arrival to Japan, you can use the pass to exchange for train tickets.
For more information, please refer to http://touristpass.jp/en/takayama_hokuriku/
Chubu Int Airport -> Nagoya (not included in THJR) -> Gifu -> overnight Takayama -> Shirakawa-go ->Shin Takaoka -> overnight Toyama -> Shin Takaoka -> overnight Kanazawa -> overnight Awaraonsen -> Fugui -> Tsuruga -> Kansai Int Airport
Pros: Cover almost all places included in the THJR Pass.
Cons: No time to visit Gokayama (another UNESCO World Heritage Site), too rush and there’s no direct flight from KL to Chubu International Airport.
How Would I Do It Next Time (Fly in & out Kansai Int Airport)
Option 1 (if you only have 5 days) :
Kansai Int Airport -> Osaka/Kyoto -> overnight Takayama (not included in the THJR pass) -> Shirakawa-go + Gokayama -> Shin Takaoka -> overnight Kanazawa -> overnight Awaraonsen -> Tsuruga -> overnight Kyoto/Osaka ->Kansai Int Airport
Option 2 (if you have more than 5 days and would love to explore Kyoto/Osaka):
Kansai Int Airport -> Kyoto -> Takayama overnight
then activate the TakayamaHokuriku Pass…
-> Shirakawa-go + Gokayama -> Shin Takaoka -> overnight Toyama -> Shin Takaoka -> overnight Kanazawa -> overnight Awaraonsen -> Tsuruga -> overnight Osaka -> Kansai Int Airport
Pros: Not too rush, able to visit both Shirakawa-go & Gokayama along the World Heritage Bus route, great for travelers who would like to visit Osaka/Kyoto too.
Cons: Extra expenses on Kansai Int Airport -> Kyoto (buy Haruka Icoca Pass, one way 3600 yen+FREE ICOCA card worth 2,000 yen) and Kyoto -> Takayama (buy Nouhi Bus ticket/Kintetsu Bus Ticket, one way 4,200 yen)
This two bus routes are included in the THJR Pass. As you can see, the Nohi bus provides easy access from Takayama to Shirakawa-go (reservation needed) where as the World Heritage Bus gets you from Shirakawa-go to another two gassho village, and to Shin Takaoka station. From Shin Takaosa station, you can easily take the shinkansen (included in THJR Pass) to Toyama & Kanazawa.
The two gassho village in Gokayama is on top of my to do list, however we were not able to make it due to time constraint. So please if you are going to visit Shirakawa-go, please allocate ample time to visit Gokayama.