As Japan gets many overseas visitors, there are several rail passes available specifically for foreign tourists. These passes can save you up to 50% compared to regular train tickets, so there is no downside if you use them wisely.
In this article, we will introduce you the “Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass” sold by JR Central and JR West.
What is the “Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass”?
The “Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass” is a convenient ticket for those who wish to visit the famous sights of the World Heritage Sites Shirakawa-go and Gokayama, Takayama, and Kanazawa from Kansai International airport or Nagoya area. This pass grants you unlimited use for rides on applicable JR lines, the Hokuriku Shinkansen, and bus lines to sightseeing areas for five consecutive days. Without this pass, a visitor following the route from Kansai International Airport to Takayama, Shirakawa-go and Gokayama, Kanazawa, and back to the airport as shown below would spend around 20,000 yen on express train and bus tickets (price varies depending on order of stops and means of transportation). That said, the pass is only 14,000 yen, earning you a savings of around 30% on this route alone (the pass is 7,000 yen for children 6 to 11 years of age)!
How to Purchase the “Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass”
Please note that you can only purchase this great value pass before arriving Japan! See below for detailed notes on how to purchase and obtain a pass.
- To be eligible to purchase a JR pass, you must be in possession of a non-Japanese passport and come to Japan as a “temporary visitor.”
- First, you must purchase an Exchange Order (MCO: Miscellaneous Charges Order) at a designated overseas travel agency. Then, after arriving in Japan, you can exchange it for the pass at exchange offices in designated JR Central and JR West stations, as well as at select JR Tokai Tours locations, listed below. (You must present your passport at the time of the exchange.)
*Designated Overseas Travel Agencies: Overseas branches of the below listed companies or travel agencies.
JTB Corporation, Nippon Travel Agency, KINTETSU INTERNATIONAL, Tobu Top Tours, Japan Airlines, JALPAK (listed in no particular order)
[Exchange Office Locations]
- JR Central: Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shin-Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, Takayama
- JR West: Kansai Airport, Osaka, Shin-Osaka (including Travel Corner), Kyoto, Komatsu, Kanazawa, Toyama
- JR Tokai Tours: Tokyo, Shinagawa, Shin-Yokohama
※Seat reservations can be made at the above locations, as well as at ticket windows in JR Central and JR West stations.
About Major Areas You Can Visit with the “Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass”
Takayama (also known as Hida-Takayama) is a home to the famous sightseeing spots such as “Hida-Takayama Museum of Art” and “Oku-Hida Onsen Villages”. Among them, we would like to recommend you to check out the “nostalgic old-town” atmosphere of the area. With the preserved appearance of the mercantile district of the castle town from the Edo Period (1603 – 1868), you may feel like you are time-traveling.
- Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture
2) Shirakawa-go, Gokayama
Shirakawa-go and Gokayama are popular sightseeing spots registered as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. They are home to settlements of “gassho-zukuri” houses, a type of architecture built to withstand heavy snowfall. The view is particularly spectacular in the winter, as if you’ve entered a fantasy world.
- Shirakawa Village, Ono District, Gifu Prefecture
Kanazawa has many tourist attractions from historical streets still retaining the atmosphere of the Edo Period to Kanazawa Castle and Kanazawa’s 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art. Among those, we recommend you to visit “Kenroku-en.”, which is one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. This is an excellent spot to visit year-round as it offers incomparable magnificent views in each season.
- 1 Kenrokumachi, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture
What’s more, the “Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass” also grants you an access to Hida City (Hida-Furukawa), one of the locations featured in the hit animated movie “Kimi no Na Wa” (“Your Name”)!
Enjoy Japan to its fullest with this great value pass!