A day trip to visit major tourist spots in Takayama & Shirakawa 《Special article to explore Chubu & Hokuriku areas from Shinjuku by express bus 2/3》

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Hida is an area located close to the heart of the Japan islands. Surrounding the area from the east and the west are beautiful high mountains and from the south to the north, canyons with a river also surround the area. Takayama City in Gifu prefecture, which is located at the center of the area (“Takayama” for short) is a historical castle town that flourished nearly 400 years ago. Classical townscape with historical atmosphere is still preserved in these days.

Classical townscape in Takayama with historical atmosphere
Classical townscape in Takayama with historical atmosphere

Then, from Takayama, head Northwest on an express bus for about 50 minutes and you will arrive at Shirakawa Village in Ono-gun, Gifu prefecture (“Shirakawa” or “Shirakawa-go” for short). Shirakawa-go is a heavily snowed area with as much as 2m of snow accumulation through December to March. To save roofs from damages by snow, people in the village had to be creative and that was how gassho-zukuri houses with triangle-shaped roofs began. In Shirakawa-go where abundant nature is preserved, you can enjoy various beautiful sights in each four season. In this article, we will talk about a day trip to fully enjoy Takayama and Shirakawa.

1. Access to “Chubu & Hokuriku areas”

Even from Tokyo, “Chubu & Hokuriku areas” including locations in this article are easily accessible. That said, taking “Three-Star Japan Alps Line”; a highway express bus service is a must-checkout way to get around. After leaving from Shinjuku, a bus drives through Chuo Expressway and take you to Chubu & Hokuriku areas. Traveling by bus is cheaper than taking Shinkansen and some passes are combined with unlimited ride ticket for a local bus in your destination city. The fact that you can leave your big luggage in a trunk and travel comfortably is another bonus of taking a bus. Utilize an express bus pass and have a smart and fun trip! (more information about the great-value highway bus ticket at the end of this article).

A great-value express bus from Shinjuku
A great-value express bus from Shinjuku

2. A day trip to explore major tourist spots in Takayama& Shirakawa

In 《Special article to explore Chubu & Hokuriku areas from Shinjuku by express bus 1/3》, we introduced a trip to visit Matsumoto area in a day.

We will start this trip on a next morning after having a great time in Matsumoto and spending a night around Matsumoto station!
First of all, get on an express bus from Matsumoto station at 7:50 am. Around 10:15 am, you will arrive at Takayama station. From the station, you will head to San-machi Dori.

Destination #1: San-machi Dori

  • Recommended Access: Walk for about 10 minutes from Takayama station
  • Time schedule: Arrive at 10:30 am/Stay for 1 hour and 30 mins

Kamiichino-machi to Kamisanno-machi that flourished as a merchant town with sake breweries and traditional craft shops. Nostalgic streets, which have been selected as an important traditional building preservation area, are commonly known as “San-machi Dori”.

“San-machi Dori” with nostalgic streets
“San-machi Dori” with nostalgic streets

San-machi Dori

Kamiichino-machi to Kamisanno-machi in Takayama City, Gifu

Destination #2: Shirakawa-go

  • Recommended access: About 50 minutes on an express bus from Takayama Nouhi Bus center
  • Time schedule: Arrive at 1:10 pm/Stay for 2 to 3 hours

A World Heritage designated community with gassho-zukuri architecture. In this community, historical scenery has been preserved without changing a look. One example of it is Wadake House that’s over 300 years old.

Shirakawa-go with attractive laid-back sceneries
Shirakawa-go with attractive laid-back sceneries


05769-6-1311 Dept. of Tourism Promotion at Shirakawa Village Office)
Ogimachi, Onogun Shirakawamura, Gifu

Being a famous tourist spot, there are accommodations in Shirakawa-go. Make sure to make a reservation.

3. Introducing great-value high way express bus pass to travel to Chubu & Hokuriku areas from Shinjuku

3-1.Three-Star Route Shinjuku Ticket

With this pass, you can travel to Shinshu Matsumoto and Hida Takayama from Shinjuku. Then, from there, you can further travel to either Kanazawa or Toyama by transferring an express bus and such. The pass is valid for 7 days. For your convenience and even greater value, there is also an option to purchase a pass that comes with a local bus ticket.
Pass Price: Adult ¥8,560/Child ¥4,280

Three-Star Route Shinjuku Ticket
Three-Star Route Shinjuku Ticket

3-2.Three-Star Alps Unlimited Ride Pass

A pass valid for 7 days that allows you to travel from Shinjuku to Shinshu Matsumoto and Hida Takayama, and also to Toyama and Kanazawa by transferring an express bus and such. In an applicable area in Shinshu Hida, you will have unlimited access to local buses. In addition, this pass comes with discount bonus for various tourist spots in the area.
Ticket Price: 12/1 to 3/31 Adult ¥15,000/Child ¥7,500
          4/1 to 11/30 Adult ¥16,900/Child ¥8,450

Three-Star Alps Unlimited Ride Pass
Three-Star Alps Unlimited Ride Pass

Find out details about the pass from the official website listed below.

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