How to Get to Shirakawa-go via Takayama from Kyoto


Of all, Shirakawa-go from Kyoto via Takayama has a sweet spot among travellers. And for all the right reasons! This route diversifies your solo journey right from the start. 

Starting from Kyoto with a stopover at mountainous Gifu Prefecture of Japan – the Takayama city to one-of-a-kind UNESCO heritage village Shirakawa-go, hold on your horses as you are in for an absolutely adventurous journey on this route.

So, if you are ready to uncover another side of Japan, read this detailed guide on the best way to get to Shirakawa-go via Takayama from Kyoto. 

Getting to Takayama from Kyoto  

On your way to Shirakawa-go from Kyoto, the first step is to reach Takayama. The best way to get there is to go from Nagoya. 

  • Preferably, take an early morning Shinkansen on the JR Tokaido line from Kyoto to Nagoya. You have three different Shinkansen options – the Nozomi, Hikari, and Kodama. Based on what you choose, it will take you about 35 to 50 minutes to reach Nagoya station. 
  • As you reach Nagoya station, switch to the JR Express Limited Hida train that takes you to Takayama in about 2 hours and 30 minutes. 

Getting to Shirakawa-go from Takayama

Once you arrive at Takayama, you have two options. You can either take a breather to discover the bygone times of the Edo era or taste the signature Takayama dish – Hida beef sushi. 

Or, directly move towards the final part of the journey, i.e., getting to Shirakawa-go from Takayama.

  • Right beside the JR Takayama station is the Takayama bus terminal. From there, you will find the Nohi Bus running frequently to Shirakawa-go between 8 am and 4 pm. It takes about 50 minutes to reach Shirakawa-go. And it costs about ¥2640 for a one-way ride. Besides, this bus ride is one of the best I have had in Japan. The mountain roads are not only scenic but also fulfill the adventurous quotient of the journey. 

Other Ways to Get to Shirakawa-go via Takayama from Kyoto  

Although the above combination of two train rides and bus is the best way to get to Shirakawa-go from Kyoto, there are other ways to reach Shirakawa-go as well.

1. Drive a Rental Car to Shirakawa-go

If you want to travel on your terms, nothing can top the convenience of a rental car. Overall, you have to drive about 310 kilometres of distance to reach Shirakawa-go via Takayama from Kyoto. That said, along with stops in between, it should not take you more than 5 to 6 hours to reach the destination. 

2. Book yourself on a Guided Tour to Shirakawa-go via Takayama from Kyoto.

Several tour operators in Kyoto arrange for a day trip to Shirakawa-go with a stopover at Takayama as well as 2 night and 1-day trip and more. You can customise it according to your preference. Just coordinate and communicate clearly with the team. 

Tips to Travel from Kyoto to Shirakawa-go via Takayama

How to Get to Shirakawago from Kyoto

  • If you are a little finicky about seats, it is best to book your Shinkansen ticket in advance. 
  • If you have a JR Pass, both your train travels from Kyoto to Nagoya and Nagoya to Takayama are covered.
  • In case, you are travelling in peak seasons – spring and autumn, reserve your Nohi bus seat in advance. 
  • Pack light and wear comfortable shoes with a good grip, as Shirakawa is best explored on foot.

A Recommended Itinerary for You to Get to Shirakawa-go via Takayama from Kyoto  

Here’s a recommended itinerary with time stamps to help you plan your day effectively:

  • 6:29 am – Board Shinkansen from Kyoto Station to Nagoya Station.
  • 7:02 am – Arrive at Nagoya and grab a breakfast.
  • 7:43 am – Take Hida Express from Nagoya to Takayama.
  • 10:16 am – Arrive at Takayama station.
  • 10:30 am – Explore Takayama and have lunch.
  • 1:00 pm – Board Nohi Bus to Shirakawa-go.
  • 1:50 pm – Reach Shirakawa-go bus terminal.
  • 2:00 pm – Tour and cover all the highlights of Shirakawa-go, especially the gassho-zukuri-style inns with a thatched roof. 
  • 4:30 pm – Hop on a return Nohi Bus back to Takayama.
  • 5:20 pm – Arrive at Takayama bus terminal.
  • 6:00 pm – Take a Hida Express ride back to Nagoya Station.
  • 8:20 pm – Reach Nagoya station.
  • 8:40 pm – Transfer to Shinkansen to go back to Kyoto.
  • 9:20 pm – Arrive at Kyoto and call it a day.

The times mentioned above are subject to change, so check the schedule before planning your day. 

Are You Ready for an Authentic Rural Experience?

No matter at which time you happen to be in Japan, whether you want a day trip from Kyoto or an in-depth experience of a remote Japanese village, Shirakawa-go via Takayama is a must-do on your solo trip to Japan

How to Get to Shirakawago from Kyoto

After all, where else can you capture such a combination of nature and heritage villages in Japan? Plus, there’s magic in every leg of this route! 

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An introverted solo female traveller on an adventure around the world.

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