Travel Guide | How to Access Shirakawa-go from Osaka

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Traveling in Japan for the first time can be a daunting concept. First time travelers might get overwhelmed when it comes to travel planning, especially choosing which destinations in Japan to visit. When people would ask where in the country I suggest a first-timer to visit, I would always say Shirakawa-go. If you’ve recently snagged a seat sale to Osaka, and you’re looking to explore other parts of Japan beyond the usual Tokyo-Osaka-Kyoto, then this travel guide might be useful!
Traveling from Osaka to Shirakawa-go? This guide might help you!
Option # 1 (Osaka - Kanazawa - Shirakawa-go for JR Pass Holders)
This is the cheapest option because we will only pay for the bus ride going to Shirakawa-go as the train ride is covered by JR pass. This option is also the fastest since there are no train transfers if you will take JR Thunderbird Limited Express Trains. In Kanazawa, bus tickets can be purchased from Nohi - Hokutetsu Bus Terminal which is located on the east side of JR Kanazawa Station. We purchased a one way ticket to Shirakawa-go then another ticket to Takayama that we used the next day.
There are direct and non direct trains going to Kanazawa from Osaka. Make sure to select a train schedule that goes straight to Kanazawa.
Option # 2 (Osaka - Nagoya - Takayama - Shirakawa-go for JR Pass Holders)
This option can be done if you plan to explore Takayama before heading out to Shirakawa-go. You need to travel by train from Osaka to Nagoya, then transfer lines in Nagoya to Takayama. Train rides are covered by JR Pass. From Takayama Hida Bus Center, located next to JR Takayama Station, you can reserve a bus to Shirakawa-go. Same as Option # 1, you only need to pay for the bus ride to Shirakawa-go.
There are plenty of train lines that connect Osaka and Nagoya, so if time of the essence, make sure to select a schedule with no train transfers required.


Limited Express Hida (Wide View) is my favorite train line in Japan. You'll understand why when you get on it. :)
Option # 3 (Takayama - Hokuriku Pass for Non-JR Pass Holders)
For Non-JR Pass holders, you may consider getting the Takayama - Hokuriku Pass if you will be travelling between Nagoya with Takayama and Toyama, and Osaka and Kyoto with Kanazawa and Toyama, as well as on buses to Shirakawago for 5 consecutive days. The price is JPY 14,000 (50% reduced rates to children aged 6-11), which provides unlimited use of JR Trains in the area covered. Yes, it is not cheap but the amount you will pay for transportation in this area on a 'per ride' basis is significantly more than the price of the pass. 

Option # 4 (Daytime and Overnight Buses for Non-JR Pass Holders)
For Non-JR Pass holders, you may also consider taking an overnight or daytime bus from Osaka to Kanazawa. Daily trips are offered by highway bus companies like Hokutetsu, Hankyu and Nishinihon JR Bus. Travel time to Kanazawa is about 5 hours. From there, you may purchase bus tickets from Nohi - Hokutetsu Bus Terminal, which is located on the east side of JR Kanazawa Station, to get to Shirakawa-go.

So, that’s about it guys! I hope this guide will prove useful when you plan your trip to Shirakawa-go.  Watch out for my upcoming travel guides and travelogues! And don't forget to share your thoughts in the comment section below! :)

Other ways to get to Shirakawa-go: 

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