Travel Guide | How to Access Shirakawa-go from Tokyo

Monday, February 12, 2018

Japan has one of the best transportation systems in Asia and the world. Metropolitan areas, suburbs and even the most remote villages have access to efficient public transport. Trust Japan for building additional train lines that would make it easier (not like it ain’t easy yet) to get to beautiful tourism hotspots from its major cities. Take the Hokuriku Shinkansen for example. In 2015, the existing Nagano Shinkansen Train Line was extended making travel from Tokyo to Kanazawa in just 2.5 hours. Travelers coming from Tokyo and the surrounding Kanto Region no need to travel to Nagoya just to get to Shirakawa-go. In this guide, I will show you various means to get Shirakawa-go from Tokyo.
Getting to Shirakawa-go from Tokyo can be done by train and bus. 
Option # 1 (Tokyo - Kanazawa - Shirakawa-go for JR Pass Holders)
This is the cheapest option because you 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 since you will take Hokuriku Shinkansen (either Kagayaki and Hakutaka). 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.

Option # 2 (Tokyo - 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 Tokyo 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.

Option # 3 (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 Tokyo to Kanazawa. Daily trips are offered by highway bus company Willer Express. Travel time to Kanazawa is about 8 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. If you’re on a budget, you may consider getting a Japan Bus Pass by Willer Express, with options for three (JPY 10,000), five (JPY 12,500), or 7 consecutive days (JPY 15,000).

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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