How to go to SHIRAKAWA-GO from Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto and Takayama

Shirakawa-go is an age-old village fringed by mountains and studded with gabled gassho-style houses.  For a long period of time, it was cut off from the rest of the world while thriving on rearing of silkworms and cultivating mulberry trees. Shirakawa-go can be reached from Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto and Nara. But the easiest and most convenient route to Shirakawa-go is from Nagoya.

Shirakawa-go was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (“Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama”) that includes the gassho style villages in Taira Villlage Ainokura in Toyama Prefecture, Kamitaira Village Suganum and Shirakawa Village Ogimachi in Gifu Prefecture. Shirakawa-go is best visited on winter (December – March), when the village is draped by snow. We visited during spring, and I find it equally charming because Shirakawago is dappled with cherry blossoms that shimmer against the deep green trees in the forest. Due to the rising popularity of Shirakawa-go, better to avoid visiting during holidays and weekends because it’s most likely crowded.

Shirawa-go is best viewed from the Shirakawa-go Shiroyama Observatory Deck (Shirakawa-mura) where you can witness a panoramic view of  the gassho- style houses that resemble hands in prayer, partly shaded by the jungle-clad mountains and interrupted by the flowing river.  If you visit Shirakawa-go during winter, it even gets more dramatic at night when the entire village lights up, creating a winter wonderland.

To help you plan your trip to Shirakawa-go, here’s a detailed guide on how to go to Shirakawa-go from Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto and Takayama.

 

SHIRAKAWA-GO FROM TOKYO

SHIRAKAWAGO

From Tokyo,you can actually go to Shirakawa-go without having to travel to Nagoya.  This route will pass through Toyama.  But, be advised that this route is longer and a bit more expensive compared to the Shirakawa-go from Nagoya route.

If you have a JR PASS, you can use it for your Hokuriku Shinkansen ride from Tokyo to Shirakawa-go.  You can PURCHASE JR PASS HERE.

 

TOKYO STATION ⇒ TOYAMA ⇒ SHIRAKAWA-GO

This is the fastest route to Shirakawa-go from Tokyo.  Total travel time is about 5 hours and 24 minutes.  Total fare is JPY 14,270/ PHP 6,938 /USD 133/EURO 109/SGD 176/MYR 522.

STEP 1: From Tokyo Metro Station in Tokyo, walk to Tokyo Station (about 240 meters).

STEP 2: At Tokyo Station, take the Hokuriku Shinkansen (Kagayaki).

Bus Fare: JPY 12,730/PHP 6,189/USD 119/EURO 97/SGD 157/MYR 466

Transit time: About 2 hours and 11 minutes

STEP 3: Alight at Toyama.

STEP 4: At Toyama, walk for about 5 minutes to Toyama Station (take note that Toyama is different from Toyoma Station) Bus Stop. CLICK HERE for location map. Consult Google Maps for directions, GPS Coordinates is 36°42’03.0″N 137°12’46.8″E.

STEP 5: Transfer to Nohi Bus to Shirakawa-go.  This express bus departs at Toyoma Station Bus Stop #1.

Bus Fare: JPY 1,540/PHP 749/USD 14/EURO 12/SGD 19/MYR 56

Travel time:  Approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes

STEP 6: Alight at Shirakawa-go.

IMPORTANT:

Reservation is required for Nohi Bus from Toyama to Shirakawa-go, contact Nohi Bus at phone number +81-577-32-1688 / Toyama Chiho Railway Bus phone number +81-76-433-4890 from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM.

For online reservation, CLICK HERE

Check the NOHI BUS SCHEDULE HERE 

Fares may vary depending on the season and type of bus.

Transit times mentioned here doesn’t include transfer and waiting time.

 

SHIRAKAWA-GO FROM NAGOYA

SHIRAKAWAGO

OPTION 1: 

SHIRAKAWA-GO TOUR PACKAGE

A hassle-free way to Shirakawa-go from Nagoya is by booking a tour package.

 

RESERVE BUS TOUR HERE

This tour package includes a visit to Shirakawa-go, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Ainokura, a remote farmhouse village in the Gokayama region.  Cheaper than taking the highway bus (lunch and tour guide included).

 

BOOK TOUR PACKAGE HERE

This is another great option as you can join a group tour to Shirakawa Village + Takayama, a city buried in the mountainous Hida region, known for its beautifully preserved old town.

 

OPTION 2:

SHORYUDO HIGHWAY BUS PASS

A cheaper and convenient way to get to Shirikawa-go from Nagoya is via the Shoryudo Highway Buss Pass. You can choose from 3 days to 5 days pass  (unlimited rides). You’ll enjoy a discount of over 35% from your travels around the Chubu Hokuriku region of Japan like Takayama, Shirakawa-go, Kanazama, Toyama and Nagoya areas – all with one pass.

 

 RESERVE BUS TICKET HERE

 

OPTION 3:  

BY HIGHWAY EXPRESS BUS

If you don’t want to join a tour package as you prefer on exploring this quaint village on your own, you can do a DIY trip to Shirikawa-go from Nagoya.  Personally though, I still prefer the Shoryudo Bus Pass (see Option 3 above), as it is cost-efficient, convenient and I can still get around Chubu Hokuriku region on my own.  But if you only have a day to spend to spend in Shirakawa-go, best to just join the tour package mentioned above, since it’s cheaper and it already includes a guide and lunch.

STEP 1: Take the metro to Nagoya Station.

STEP 2: Walk towards Meitetsu BC Bus Stop.

STEP 3: Purchase bus ticket to Shirakawa-go via Gifu.

Bus fare:  JPY 3900/PHP 1,896/USD 36/EURO30/SGD 48/MYR 143

Travel time: Approximately 2 hours and 50 minutes.

STEP 4: Alight at Shirikawa-go.

 

SHIRAKAWA-GO FROM OSAKA 

SHIRAKAWAGO

OPTION 1

OSAKA ⇒ NAGOYA  ⇒ SHIRAKAWA-GO

STEP 1: At Shin-Osaka Station in Osaka, ride the JR Shinkansen train to Nagoya.  Depending on your schedule, you can ride any of the following Shinkansen trains:  Kodoma, Nozomi (50 mins) or Hikari (69 mins).

Reserved seat fare: JPY 6,560/PHP 3,189/USD 61/EURO 50/SGD 81/MYR 240

Non-reserved seat fare: JPY 5,830/PHP 2,834/USD 55/EURO 44/SGD 72/MYR 213

Travel time: Roughly 50-69 minutes

IMPORTANT: JR Pass isn’t accepted on Shinkansen Nozomi, but you can use it on Hikari and Kodoma trains.

STEP 2:  Alight at Nagoya Station.

STEP 3:  From Nagoya Station, walk to Meitetsu BC Bus Stop.

STEP 4:  Buy bus ticket to Shirakawa-go via Gifu. Prior reservation is highly recommended.

Bus Fare: JPY 3900/PHP 1,896/USD 36/EURO30/SGD 48/MYR 143

Travel time: Approximately 2 hours and 50 minutes

Alternatively, you can also purchase a Shoryudo Bus Pass for 3 days or 5 days unlimited rides. This is a good option since it’s unlimited rides around Chubu Hokuriku region of Japan (Takayama, Shirakawago, Kanazama, Toyama and Nagoya areas).

RESERVE BUS TICKET HERE

STEP 5:  Get off at Shirikawa-go.

 

OPTION 2

OSAKA ⇒ KANAZAWA ⇒ SHIRAKAWA-GO

STEP 1:  From Osaka Station, take the JR Ltd. Express Thunderbird to Kanazawa Station.

Reserved seat fare: JPY 7,650/PHP 3,719/USD 72/EURO 58/SGD94/MYR 280

Non-reserved seat fare: JPY 7,130/PHP 3,466/USD 55/EURO 54/SGD 88/MYR 261

Transit time: 2 hours and 8 minutes.

STEP 2: Alight at Kanazawa Station.

STEP 3: From Kanazawa Station, transfer to Nohi Bus en route to Shirakawa-go.

Bus Fare: JPY 1,850/PHP 899/USD 17/EURO 14/SGD 23/MYR 68

Travel Time:  About 1 hour and 15 minutes

But you can also purchase a Shoryudo Bus Pass for 3 days or 5 days unlimited rides. I highly recommend this option because it offers unlimited rides around the Chubu Hokuriku region of Japan (Takayama, Shirakawago, Kanazama, Toyama and Nagoya areas).  And it’s a lot cheaper considering it’s unlimited rides!

RESERVE BUS TICKET HERE

STEP 4. Alight at Shirikawa-go.

IMPORTANT:

Reservation is required for Nohi Bus from Kanazawa to Shirakawa-go, contact Nohi Bus at phone number +81-577-32-1688 / Toyama Chiho Railway Bus phone number +81-76-433-4890 from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM.

For online reservation, CLICK HERE.

Check the NOHI BUS SCHEDULE HERE 

 

SHIRIKAWA-GO FROM KYOTO

SHIRAKAWAGO 19

Option 1:

 

 

KYOTO TO SHIRAKAWAGO: KYOTO ⇒ NAGOYA ⇒ SHIRAKAWA-GO

STEP 1: From Kyoto Station, take the Shinkansen to Nagoya Station.  You can take any of the following Shinkansen trains:  Kodoma, Nozomi (35 mins) or Hikari (36 mins).

Reserved Seat Fare: JPY 5,800/PHP 2,820/USD 54/EURO 44/SGD 71/MYR 212

Non-reserved seat Fare: JPY 5,070/PHP 2,465/USD 47/EURO 39/SGD 62/MYR 185

IMPORTANT: JR Pass isn’t accepted on Shinkansen Nozomi, but you can use it on Kodoma and Hikari Shinkansen trains.

STEP 2:  Disembark at Nagoya Station.

STEP 3:  From Nagoya Station, head to Meitetsu BC Bus Stop.

STEP 4:  Purchase bus ticket to Shirakawa-go via Gifu.  Prior reservation is highly recommended.

Bus Fare: JPY 3900/PHP 1,896/USD 36/EURO30/SGD 48/MYR 143

Travel time: Approximately 2 hours and 50 minutes

Also, you can purchase a Shoryudo Bus Pass for 3 days or 5 days unlimited rides to Shirakawa-go from Nagoya.  This is a good option because it offers unlimited rides around the Chubu Hokuriku region of Japan (Takayama, Shirakawago, Kanazama, Toyama and Nagoya areas).

 

RESERVE BUS TICKET HERE

STEP 5:  Get off at Shirikawa-go.

 

Option 2:

KYOTO ⇒ KANAZAWA ⇒ SHIRAKAWA-GO

STEP 1:  From Kyoto Station, take the LTD. Express Thunderbird to Kanazawa.

Reserved Seat Fare: JPY 6,900/PHP 3,355/USD 65/EURO 52/SGD 85/MYR 252

Unreserved Seat Fare: JPY 6,380/PHP 3,102/USD 60/EURO 48/SGD 79/MYR 233

Transit Time:  Approximately 2 hours and 5 minutes

 STEP 2: Alight at Kanazawa Station.

STEP 3: From Kanazawa Station, transfer to Nohi Bus en route to Shirakawa-go.

Bus Fare: JPY 1,850/PHP 899/USD 17/EURO 14/SGD 23/MYR 68

Travel Time:  Roughly 1 hour and 15 minutes

But you can also purchase a Shoryudo Bus Pass for 3 days or 5 days unlimited rides. I highly recommend this option because it offers unlimited rides around the Chubu Hokuriku region of Japan (Takayama, Shirakawago, Kanazama, Toyama and Nagoya areas).

RESERVE BUS TICKET HERE

STEP 4. Alight at Shirikawa-go.

IMPORTANT:

Reservation is required for Nohi Bus from Kanazawa to Shirakawa-go, contact Nohi Bus at phone number +81-577-32-1688 / Toyama Chiho Railway Bus phone number +81-76-433-4890 from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM.

Check the NOHI BUS SCHEDULE HERE 

 

SHIRAKAWA-GO FROM TAKAYAMA

SHIRAKAWAGO FROM OSAKA

If you plan to travel to Takayama first before going to Shirakawa-go, this is a great option. Otherwise, you can get to Shirakawa-go from Nagoya by bus.

STEP 1: From Takayama, ride the Nohi Bus to Shirakawa-go.

Bus Fare: JPY 2,470/PHP 1,201/USD 23/EURO 19/SGD 30/MYR 90

Transit time: Approximately 50 minutes.

Alternatively, you can purchase the Shoryudo Bus Pass for 3 days or 5 days unlimited rides. This is recommended because it offers unlimited rides around the Chubu Hokuriku region of Japan (Takayama, Shirakawago, Kanazama, Toyama and Nagoya areas).

RESERVE BUS TICKET HERE

STEP 2: Alight at Shirakawa-go Bus stop.

 

WHERE TO STAY IN SHIRAKAWA-GO

Shirakawago no Yu Hotel

SHIRAKAWAGO FROM TOKYO

337, Ogi-machi,shiwakara-mura,Ono-gun, Shirakawago, Shirakawago, Japan

 

CHECK ROOM RATES HERE

 

TOYOTA Shirakawa-Go Eco-Institute

SHIRAKAWAGO FROM TOKYO

223 Magari, Shirakawa-mura, Ono-gun, Shirakawago, Shirakawago, Japan

CHECK ROOM RATES HERE

Minshuku Kanjiya

SHIRAKAWAGO FROM TOKYO

Ogi-Machi 689, Shirakawago, Shirakawago, Japan

CHECK ROOM RATES HERE

 

 WHERE TO STAY IN NAGOYA

 

Mid-Range

This is where we stayed at

Hotel Wing International Nagoya

SHIRAKAWAGO FROM NAGOYA

1-4-11 Nishiki, Naka-Ku, Aichi , Nagoya Station / Downtown, Nagoya

CHECK ROOM RATES HERE

 

Hotel Silk Tree Nagoya

SHIRAKAWAGO FROM NAGOYA

2-20-5 Nishiki, Nakaku, Nagoya Station / Downtown, Nagoya, Japan

CHECK ROOM RATES HERE

 


SHIRAKAWA-GO SIDE TRIPS:

GOKAYAMA

shirakawago
photo provided by Klook

You can visit historic villages including two World Heritage Sites; explore Ainokura, a remote farmhouse village in the Gokayama region and Shiraka-go in one day!

RESERVE TOUR HERE 

 

TAKAYAMA

SHIRAKAWAGO FROM NAGOYA

Explore Takayama, a pristinely preserved old town surrounded by mountains in Hida region, Japan. Also included is a trip to Shirakawa Village.

 BOOK TOUR HERE

 

LEGOLAND NAGOYA

shirakawago
photo provided by Klook

Visit Legoland, the newest Lego theme park just opened in Nagoya, Japan. Experience over 40 different attractions, including a variety of rides, shows, and activities.

BOOK TICKET HERE

 

MANILA TO NAGOYA 

If coming from the Philippines, there are regular flights from Manila to Nagoya (Chubu International Airport) and JETSTAR airline offers the cheapest rate I’ve seen so far. You can book your flights here https://www.jetstar.com/.  Jetstar flies 4 times weekly from Manila to Nagoya, they offer one of the cheapest airfare to Japan.

shirakawa-go
This post was made possible by Jetstar Asia.

 

ALSO READ:

NAGOYA TRAVEL GUIDE (Itinerary + Budget)

NAGOYA ITINERARY

OSAKA TRAVEL GUIDE (Budget + Itinerary)
KYOTO TRAVEL GUIDE (Budget + Itinerary)
TOKYO ITINERARY

 

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