Best Tours and Itineraries in Takayama & Shirakawa-go

Best Tours and Itineraries in Takayama & Shirakawa-go

Nestled in the heart of the Japanese Alps, Takayama provides a serene retreat from the fast pace of major cities like Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka, enchanting visitors with its unique blend of cultural richness and natural beauty. Renowned for its well-preserved traditional wooden houses that line historic streets, Takayama offers a captivating glimpse into a bygone era, seamlessly integrated with modern comforts. Serving as the gateway to the picturesque Hida region, the city presents a tapestry of experiences, from exploring its cultural heritage to visiting the nearby UNESCO World Heritage site of Shirakawa-go. With a harmony of cultural immersion and natural tranquility, Takayama ensures a comprehensive experience of Japan’s heritage and the serene allure of its countryside. Whether you are a history buff, nature lover, or cultural enthusiast, Takayama extends a warm invitation to explore its diverse attractions and serene beauty.

Where is Takayama?

Best Tours around Takayama and Shirakawa-go

Private Tours around Takayama and Shirakawa-go

Best Itineraries around Takayama and Shirakawa-go

Private Tours and Charters

Where to Stay When Visiting Takayama and Shirakawa-go

Takayama stands out as a historical gem, once serving as a government outpost during the Edo period, with the Takayama Jinya at its heart. This city is celebrated for its well-preserved Edo-style architecture in the old town district, offering a window into the past where traditional wooden buildings and the annual Takayama Festival, recognized as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage event, bring history to life. Visitors can stroll through the historic streets, witnessing the same landscapes that once welcomed feudal lords and samurai, and marvel at the intricate Yatai (festival floats) that echo the craftsmanship of bygone eras. Beyond its historical tapestry, Takayama is enveloped by the stunning vistas of the Northern Japanese Alps, providing a tranquil natural backdrop that contrasts with the cultural vibrancy of the town. As a base for authentic experiences, Takayama invites travelers to delve into a blend of cultural immersion and scenic beauty, making it an ideal destination for those seeking to uncover the multifaceted allure of Japan beyond its urban centers.


Located in the heart of the Japanese Alps, Takayama sits within the mountainous Gifu Prefecture, offering a scenic escape from Japan’s urban centers. Strategically positioned, it is well-connected yet offers a sense of seclusion and intimacy with nature. From Tokyo, travelers can take the JR Tokaido Shinkansen to Nagoya and then transfer to the JR Hida Limited Express, a scenic train ride that brings you directly into the heart of Takayama, unveiling the region’s natural beauty along the journey. From Osaka or Kyoto, a similar transfer at Nagoya is required, with the entire trip immersing passengers in the changing landscapes of Japan’s countryside. The journey from these major cities typically spans just roughly 4 hours, making Takayama an accessible yet seemingly world-away destination. Upon arrival, the authentic charm of this historic town is ready to be explored, setting the stage for an unforgettable adventure.



Takayama, a vibrant blend of history, culture, and tradition, offers an enchanting experience against a backdrop of modernity. Visitors are drawn to its atmospheric old town, where they can immerse themselves in traditional crafts, savor the renowned Hida beef, or enjoy a sake tasting session. The city is famed for its Spring and Autumn Festivals, showcasing elaborate floats and centuries-old rituals. Venturing out of Takayama, the historic village of Shirakawa-go, a UNESCO World Heritage site with its iconic gassho-zukuri farmhouses, awaits. The alpine routes reveal stunning views of the Northern Alps, and nearby onsen towns offer tranquil retreats. Our tours are categorically arranged by location below, enabling you to select experiences either within Takayama or in the expansive region around it. To discover options close to or distant from Takayama, click the link below to navigate to your preferred section of the page:

Day Tours in Takayama

Day Trips from Takayama

Tours in the Region

Multi-day Tours

There is an abundance of captivating sites to visit in the Takayama region, which might seem daunting at first. Experience the best of this area through our interconnected tours, providing a coherent journey throughout Takayama and its scenic vicinity. Embark on an adventure with us to explore both the well-trodden paths and the hidden nooks of Takayama and beyond!



Takayama is a city where history breathes in harmony with the present. Its charming old town district, filled with traditional merchant houses and sake breweries, stands testament to its rich past. Yet, Takayama is not just about historical reverence; it is a living city that celebrates its traditions through vibrant festivals like the famous Spring and Autumn festivals. Visitors can delve into tradition local craftsmanship or enjoy distinctive local dishes, highlighting flavors like Hoba Miso, Mitarashi Dango, Gohei Mochi, and the celebrated Hida beef, which stands out as a regional delicacy. Takayama’s scenic beauty, emphasized by its location in the Japanese Alps, offers a perfect backdrop for exploring the area’s natural wonders. From the historic streets of the old town to the serene beauty of nearby onsen towns, Takayama provides a multifaceted experience. Join us for a day tour to explore enchanting streets, learn about local crafts, and even try your hand at traditional activities. With a guide, you’ll uncover the depth of Takayama’s culture and the depth of its beauty, ensuring a memorable experience in this unique city.


Hidden away in the middle of the mountains of Central Japan, but also an easy 2 hour trip from Kanazawa, Nagoya, Toyama and Matsumoto, Takayama is a popular destination for its traditional old town and surrounding natural beauty. The tour starts from Takayama Station and we head to the Takayama Jinya, the former headquarters of the Shogun’s government in the city. It was made from the materials of the castle that used to exist on a mountain nearby. After learning more about the history of the city and region, we will walk down the historical merchant street lined with traditional Japanese buildings. You can eat and shop here in the atmosphere of a 200 year old market district. The morning market is also nearby and there are lots of local handicrafts, fruits and other foods. Following lunch in the area, we will get on the bus and head to Shirakawa-go, the historical village with the traditional thatched-roof houses. You will be able to see stunning views of the town from above, go inside one of the homes and learn about village life and have time to enjoy the town by yourselves.


Embark on a transformative journey through time with our 1-Day Tour in Takayama, an experience meticulously designed to immerse you in the town’s vibrant history and spiritual essence. Discover the profound significance of the Spring and Autumn festivals, celebrated not just for their breathtaking beauty but also as a proud part of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. These festivals rank among Japan’s top three for their exquisite charm and deep cultural resonance. Wander through Takayama’s old town, where traditional architecture and time-honored crafts offer a window into the past, allowing you to connect with the town’s enduring artistic spirit. Engage in authentic crafts, enhancing your personal bond with Takayama’s cultural heritage. Guided by local experts, you will uncover layers of Takayama’s history and spirituality, revealing a town where tradition and tranquility flourish. Ready for an unforgettable journey into Takayama’s heritage? Reserve your spot today.


Embark on a journey to Hida-Furukawa with our 1-Day Tour from Takayama, a town where Edo-period grace meets serene mountain landscapes. Wander along Shirakabe Dozogai Street, absorbing the ambiance of historic architecture and immerse yourself in the celebrated Furukawa Festival, recognized by UNESCO for its cultural significance. Discover the legacy of the Hida no Takumi, revered master builders whose craftsmanship defines the region’s architectural heritage. Participate in a traditional weaving workshop, connecting with local artistry, and explore the spiritual depth of Hida-Furukawa through the Santera pilgrimage. This tour offers a profound connection to the town’s traditions and beauty, providing a unique insight into its enduring cultural heart. Experience the charm of Hida-Furukawa, a place where history and tradition converge to create unforgettable memories. Book now to delve into the essence of this hidden cultural gem.



Kanazawa’s location makes it ideal for not just traveling to that large cities but also excellent destinations in the region. Shirakawa-go and Gokayama, with their iconic thatched-roof houses are only a short bus ride away. The magnificent snow wall and mountain landscapes of the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine are also within striking distance. The famous 1920’s-style onsen town in the mountains, Unazuki Onsen, is easily accessible form Kanazawa. From there you can experience the Kurobe Gorge on the trolley train to drink in the unforgettable scenery. South of Kanazawa is Fukui City, an old castle town, and Eiheiji Temple, one of the head temples of Zen Buddhism in Japan. The fall leaves here should not be missed. East of Kanazawa is Takaoka with its two grand Japan Cultural Heritage Site temples, metalworking history and excellent views of the Toyama Bay and the mountains surrounding it.


If you are enchanted by both cultural heritage and natural beauty, our Cultural Heritage & Kamikochi Tour from Takayama is perfect for you. Starting from Takayama Station, you will take one of our tour buses to Hida no Sato, an open-air museum showcasing traditional thatched-roof houses and historic structures. Here, you will immerse yourself in the rich history and rural life of Japan. After exploring the village, you will head to the Squirrel Forest to interact with friendly squirrels in a serene forest setting. Finally, you will journey to Kamikochi to walk along the scenic Azusa River, cross the picturesque Kappa Bridge, and enjoy the stunning alpine scenery. Relax and enjoy your day through leisurely strolls in the refreshing nature, surrounded by the towering peaks of the Japanese Alps.


Embark on a cultural odyssey with our 1-Day Tour from Takayama to Gujo Hachiman, where history, tradition, and artistry beautifully converge. Stand in awe of the revered Gujo Hachiman Castle, a beacon of the town’s rich past, offering breathtaking views and storied walls. Dive deeper into local heritage at a museum, where the town’s lore and traditions are meticulously preserved, providing a window into the soul of Gujo Hachiman. Embrace the opportunity to engage in the town’s celebrated craft of making lifelike food replicas, a unique artistic expression that offers a hands-on connection to Japanese culture. Meander through quaint streets and alleys, each turn revealing layers of Gujo Hachiman’s enduring charm and beauty. This journey into the heart of Japanese culture is not just a tour; it’s an invitation to become part of a living tradition. Immerse yourself in the scenic and cultural wonders of Gujo Hachiman. Reserve your place now to explore, learn, and be inspired by a town where history is alive and creativity flourishes.


Embark on a restorative journey to Gero Onsen with our 1-Day Tour from Takayama, where the famed hot springs promise relaxation and rejuvenation. Stroll through the enchanting Gero Onsen Gassho Village, capturing the essence of historic Japan, and deepen your appreciation for onsen culture at the insightful Gero Onsen Museum. The tour’s pinnacle is a therapeutic soak in Gero’s celebrated hot springs, renowned for their healing properties and serene ambiance. This immersive experience combines the tranquility of nature with cultural discovery, offering a blissful retreat into wellness. Surrender to the calming waters and picturesque settings of one of Japan’s most esteemed onsen destinations. Ready to embrace the soothing allure of Gero Onsen? Book your journey now and find tranquility in the thermal waters that have comforted many for centuries.


A short distance from Takayama city is this area of unrivaled beauty and splendor. The tour started from Takayama Station before arriving at the Hida Limestone Caves. The dramatic stalactite and stalagmite formations that have formed over the centuries are entrancing. The stop is the Okuhida Bear Park, where you can see bear in a safe environment up close. You can watch their playful antics and even feed them as well. The final part of the tour is the journey up the mountain. You will get on the spectacular Shinhotaka Ropeway with the Central Japanese Alps as your background. When you get to the end you can enjoy the area and exploration deck at your own leisure!



Embark on an enriching journey beyond Takayama with our curated collection of tours across Japan, meticulously designed to complement your Takayama experience. Venture into Nagano, where our award-winning tour unveils the natural beauty and spiritual depth of the region, home to serene temples and enchanting snow monkeys. Experience the historical elegance of Kanazawa, a city where the echoes of samurai footsteps still resonate, and traditional crafts flourish amidst its well-preserved districts. Or delve into the vibrant heart of the Kansai region, a melting pot of ancient traditions and modern dynamism, with its illustrious cities of Kyoto, Osaka, and Nara offering a kaleidoscope of cultural experiences. Discover the diverse beauty of central Japan, each tour unfolding a new chapter in the country’s rich tapestry, thoughtfully designed to offer an immersive dive into Japan’s cultural, historical, and natural wonders. These tours provide a perfect continuation or prelude to your Takayama adventure, inviting you to weave your own narrative through Japan’s storied landscape, enhancing your journey with memories that resonate long after you return home.


Continuing further east from Matsumoto is the city of Nagano, another city with a long history as a temple town and more recently as the site of the winter Olympics in 1998. This tour is our company’s most popular tour as it visits Zenkoji Temple in Nagano City and then the famous snow monkeys in the mountains nearby the city. The tour starts at Nagano Station before getting on a short bus ride to Zenkoji Temple. The city was historically a temple town and Zenkoji Temple is still visited by millions to this day. Learn about the history of the temple, the city and religion in Japan at this important religious site. Following the temple is a sake tasting where you can try many variety of sake, fruit sakes and juices. Next is lunch which is at a restaurant across the street from the temple. Enjoy a delicious modern take on traditional Japanese food.

The final part of the tour will see you headed to the Snow Monkey Park. There is a short hike before arriving at the valley where the monkeys live. Especially during the winter, the monkeys come down out of the mountains to eat, take baths in the onsen and play around. It really is a surreal experience to be around so many monkeys just living their lives in such beautiful scenery.


Kamikochi sits in the middle of the mountains and is accessible from the west from Takayama and also from the east. The eastern route comes form Matsumoto, another city with a long and storied history. This tour starts from Matsumoto as you see the city’s most impressive site, Matsumoto Castle. It is one of Japan’s 12 original castles and is famous for its black color, wooden interior and interesting stories. You will also get a chance to walk along the Kaeru Michi or Frog Street that has over 50 shops, restaurants and cafes that sell many different products that may pique your interest. After a morning full of history culture and tradition, the afternoon will take you to see the relaxing and pristine environment of Kamikochi. Enjoy a walk along a clear mountain river as you drink in the stunning mountains around you. Some of the bridges and walkways are are unique and deepen the feeling of being on a true adventure.


The Northern Japanese Alps feature scenery that seems like it is straight out of a nature documentary. From Spring to Autumn, the area has something different but equally spectacular for each season. In spring the snow wall, which can reach 20 meters(about 65 feet) is a marvel, and the top of the mountain is a snow covered wonderland. From June most of the snow melts and leaves the beautiful Alpine scenery. Fall dyes the mountains in brilliant yellows, oranges and reds. On the Snow Wall Tour, you will start at Nagano Station(or Hotel Kokusai 21) and get on one of our buses to the beginning of the Alpine Route, Ogizawa. It is from this station that you will ascend the mountain by a variety of methods. There is a trolley bus, cable car and ropeway. All of them provide excellent views, especially the Tateyama Ropeway, which is 1700 meters long. The final destination of the tour is Murodo. At this peak we will walk along the snow walls and then explore the snow fields where you can catch good views or even have a snowball fight.


This tour has you walk in the same streets as those from times past. Walk the streets the samurai of the Kaga clan and see a warriors house from the Edo period. Relax and enjoy maccha in a tea house overlooking a beautiful garden next to the impressive castle walls. Stroll through the Kenroku-en garden like the daimyos of the Edo period and admire the artistry of the landscaping of not just the land but of the trees as well. Finally, walk through Higashi Chayamachi, the old geisha district, where you can shop, snack and take a tour of a former tea house that was used by actual geisha in the past.


As one of the head temples of the world famous Japanese Zen Buddhist sect, Eiheiji Temple is a place where you can feel the mystery and beauty of traditional architecture hidden in a natural paradise. On this tour you can choose start from either Kanazawa Station or Fukui Station. After grouping up at Fukui Station, we will take a tour of the city in the morning, seeing the castle walls, the “rainbow” shrine, and views of the city from the Atagozaka Slope. We will eat in the city before heading out on a direct bus to Eiheiji Temple. The ride into the mountains is about 30 minutes and we will arrive near the temple grounds. This area has had groupings of temples for over 500 hundred years and at its peak had thousands of monks living in the area. We will walk through the temple and learn about the history as we climb up deeper into the temple. There are many excellent photo spots to discover, too. The are so many interesting angles that catch the intertwining of nature and architecture all over the complex. Try to find the one that touches you the most!


If you want mountains combined with rivers, lakes and bridges, Kurobe Gorge is a another stunning example of unforgettable Japanese natural landscapes. This tour starts with a shinkansen ride to Kurobe-Unazuki Onsen Station(or you may start at that station if you like) before hopping on a local train to Unazuki Onsen itself. A town celebrating over 100 years since its founding, the architecture is an interesting mix of Japanese and Western design that make the ‘Taisho’-style. We will tour the town, enjoy footbaths and get great views of the town against the river and mountains. After grabbing a bento, we will get on the trolley train, with its open windows and spectacular views. The final destination of the tour is Keyakidaira Station, where we will see the “Monkey-Jumping” Rock, a natural onsen river footbath and more excellent scenery in the gorge.



Our company also multiday tours so it is even easier to plan your trips. You can of course mix and match the tours but the tours below are our curated tours to help you discover Central Japan without as much stress. These tours keep expanding so check back in for more in the future!


This tour cuts through central Japan to get a good mix of spectacular nature and and traditional culture and architecture. This tour starts in Nagano City and will first head with your guide to Zenkoji Temple, a temple visited by millions every year and has been around for hundreds of years. After enjoying a sake tasting, you will have lunch in a restaurant across from the temple. After getting your fill, you will get on the bus and head to the Snow Monkey Park to see the monkeys in their natural environment. They are most active in winter where they come down from the mountains to eat, play and soak in the onsen. You will end the day at your hotel in Nagano City

Day 2 of the tour will have you get on a tour bus again and go to Matsumoto City. Today you will be using our charter without a guide. This city has along and rich history and is most famous for its stunning black castle. It is one of 12 original castles in Japan so you can really feel the history as you walk through the wooden structure. After walking through and enjoying the Kaeru Michi or “Frog Street”, you will have lunch at the Ishii Miso Brewery following a short tour.

The final leg of Day 2 finishes in Takayama, where you can explore the well-preserved and beautiful old town. The city is also perfectly located for those who want to continue on to Shirakawa-go or other famous locations in Central Japan.

As you will end in Takayama, there are many other tours that you can just hop on from there. We offer a number of regional tours that showcase different parts of the area. There are tours that focus on history, culture and even nature! If you want to learn more about the itineraries of the tours themselves, clicking on the tour blocks below.


The “see it all” type of tour for all of Central Japan’s best and most famous attractions. You will unrivaled views, beautiful traditional architecture and cultural experiences that will last a life time. This is the ultimate tour that not only brings you from place to place but also has a local guide giving you their in depth knowledge of the region, culture and Japan as a whole. Day 1 starts at Nagano Station and in the morning goes to Zenkoji Temple, a sake tasting and lunch at a restaurant nearby the temple. After lunch you will get on a bus and go into the mountains to the Snow Monkey Park. Here you walk around and see the monkeys eat, play and take a dip in the onsen. Your best chances to see them is in the colder months when they come down from the mountains more frequently. You will end the day in Nagano City.

The next day starts again from Nagano Station but you will hop on the tour bus to Matsumoto City. The city is where you will go inside one of 12 original castle in Japan, Matsumoto Castle. After walking through a Kaeru Michi or ” Frog Street” with its many shops, you will get on the bus again. A short ride awaits you to the spectacular scenery of Kamikochi. You will have an opportunity to walk along a beautiful and clear river under the majestic Alpine mountains. The day will end in Takayama City and the journey continues.

Day 3 starts from Takayama Station and you will walk to the Takayama Jinya. This building was the center of Shogunal government in this region directly controlled. After touring the building, you will walk through the old merchant street with many traditional buildings from the Edo period. There will also be time to check out the morning market. After lunch you will get on the tour bus and head to the next spot, Shirakawa-go. One of the most famous sites in Japan, the traditional thatched-roof houses are truly atmospheric. You will get a chance to get a nice overhead view of the village before walking through the village itself. There are shops, cafes, and restaurants in some of the houses. You will also get the chance to go inside one that displays many of the tools used in times past. After some free time, you will get on the bus again and head to Kanazawa for the night.

The final day of the tour starts from Kanazawa Station as we set off to see all the major sights of the city. The first stop is to go inside a warriors house from the Edo Period, followed by a stroll through Nagamachi, the samurai district. Next is Oyama Shrine, which has a tower at its entrance with a unique mixture of western and Japanese styles. After passing through the shrine grounds you will enter the outer walls of the castle. There is a garden here and you will have the opportunity to have matcha and sweets while looking over the pleasant Japanese style garden. The last stop before lunch is the inner part of Kanazawa castle. Once lunch is finished you take a walk through Kenrokuen, considered one of the best Japanese gardens in the country. Finally, you will enter the Higashi-Chayamachi District the former tea house/geisha culture. You will get a chance to go into one of the original tea houses built over 200 years.

Returning back to Kanazawa Station will be the end of this “Ultimate Tour” of Central Japan. You will have seen so many varieties of nature, culture and tradition. You can continue exploring Kanazawa or head to your next wonderful destination.

As you will end in Kanazawa, there are many other tours that you can just hop on from there. We offer a number of regional tours that showcase different parts of the area. There are tours that focus on history, culture and even nature! If you want to learn more about the itineraries of the tours themselves, click on the tour blocks below.



Embark on an exclusive journey tailored to your unique interests with our Private Tours around Takayama. Delve into the heart of this enchanting region at your own pace, choosing from a variety of bespoke experiences that highlight the best of Takayama and its surroundings. Whether you’re seeking intimate cultural encounters, culinary adventures, or serene explorations of nature, our private tours offer a personalized and immersive way to connect with this captivating part of Japan. Let us craft your perfect itinerary, ensuring a memorable and intimate exploration of Takayama’s hidden gems and celebrated attractions.

[START FROM TAKAYAMA] Private Takayama & Shirakawa-go Tour / all year round

Immerse yourself in a deeply personalized exploration with our Private Tour to Shirakawa-go from Takayama, a journey that promises an intimate encounter with Japan’s cultural heart. Tailored exclusively for you, this tour offers an unrivaled opportunity to delve into the enchanting worlds of Takayama and the UNESCO-listed Shirakawa-go at your own pace, guided by an expert dedicated solely to your experience. Discover the historic Takayama Jinya, revel in the serene beauty of Shirakawa-go’s traditional Gassho-zukuri houses, and savor the flexibility and privacy that only a private tour can offer. This is your unique voyage into the essence of Japanese heritage, designed to provide a profound and personalized connection with each destination. Ready to embark on an unforgettable private journey that highlights the best of Takayama and Shirakawa-go? Reserve your exclusive tour today and step into a journey tailor-made for lasting memories.

[START FROM NAGOYA] Private Takayama & Shirakawa-go Tour / all year round

Embark on an exclusive Private Tour from Nagoya, the perfect gateway for those with limited time eager to explore the historical splendors of Takayama and the UNESCO-acclaimed beauty of Shirakawa-go. Departing directly from Nagoya, this tailored journey is crafted to maximize your experience, offering the convenience of a personal exploration without the common constraints of scheduled group tours. Delve into Takayama’s rich heritage and wander through Shirakawa-go’s idyllic landscapes at your leisure, all while benefiting from the insightful narratives provided by your dedicated guide. This private tour epitomizes ease and efficiency, ensuring you soak in the full essence of these iconic destinations within a concise timeframe. If you’re seeking a profound yet streamlined exploration from Nagoya to the heart of Japan’s cultural beauty, reserve your private tour now and savor an unforgettable, personalized adventure.

[START FROM KANAZAWA] Private Takayama & Shirakawa-go Tour / all year round

Embark on an exclusive journey with our private tour starting from Kanazawa to the serene landscapes of Shirakawa-go and the historic streets of Takayama. This unique tour offers a deep dive into Japan’s traditional heart, with the convenience of starting and ending in your chosen city—Kanazawa or Takayama. Travel in comfort with a dedicated vehicle, ensuring a seamless and personal experience. Discover the charming thatched-roof houses of Shirakawa-go and delve into the rich history of Takayama’s old town. With our knowledgeable English-speaking guide, unravel the tales and traditions that define these picturesque locales. Store your luggage on board, easing your travel worries, and immerse yourself in a day filled with cultural exploration and scenic beauty. Opt for a personal and intimate journey into Japan’s past with this private tour, perfect for those seeking a deeper connection with the country’s heritage. Book now and tailor your exploration of Japan’s enchanting countryside to your own pace and interests.



There are many great locations in Central Japan so why not combine them together? This section has a selection of some of our tours that you have already read about above and interesting ways to combine them. One of the greatest benefits of these tours is the transportation. You can relax and enjoy the tour as you travel across the region and finish in a city where you can continue your trip easily. The selection of tours is ever expanding so check back for more later or inquire with us if you are interested in something specific!

3 Day Best of Takayama Itinerary / All year around

11 Day Itinerary to See the Best of Central Japan / All year round.


Embark on a captivating three-day journey around Takayama, offering a well-rounded exploration that encompasses the essence of this historic city and its picturesque surroundings. This itinerary is designed to provide a harmonious blend of natural beauty, rich history, and immersive cultural experiences, presenting an ideal introduction to what Takayama and its neighboring areas have to offer.

Day 1 – Takayama City
Day 2 – Shinhotaka Ropeway
Day 3 – Shirakawa-go (with optional exit into Kanazawa)

Day 1 – Takayama / Hotel: Takayama

Start your exploration in Takayama’s heart, where ancient streets and temples whisper tales of the past. Discover the cultural richness of the Takayama Festival, a UNESCO heritage gem, and delve into traditional crafts and architecture, immersing yourself in the city’s timeless spirit.

Day 2 – Shinhotaka Ropeway / Hotel: Takayama

Discover the Hida region’s natural wonders with visits to the awe-inspiring Hida Great Limestone Cave and the engaging Okuhida Bear Park. Ascend the Shinhotaka Ropeway for breathtaking alpine panoramas, creating a perfect blend of adventure and scenic beauty on this immersive day trip.

Day 3 – Shirakawa-go / Hotel: Takayama

On your final day, explore the serene beauty of Takayama and the historic charm of Shirakawa-go. Uncover Takayama’s woodwork artistry and stroll through its preserved streets before marveling at Shirakawa-go’s traditional thatched-roof houses, all while absorbing the regions’ deep cultural heritage. Optionally, extend your journey with a drop-off in Kanazawa, inviting further exploration.

That concludes our 3-day Takayama itinerary! From here, you’re well-placed to explore further, with Kyoto, Osaka, Tokyo, and Nagano just a train ride away. Dive deep into Japan’s diverse landscapes and cultures, making every moment of your journey unforgettable.


Embark on an 11-day expedition to experience the rich tapestry of Central Japan, a journey that promises all the key highlights that Central Japan has to offer in an in-depth exploration of its vibrant cities, historic landmarks, and breathtaking natural beauty. From the bustling streets of Tokyo to the captivating allure of Nagano, featuring our award-winning snow monkeys tour, each day unveils a new facet of Japan’s diverse culture and heritage. Traverse ancient castles, serene temples, and dynamic metropolitan areas. In Takayama, immerse yourself in historic charm and visit the nearby UNESCO World Heritage site of Shirakawa-go. Discover Kyoto’s key areas for cultural depth and tranquility, then experience Osaka’s modern vibrancy. While this itinerary is perfect for those seeking a comprehensive exploration, it is fully customizable. You are encouraged to tailor your journey, selecting only the tours that align with your interests and available time, ensuring a unique and personal experience of Central Japan’s best.

Day 1 – Tokyo
Day 2 – Nagano and Snow Monkeys
Day 3 – Matsumoto Castle
Day 4 – Takayama and Shirakawa-go
Day 5 – Kanazawa
Day 6 – Fukui Great Shrine
Day 7 – Eastern Kyoto
Day 8 – Western Kyoto
Day 9 – Osaka Castle and Foodie scene
Day 10 – Kobe
Day 11 – Himeji Castle

Day 1 – Tokyo

Immerse yourself in Tokyo’s traditional district with a walking tour of Asakusa. Experience historic temples, enjoy a Taiko drumming session, and savor local cuisine in vibrant dining areas. Explore Kitchen Town’s culinary delights and conclude with breathtaking views of the Asakusa skyline from a serene park.

Day 2 – Nagano

Discover Nagano’s cultural and natural wonders: Zenko-ji Temple’s rich history, a unique sake tasting experience, and the famous Snow Monkey Park. This award-winning tour blends tradition, culinary delights, and close encounters with the enchanting snow monkeys, offering an unforgettable day.

Day 3 – Matsumoto Castle

Explore Matsumoto Castle, an original Japanese fortress, and stroll through the charming streets of Narai-juku, a well-preserved post town on the historic Nakasendo road. This tour offers a deep dive into Japan’s feudal history and architectural beauty, complemented by unique local experiences and scenic landscapes.

Also you can choose to optimize your journey with our 2-Day Snow Monkey Tour: Nagano to Takayama via Matsumoto, blending Day’s 2 and Day’s 3 into key experiences into a memorable adventure. Explore historical sites and natural wonders efficiently, saving time without missing the essence.

Day 4 – Takayama and Shirakawa-go

Dive into the heart of traditional Japan with our ‘1-Day Tour from Takayama: Explore Scenic Old Japan in Takayama and Shirakawa-go.’ Experience the charm of Takayama’s old town and the unique heritage of Shirakawa-go, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This tour encapsulates the essence of Japan’s cultural and architectural beauty, offering an immersive journey through time in two iconic locations.

Day 5 – Kanazawa

Immerse yourself in Kanazawa’s rich culture with a visit to the Nagamachi Samurai District, Kanazawa Castle, and the exquisite Kenroku-en Garden. Taste Matcha and explore the Geisha district, delving into traditional arts and local delicacies in a city where Japan’s historical and modern essences blend seamlessly.

Day 6 – Fukui

Discover Fukui’s lesser-known charms with a visit to its castle town, showcasing a unique shrine and daimyo heritage. Ascend Atagozaka for stunning city views and delve into tranquility at Eiheiji Temple, a Zen Buddhism sanctuary amid ancient cedars, reflecting Fukui’s deep historical and natural allure.

Day 7 – Eastern Kyoto

Explore Kyoto’s heritage on this enlightening journey through its eastern wonders. Start at Fushimi Inari Shrine’s iconic torii gates, wander through Nishiki Market’s culinary delights, and experience tranquility at Kenninji Temple. Gaze at Gion’s traditional architecture, reflect at Kodaiji Temple, and conclude with the majestic Kiyomizu Temple, embodying Kyoto’s enduring spiritual and cultural legacy.

Day 8 – Western Kyoto

Discover Kyoto’s western wonders on this day tour, starting at the serene Tenryuji, then meandering through the iconic Arashiyama bamboo grove. Indulge in artistic creation with koboshi doll making, find tranquility at Ryoanji’s rock garden, and be dazzled by Kinkakuji’s golden shimmer. Embrace the blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage, ensuring your Kyoto visit is unforgettable.

Day 9 – Osaka

Immerse yourself in Osaka’s dynamic blend of history and modernity. Begin at Osaka Castle, delving into its storied past, then find spiritual solace at Shitennoji, Japan’s first Buddhist temple. Savor the flavors of Kuromon Market, discover Dotonbori’s vibrant heart, and conclude with artistic Ukiyoe immersion. This tour offers a comprehensive Osaka experience, showcasing its cultural richness and culinary excellence. Join us to uncover the city’s multifaceted charm, ending with an invitation to explore further on your own.

Day 10 – Kobe

Uncover Kobe’s unique blend of nature, culture, and culinary excellence. Ascend through aromatic herb gardens via ropeway for panoramic city views, then delve into the cultural mosaic of Kitano Ijinkan and Ikuta Shrine. Savor Chinatown’s flavors and Nada’s famed sake, culminating in the scenic relaxation of Kobe’s harbor. This journey through Kobe’s mountains, cityscape, and coastlines promises a rich tapestry of experiences, inviting you to linger and explore further at day’s end. Join us to discover the multifaceted charm of this underappreciated gem.

Day 11 – Himeji Castle

Immerse yourself in Himeji’s distinguished heritage with a tour that unfolds the grandeur of Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Japan’s most illustrious surviving castle. Delight in the serene Kokoen Garden’s Edo-period landscapes before diving into the deep blue world of Aizome, traditional Japanese indigo dyeing. This day promises a rich tapestry of architectural magnificence, tranquil garden vistas, and hands-on cultural immersion, offering a unique and reflective close to your journey through central Japan’s cultural heartland.

Our 11-day itinerary offers a comprehensive exploration of central Japan’s cultural richness, natural beauty, and historical depth. Whether you traverse the entire journey with us or selected highlights that resonate with your interests, we hope each experience will provide lasting memories and deeper connections to Japan’s heritage. Remember, you have the flexibility to customize your adventure, choosing the tours that fit your schedule and interests. Thank you for considering this journey, and we look forward to helping you craft your perfect exploration of central Japan, whether for a few days or the full 11-day experience.




If you are looking for transportation to/from major destinations, our company is happy to help! Our buses are based in Nagano City and have vehicles that suitable for single travelers, couples, families and groups of up to 45 people. Click the button below to browse some of our popular charters and to inquire directly.


In addition to providing transportation, we can also accommodate your tour needs by providing guides with the itinerary of your choice. If there are tours that you want us to conduct or if you want to adjust our current tours to your needs, feel free to contact us. There are a number of private tours already on our website that allow you to enjoy our tours without the stress of having to worry about other guests, so check those out, too. Click on the button below to make an inquiry.


No matter where you go or how you go, I hope you enjoy the culture, traditions and beauty of Central Japan. We look forward to seeing you on a tour in the future!



Takayama presents a wide array of accommodation choices, from luxurious hotels and comfortable mid-range options to authentic ryokan guesthouses and budget-friendly hostels. Conveniently located accommodations near the station offer easy access, while the historic areas near the Old Town and Takayama Jinya boast charming guesthouses and exquisite eateries, enriching your cultural experience. To simplify your search, our ‘Best Places to Stay in Takayama’ page provides comprehensive information, including accommodation listings, helping you find the ideal place to complement your journey in this picturesque town.

Takayama & Shirakawago