How to Get to Takayama


Boasting one of Japan’s best preserved Edo Period (1603-1868) town centres, Takayama is now well-established as a favourite stop for international visitors. Located in Gifu Prefecture and in the shadow of Japan’s North Alps, it takes time to get to Takayama from cities including Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka however the journey is simple enough and well-worth the effort. On this page you will find the following information:

Where is Takayama?

How to Get to Takayama

25 Things to Do Around Takayama & Where to Stay

Best Tours and Itineraries in Takayama & Shirakawa-go

Book With Us! Nagano’s No.1 Tour & Charter Operator

Takayama Station is the main entry point for most international visitors heading to the city and as such, the directions below provide information on how to reach that point. The Limited Express ‘Hida’ service runs to Takayama from Nagoya in the south and Toyama in the north, while bus services also connect Takayama to Toyama, Kanazawa, Shirakawa-go and Gokayama, and Kamikochi.

For visitors wanting to explore Central Japan in the comfort and convenience of their own vehicle, we can arrange private charters to any regional destination – a great option for families and groups wanting to avoid the hassle of public transport. For further information, see ‘Book With Us! Nagano’s No.1 Tour & Charter Operator’ below. We hope that the following information is of assistance when planning your visit to Central Japan.


Takayama is a small but popular destination for both Japanese and international travellers. Located in Gifu Prefecture, Takayama Station lies around 300km / 5 hours to the north-west of Tokyo and 90 to 110km / 2 hours to the south of Toyama and Kanazawa. Sometimes referred to as ‘Hida-Takayama’, the town is most easily reached by train using the Limited Express ‘Hida’ service running from Toyama to Nagoya, or bus services from Kanazawa and Matsumoto. A relatively common town name across Japan, when planning your trip to Takayama be sure to check you that you are booking your transport and accommodation to the correct town – as shown above.



Though located at distance from Japan’s major urban centres including Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka, Takayama is relatively easy to get to thanks to Japan’s excellent public transport system. In this section you will find information on how to reach Takayama from the following starting points:


We endeavour to keep this information as up-to-date as possible and in recognition that most international visitors will be using the train network to move around Japan, most directions are for using the trains. If there is alternative option i.e. express or local bus, that is notably faster or economical, we also include that information.


As the terminus of the Hokuriku Shinkansen line running from Tokyo and Limited Express ‘Thunderbird’ service running from Kyoto and Osaka, Kanazawa is easy to get to and a convenient point from where to head to Takayama. Regular highway bus services connect Kanazawa Station to Takayama via Shirakawa-go. Departing every 2 to 3 hours and taking around 2 hours to make the journey, a one-way trip costs around JPY4,000.

There is no direct train service from Kanazawa to Takayama. Visitors wanting to use the train should proceed to Toyama Station and follow the directions below.

Traveling from Kanazawa? Enhance your journey with our set private tour starting from Kanazawa or Takayama. Discover Takayama and Shirakawa-go’s cultural gems in a personalized, comfortable setting. Ideal for a seamless exploration from Kanazawa to Takayama.

FROM TOYAMA / approx. 90 minutes


Another stop on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line running from Tokyo to Kanazawa, Toyama is the easiest major city from where to reach Toyama. Most visitors choose to use the Limited Express ‘Hida’ service on the Takayama Main Line from Toyama Station to Takayama. Covered by the Japan Rail Pass, this train line is particularly beautiful making the journey itself part of the experience. Taking approximately 90-minutes, there are only two or three convenient services each day and the line is popular with tourists, so if you have the chance to book ahead it can be helpful. Buses also connect Toyama Station to Takayama Station. Services take 140-minutes and cost JPY3,700 one-way.

FROM SHIRAKAWA-GO & GOKAYAMA / approx. 60 minutes


Regular bus services operated by the Nohi Bus company connect Takayama with the World Heritage-listed villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama. Buses run to and from the Nohi Bus Terminal, next to Takayama Station, and can be purchased on the day or online up to a month in advance. Please see the following page for information including timetables and fares to and from Takayama.

Heading to Takayama from the north and want to explore Shirakawa-go & Gokayama? Why not join our ‘1 Day Tour from Kanazawa.’ Immerse yourself in the cultural heart of Inami and Gokayama, and marvel at the stunning landscapes of Shirakawa-go. This tour offers the perfect blend of cultural exploration and scenic beauty, with the convenient option to conclude your day in the enchanting town of Takayama.

FROM KAMIKOCHI / approx. 90 minutes


Kamikochi can be accessed by frequent direct bus services to and from the Takayama Nohi Bus Center. From the Kamikochi Bus Terminal, take the bus to the Hirayu Onsen Bus Terminal – 25 to 30 minutes – and then switch to the bus headed to Takayama – another 60 minutes. Please see the following page for information including timetables and fares to and from Takayama.

For those eager to journey to Kamikochi and delve deeper into Central Japan, our ‘4-Day Tour from Nagano to Kanazawa: The Ultimate Central Japan Tour’ is an ideal choice. Along with experiencing Kamikochi’s serenity and Takayama’s historical allure, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the renowned Snow Monkey Park, an award-winning highlight. The tour also unveils the beauty of Shirakawa-go, before concluding in the lively city of Kanazawa, offering a comprehensive and enriching regional adventure.

FROM MATSUMOTO / approx. 2.5 hours


Most famous for its iconic castle, Matsumoto is another popular starting point for travellers headed to Takayama. Several daily highway bus services connect Takayama and Matsumoto Station, taking approximately 2.5 hours and just over JPY3,500. Visitors wanting to use the train should take the Limited Express ‘Shinano’ to Nagoya – taking approximately 2 hours – and switch to the Limited Express ‘Hida’ service – as explained below noting that the total train journey takes much longer than the bus and is best-suited to travellers stopping at other destinations along the route.

Experience a scenic and cultural adventure from Matsumoto to Takayama with our ‘2-Day Snow Monkey Tour: Nagano To Takayama via Matsumoto.’ Discover Zenko-ji Temple, the playful Snow Monkeys, and the historical Matsumoto Castle. The journey includes a picturesque drive through the Northern Alps, smoothly concluding in the charming town of Takayama. Perfect for those looking to combine their travel with enriching experiences.



The Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route can be accessed from the Toyama-side via Tateyama Station. To reach Takayama, take the Toyama Chiho Railway from Tateyama Station to Dentetsu Toyama Station – 60 minutes / JPY1,230. Once at in Toyama, walk the short distance to Toyama Station and switch to the Limited Express Hida service onto Takayama – as explained above.

FROM NAGANO CITY / between 2.5 to 3 hours


While Nagano City acts as the major transport hub and gateway the northern areas of Central Japan, there is no direct public transport from Nagano Station to Takayama, presenting travellers with different options. For those traveling by train, the easiest option is to take the Hokuriku Shinkansen north to Toyama – approximately 50 minutes – and follow the directions above. The total journey takes around 2.5 to 3 hours depending on which services you use. Alternatively, take the Limited Express ‘Shinano’ from Nagano Station and switch to the bus at Matsumoto or continue on to Nagoya and switch to the Limited Express ‘Hida’. Of those options, transferring to bus at Matsumoto will be the fastest.

FROM THE JIGOKUDANI MONKEY PARK / between 4 to 5 hours


To reach Takayama from the Jigokudani Monkey Park takes time but is relatively straight-forward when done via Nagano Station. From the park, you have the option of: 1. a direct express bus from the park to Nagano Station or 2. a local bus to Yudanaka Station followed by an express train to Nagano Station. Starting from the park, the express bus costs JPY1,800 each way and takes 55 minutes to reach Nagano Station. In comparison, taking the local bus from the park to Yudanaka Station followed by the train, takes 15 minutes and costs JPY310 before the limited express train to Nagano takes another 45 minutes and costs JPY1,290 – a total journey of around 60 to 70 minutes and costing JPY1,600. Once at Nagano Station, follow the directions above.

FROM KARUIZAWA / approx. 3.5 hours


One of Japan’s most popular resort towns, Karuizawa is located quite far from Takayama however thanks to the efficiency of the train network, the journey is relatively quick and easy. From Karuizawa Station , take any service on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line to Toyama Station – approx. 80-minutes – and once there, switch to the Limited Express ‘Hida’ service to Takayama – a total journey of around 3.5 hours / JPY13,000.

FROM NAGOYA / approx. 2.5 hours


As Central Japan’s largest city, Nagoya is a popular and convenient point from where to head to Takayama. Running from Nagoya Station to Takayama (with some services continuing directly on to Toyama Station), the Limited Express ‘Hida’ service is another convenient and picturesque train line that connects Nagoya to some of Central Japan’s most enjoyable destinations. It takes approximately 145 minutes and costs JPY5,610 to travel between Nagoya and Takayama. Alternatively, highway buses operated by Meitetsu and Nohi Bus connect Nagoya and Takayama, taking around 2.5 hours and cost a little over JPY3,000.

FROM TOKYO inc. NARITA & HANEDA AIRPORTS / 5.5 hours or more


Visitors starting in Tokyo have several indirect train options or direct highway buses departing from Shinjuku Station. Operated by the Keio and Nohi Bus companies, one-way bus journeys from Tokyo take approximately 5.5 hours and cost between JPY6500 to JPY7000. While there are several options for reaching Takayama by train, none are direct and all take time. An easy option is to take the Hokuriku Shinkansen line to Toyama Station from Tokyo Station, and switch to the Limited Express ‘Hida’. Depending on the time of day you are traveling, and which service you are using, expect the journey to take approximately 5 hours.


Alternatively, take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Nagoya Station and follow the directions above by switching to the Limited Express ‘Hida’ service. Expect a total travel time from Tokyo to Takayama via Nagoya of 5 to 6 hours. For information regarding how to reach Tokyo from either Narita Airport or Haneda Airport, please refer to the relevant page.

FROM KYOTO & OSAKA / between 3 to 4 hours


Reaching Takayama from Kyoto or Osaka is relatively straightforward but requires a transfer at Nagoya Station. Take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Nagoya: taking 35 min / JPY5,170 from Kyoto Station and 50 min / JPY5,940 from Shin-Osaka Station. Once at Nagoya Station, switch to the Limited Express ‘Hida’ service bound for Takayama.



When people talk about the beauty of Takayama and encourage you to visit, they are speaking of the city’s beautiful historic centre – one of Japan’s best remaining examples of an Edo Period (1603-1868) town. Known as the ‘Sannomachi’, the historic centre of the city is lined with beautiful buildings housing restaurants, craft and food stores, breweries, museums, accommodation and many residential homes. The city is equally well-known for its thriving food scene including its famous Hida beef and Takayama ramen, while outside of the city, visitors can access some of Japan’s most rewarding destinations including the World Heritage-listed villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama along with the beautiful alpine valley of Kamikochi. For tips and suggestions of what to do while there, including accommodation listings, see our ’25 Things to Do Around Takayama & Where To Stay’ page.



Unveil the hidden treasures of Takayama and Shirakawa-go with our thoughtfully curated tours and itineraries, each one designed to immerse you in the distinctive allure of these storied destinations. Delve into the heart of Takayama’s ancient culture, explore the timeless architecture of Shirakawa-go’s thatched-roof houses, and savor the exquisite local cuisine. Our diverse range of experiences ensures that whether you are an avid historian, nature lover, or food enthusiast, you will find a journey that resonates with your interests. With each step, uncover the deep-rooted traditions and breathtaking landscapes that define these regions. For an in-depth exploration and to create lasting memories in these iconic Japanese locales, be sure to visit our Best Tours and Itineraries in Takayama & Shirakawa-go page, where adventure and cultural enrichment await.



Central Japan offers many, many reasons to visit. Operating all year round, we are Nagano’s No.1-rated tour and charter operator, offering a range of services including group tours, private tours and charters. We can arrange transport including a private vehicle and driver, along with an English-speaking guide, to transport to, from and between any of these destinations and more!


Our drivers and vehicles are fully certified, allowing us to transport you to and from your preferred destinations in combination with any activity that suits your schedule. All vehicles are fitted with a protective screen – separating the driver from passenger and luggage area – and our drivers wear protective masks, allowing you to move between your destinations in comfort and safety.


We can arrange both private tours with an English-speaking guide or a private charter, including a private vehicle and driver but without a guide. We’d love to be part of your adventure in Central Japan and help you discover even more!

Why choose us?

Awarded a 2022 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award for our 1-Day Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple & Sake Tour – recognised as one of the Top 10 Experiences in Japan – we have the local knowledge and experience to help you get the most out of your time in Nagano.

Got a question about visiting Takayama and Central Japan? Contact us and let’s get planning together!

Takayama & Shirakawago