How to travel between Takayama and Tokyo
By train via Nagoya
Take the JR Tokaido Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagoya (100-120 minutes, several trains per hour) and transfer to the JR Hida limited express train to Takayama (140 minutes, one train per hour). The entire one way journey takes about 4.5 hours, costs around 14,000 yen and is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass if using a Hikari train between Tokyo and Nagoya (as opposed to Nozomi trains which are not covered by the pass).
By train via Toyama
Take the JR Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Toyama and transfer to the JR Hida limited express train to Takayama (90 minutes). There are only one or two good connections per day that take about four hours one way; otherwise, the journey takes around five hours. The one way ride costs around 15,500 yen and is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
By train and bus via Matsumoto
JR East Pass holders note that they can access Takayama with a heavily discounted round trip bus ticket (2500 yen instead of 5500 yen) from Matsumoto. The discount ticket can be purchased at Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, Tokyo Station or Matsumoto Bus Terminal. The train ride between Tokyo and Matsumoto is fully covered by the JR East Pass.
By highway bus
There are six daytime highway bus round trips per day between Tokyo (Keio Highway Bus Terminal in Shinjuku) and Takayama operated by Keio and Nohi Bus. The one way trip takes 5.5 hours and costs 6,690 yen. A round trip ticket costs only 12,040 yen, but the return trip has to be made within seven days of the outward journey. During the summer holidays only, there is also an overnight bus.
Above fees and schedules are subject to change. For the current yen exchange rate, click here.
JR Takayama Station and the adjacent Takayama Hida Bus Center are located about a ten minute walk from Takayama's old town on the opposite side of Miyagawa River.
Most of Takayama's attractions are within easy walking distance in the city center, except for the Hida no Sato open air museum and the Matsuri no Mori festival museum, which can be accessed in longer walks or 10-15 minute bus rides from Takayama Station.
Two sightseeing buses are available: The Machinami Bus (100 yen/ride) runs hourly on a circular route between the station and the old town. And the Sarubobo Bus (210 yen/ride) runs every 20-50 minutes between the station and Hida no Sato and the Matsuri no Mori. A 1-day pass for unlimited use of both sightseeing buses on one calendar day is available for 620 yen.
Guided tours on rickshaws (jinrikisha) are available in the old town. A 30 minute tour for two persons costs 7000 yen. Shorter and longer courses for up to three persons per rickshaw are also available.