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 14,500 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 two or three 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
Holders of a JR East Nagano Niigata Area Pass note that they can access Takayama with a discounted round trip bus ticket (4500 yen instead of 5760 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 Nagano Niigata Area Pass.
By highway bus
There are several daytime highway bus round trips per day between Tokyo (Busta Shinjuku) and Takayama operated by Keio and Nohi Bus. The one way trip takes 5.5 hours and costs 6,500 or 7,000 yen depending on the date of travel. During some periods of the year, there is also an overnight bus. Online reservations can be made through Willer.
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.
Four tourist bus lines are available: the Sarubobo Bus runs every 30 minutes between the station and Hida no Sato, with every second service continuing to the Matsuri no Mori, while the Machinami Bus and the two Takumi Bus lines run around the town center. The fare is 100 yen per ride or 500 yen for a 1-day pass that provides unlimited rides on all four lines on one calendar day.
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.