How to travel between Shirakawago and Tokyo

By shinkansen and bus via Toyama

The fastest connection between Tokyo and Shirakawa-go is by Hokuriku Shinkansen and bus via Toyama: Take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Toyama (130-170 minutes, around 13,000 yen one way) and transfer to the bus to Shirakawa-go (1.5 hours, 1730 yen one way, see timetable).

By shinkansen and bus via Kanazawa

Slightly slower is the journey by shinkansen and bus via Kanazawa:
1) How to travel between Tokyo and Kanazawa
2) How to travel between Kanazawa and Shirakawa-go

By shinkansen and bus via Shin-Takaoka

Take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Shin-Takaoka Station (3 hours, about 13,500 yen one way, covered by the Japan Rail Pass) and transfer to the Kaetsuno Bus for Shirakawa-go (2 hours, 1800 yen one way, not covered by the Japan Rail Pass, see timetable). This approach is recommended to tourists visiting Gokayama, as the bus also stops at Ainokura and Suganuma villages along the way.

By shinkansen and Gifu Bus via Nagoya

1) How to travel between Tokyo and Nagoya
2) How to travel between Nagoya and Shirakawago

Above fees and schedules are subject to change. Be sure to check current yen exchange rates.

Getting around

Shirakawa-go and Gokayama are two formerly remote regions in the mountains of Gifu Prefecture and Toyama Prefecture respectively. These days, the Tokai-Hokuriku Expressway has brought them to within an hour of the nearby cities of Kanazawa, Toyama and Takayama.

Both regions cover a large area of mountainous terrain with a few small villages here and there. Among the villages, Ogimachi has the largest number of old farmhouses and is most easily accessible by public transportation. Ainokura and Suganuma are the nicest villages in Gokayama, but a little bit more time-consuming to access.

Ogimachi is the region's transportation hub, with bus connections to Takayama, Kanazawa, Nagoya, Takaoka and Toyama. Shirakawa-go IC on the Tokai-Hokuriku Expressway is located just outside of the village.

The Gokayama region is located along the bus route from Ogimachi to Takaoka in Toyama Prefecture. Bus service along this route has greatly improved in recent years; nevertheless, a rental car can still provide more flexibility and convenience for getting around (outside of winter when driving can be challenging). From Gokayama IC on the Tokai-Hokuriku Expressway, Suganuma is only two minutes by car, while Ainokura can be reached in about 15 minutes.

Ogimachi, Suganuma and Ainokura are all small enough to be explored on foot. Coin lockers are provided at the Shirakawago bus stop in Ogimachi.

Many tickets and passes are offered to tourists for accessing and exploring Shirakawago, Gokayama and surrounding destinations. Below are some of them:

  • Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass
    Unlimited use of JR trains between Nagoya and Takayama and between Kanazawa and Osaka and of Nohi/Hokutetsu buses between Takayama, Shirakawago and Kanazawa (but not on the buses between Takayama and Toyama). More details...
  • Shoryudo Highway Bus Ticket
    Unlimited use of highway buses between Nagoya, Takayama, Shirakawago and Kanazawa (but not on the buses between Takayama and Toyama) and airport access to/from Nagoya's Central Japan Airport and/or Komatsu Airport near Kanazawa. More details...
  • Three-Star Route Ticket (6000 yen)
    A discounted one way ticket for bus travel between Kanazawa, Shirakawago, Takayama, Okuhida and Matsumoto. The "Three-Star" refers to the 3-star rating by Michelin Guide for multiple attractions along this route. Known as "Mitsuboshi Route Kippu" in Japanese.
  • Shirakawago Gokayama Route Ticket (3980 yen)
    One way trip between Takaoka Station and Takayama (in either direction). Ticket holders can get on an off the bus freely between Takaoka and Shirakwago, but no backtracking is allowed. The ticket is valid for up to three consecutive calendar days and can be purchased at the Takayama Bus Terminal, the bus ticket counter at Takaoka Station and the tourist information desks at Shin-Takaoka and Johana stations.
  • Gokayama Free Kippu (2500 yen)
    Round trip between Takaoka Station and Johana Station and free use of buses between Johana Station and Gokayama, but not as far as Shirakawago.
  • Gokayama-Shirakawago Free Kippu (3500 yen)
    Round trip between Takaoka Station and Johana Station and free use of buses between Johana Station and Shirakawago, including Gokayama.
  • Takaoka-Shirakawago One Way Free Kippu (2000 yen)
    One way trip from Takaoka Station to Shirakawago with stopovers allowed along the way between Johana Station and Shirakawago.

Hotels around Shirakawago & Gokayama

Top rated in Shirakawago & Gokayama
    • Shirakawago Terrace
      Renovated in August 2017, Shirakawago Terrace, a century-old traditional Japanese wooden house, is located in Shirakawago, just a 10-minute walk away from the famous Shirakawago Ogimachi World Heritage site. Free WiFi is available throughout the entire property. The Shirakawago Ogimachi Bus Stop is a 10-minute walk from the property. The hostel is also conveniently located a 5-minute drive from the Shirakawago IC and a convenience store is located a 2-minute walk away. Chubu Centrair International Airport is a 3-hour drive from the accommodation. Featuring heating, each room at the hostel includes a private bathroom. Guests sleep in Japanese-style futon bedding on tatami (woven-straw) floors. A shared kitchen provides a place where guests of the hostel can prepare meals. An electric kettle, microwave and fridge are included. A shared lounge is also available. Parking is provided free of charge on site. Some lights are powered by on-site photovoltaic system.
      View on Booking.com
    • Guesthouse AntHut
      Guest House Ant Hut is located in Shirakawa-go village, a 20-minute walk from the bus terminal Ogimachi at Shirakawa-go World Heritage Village. Free private parking is available on site. Guests can make use of the free shuttle service offered by the property or take a local bus to access the guest house. The Ant Hut has a shared kitchen furnished with essential cooking appliances. The lounge is fitted with a flat-screen TV and DVD player. The guest house features a bathroom, 2 toilets and a hairdryer. Each bed has a private luggage shelf, power outlet, reading light and a fan. Free WiFi access is available throughout the entire property. The property is situated in a quiet location within walking distance to a convenience store and 2 popular local restaurants. Guests can engage in various activities around the region such as skiing and hiking. Property staff are able to recommend things to do around the village. Complimentary seasonal drinks are offered to guests upon arrival and coffee is provided in the mornings.
      View on Booking.com
    • Onyado Yuinosho
      Located in Shirakawa, 200 metres from Shirakawago, Onyado Yuinosho provides accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, a bar and a shared lounge. Guests at the 4-star property can enjoy mountain views in the rooms and access to a sauna. The ryokan features a hot spring bath and a 24-hour front desk. The ryokan will provide guests with air-conditioned rooms offering a desk, a kettle, a fridge, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a bidet. At Onyado Yuinosho each room is fitted with bed linen and towels. Guests at the accommodation can enjoy a ? la carte or an Asian breakfast. The nearest airport is Toyama Airport, 49 km from Onyado Yuinosho.
      View on Booking.com
    • Shirakawago Guest House Kei
      600 metres from Shirakawago, Shirakawago Guest House Kei is set in Shirakawa and offers rooms with free WiFi. All rooms feature a kitchen and a shared bathroom. The accommodation provides a shared kitchen and luggage storage space for guests. All guest rooms in the guest house are fitted with a coffee machine. The units will provide guests with a microwave. The nearest airport is Komatsu Airport, 46 km from the property.
      View on Booking.com