Getting to Shirakawago & Gokayama

By shinkansen and bus via Toyama
  • 4 h
  • ¥15,000

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 12,500 yen one way) and transfer to the bus to Shirakawa-go (90 minutes, 2,400 yen one way, see timetable).

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. The Shirakawa-go IC on the Tokai-Hokuriku Expressway is located just outside of the village.

The Gokayama region is located in Toyama Prefecture along the bus route that connects Takaoka with Ogimachi. Bus service along this route has much improved in recent decades; nevertheless, a rental car can still provide more flexibility and convenience for getting around, except during winter when driving can be hazardous. From Gokayama IC along the 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.

Passes and Tickets

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 (19,800 yen)
    Unlimited use of JR trains between Nagoya, Takayama and Toyama, and between Osaka, Kanazawa and Toyama, as well as of buses between Takayama, Shirakawago, Kanazawa, Toyama and Takaoka. More details...
  • Shoryudo Bus Pass (from 11,000 yen)
    Unlimited use of highway buses between Nagoya, Takayama, Shirakawago and Kanazawa and airport access to/from Nagoya's Central Japan Airport, Toyama Airport and Komatsu Airport near Kanazawa. More details...
  • Shirakawago Gokayama Route Ticket (3,980 yen)
    One way trip between Takaoka and Takayama in either direction, using Kaetsuno Bus between Takaoka and Shirakawago and Nohi Bus between Shirakawago and Takayama. 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 (2,500 yen)
    Unlimited use of Kaetsuno buses between Takaoka and Gokayama on two consecutive calendar days, but not as far as Shirakawago.
  • Gokayama-Shirakawago Free Kippu (3,500 yen)
    Unlimited use of Kaetsuno buses between Takaoka and Gokayama on two consecutive calendar days.
  • Takaoka-Shirakawago One Way Free Kippu (2,000 yen)
    One way trip from Takaoka Station to Shirakawago on Kaetsuno buses with stopovers allowed, but no backtracking. The ticket is valid for up to two consecutive calendar days.

Hotels around Shirakawago & Gokayama

Top rated in Shirakawago & Gokayama
    • Shiroyamakan
      Featuring free WiFi throughout the property, Shiroyamakan offers accommodation in Shirakawa, 1.4 km from Shirakawago. Free private parking is available on site. The entire property is non-smoking. The nearest airport is Komatsu Airport, 47 km from the property.
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    • Onyado Yuinosho
      Located in Shirakawa in the Gifu region with Shirakawago nearby, Onyado Yuinosho provides accommodation with free private parking, as well as access to a sauna. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk and a lift, along with free WiFi throughout the property. Guests can use the hot spring bath and the public bath, or enjoy mountain views. The ryokan will provide guests with air-conditioned units offering a desk, a kettle, a fridge, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a bidet. At the ryokan, all units are soundproof. At the ryokan, every unit includes bed linen and towels. An Asian breakfast is available daily at the ryokan. There is a snack bar, bar and lounge. Hida Minzoku Mura Folk Village is 45 km from Onyado Yuinosho, while Takayama Station is 46 km away. The nearest airport is Toyama Airport, 81 km from the accommodation.
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    • TOYOTA Shirakawa-Go Eco-Institute
      Boasting hot-spring baths, a French restaurant and nature tours, the Eco-Institute is just a 10-minute drive from Shirakawa-Go traditional village, a UNESCO world heritage site. It offers spacious rooms with high ceilings and forest views. All rooms at TOYOTA Shirakawa-Go Eco-Institute are air-conditioned, with an LCD TV, free wired internet and an en suite toilet. Some rooms have a private bathroom, and some rooms have Japanese-style futon bedding and a tatami (woven-straw) floor. The property is completely non-smoking. Gassho-zukuri Shuraku traditional houses are a 10-minute drive away. Shirayumi Ski Resort is a 20-minute drive away, and Shirakawa-go Onsen Hot Spring is a 15-minute drive. Free pick-up is available from Shirakawa-go Bus Stop, a 10-minute drive away. Both indoor and open-air hot-spring baths are on site, and guests can relax on the terrace or at the games room. A playground for children is provided. The institute showcases various environmentally-friendly initiatives. A set breakfast is served at the dining area. Dinner featuring locally grown ingredients can be enjoyed at La Riviere Blanc for an additional fee, but a reservation must be made at least 3 days in advance. Please note that the area does not have other dining options.
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    • 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.
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    • CURIO Shirakawago
      CURIO Shirakawago is situated in Shirakawa, within 47 km of Takayama Station and a few steps of Shirakawago. The 5-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with a private bathroom and free WiFi. The property is non-smoking and is located 46 km from Hida Minzoku Mura Folk Village. At the hotel each room includes bed linen and towels. Fuji Folk Museum is 48 km from CURIO Shirakawago, while Yoshijima Heritage House is 48 km away. The nearest airport is Toyama Airport, 82 km from the accommodation.
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