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Takayama, Shirakawago, Kanazawa bus schedule for Elainee

Takayama, Shirakawago, Kanazawa bus schedule for Elainee

Jul 2nd, 2004, 09:14 PM
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Posts: 15,666
Takayama, Shirakawago, Kanazawa bus schedule for Elainee

Here is bus schedule info valid April 5 thru November 30, 2004. This is a non-JR bus. It leaves from Takayama and stops in Shokawa and Hirase Onsen before arriving in Shirakawa-go. After Shirakawa-go, it goes to either Hatogaya or Kanazawa.

On the following lines, the first time is Takayama, the second time is Shirakawago, and the third time, if present, is Kanazawa.

08:45 - 10:25 - 11:50
09:30 - 11:15
11:05 - 12:50
14:40 - 16:31
15:20 - 17:00 - 18:25

The 11:05 bus originates in Gero at 9:45. There is a 17:35 dep from Takayama that skips Shirakawago and terminates at Hatogaya at 19:39.

Here is the reverse: Kanazawa (if served), - Shirakawago - Takayama Bus Center

--no-- - 06:00 - 07:56
08:40 - 10:05 - 11:45
--no-- - 12:25 - 14:16
--no-- - 14:00 - 15:45
16:05 - 17:45
--no-- - 17:10 - 19:01

The 14:00 bus terminates at Gero 17:35.

Takayama - Shirakawago is Y2400 one-way and 4300 roundtrip
Takayama - Kanazawa is 3300 one-way and 5900 r.t.
Shirakawa - Kanazawa is 1800 1way, 3200 r.t.
(I think the schedule actually means to say Shirakawa-go for this last fare info, because the Japanese names are the same)

I got the schedule at the Takayama tourist center that is in front of Takayama station (or maybe it was at the bus center next door).

Elainee, are you travelling Matsumoto to Takayama or the other direction?
mrwunrfl is online now  
Jul 3rd, 2004, 04:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Splendid!! Thanks to you and Kim for helping me understand that we should go to Kanazawa first (from Kyoto) and then on to Takayama, then Matsumoto, etc. before returning to the airport. If we take the 8:40 from Kanazawa we seem to have our choice of which bus to take from Shirakawago to Takayama. Having this schedule makes the trip so much more real. Do I read the schedule correctly?
I am including a copy of the response I received yesterday when I inquired about reservations at the Palace Hotel in Kamikochi. "am pleased to confirm your reservations at Kamikochi for the night of November 3, 2004 for Two Rooms, each furnished with Two Twin Beds for Double Occupancy. This year, it turns out the last day for Kamikochi is November 7, 2004! I would like to inform you however that it will be very cold at that time of year in Kamikochi and the reservation staff has asked me to convey to you that the red leaves will all be gone by this point. If you would still like to keep your reservation, please let me know." Now what hotel in the US gives that kind of response? With the reverse schedule we will need to get to this hotel 2 days later. I am not sure we should go there. It will mean extra warm clothes and we are trying to travel as light as possible. What do you think???
Elainee is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2004, 05:13 AM
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mrwunrfl: thanks for that Takayama/Shirakawago bus schedule; I needed it too. I am sitting down w/coffee and getting out the files to do some planning this morning.
I saw that you went to Gero from one of your trip reports. Did you stay at the Gero Spa or one of those types of places? Too many neat places to go, trying to see what I can realistically do in 14 days. I want to add in an onsen for one night, and am trying to figure out where to do it.
emd is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2004, 08:19 AM
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FYI - the bus service from Takayama heading to Kamikochi is approximately hourly. Most of the buses go to Hirayu Onsen (60 min) where you connect (~10 min) to a bus (30 min) to Kamikochi. .

The bus on the first leg (to Hirayu Onsen) runs April 21 through November 30. The bus on the second leg (Hirayu Onsen to Kamikochi) runs April 21 through November 15 (departures are every 20 or 30 minutes).

Two buses a day go straight through from Takayama to Kamikochi. The bus runs April 21 to October 31. Here are times for dep. Takayama - arr. Kamikochi

08:20 - 09:50
14:30 - 15:50

For Kamikochi to Matsumoto, I think I was able to get a schedule in Takayama. You take a bus to a train or a bus straight through. You will see the schedule posted at the Kamikochi bus center. If you are stopping for several hours to go for a walk around Kamikochi, then you should get your ticket (and reservation number) when you arrive at Kamikochi. By res. number, I mean that they board the bus in the order that they sell the tickets and your ticket bears that number.

There is a place at the Kamikochi bus center to check luggage (or serious backpack, mountain climbing, camping equipment) for the day. Or just pack a few extra layers.

That is excellent advice from the hotel. It is good reason to re-consider going to Shirakawago, too. From Nagoya, the train goes UP a river valley to Takayama, not sure how high, so you should check out temps & snow for Takayama, too. Same applies to you, emd.

For me, temps that would require a winter coat would cause me to change my itinerary. For November, maybe go farther north but lower altitude for fall colors. For March, maybe go farther south where the sakuranbo are.

The Palace hotel that you mention is aka (maybe better known as) the Imperial Hotel. From Hirayu Onsen the bus made a stop a few minutes before arriving at Kamikochi bus center. A bunch of people got off there to start their walk and also to see a particular view. There was a hotel there and may well have been the Imperial Hotel. Looked nice. Several minutes to walk from there to the Kamikochi bus center, so you will have to plan for getting the ticket for the next day's trip to Matsumoto, if you decide to stay overnight. But it sounds like you won't have a lot of competition for bus seats at that time of year.

I messed up and was not able to get a place to stay over in Shirakawago so I decided not to go there. As a consolation, I went to the Hida-no Sato in Takayama and enjoyed it much more than I expected (take a bus to get there).

OR, maybe you can use the baggage shipment services. Maybe on arrival at NRT, you ship your winter stuff to Kanazawa (to the hotel?) and pick it up there. In Kanazawa, ship your other stuff to NRT. When I arrived at NRT, I took a look at the luggage shipper. Told the lady I wanted to ship to Takayama (and had to specify Takayama, Gifu-ken) and the price was pretty good. I don't remember the price, exactly, maybe 1600 or 2000 but not much more than that. I think it is in the ballpark of Y500/day to store stuff at the airport.

emd, Gero could work for you as it is only 40 min (toward Nagoya) from Takayama. KimJapan didn't like Gero I think, but I liked the Suimeikan where I stayed. It is quite touristy, a place for Nagoya-jin to get away for the weekend. There are many other places. Hakone is the first place that comes to mind that is probably on your itinerary.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Jul 4th, 2004, 07:32 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Hi all. I'm a new fodorite. This's my first message but have been quietly reading your messages and trip diaries. Very helpful. I'm fascinated about Central Honshu but don't know the best way to get from Kanazawa to Kiso valley with my 7 day JR pass. With the JR pass, I intend travel from Kyoto to Takayama on 1st August (stay 1 night), 1 night in Shirakawago, 1 night in Kanazawa before travel to Kiso valley (1 night in Tsumo). I also intend to travel back to Gero on a side trip on the 2nd August for some kind of festival there. And then, from Kiso valley, I'd like to travel Matsumoto (stay 1 night) before catching the JR train to Tokyo on Friday? Is this doable? I know that's what I love to do but unsure how's best to get around without paying extra on top of JR pass. Please advise.
greenpapaya is offline  
Jul 5th, 2004, 07:09 AM
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Not sure if I understand your proposed itinerary. Is the following correct?

1 Aug - Travel Kyoto -> Takayama, night in Takayama
2 Aug - Travel Takayama -> Gero, enjoy festival in Gero, travel Gero -> Shirakawago, night in Shirakawago.
3 Aug - Travel Shirakawago -> Kanazawa, night in Kanazawa.
4 Aug - Travel Kanazawa -> Tsumago, night in Tsumago.
5 Aug - Travel Tsumago -> Matsumoto, night in Matsumoto
6 Aug - Travel Matsumoto -> Tokyo

7 Aug ? - Tokyo to NRT ??

Do you understand that the buses between Shirakawago and Kanazawa and between Shirakawago and Takayama are not JR buses? They will cost extra, on top of your JR Pass. (You can take a JR bus from Takayama to another town and connect to non-JR bus to get to Shirakawago but the schedule for the non-JR bus is better and the savings by going part JR is not much. You should read the access info in the following document:

Is the only fixed date the Aug 2 festival in Gero? Why are you going to Kanazawa (am suspecting because you want to get to JR to go to Kiso valley)? Are you planning on walking/touring in Kiso valley on Aug 4 or Aug 5 or both? I mean, are you going to do the Tsumago hike and stop at a couple of towns in the valley, or just check out Tsumago and move on to Matsumoto?

The guidebook New Japan Solo says "You should skip Tsumago if you plan to visit Takayama". For you, maybe the other way around? I haven't been to Tsumago so I can't say.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Jul 5th, 2004, 06:38 PM
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Thank you for the detailed analysis of my itineraray, mrwunrfl. You're so helpful. Yes, you're right, from 7 Aug, I'll spend 3 nights in Tokyo before flying out from Narita. If most of the bus routes are non-JR then I think I won't buy the JR pass. The reason for that is the trips b/w Kyoto-Takayama and Matsumoto-Tokyo (Shinjuku Station is in Tokyo, isn't it?) will only cost me near 15,000 yen.
There's a Hot Spring Festival at the Gero Onson Matsuri from 1-3 Aug (said Lonely planet) with parades of men in fundoshi (???) and local dances. On 2 Aug, there's parade of women dressed as geisha...so this kind of interest me a bit, unless someone think it's not worth travelling back to.
I'm going to Kanazawa 'cause fodorites think it's beautiful. Basically, I have 5 nights to cover the Central Honshu before finish off at Matsumoto to catch the train to Tokyo on Friday. My husband can only join me on the first of those 5 nights (1Aug) before getting back to work in Nagoya so I'd like to spend that first day at a highly recommended place which seem to be Takayama. All right, if I go to Takayama, then need not worry about TSumago. I don't know what I should do at Kiso vally yet. I don't intend to gear up for any difficult hike in Tsumago. Should I give it a miss and go to Gokayama, Tataeyama instead? I'm the confused one... with too many places to go. Please offer me some suggested itineray with places to stay that is clean, cheap and safe for a female. Greatly appreciated.
greenpapaya is offline  
Jul 6th, 2004, 05:42 AM
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greenpapaya, for lodging you could check frommers.com to find a nice place for you and DH on the 1st. For lodgin on other nights check frommers and at the Welcome Inn site www.itcj.or.jp

So, you could meet DH at Nagoya station and ride to Takayama together and stay overnight. Next day, you get off the train at Gero while he continues back to Nagoya. You might return to Takayama after the festival since the train ride is only 40 min. If you don't get the JR Pass then you have extra money from your transport budget that you can use to take the buses (28000 for the pass minus the 15000 for the two train trips you mentioned = 13000; you would also need to add in transport to Matsumoto). I think that you need to make some lodging recommendations very soon.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Jul 7th, 2004, 07:08 PM
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Thank you mrwunrfl for the suggestions.
Is the Limited Express Thunderbird Train and Shinkansen Hikari covered by JR pass?
greenpapaya is offline  
Jul 7th, 2004, 09:26 PM
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Yes, the JR Pass is can be used on the L'Ex Thunderbird and the Hikari shinkansens. In fact, it is good on all JR trains except for the Nozomi shinkansen for train fare and reserved seat charges.

By JR Pass, we mean the 7-day, 14-day, or 21-day all Japan pass and not the JR regional passes.
mrwunrfl is online now  
Jul 8th, 2004, 06:33 PM
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Thanks for all the information. Have had computer problems so have not been online for a few days. Just got the rates from the Imperial Hotel, plus very restrictive cancellation policy. Think we will skip it. But if the weather is not too cold we just might follow your suggestion and leave our stuff at the station and take a short hike. We do not have the space for a winter coat for just one night.
I think we will wait until September to make our final reservations. Kim has recommended this. But now knowing the bus and train routes and schedules is a huge help.
Looks as if more Fodorites are going to Japan on independent travel. Great!!
Elainee is offline  
Jul 9th, 2004, 10:50 AM
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Don't short change Kanazawa. I was there in October and it became one of my favorite places of the places I went in Japan. To my surprise I liked it MUCH better than Takayama. Takayama has a lovely couple of blocks but the stores in them are now all touristy crap and the streets are jammed with tours. Kanazawa, on the other hand, had some of the friendliest people, and lots to see. It also had fabulous food.
glorialf is offline  
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