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Tokyo to Takayama or Kanazawa

Old Jan 27th, 2015, 06:35 AM
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Tokyo to Takayama or Kanazawa

In mid-May after 7 days in Tokyo I would like to visit both Takayama and Kanazawa then train to Kyoto. I will have a Japaneses Rail Pass. Which would be the easiest/most efficient route - Tokyo, Takayama, Kanazawa, Kyoto or Tokyo, Kanazawa, Takayama, Kyoto? Complicating the above question I believe I have read that starting in March direct Shinkansen service between Tokyo and Kanazawa will begin. Thanks for any input.
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Old Jan 27th, 2015, 09:23 AM
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Both Takayama and Kanazawa are worth the trip. Either way you can take a bus between the two stop off at Shirakawa-go a village of thatched huts for a couple hours then move on. the bus goes both ways, you buy tickets at the train stations. As I recall around 40-45.00 Or you can just take the bus direct not getting off at SK-GO and it will take you about 3.5-4 hours. Lovely country either way,seats are reserved. You can get the same village effect in Takayama at the Hild Village same story takes a couple hours.
Hotels: Kawanaza the Kanazawa Miyako is just across from the entry to the train station also if you want a great roykan experience Sumiyoshiya has been in business over 200 years.
Takayama has numerous hotels and is quite walkable also like Kanazawa has a great tour loop bus for a couple hundred yen
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Old Jan 27th, 2015, 09:37 AM
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JoanneH, since you've mentioned Shirakawa-go, would you recommend spending the night there? My husband and I are going to both Kanazawa and Takayama, but someone mentioned that we should thinking about staying overnight in Shirakawa. Your thoughts?
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Old Jan 27th, 2015, 10:33 AM
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Well that depends. JMHO Its overpriced, many of the huts are not really in Shirakawa-go proper but in villages in the general area, however are listed as in Shirakawa-go. Here was my experience. Did the hut number turns out it was appx 30 miles from main village by world heritage bus that ran only every couple of hours and so did not connect with bus running to either Kanazawa or Takayama we had to wait about 1.5 hours in the rain. Few to No signs because area is World Heritage site, hike from bus stop and since it was late October dam cold as these are not heated mid summer might be nice but not early spring or fall JMHO. Hosts were great it was just to cold and without light or heat your stepping back to 1200's. Its interesting walking around SK itself but it only takes a few hours to see it all. Your time would be better spent in Takayama which has a thatched village on the tour loop bus with craftspeople working in the various huts and Takayama has many many old areas, streets with homes, shops, temples etc that are totally walkable.
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Old Jan 27th, 2015, 12:13 PM
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JoanneH,

Thanks for the reply. Since I am going to both Takayama and Kanazawa I guess it doesn't matter which I go to first. So its Takayama then Kanazawa in that order on my itinerary. Thanks again.
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Old Jan 27th, 2015, 03:16 PM
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Well do allow time to explore Takayama you will not be sorry
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Old Jan 27th, 2015, 04:05 PM
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Thanks, JoanneH. We're doing the opposite of kc3305, but I think we'll maybe make a stop in Shirakaw-go and continue on to Takayama. I couldn't figure out how close the ryokans were tha I was contacting, but they appeared to be closer to Takayama anyway.

Did you spend any time in Matsumoto? We're thinking about stopping there on our way from Takayama before we head south.

Did you go to Wajima from Kanazawa? If not, I'll start another thread. I figured I'd piggyback kc3305's since her itinerary is similar.
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Old Jan 27th, 2015, 04:58 PM
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You should probably check your train options to decide what best suits your itinerary. You can do so at
http://www.hyperdia.com/en/

I don't think there's a right or wrong answer to the question of whether to stay in Shirakawa-go. I chose not to, but I know many people who enjoyed it immensely. Perhaps you aware that you can see examples of the types of buildings in which people of Shirakawa-go live (gassho-zukuri) in the open-air museum in Takayama, Hida no Sato?
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5901.html

(@ JoanneH -- sounds awful! )
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Old Jan 28th, 2015, 01:30 PM
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Matsumoto: Yes we went there by bus from Takayama enjoyed the day castle is interesting took up better part of a day, easy to get to short walk from bus station.
Wajima: Yes went there you take the bus from Kanazawa station through town then along the coast, it stops once for potty break
leaves you at station where tourist center is located. Be sure you get started in right direction we got it backwards (went out wrong door) but did find the shopping street however that said its just another walk along a street of booths pushing lacquer ware and selling household goods that you can buy in Kanazawa at cheaper prices
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Old Jan 28th, 2015, 01:39 PM
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I went back and found my take SK-GO from slow travel: Shirakawa-go - Gasso Huts
Shirakawa-go is a world heritage area of a village in part recreated of the typical Gasso Huts, temples etc. of an earlier time in Japan. It is frankly more of a day trip than spending a night there that said we did spend a night there in one of the traditional huts. October-November is way to late to be doing that. Since nothing is allowed to be changed in world heritage sites, i.e. no signs to places, and no heat or outside modern light only heat is from center floor fire. So it was stepping back several hundred years and since Shirakawa-go is in the Japanese Alps it was rainy and damp and cold. Huts are two story, with sleeping rooms upstairs and one sleeping room downstairs really more like a dorm room, and then central room with the fire, you sleep on futon on floor with blankets. We did meet some interesting travelers who were also staying there and we pooled our food - no food service of any kind except in village and enjoyed the evening. However I would say this is not for the faint of heart. Shirakawa-go village is worth the time and effort to get there for a day visit, spending the night depends on your tolerance for back to basics.

Also FYI Phone Services: I found this phone service to be great and a lot cheaper than most. I found you could get a smart phone for $126.00 for 30 days, service was good and worked everywhere we were even in the Alps. JCR CORPORATION no charge for hotel delivery and pre-paid return. Simple smart phone with maps. Calls were slightly higher but no huge up front deposit. Phone was japanese brand x. If you just need it for calls within Japan, some email and some map usage the price was right. If on the other hand you want all kinds of data etc they do have another plan that was around $200 for the same time period. There also several other company's as well but I found the up front deposits a killer. JMHO
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Old Jan 30th, 2015, 10:17 PM
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To your original question: either route works efficiently. If you take the fastest shinkansen to Kanazawa it would take 2.5 hours. From there to Takayama you would have 40 minutes of so of backtracking and connecting at Toyama to get to Takayama. Takayama to Kyoto would be an hour longer that Kanazawa to Kyoto.

If you go the other way, then it is 4.5 hours or so to Takayama. So 2 hours more to your first destination than if you went to Kanazawa first. But then subtract the backtrack and the hour you save by getting to Kyoto from Kanazawa. So going to Takayama first only costs a half hour maybe of travel time vs going to Kanazawa first.

Both of those routes would include taking JR between Takayama and Toyama. I have read (in Japan by Rail) that it is a scenic trip.

If you travel between Kanazawa and Takayama by bus then the Kanazawa firt option is better by an hour.

I would love to spend a night in Shirakawago in May. Especially if it was a weeknight.

But you have not mentioned (AFAIK) how much time you have for Takayama, Shirakawa-go, Kanazawa. That is, are you trying to do this in 3 nights (bad idea) or do you have a week, or what?

I guess that I can see how a person could get a room in "Shirakawago" and be not near the sights you want to see.

My understanding of the following is not complete but here goes. I understand that the -go in Shirakawa-go is a political or administrative region. The place that you want to go is Ogimachi, Shirakwa-go - the old town (or old village) of Shirakwa-go. So a person could stay in Shirakawago without being in Ogimachi. I think. Sorta like getting a room in New York City and ending up in Brooklyn when you were expecting Manhattan. Ogimachi, Shirakawago is more specific than referring to Shirakawago. At least, that is how I would explain the experience of the poster up-thread who, perhaps, stayed in the -go but not Ogimachi.

Even more specific, I recommend the Koemon gassho-zukuri in Ogimachi, Shirakwa-go. The couple that runs the place is really nice. He speaks some English but she won't try. The daughter, who is fluent, has probably moved on to a city by now. Not that language matters; it works out.

Ideally, I would stay there mid-week when there are fewer day-trippers and fewer weekend-getawayers (well, actually, there would be zero weekend get-away travelers as it would be mid-week).
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Old Feb 2nd, 2015, 10:40 AM
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"My understanding of the following is not complete but here goes. I understand that the -go in Shirakawa-go is a political or administrative region. The place that you want to go is Ogimachi, Shirakwa-go - the old town (or old village) of Shirakwa-go. So a person could stay in Shirakawago without being in Ogimachi. I think. Sorta like getting a room in New York City and ending up in Brooklyn when you were expecting Manhattan. Ogimachi, Shirakawago is more specific than referring to Shirakawago. At least, that is how I would explain the experience of the poster up-thread who, perhaps, stayed in the -go but not Ogimachi."

You have it right. Shirakwa-go is used as an overall term in general and you are right in your comments so if someone wants to stay there they really need to pin down the huts\hotels location.
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