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Which rail pass most suitable?

Montreal, Canada
2 posts
Which rail pass most suitable?


We will be in Japan from Oct. 4 to 21.

Here is our itinerary :

Oct. 4 to 8 – Tokyo (staying in Ueno)

Oct. 8 - Mont Fuji Fujikawaguchiko

Oct. 9 - starting with the Takayama-Hokuriku Train for Nagoya – stop for lunch and bus for Shirakawa

Oct. 10-11 - Visit Shirakawa - bus for Takayama and visit (3 nights in Shirakawa)

Oct. 12 - Bus for Kanazawa and night there

Oct. 13 - Train for Nara (via Kyoto) - end of Takayama-Hokuriku pass

Oct. 14 - Nara

Oct. 15 – Bus to Wazukazo (night in Wazukazo)

Oct. 16 - Transport (bus or train?) for Kyoto

Oct. 17, 18 and 19 - Kyoto

Oct. 20 - Train for Osaka

Oct. 21 – Flight back to Montreal

After a lot of research I came to the conclusion that the Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass would be the best option for us.

Does it seem like a good choice or do you think there is another pass the would suit best our needs.

Thanks for your assistance.

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6 replies to this topic
Tsukuba, Japan
Level Contributor
9,674 posts
317 reviews
1. Re: Which rail pass most suitable?

Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass is good for your itinerary, but it only covers from Nagoya to Takayama to Kanazawa via Shirakawago, to Kyoto, and it does not cover other areas.

In your itinerary, I think you don't need 3 nights at Shirakawago. One night or even 0 night is enough there: there are only few hotels and you probably have to stay at a Minshuku (Japanese-style bed and breakfast lodgings) in Shirakawago: in other words, you have to stay at someone's house. Thus, I think it is better to shorten your stay there and add a round trip to Hiroshima/Miyajima from Osaka or Kyoto with 1 night stay instead. In addition, if you return to and fly back to your country from Tokyo, then the 14 day JR Pass Pays off. Here is a detailed 15 day itinerary for Tokyo, Takayama/Japan Alps/Shirakawago/Kanazawa, Kyoto/Nara/Osaka, Hiroshima/Miyajima, and Mt. Fuji (hakone or Kawaguchiko) using the 14 day JR Pass, for your reference.


Destination Expert
for Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
57,771 posts
67 reviews
2. Re: Which rail pass most suitable?

www.japan-guide.com/railpass = rail pass calculator.

Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
7,007 posts
190 reviews
3. Re: Which rail pass most suitable?

Agree with Mabei-sensei in #1 that 3 nights in Shirakawa-go is an overkill. I usually suggest 1 night in Takayama and 2 nights in Kanazawa with few hours in Shirakawa-go while travelling enroute by Nohi bus. If you prefer to stay there overnight that's fine as well.

>>Oct. 9 - starting with the Takayama-Hokuriku Train for Nagoya – stop for lunch and bus for Shirakawa

It is a detour from Fuji 5-lake to Takayama via Nagoya. Consider Kawaguchi-ko > Kofu by bus in 1 hour > Matsumoto by JR express train > Takayama by bus in 2 hour.

Osaka is an easy day trip from Kyoto served by frequent commuter trains. There is no need to change hotel for overnight.

Edited: 04 August 2018, 19:58
Level Contributor
4,384 posts
335 reviews
4. Re: Which rail pass most suitable?

No reason to change your plans to match JR Pass conditions. Agree that Shirakawa go stay is too long. I encourage a longer stay in Kyoto, a base from which you can add Nara, Uji, and maybe north into smaller town and nature.

Level Contributor
4,178 posts
149 reviews
5. Re: Which rail pass most suitable?

I suspected (because of the odd wording) that perhaps they were staying some of the time in Takayama. Three nights at Shirakawa-go would be quite odd.

And, when I looked at this yesterday, the tourist-pass looked reasonable because of the buses and onward train journey, the railpass calculator suggestion is not appropriate in this case.

Montreal, Canada
2 posts
6. Re: Which rail pass most suitable?

Thanks everybody for your comments.

I should have mentioned that all our accommodations have already been booked. We were indeed planning to stay in Takayama but I I forgot to take into consideration the Takayama Matsuri that will be held while we are in the area. So by the time I tried to book an accommodation, the only places available in Takayama were much too expensive for our budget. That's the reason why we'll be staying in Shirakawa-Go. If I am not mistaken, the Takayama-Hokuriku pass includes buses between Shirakawa-Go and Takayama. The reason why we will go to Wazukazo is that we both love Japanese tea.

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