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Takayama - Hokuriku Tourist Pass

Penang Island...
Level Contributor
282 posts
Takayama - Hokuriku Tourist Pass

Hello, we plan to purchase Takayama - Hokuriku tourist pass for travel around Osaka, Kyoto, Kanazawa, Takayama and Shirakawa.

1) May I ask whether we can we take Thunderbird train from Osaka to Kanazawa, and Kanazawa to Kyoto with this pass? Do we need to pay any extra for this train ride?

2) Can we use JR bus in Kanazawa with this pass?

May I know how can we get to the following places with public transport?

a) Kakusenkei Gorge

b) Hakusan National Park

c) Senmaida rice fields

Thank you in advance.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Tohoku, Hokkaido
Level Contributor
7,479 posts
1. Re: Takayama - Hokuriku Tourist Pass

My understanding to the train and bus coverage question is yes the pass is good for the train but doubtful for the bus IN Kanazawa although it does cover the Shirakawa-go and Gokayama buses. It would be best to confirm by asking them directly through their online email address below.

https:/…contact

For access to Kakusenkei Gorge, take a look at the following forum post last year. Let’s hope the information provided is not outdated yet.

tripadvisor.ca/…66420016

For Hakusan National Park there is bus service between Kanazawa station 金沢駅 and the park visitor center 白山体験村.

www.hokutetsu.co.jp/tourism-bus/hakusan (scroll down to the bottom half of the webpage)

The visitor center is also on 2 bus lines between Matto rail station 松任駅 and Tsurugi rail station 鶴来駅.

hokutetsu.co.jp/media/…route_timetable13.pdf (scroll down to P.2)

Shirayone Senmaida Rice Fields 白米千枚田 can be reached by bus between Wajima station 輪島駅 and Ushitsu station 宇出津駅.

hokutetsu.co.jp/media/…route_timetable17.pdf (look under 町野線)

Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
Level Contributor
61,813 posts
171 reviews
2. Re: Takayama - Hokuriku Tourist Pass

1. Limited Express trains like Thunderbird are covered so yes.

2. Kanazawa JR bus: no

Remember that all buses from Kanazawa direct to Shirakawago require reservations. On busier days, you might not be able to walk up and get a seat. It's best to reserve in advance:

https:/…shirakawago.pdf

The non-reserved option is to take Shinkansen to Shin-Takaoka, and then board the bus to Shirakawago. That very bus goes through Gokayama as well. Both train and bus journeys are covered by the Pass.

Edited: 08 July 2016, 08:05
Penang Island...
Level Contributor
282 posts
3. Re: Takayama - Hokuriku Tourist Pass

Thank you William and Sammy for detailed replies. The info given has been very useful in our trip planning.

For Thunderbird train, do I need to make a reservation or I just can board the train with my pass any time? Will the train usually be full? Do they allow standing if the train is full?

As I will be in Osaka, Kyoto, Kanazawa, Shirakawa, Toyama in mid November, I hope to go somewhere else with countryside, lake and snow-capped mountains setting to see autumn colours. Is there any suggestion?

Thanks again.

Edited: 08 July 2016, 18:10
Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
Level Contributor
61,813 posts
171 reviews
4. Re: Takayama - Hokuriku Tourist Pass

You can either use the unreserved seat or make a reservation. The TH Pass allows up to 4 reservations though when I used it, nobody bothered to stamp the Pass ever to record that I reserved. Since those 4 reservations are free, and you can always make one up to minutes before the train's departure, you should try to take advantage of the feature. If you are traveling during peak holiday periods, then making a reservation is essential.

Your plans sound fine. Post a day-to-day itinerary of where you plan to be if you want more feedback.

Penang Island...
Level Contributor
282 posts
5. Re: Takayama - Hokuriku Tourist Pass

Hello, thank you for the reply.

My itinerary is:

12 Nov - 15 Nov : Kanazawa.

1) Will visit Shirakawa-go and Gokayama. Is there bus connection between these two villages?

2) Between Kurobe Gorge and Kakusenkei Gorge, which one is more beautiful in autumn?

3) The old town of Kanazawa, Toyama and Takayama look the same with rows of traditional Japapnese houses, I'm hoping to visit another place with special features like lake and snow-capped mountain as a backdrop, where can I find such a place other than alpine route?

15 Nov - 18 Nov : Kyoto

1) Is there any special village nearby to visit?

Edited: 09 July 2016, 06:07
Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Tohoku, Hokkaido
Level Contributor
7,479 posts
6. Re: Takayama - Hokuriku Tourist Pass

If you are staying in Toyama, an easy excursion is Kurobe Gorge. With luck you can catch some autumn colour during your time of visit although early Nov is said to be a better time for koyo in that area.

http://www.kurotetu.co.jp/en/

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e7575.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tez146qQJ1M

In Takayama a side trip to beautiful Kamikochi is highly worthwhile with river, lake and view of snow-capped mt. But if you are going there you have to be there early as public transport to Kamikochi stops operating on Nov 15 this year.

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6040.html

Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
Level Contributor
61,813 posts
171 reviews
7. Re: Takayama - Hokuriku Tourist Pass

In terms of old town atmosphere, I would go with Takayama, then the Higashichaya district of Kanazawa. Toyama isn't as popular.

Kamikochi is indeed gorgeous but you will need to go early in your trip as William said. It pretty much takes all day so I don't know if you have time for it.

As I mentioned in post #2, there are buses between Shin-Takaoka, Gokayama and Shirakwago that are covered by Takayama Hokuriku Pass. There is also one from Toyama but that bus is not covered by the Pass.

Penang Island...
Level Contributor
282 posts
8. Re: Takayama - Hokuriku Tourist Pass

Thank you both for the suggestions. One more question. Does the tourist pass cover Toyama - Chiho railway to Unazuki station? Thanks.

Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
Level Contributor
61,813 posts
171 reviews
9. Re: Takayama - Hokuriku Tourist Pass

No it does not.

Penang Island...
Level Contributor
282 posts
10. Re: Takayama - Hokuriku Tourist Pass

Noted and thank you.