How to get to Shirakawa-go from Osaka

Traveling in Japan for the first time can be a daunting concept. First time travelers might get overwhelmed when it comes to travel planning, especially choosing which destinations in Japan to visit. When people would ask where in the country I suggest a first-timer to visit, I would always say Shirakawa-go. If you’ve recently snagged a seat sale to Japan, and and you would like to know how to get to Shirakawa-go from Osaka, then this travel guide might be useful!

How to get to Shirakawa-go from Osaka

Option # 1 (Osaka – Kanazawa – Shirakawa-go for JR Pass Holders)

The JR Thunderbird Limited Express Trains has frequent departures from Osaka to Kanazawa, which make this option the best for JR Pass Holders. Once in Kanazawa, make your way to Nohi – Hokutetsu Bus Terminal  located on the east side of JR Kanazawa Station to get your bus tickets to Shirakawa-go. 

There are direct and non direct trains going to Kanazawa from Osaka. Make sure to select a train schedule that goes straight to Kanazawa. You can get your JR Pass (7, 14, or 21 Days) here.

Option # 2 (Osaka – Nagoya – Takayama – Shirakawa-go for JR Pass Holders)

If your time is limited, make the most out of your JR Pass by exploring Takayama first before going to Shirakawa-go. From Osaka, take a bullet train to Nagoya, then transfer lines  to Takayama. Once done with your Takayama tour, head to Takayama Hida Bus Center located next to JR Takayama Station to get your bus tickets to Shirakawa-go. Same as Option # 1, train rides are covered by JR Pass.

There are plenty of train lines that connect Osaka and Nagoya, so if time of the essence, make sure to select a schedule with no train transfers required.

Limited Express Hida (Wide View) is my favorite train line in Japan. You’ll understand why when you get on it!

Option # 3 (Takayama – Hokuriku Pass for Non-JR Pass Holders)

For Non-JR Pass holders, you can get a Takayama – Hokuriku Pass. This will be economical if you will be travelling between Osaka and Kyoto with Kanazawa and Toyama for 5 consecutive days. The price is JPY 14,500 (or JPY 7,000 for children aged 6-11), which provides unlimited use of JR Trains and buses (Nohi Bus, World Heritage Bus and Hokutetsu Bus).

Option # 4 (Daytime and Overnight Buses for Non-JR Pass Holders)

For Non-JR Pass holders, you may also consider taking an overnight or daytime bus from Osaka to Kanazawa. Daily trips are offered by highway bus companies like Hokutetsu, Hankyu and Nishinihon JR Bus. Travel time to Kanazawa is about 5 hours. From there, you may purchase bus tickets from Nohi – Hokutetsu Bus Terminal, which is located on the east side of JR Kanazawa Station, to get to Shirakawa-go.

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