Japan has one of the best transportation systems in Asia and the world. Metropolitan areas, suburbs and even the most remote villages have access to efficient public transport. Trust Japan for building additional train lines that would make it easier (not like it ain’t easy yet) to get to beautiful tourism hotspots from its major cities. Take the Hokuriku Shinkansen for example.
The existing Nagano Shinkansen Train Line makes travel from Tokyo to Kanazawa in just 2.5 hours. Travelers coming from Tokyo and the surrounding Kanto Region doesn’t need to travel to Nagoya just to get to Shirakawa-go. In this guide, I will show you various means to get Shirakawa-go from Tokyo.
How to get to Shirakawa-go from Tokyo
Option # 1 (Tokyo – Kanazawa – Shirakawa-go for JR Pass Holders)
If you are a JR pass holder, this is the fastest option for you. You will take Hokuriku Shinkansen (either Kagayaki and Hakutaka), the direct bullet train between Tokyo and Kanazawa. Once in Kanazawa, you can buy bus tickets to Shirakawa-go from Nohi – Hokutetsu Bus Terminal located on the east side of JR Kanazawa Station. Bus tickets are not covered by JR pass.
Option # 2 (Tokyo – Nagoya – Takayama – Shirakawa-go for JR Pass Holders)
If you plan to explore Takayama before Shirakawa-go, then choose this option. Travel by train from Tokyo to Nagoya, then transfer lines in Nagoya to Takayama. You can buy bus tickets to Shirakawa-go from Takayama Hida Bus Center located next to JR Takayama Station. Same as Option # 1, bus tickets are not covered by JR Pass.
Option # 3 (Daytime and Overnight Buses for Non-JR Pass Holders)
For Non-JR Pass holders, take an overnight or daytime bus from Tokyo to Kanazawa. Willer Express offers daily trips in this route. Travel time to Kanazawa is about 8 hours. From there, you may purchase bus tickets to Shirakawa-go from Nohi – Hokutetsu Bus Terminal located on the east side of JR Kanazawa Station. If you’re on a budget, you may consider getting a Japan Bus Pass by Willer Express, with options for three (JPY 10,000), five (JPY 12,500), or 7 consecutive days (JPY 15,000).