7 day sample itinerary: Tokyo - Kyoto - Nara
Itinerary tip: The Japan Alps
Landlocked in central Honshū, The Japan Alps are a complete opposite to the lowland, highly populated, futuristic cities of modern Japan. Travel to Takayama with your Japan Rail Pass and use it as a jumping off point for all the area’s highlights.
What Takayama has to offer
In the city’s old town you’ll find perfectly preserved Edo-Period houses, as well as sake breweries, hic! Wander the streets and buy some local crafts from the morning market, or tour the temples, shrines and castle ruins. In spring and autumn join in some raucous chanting when Takayama holds one of Japan’s most famous festivals, with processions, floats and performances to marvel at.
Trips from Takayama with your Japan Rail Pass
Shirakawa-go/Gokayama: This region is dotted with picturesque old farmhouses with steep thatched roofs used for silkworm cultivating. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site take the opportunity to stay overnight in one of these fantastic buildings.
Okuhida: After sightseeing, soak your weary body in an outdoor onsen (rotemburo), with calming views over this leafy mountain region, don’t forget your modesty towel!
How to get there
Take the Shinkansen → Nagoya, transfer to the JR Hida Limited Express Train → Takayama (L’Ex takes 140 minutes, one train per hour), all with your Japan Rail Pass.
Click here to buy your Japan Rail Pass now!
View more images of The Japan Alps on our Flickr page
photo David Sanz / Yuki Shimazu