questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

nikko - jigokudani - shirakawago

Nikko - Jigokudani - Shirakawago

im planning a 12 day trip to Japan from 24/12/12 - 04/12/12

Day 1: Reach Kansai Airport.
Day 2: Osaka (Kaiyukan, Umeda sky building)
Day 3: Osaka/Kyoto (Osaka-Jo, Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Kinkaku-ji)
Day 4: Kyoto (Nijo-Jo, Nishiki Market, Kiyomizu-dera, Gion)
Day 5: Nara (Todai-Ji, Shin-Yakushi-ji, Horyuji Temple)
Day 6: Kobe (Arime Onsen, Mt Rokko)
Day 7: Tokyo
Day 8: Tokyo
Day 9: Nikko
Day 10: Jigokudani (Reach by day 9. Staying a night)
Day 11: Shirakawago (Reach by day 10. Staying a night in Takayama)
Day 12: Osaka (Reach by Day 11)

FYI, day 1 to 4 i will be using JR West Rail Pass. Day 5 to day 11 - JR Rail Pass

My question is, how would i travel from Nikko to Jigokudani (Yudanaka Station) and from Yudanaka station to Takayama, and lastly, Takayama back to osaka? what is the best way for me in term of time and money (maximizing JR Pass usage)?

To simplify,
Day 9, Nikko - Yudanaka Station
Day 10, Yudanaka - Takayama
Day 11, Takayama - Osaka

Also, please drop any suggestion about my itinerary. This is my first trip to Japan.

Thank you


Hi There.

The best way would be to use your JR Pass to get from Nikko to Nagano and then ride the Nagano Electric Railway Private Railway to Yudanaka (1130Yen). It's a shame that there is no JR line all the way to Yudanaka but it is only a small part of the trip.

On day 10 take the Nagano Electric Railway back to Nagano and get your tickets to Takayama from the JR Office. Prepare well for this trip as it takes a while! Here's what the trip would look like:

From Takayama to Osaka you can just go the the JR Ticket office in Takayama and get the tickets to Osaka there. It's a fairly straight forwards trip and would look like:

As for the rest it looks like you are going to have a great time! I think you already researched well what you want to do and see. If you have some time in Kobe I would recommend you visit one of the local Sake breweries and in Takayama don't forget to try the Hida Beef, it's very good! Oh and before I forget, in Takayama go to Centre4Hamburgers it's a really lovely place.

Hope you have a wonderful time in Japan!

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Thank you for the reply Daniel-san,

but from nagano to takayama, it takes around 6 hours. do you think it would be a rush if were to go there but just stay the night? the purpose to go to takayama is to visit shirakawago the next morning and i was thinking not going back to takayama but to head to kanazawa and eventually on that same day (day 11), head back to Osaka for my flight in the early morning of Day 12.

i was thinking if its a rush, maybe i have to choose either nagano or shirakawago. then, i will have extra 1 day to explore the place without rushing. I'm kind of stuck in this dilemma. lol

FYI, i will be travelling from 24/12/12 to 04/12/12.

Thank you :)


Hello again :)

I was in Shirakawago two years ago in summer it's a nice little village and you could easily see it in two hours.
What they did is that they took several historical farm houses from the area and put them together in one place.
I looked at some pictures of it on Google and it looks very lovely in winter but I am not sure if it would be worth the 6 hour trip.

Am I understanding correctly that will go to Kanazawa for only part of the day? If you want to take it easy you could go there instead of Takayama and enjoy the city. It has never been bombed in the 2nd World War and it still had the feeling of Edo period Japan (18th century). It's castle is very beautiful and the Geisha district is beautiful as well.

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thank again for you reply. very useful information indeed :)

if thats the case, on day 10 evening, i will take a 4 hours train ride to kanazawa (its nearer from nagano). then the morning of day 11, i will head to Shirakawago using the Nohi bus service.

thank you so much. you have been a great help :)


Glad to hear it, I hope you will enjoy Japan as I have!

If you have anymore questions you are always welcome here!

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