Hi SamYou spent 2 nights in Takayama...do you find too short? Or 3 nights better.thks
SamThis is an excellent write up and photography and thanks for sharing. This will be a good guide for our future visit to Japan. I have been to Japan but have not been to so many places.RegardsVivian
Hi Sam, Thanks for sharing your love for Japan.I am planning a 15 days trip this December for my family of 4, arriving & departing from Narita.Our initial plan was to do a round trip, driving from Tokyo to central part of Japan before returning to Tokyo.However, after much reading, we realized places like Kamikochi and Tateyama Alpine route will be closed in December. Also, some places may be snowing, which makes driving sounds dangerous to city driver like us.Now I am planning to take public transport but the thought of moving around in big suitcases put me off. My plan to travel around in public transport is:Day 1 - Tokyo (Stay for 1N)Day 2 - Tokyo to Matsumoto by Limited Express and stay 1N.Day 3 - Matsumoto to Takayama by bus and stay 1NDay 4 - Takayama to Kanazawa by bus ShirakawagoDay 5 - KanazawaDay 6 - Back to Takayama - GifuDay 7 - Takayama to Nagoya by busDay 8 - NagoyaDay 9 - Nagoya back to Tokyo by busDay 10-15 Stay in Tokyo and making day trips from thereQuestion:1) Should I go Hirayu onsen from Matsumoto and stay 1N there?2) Should I go Toyama since Tateyama alpine route is closed?3) Should I stay 1N in Shirakawago?4) Should I take bus or get the JR Takayama-Hokuriku pass?5) Should I start from Matsumoto and end in Nagoya before returning to Tokyo or should I do the other way round starting from Nagoya and end in Matsumoto before returning to Tokyo?6) Can our big suitcases go onboard the buses?Hoping to hear from you.SP
Wow, that's quite a lot of bus travels.If budget is not an issue, why not consider getting the 7 days JR Pass? More convenient, in my opinion, esp since the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kanazawa already started operating this year. You'd only need to take a 50mins bus ride (not included in 7 days JR Pass though) from Takayama to Shirakawa-go, since there's not train station near Shirakawa-go.The more convenient option: Day 1: Tokyo (Stay 1N)Day 2: (JR Pass day 1) Tokyo to Nagano via Shinkansen. Daytrip visit to Matsumoto. Stay near Nagano station.Day 3: (JR Pass day 2) Nagano to Kanazawa via Shinkansen. Visit Kanazawa. Stay near Kanazawa station.Day 4: (JR Pass day 3) Kanazawa to Shirakawago by bus (not included in JR Pass). Stay at Shirakawago.Day 5: (JR Pass day 4) Shirakawago to Takayama via bus (not included in JR Pass). Stay at Takayama near Takayama station perhaps.Day 6: (JR Pass day 5) Takayama to Gero onsen via Ltd Exp train. Stay at Gero onsen.Day 7: (JR Pass day 6) Gero onsen to Nagoya via Ltd exp train. Stay at NagoyaDay 8: (JR Pass day 7) Nagoya to Tokyo via Shinkasen. Stay at Tokyo.However, if you still wanna go using your itinerary with buses, then here's my response to your questions:1) Should I go Hirayu onsen from Matsumoto and stay 1N there?If you mean you add an additional night of your trip's itinerary for this 1N stay at Hirayu onsen, then by all means go ahead. But not, then I think you can skip Hirayu onsen and just stay at a ryokan at perhaps Takayama.2) Should I go Toyama since Tateyama alpine route is closed?Judging by your already pretty packed itinerary, I'd probably say no.3) Should I stay 1N in Shirakawago?Yes. It's going to be an interesting experience staying at Shirakawago. However, understand that there's very limited number of accommodations available at Shirakawago (since it's a small village) and winter is a popular season for visitors wanting to visit Shirakawago, so be mentally prepared that you might not be able to find rooms on the date you want. Start sourcing for accommodations now.4) Should I take bus or get the JR Takayama-Hokuriku pass?Problem is that you are using Tokyo airport, and not Osaka nor Nagoya airport...therefore even if you get JR Takayama-Hokuriku pass, you'd still have to pay for the shinkansen back to Tokyo from Nagoya. FYI, a 1 way shinkansen ride between Nagoya to Tokyo costs 10880yen. Personally, I find that taking trains is more convenient.5) Should I start from Matsumoto and end in Nagoya before returning to Tokyo or should I do the other way round starting from Nagoya and end in Matsumoto before returning to Tokyo?Hmm, doesn't really matter in your case. Just check the bus timings to see which direction is more convenient for your itinerary. I'm not too familiar with bus timings for this route.6) Can our big suitcases go onboard the buses?Hmm, that's going to be a problem. Some buses don't have a separate compartment for large luggages, some have. I've only taken the bus from Takayama station to Shirakawago, and I recall that there's no toilet on the bus, and might be a tad difficult to lug your large luggage onboard the bus since it's pretty narrow. Can't recall if there's any separate luggage storage compartment for large luggage for this route or not though, since it was just a day trip for me.
Hi Sam,Thanks for taking time to read and answer all my questions.Looks like getting a 7-Day JR pass is more economical with fewer bus rides, which may give me nightmare with the big suitcases.Thanks once again for giving us your opinion.Greatly appreciated.SP