Takayama has always been a popular stop for tourists arriving in Japan. Now with the opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen plus modern expressway, the once isolated area has become very easy to access as well.
The city is compact and fairly easy to get around on your own, but if you are looking for a little more spotlight on the many fine examples of Japanese architecture, or if you want some assistance finding the perfect bottle of sake, you may want to consider a tour with a private guide.
Tour rate : 40,000 JPY per group, up to four people.
What's included : Private tour of 6-7 hours with licensed English tour guide. Transportation fees for the guide.
What's not included : Your transportation fees. Meals/Admission fees for you and the guide.
We visit the sites mainly on foot and with use of public transportation when necessary. We cannot offer this tour with use of private vehicle/coach.
Suggestions on the itinerary:
a) Spend the full day in Takayama, visiting the many historic homes and traditional architecture.
b) Split the time between Takayama and Shirakawa-go, 1 hour away from Takayama to see the traditional gassho-zukuri houses
c) Split the time between Takayama and Furukawa, about 20 min away by train. A quieter town with some sake breweries.
Tours will be offered from July-September and December-February, on basis availability
The guide will be traveling from Tokyo. No need to cover for his travel fees, however you do need to book at least a few days in advance to allow time for travel arrangements. The guide studied about the preservation of historic homes in rural villages while in college. If you are looking to just see the main sites and do shopping, it is possible to see Takayama on your own as the main area is very small. There are also local agencies that arrange organized bus tours for less so keep this in mind.
How to book : You need to contact us regarding availability first and then make the payment in advance to confirm your tour.
Cancellations are accepted up to five days prior to the tour with a full refund.
Getting to Takayama:
Takayama is about 2.5 hours away from Nagoya or 1.5 hours away from Toyama on JR Express trains.
Those not using the JR Rail Pass or on a budget may consider taking express buses leaving from several cities. From Nagoya, there are 12 daily services (2.5 hours) and from Tokyo 6-7 services (5.5 hours, from Shinjuku's new bus terminal)
There are also buses from Kanazawa (2hr 15 min) and Toyama (2hr 25 min). Many of these buses make a stop at Shirakawa-go which is in between Kanazawa/Toyama and Takayama.
There is a visitor info center immediately outside Takayama Station (pictured)
If you plan to spend only a few hours in this area, both Takayama station and the bus terminal in Shirakawa-go has coin operated lockers.
The Juroku Bank nearby Takayama Station has a money exchange counter open from 9-17 every day. There are no ATMs in Shirakawa-go and credit cards are not widely accepted.
Everything in Takayama seems to shut down after 5pm. This is when you want to walk the historic streets of the city, once the local tourists and big tour buses have gone away.
In Shirakawa-go, big tour groups seem to arrive the most around 10am and 2pm. Avoid weekends and holidays if possible. The area becomes like the streets of Harajuku and the atmosphere is lost!