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Too much time in Takayama

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sydney
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Too much time in Takayama

We (3 adults) will be 3 weeks in Japan in December. After 6 nights in Kyoto I would like to go to Takyama. Leaving Dec 17 we would travel to Takayama and stay the nights of 17th, 18th 19th. Is that too long. We would like to visit the Shiragawa go farm houses on one day. Is there enough to do in Takayama for a day? Could we drive to Shiragawa in December renting a car for a day? What would be the best way to get to Takayama from Kyoto and how long would it take?

Thank you for any help.

.
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1. Re: Too much time in Takayama

hyperdia is good place for you to start checking out trains http://www.hyperdia.com/en/

It's a handy tool but doesn't always have the best options - eg. doesn't show bus routes, (which you need for Shirakawago if you aren't driving) & Hyperdia doesn't always factor in the convenience of station transfers. But it's still a terrific tool.

I've never driven in the area in December others may have advice - I'm not sure what the snow conditions are like in December. I'd suggest using the bus, it'll be far more relaxing for you. Car hire in Japan isn't cheap. And when driving in Japan it helps if you can read Japanese.

Philadelphia...
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2. Re: Too much time in Takayama

I could (and have) easily spend three nights in Takayama. It's a nice little down, good for strolling. Dress warmly--high temperatures are around 7 C and lows around -2 C (36 F and 28 F).

I agree with Elly M--take the bus to Shirakawago. www.japan-guide.com/bus/shirakawago.html As you will be spending three weeks in Japan, you might want to go from Takayama to Shirakwago, then on to Kanzawa for a night or two.

Travel time from Kyoto to Takayama is three to three and a half hours. Most train trips from Kyoto to Takayama involve taking the Shinkansen ("bullet train") to Nagoya, then changing to the very comfy Wide View Hida limited express , but there is a direct Wide View Hida leaving Kyoto at around 8:30 AM. The scenery is pleasant once you get away from the urban areas. Someone will be along selling beverages, sandwiches and bento--box lunches of tasty tidbits.

sydney
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3. Re: Too much time in Takayama

Thank you both for this great advice! Very reassuring. Think I'll forget driving although there are 3 of us. We want to see Kanzawa also. Is it best to go to Takayama first? Do it as a day trip from there or two separate 2 day stays? Which first? Hard to tell from the map. Would like to head up to the Akita prefecture from there but I am not sure if this is wise or feasible. Son loved Korean Iris TV show and we would love to get off the beaten track.

San Francisco...
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4. Re: Too much time in Takayama

See frommers.com/destinations/…A31230.html

Don't miss the Yoshijima house with the soft jazz playing in the back room.

There are craft and furniture stores in the main downtown area.

Takayama is a great town for walking and discoveries: pleasant cafes, shops, historic buildings, etc.

Italy
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5. Re: Too much time in Takayama

Takayama is a very small place so I would stay 2 nights, then stop off at Shirakawa go on the way to Kanazawa.

sydney
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6. Re: Too much time in Takayama

Thank you Chrella. I have had so much good advice. That sounds like a good plan.

.
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7. Re: Too much time in Takayama

If you are in Kyoto and planning on going to Kanazawa then I suggest this option:

Go direct to Kanazawa from Kyoto Station without changing trains on the comfortable JR Thunderbird, a very nice train with refreshment trolley service & good facilities, takes just over 2hrs, some Thunderbirds take a bit longer 2hrs40mins. easy peasy no changing trains.

There are plenty of hotel options in Kanazawa.

In Kanzawa take advantage of the sightseeing loop bus that leaves outside the station.

When you are ready take the Nouhi bus from outside Kanazawa station to Shirakawa-go and on to Takayama. You should reserve a seat.

http://www.nouhibus.co.jp/english/index.html

This link has very good info - familiarise yourself with pictures of what the bus stop areas look like by following the embedded links on this page:

www.kanazawa-tourism.com/eng/guide/guide4.php

sydney
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8. Re: Too much time in Takayama

I like this option very much Elly as it may save us an early 8.30 start from Kyoto on the express train to Takayama. My big problem then is moving on up to Akita prefecture and Tohoku and the JR Railpass. Will need to keep researching!

Thanks for your invaluable help.

Perth, Australia
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9. Re: Too much time in Takayama

G'day Sydney Annie,

Firstly a thumbs up for choosing Takayama - it is absolutely wonderful and you will not regret it! Best way to get to Takayama from Kyoto will be a combination of trains. JR line; i.e. Shinkansen to Nagoya and transferring onto the Ltd. Exp. Wide View Hida to Takayama. As many have suggested above, Hyperdia is invaluable for planning your travel. Travel time from Kyoto should be easily under 4 hours.

3 nights in Takayama would be ideal in my book. You will lose about half a day on the 17th travelling to Takayama. For the remaining half a day you could probably cover about 30 - 40% of the sights in Takayama should the weather permit! The 18th can be spent covering the remainder of Takayama at a leisurely pace. I've done 3 separate trips to Takayama and each of them for 3 nights - still find myself wanting to stay for longer!

Setting the 19th aside for Shirakawa-go, I'd recommend that you grab a Nouhi bus to Shirakawa-go as it is extremely convenient. Prices are reasonable and there are multiple trips from Takayama to Shirakawa-go (and vice versa) per day. Driving in winter can be tricky and potentially dangerous if you are unfamiliar with the roads / navigating in Japan. There is a Toyota car rental outlet opposite the JR Takayama station if you are still keen in renting one. They accept bookings over the phone in English - http://rent.toyota.co.jp/en/index.html. You will need an international driver's license coming from Australia however - not sure what the Sydney equivalent is but we get ours through the RAC here in WA.

If you are keen on Kanazawa then definitely do Shirakawa-go on your way up to Kanazawa. The Nouhi bus runs to Kanazawa from Takayama and Shirakawa-go is actually the connecting bus transfer point. You could probably cover Shirakawa-go in 4 hours, again this depends very much on your travel pace and style :)

Hope this was of help to you, good luck!

Brian.

Queenstown, New...
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10. Re: Too much time in Takayama

I"d go with Elly Ms suggestion of going to Kanazawa first... dont miss the 21st centrury art museum there, awesome (not particularly japanese, but...).

If you have the chance I highly recommend staying in a Gassho-Zukuri in Shirakawa-go. I've stayed twice with my family in different places, both AWESOME exeperiences. Per person, including local dinner and japanese or western breakfast they're about 9000yen (AUD100)... worth it... especially being able to wander around the village late night/ early morning before all the tourists arrive! I booked through http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/index.htm they're very helpful. ... I must make it up to Shirakawa-go myself this winter, Ive been there every other season, just not seen the houses blanketed in meters of snow!!! ...

The Nohi bus is a good way to get around up north there...

Staying in Shirakawa would probably leave you with just two nights in Takayama, and regardless, you'll have plenty to see and do. There are ski slopes nearby, so you could even get in some skiing if interested!

I think you'd then have to head back down to Nagoya to get up to Akita-ken... either by Shinkansen from Nagoya or fly...

Good Luck... ask if any more questions!