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From Tokyo to Shibu Onsen to Shirakawa go to Kyoto!

Singapore, Singapore
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From Tokyo to Shibu Onsen to Shirakawa go to Kyoto!

Hi hi

I'm planning a 10 day trip to Japan starting from Tokyo and ending in Osaka

I wish to know what is the best way to travel from Tokyo->Shibu Onsen (Jidokudani Monkey Park, overnight)->Shirakawa go (Overnight) -> Kyoto

Can someone advise me the transportation and timing needed to travel?


Day 1-3: Tokyo

Day 4: Yudanaka -> Shibu Onsen

Day 5: Jidokudani -> Shirakawa go

Day 6 - 7: Kyoto

Day 8-10: Osaka

Many thanks in advanced!

Tokyo, Japan
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1. Re: From Tokyo to Shibu Onsen to Shirakawa go to Kyoto!

So you are flying out of Kansai Airport in Osaka Prefecture without returning back to Tokyo?

This is a good idea.

Day 4: JR Nagano Shinkansen from Tokyo or Ueno or Omiya to Nagano (1hr 50min, 8,170 yen, reserved, ordinary class). In Nagano, you might check out Zenkoji and the temple town. Nagano Electric Railway (non-JR) to Yudanaka (1 hr+ 1,130-1,230 yen). Nagaden Bus from Yudanaka to Shibu Onsen (frequent, let the bus driver know that you'd be getting off at Shibu Onsen).

湯田中(Yudanaka) to 渋温泉(Shibu Onsen)

nagadenbus.co.jp/robus/2013natsu/shiga_s.htm ; also nagadenbus.co.jp/local_nakanano/kanbayashi_s…

The same bus route takes you to Kambayashi Onsen-guchi 上林温泉口. From there, it's a 20-30 minutes walk to Jigokudani Monkey Park. Ask the hotel for timetable. Ask anyone around if there's anything you don't understand, they'll help you.

Day 5: Nagano Electric Railway to Nagano City. Then, JR Ltd Exp Shinano to Matsumoto (53min, 2,970 yen, reserved seat, ordinary class; ordinary train will take 1 hr 20min, 1,110 yen). See Matsumoto Castle in Matsumoto. Take the Nohi / Alpico Bus from Matsumoto Bus Terminal to Takayama across the Japan Alps

(2 hrs, 3,100 yen).


Stay in Takayama, see the Takayama old town in the evening and in the morning. Don't hurry your way to Shirakwago. For this purpose you should cut the stay in Osaka for a day (perhaps two).


From Takayama to Shirakawago, bus timetable should be:


Fare would be 2,400 yen (4,300 yen return). Time, 1 hr.

Actually, you might travel from Shirakawago on to Kanazawa, which has quite a few things to see as well.

1,800 yen, about 1 hr 10 mins.



Kanazawa-Kyoto (JR Thunderbird Ltd Exp): 2 hr 15min, 6,910 yen.

*Or, Takayama-Kyoto (JR Hida + Tokaido Shinkansen Nozomi): 3 hr 30 min, 10,180 yen.

Kyoto-Kansai Airport: JR West Kansai Area 1 Day Pass for Haruka non-reserved seat: 2 hr 2,000 yen

(standard fare is 2,500 yen)

Kyoto-Osaka (JR Shinkaisoku Rapid): 30 min, 540 yen.

Kyoto should be a separate travel question. There's much to see there, even more than Tokyo for many people.

This JNTO leaflet explains the essentials: jnto.go.jp/eng/location/rtg/pdf/pg-503.pdf

In Osaka, do a Namba-Dotombori-Shinsaibashi walk in the evening hours. You don't have to switch hotels from Kyoto to Osaka.


Also, visit Nara as a day trip from Osaka (Kintetsu Rapid Express, 45min from Osaka Namba).


Singapore, Singapore
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2. Re: From Tokyo to Shibu Onsen to Shirakawa go to Kyoto!

Wow this is amazing! Thank you so much! I am thinking if i should stay in Takayama cuz I'm looking at the train and bus schedules at the moment and i'm a little overwhelmed to be honest. But if i stick to the plan tentatively, do you think it's feasible? I'm just worried about the changing of trains to bus

On the 16 Dec, my schedule might be as follow:

Yudanaka - Nagano: 8.20am - 9.24am (Nagano electric)

Nagano - Matsumoto: 10 - 10.49am (Ltd Exp (wide view) Shinano 8)

Matsumoto - Takayama: 11.05am - 1.25pm (Nohi/Alpico)

Takayama - Shirakawago: 1.50pm - 2.52pm (Nohi)

Do you think once i reached Matsumoto at 10.49am, it will be very rushed to get bus tickets and rush to the bus terminal by 11.05am?? Is the bus terminal far from the train station?

And once i reached Takayama, is the bus to Shirakawago at the same bus terminal or do i need to travel somewhere else again? Appreciate your efforts..

Tokyo, Japan
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3. Re: From Tokyo to Shibu Onsen to Shirakawa go to Kyoto!

>>On the 16 Dec, my schedule might be as follow:

Yudanaka - Nagano: 8.20am - 9.24am (Nagano electric)

Nagano - Matsumoto: 10 - 10.49am (Ltd Exp (wide view) Shinano 8)<<

This part is OK. But heading on seamlessly without seeing Matsumoto Castle isn't recommended.

>>Matsumoto - Takayama: 11.05am - 1.25pm (Nohi/Alpico)

Takayama - Shirakawago: 1.50pm - 2.52pm (Nohi)<<

What you shouldn't do is give Takayama a pass (a big no-no) and head on to Shirakawago on the same day. It's one of the highlights of this Hida Valley area. You can and should cut Osaka safely 1-2 day to give more room. Stay in Takayama on 16DEC, and see parts of the town on the evening of 16DEC and morning of 17DEC, then head out to Shirakawago on 17DEC, and reaching Kanazawa on the same day. If you need to press on, you might see just one or two sites in Kanazawa, then take the same day's evening train to Kyoto.

Singapore, Singapore
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4. Re: From Tokyo to Shibu Onsen to Shirakawa go to Kyoto!

I was just thinking of replying you that i would most likely stay in Takayama since it's going to be a huge rush and all. And like you mentioned, on the 17dec, i will head out to Shirakawago for the 1st half of the day then head to Kanazawa, then Kyoto since i really don't want to compromise my stay in Kyoto but will probably shorten for Osaka like you adviced.

Phew.. this is tedious but you really gave me a huge help! Thank you so much again!

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5. Re: From Tokyo to Shibu Onsen to Shirakawa go to Kyoto!

We travelled from Tokyo to Shibu Onsen then Takayama (via Matsumoto) Kanazawa, Kyoto and Osaka

When you get to Nagano there are lockers at the station just near the exit, where you can leave your luggage while you visit Zensoji temple (definitely worth a look). Then head up to Yudanaka station from where it is a short trip to Shibu Onsen. We stayed at Matsuya ryokan and our hosts picked us up from the station. We spent the rest of the afternoon using the town onsens and looking around before a traditional dinner at the ryokan, followed by a soak in the ryokans onsen. The next morning after a traditional breakfast, our hosts drove us up to the monkey park. They also delivered our luggage to a coffee shop near the station who stored it until we returned. After the monkey park we walked back to the station. It took about an hour but was all downhill.

When we left Shibu Onsen we travelled to Matsumoto where we stayed overnight. The following day we caught an 8am bus. The bus station is located about 5 mins walk away from the station, just across the road. The bus trip was awesome with plenty of snow still around, I expect that there will be lots in December.

We stayed 2 nights in Takayama because the spring festival was on at the time. You should have at least a day there. We did not visit Shirakawa-go, but saw lots of traditional buildings (including the gassho-zukuri farmhouse) at the Hida folk village(15 mins by bus from the station) We spent about 2 hrs there. All the buildings had been transported there from other parts of the countryside and had excellent informative English signage. If time is short then this might be an alternative to the much longer trip to Shirakawa-go. You could then go from Takayama to Kanazawa. I would second the idea to shorten the time in Osaka as it is really just another big city,

Edited: 11 August 2013, 11:57
Singapore, Singapore
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6. Re: From Tokyo to Shibu Onsen to Shirakawa go to Kyoto!

Your trip to shibu onsen gives me a good idea of the travel. How long was your trip at the Jidokudani Monkey park? To and from the hotel?

Currently i have a rough itinerary, hopefully you guys can help me suggest if it's too rush especially day 7 & day 10?

Day 1-3: Tokyo: haven't really planned, but Tsukiji market and disneyland are top of the list

Day 4: Nagano: Zensoji (if time permits), Shibu Onsen, Jidokudani Monkey Park

Day 5: reach Takayama by 2-3pm

Day 6: reach Shirakawago by ~2pm

Day 7: Kyoto by 3pm-> Shijo Dori

Day 8: Kiyomizudera, ninen zaka, sannen zaka, lunch @ Gion, Kinkakujji, dinner & shopping @ Kyoto Stn

Day 9: Fushimi Inari Shrine, Arashiyama, dinner @ Pontocho

Day 10: Nara (Todaiji Temple, Nara Deer Park, Kusaga grand shrine), Shinsaibaishi/America Mura, Hozenji Alley, Namba, Dotonburi -> then back to Kyoto hotel

Day 11: Fly off from Osaka

Singapore, Singapore
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7. Re: From Tokyo to Shibu Onsen to Shirakawa go to Kyoto!

By the way, i'm taking into account that sunset at most places is about 4.30pm-5pm during winter, so mostly trying to wrap up the places by that time. Also I'm only getting a 7 day JR pass

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8. Re: From Tokyo to Shibu Onsen to Shirakawa go to Kyoto!

From the ryokan in Shibu Onsen to the carpark took about10 mins driving (uphill) The walk from the carpark to the actual monkey park was again mainly uphill and took about 15 mins. If you go this way be careful when crossing a wooden bridge just before the place where a jet of steam is shooting into the air. When we were there the bridge was icy and VERY slippery. When we walked back down we had planned to catch the bus from Shibu Onsen to Yudanaka (station) but none passed by. Obviously not very frequent.

Just one other thing to bear in mind if planning to visit Tsukiji market to see the early morning tuna auction. We got there at 4:45 and were way too late to get a ticket. We had to come back later and look around the main market (which was still interesting)

9. Re: From Tokyo to Shibu Onsen to Shirakawa go to Kyoto!

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