The Chūbu Region (中部地方), located in the center of Japan’s main island – Honshu (本州), is one of the most scenic parts of Japan. The best thing about the Chūbu Region is that many of its stunning destinations are located quite near each other. And there are multiple discounted transportation tickets and passes for you to choose from!
The Great Transportation Deals for the Chūbu Region
- Shōryūdō Free Bus Pass (昇龍道フリーバスきっぷ)
- Mitsuboshi Kaidou Three-Star Route Ticket (三ツ星ルートきっぷ)
- 4-Day Alps WIDE Free Passport
Shōryūdō Free Bus Pass by Meitetsu Bus
The Shōryūdō (昇龍道) Area consists of the 9 prefectures below. There is an abundance of tourist destinations in this area for you to explore!
- Toyama Prefecture (富山県): Tateyama Alpine Route (立山黒部アルペンルート) and Kurobe Gorge (黒部峡谷)
- Ishikawa Prefecture (石川県): Kanazawa (金沢)
- Gifu Prefecture (岐阜県): Shirakawago (白川郷) and Gokayama (五箇山)
- Nagano Prefecture (長野県): Matsumoto Castle (松本城) and Jigokudani Monkey Park (地獄谷野猿公苑)
- Shizuoka Prefecture (静岡県): Mt. Fuji (富士山)
- Fukui Prefecture (福井県): Tojinbo (東尋坊)
- Shiga Prefecture (滋賀県): Lake Biwa (琵琶湖)
- Mie Prefecture (三重県): Ise Grand Shrine (伊勢神宮)
- Aichi Prefecture (愛知県): Nagoya (名古屋)
If you know a bit of Japanese, you will realize how cool the name “Shōryūdō” is. It literally means rising dragon’s way!
The Japanese didn’t just name the area to be cool, it is actually because the Noto Peninsula (能登半島) in the north looks like a dragon’s head, and the Mie prefecture in the south looks like a dragon’s tail. So if you mark all 9 prefectures, it looks like a dragon flying toward the sky (≧▽≦).
The Shōryūdō Free Bus Pass (昇龍道フリーバスきっぷ) is a bus pass that allows you to travel through these nine prefectures freely for the 3 or 5 days with three routes of your choice! It may also save you a lot of money and time that you spend on transportation (^_-)-☆.
Important: Only foreign tourists are eligible to travel with this pass.
There are three different types of Shōryūdō Bus Pass:
- 3-Day Pass: Takayama, Shirakawago and Kanazawa Route Pass
- 3-Day Pass: Matsumoto, Magome, and Komagane Route Pass.
- Wide Area 5-Day Pass: That covers the entire Shōryūdō area
Depending on how many tourist attractions you plan to visit, how many days you plan to stay in the Chūbu region, and whether the places you want to go are across the entire region or close by, the pass that suits your itinerary will differ.
Please refer to the valid routes below to determine which pass or passes suit you the most!
Takayama, Shirakawa-gō, Kanazawa Course Pass (3-day pass) – 9,000 yen
Note between December to March, this ticket is sold at 10,000 yen.
Wide Area Course Pass (5-Day Pass) – 14,000 yen
- Nagoya (名古屋) ↔ Matsumoto (松本)
- Shirakawa-gō (白川鄉) ↔ Gokayama (五箇山) ↔ Takaoka (高岡)
- Takayama (高山) ↔ Gero (下呂)
- Takayama (高山) ↔ Kamioka (神岡)
- Shin-Hotaka (新穗高) ↔ Matsumoto (松本)
- Kanazawa (金沢) ↔ Takaoka (高岡)
- Toyama (富山) ↔ Takaoka (高岡)
Matsumoto, Magome & Komagane Route Pass (3-Day Pass) – 8,000 yen
- Nagoya (名古屋) ↔ Iida (飯田)
- Nagoya (名古屋) ↔ Iida & Minowa (飯田・箕輪)
- Nagoya (名古屋) ↔ Matsumoto & Nagano (松本・長野)
- Iida (飯田) ↔ Nagano (長野)
- Matsumoto (松本) ↔ Nagano (長野)
- Iida (飯田) ↔ Hirugami Onsen (昼神温泉)
- Komagane (駒ヶ根市) ↔ Shirabedaira (白檜平)
- Takayama (高山) ↔ Hirayu (平湯) ↔ Matsumoto (松本)
- Takayama (高山) ↔ Hirayu (平湯) ↔ Shin-Hotaka (新穗高)
- Shin-Hotaka (新穗高) ↔ Matsumoto (松本)
- Takayama (高山) ↔ Gero (下呂)
- Gero (下呂) ↔ Shirakawa-gō (白川鄉)
- Gero (下呂) ↔ Kashimo (加子母)
- Nakatsugawa (中津川市) ↔ Kashimo (加子母)
- Ena (惠那) ↔ Nakatsugawa (中津川)
- Nakatsugawa (中津川) ↔ Magome (馬籠宿)
- Ena (惠那) ↔ Ena Gorge (惠那峽)
Tip: All of the three passes above come with a free return ticket to the Chūbu Centrair International Airport (中部国際空港 セントレア) in Nagoya. So if you fly into Japan and land at Nagoya in the Chūbu region, then you will save even more with these passes (*’▽’). Also, the great news is that from 2019, there are direct bus services from the Airport to Takayama!
How to Purchase the Shōryūdō Bus Pass
Purchasing Shoryudo Bus Pass is very simple. Before you depart for Japan, fill in the form HERE on Meitetsu Bus’s website. When you reach Chūbu Centair International Airport, head to MEITETSU Tourist Information Center, next to the ticket gate of the Central Japan International Airport Station.
The Information Centre is open from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm every day. Make sure to book flights that are arriving during its business hours and remember to factor in some time to pass quarantine and luggage collection.
For more information about the Shōryūdō Bus Pass, please refer to Meitetsu’s website HERE.
☛ With this bus pass, you can get a discount on fees at some attractions in the areas that the bus pass covers. Check out pages 8 and 9 on THIS PDF.
☛ Refer to HERE for the timetable for many of the bus services covered by the bus pass.
Mitsuboshi Kaidou Three-Star Route Ticket (三ツ星ルートきっぷ)
The Mitsuboshi Kaidou 3-Star Route Option Ticket is only 6,000 yen and is another great choice of discounted bus tickets for traveling in the Chūbu region.
This set ticket is a one-way only bus ticket along the route of Matsumoto (松本) → Hirayu (平湯) → Hida Takayama (飛騨高山) → Shirakawa-gō (白川郷) → Kanazawa (金沢)/Shin-Takaoka (新高岡)/Toyama (富山) route and vice-versa.
As the ticket only costs you 6,000 yen, you don’t even need to travel to all of the above spots completely, and you will still be able to save money!
What we did was, from Kanazawa, we took a bus to Shirakawa-gō and then to Takayama. Lastly, from Takayama, we traveled to Matsumoto. The whole trip would have cost us 8,100 yen per person, but with the ticket, it was only 6,000 yen!
Where to Purchase the Ticket
There are quite a few locations below where you can purchase your ticket:
- JR EAST Travel Service Center（Tōkyō・Shinjuku・Shibuya・Ikebukuro・Ueno・Hamamatsuchō・Haneda Airport International Terminal・Narita Airport Terminal 1・Narita Airport Terminal 2·3・Shinagawa）
- JR Ticket Office（Narita Airport Terminal 1・Narita Airport Terminal 2·3・Matsumoto Station）
- Travel Service Center（Nagano Station・JR EAST Welcome Center MATSUMOTO）
Important: You will need to exchange your option ticket for a valid boarding bus ticket at the bus company’s ticket counter.
Tip: If you plan to use these set tickets during peak season, you can always make a reservation through a phone call with the bus company first, and then get your Mitsuboshi Kaidou Three-Star Route Option Ticket when you arrive in Japan. When you go to the bus company’s ticket counter, you just need to tell them the reference number given to you when you made the booking.
For more details about the ticket, please visit Alpico Group’s website HERE!
4-Day Alps WIDE Free Passport
If you are frustrated that the Mitsuboshi Kaidou Three-Star Route Option Ticket above only allows a one-way journey, consider the 4-Day Alps WIDE Free Passport! Within the four days, you can travel to most destinations that the Mitsuboshi Kaidou Three-Star Route Option Ticket covers. It just doesn’t go as far as Toyama and Kanazawa.
This Passport is also great for anyone who wants to visit Kamikōchi (which is not covered by the Mitsuboshi Kaidou Three-Star Route Option Ticket) or explore the Northern Japanese Alps!
If you are keen to discover the stunning view from the top of the Northern Japanese Alps by boarding the Shin-Hotaka Ropeway (新穂高ロープウェイ), add another 2,000 yen, and you will get a Passport and a return Ropeway ticket (which usually costs 3,000 yen)!
Also, what is worthwhile to mention is that if you show the Passport at certain attractions, you can get a discount on the admission fee or charges for the experience (≧▽≦).
For more information about this amazing Passport, please refer to Alpico Group’s website HERE! On the same website, you will also find other discounted tickets that cover various areas with different validity periods (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.
Where to Purchase the 4-Day Alps WIDE Free Passport
You can buy this passport from the below locations:
- Matsumoto Bus Terminal
- Shinshimashima Bus Terminal
- Kamikochi Bus Terminal
- Takayama Bus Center
- Hirayu Bus Terminal
Or order online through kkday HERE.