We’ll let you know about the best transportation for Okuhida Onsengo and offer tips for enjoying the Great Nature of the Northern Alps.

Okuhida Onsengo in Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture, is a secluded area where visitors can enjoy the natural beauty and hot springs of Japan, located approximately 1 hour by bus from Takayama City and 90 minutes by bus from Matsumoto.

Famous for its five hot spring resorts (Hirayu, Fukuchi, Shin-Hirayu, Tochio, and Shin Hotaka) scattered throughout the area, it is also a popular hidden spot for tourists, where they can enjoy the great outdoors with the mountains, forests, and rivers of the Northern Alps spread out before them from their rooms and baths.

What are the recommended spots in Okuhida?
In the Shin Hotaka area, the Shin Hotaka Ropeway offers a panoramic view from the 2,156-meter-high observatory, and the scenery looking down at the clouds below is breathtaking. Also, the North Alps Bridge, with its magnificent view of the North Alps, is a great exhilarating experience of driving over the bridge. It is a superb photo spot.

In the Hirayu area, Hirayu Great Falls, which is 6 meters wide and has a 64 meter drop, has been selected as one of the 100 best waterfalls in Japan. This is a spot where visitors can feel plenty of negative ions in the seasonal scenery. The presence of a giant 1,000-year-old tree, the giant nezuko (Japanese stone oak), standing in the midst of a silent forest, is a sight to behold.

In the Shin-Hirayu area, visitors can experience feeding the bears and take commemorative photos with the cubs at the Okuhida Bear Farm.

In the Fukuchi area, the morning market is a retro space in the village of old stories. In this retro space, there is a corner for experiencing old-time games, nostalgic sundries, shopping for fresh vegetables, and souvenirs.

There are two spots in the Okuhida area that are particularly special!
Kamikochi and Norikura Skyline (Tatamidaira ).
Both areas are located in the Central Mountain National Park and are strictly regulated for environmental protection. Therefore, it is not allowed to enter the area by car.
Both can be visited in three main ways : 1. by local bus, 2. on foot and 3. by bicycle.

Kamikochi is one of the best mountain resorts in Japan, where you can see different mountains in different seasons and in different weather conditions. The area around Kappa-bashi Bridge, where you can see a beautiful river (Azusa River) and beautiful and powerful mountains (Hotaka mountain range), is especially popular among nature-loving tourists from all over the world.

Norikura Skyline is a mountain road to Tatamidaira, the highest point in Japan accessible by bicycle. Cycling to an elevation of 2,702 meters with magnificent views of the Northern Alps and Hakusan National Park is like being a bird or an airplane. It is therefore a mountain road that is coveted by cyclists in Japan.

However, as of May 2024, the Norikura Skyline is closed due to a collapse accident. We hope for a quick recovery.

There are so many places to visit in Okuhida Onsengo, but how do you plan to visit them?
What is your emphasis?
So, here are four ways to get around Okuhida Onsengo other than on foot.

1. Rent a car and go around

Renting a car has the advantage of moving quickly, in large numbers, and without luggage.

However, there are no rental cars in Okuhida Onsengo.
If you wish to use a rental car, you will need to rent one around Takayama Station or Matsumoto Station and drive to Okuhida Onsengo. From Takayama Station, it takes about 1 hour by car, and from Matsumoto Station, it takes about 1.5 hours. Furthermore, from Matsumoto, you will need to pass through a toll road. Recently, when you try to rent a car in the Matsumoto area, the cars are often fully booked, so we recommend that you make a reservation as early as possible.

Also, if you come to Okuhida from Matsumoto and try to go to Takayama, Toyama, Kanazawa, or Nagoya from there, you have to return the car to the original location (Matsumoto), which may be inconvenient for those who do not want to return to Tokyo or other places.

To rent a car, you must have an international driver’s license in advance. However, please note that some rental agencies do not allow you to rent a car even with that international driver’s license.

2. Rounding by local bus

If you make good use of free passes, etc., you may be able to travel at the lowest cost in terms of fees.

However, bus routes are limited and services are infrequent.
Also, where is the closest place to get off, can you go from the bus stop, and after getting off, will you have time for sightseeing before the next bus? Therefore, the style of travel is a combination of buses and walking.

This plan is for those who have more time and want to enjoy walking.
We also recommend that you plan carefully.
Therefore, the degree of freedom is reduced.

3. Rent an electrically power assisted bicycle (e-bike) and ride around (rent a bicycle)

Electric bicycles (e-bikes) can be rented at Okuhida base, a 2-minute walk from Hirayu Bus Terminal at the entrance to Okuhida Onsengo.

Unlike a regular bicycle, an electrically power assisted bicycle (e-bike) provides electric assistance, making it relatively easy to get around even in the ups and downs of Okuhida.
Also, since it is a bicycle, there is no need to worry about parking, and the most important advantage is the freedom to move around.

If you rent here, you can ride as much as you want for 10 hours a day from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm, which is a great way to get right to the tourist spots. Also, if you reserve a rental for consecutive days, you can use it after 5:00 p.m. And if you bring your own charger, you can park it at an inn or hotel to recharge your batteries, so you can get right back into action the next day.

The disadvantages are that it is subject to weather conditions and requires more physical strength than other means of transportation. Also, the distance traveled is limited by battery life.
However, it is definitely recommended to experience the great nature of Okuhida Onsengo with the wind in your face.
If you are concerned about batteries, it is also recommended to rent extra batteries separately.

You can rent up to 5 vehicles here, so you can go around with your family or friends while experiencing the charm of Okuhida Onsengo firsthand. You can make a reservation on the web until 12:59 p.m. on the day of your visit, as long as there is space available. This is an unmanned store, so please apply through the reservation website.

4. Round using an electric kickboard

The electric kickboard has a motor and battery on the kickboard. The electric power makes it easy to move around.
It is an ecological and environmentally friendly vehicle as it does not emit CO2.

This electric kickboard can also be rented at Okuhida base. This is available by downloading a special application called LUUP.

This electric kickboard does not require a driver’s license and is available to anyone over the age of 16.
In addition to this Hirayu, there is also a port (OKuhida Babnbakan) in the Fukuchi area, which can be used as a means of transportation between Hirayu and Fukuchi, as they are mutually transferable.

Although slower than a bicycle, it is an ideal vehicle for those who want to travel slowly and easily, or only for a short time and over a short distance.

The disadvantage is that it has less power, so hill climbing is even slower.
Longer periods of use may cause the battery to run out of power. Also, as with e-bikes, it is best to avoid riding in bad weather.

A bag containing a recharging outlet is mounted on the vehicle so that the battery can be recharged anytime it is running low.

This electric kickboard is very flexible and can be used for short periods of time, so we recommend that you download the app in advance when you visit Okuhida.

So far, we have shown you four means of transportation,
The best way to get around is on an electrically power assisted bicycle (e-bike).

This is the best way to freely experience the great nature of Okuhida by yourself, with family or friends. We invite you to make Okuhida your own by e-biking!