The fastest way to get from Takayama to Osaka is to take the JR Limited Hida Wide View Express train to Nagoya and transfer to a shinkansen (bullet train) headed for Shin-Osaka Station.
You can also travel from Takayama to Osaka by car or private transfer, a distance of 185 miles (298 kilometers). Private transfer is a good option if you do not want to learn how to drive on the left side of the road or deal with driving in the mountains, or if you are worried about coping with traffic issues on Japan's busy highways.
Recommended stops along the way include Gero Onsen, famous for its hot springs and baths; Nagoya, where you can take a Toyota factory tour; and Kyoto, Japan's medieval capital. Your journey from Takayama to Osaka could also be part of a 14-day itinerary exploring the best of old and new Japan, including Tokyo and Kyoto.
Because Takayama is located in the Japanese Alps, you should prepare for winter travel conditions if you plan to visit the city between late December and early March.
Bus travel is not recommended because it takes longer than traveling by train, car, or private transfer.
Duration: 3.5 hours
The Hida Wide Express takes passengers from Takayama to Nagoya, with several departures daily. From Nagoya, shinkansen trains head to Shin-Osaka Station on a regular basis. At Shin-Osaka Station, you can easily transfer to a train that will take you to Osaka Station, if you wish.
By Car or Private Transfer
Duration: 4 hours or more, depending on traffic
The fastest way to drive from Takayama to Osaka is via the Tokai-Hokuriku (E41), Meishin (E1), and Hanshin Expressways. These toll highways can sometimes be quite congested, particularly between Kyoto and Nagoya. As you travel in the mountainous territory of the Japanese Alps, you will drive through many tunnels. During the winter, expect to drive in cold, snowy conditions.