Guide and information of Japan travel, with access, transportation from Tokyo to Takayama, Shirakawago, Ainokura, Nanto.
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This site would like to explain several routes (No1, No2, and No3) between beautiful mountain town Takayama and one of the biggest city in the world, Tokyo.
a: Limited Express (Wide View Hida) via Toyama Hokuriku Shinkansen (March 2015 started)
For JR PASS holders, this is by all means the easiest and the fastest way to travel between two places (Takayama and Ueno/Tokyo).
Takayama => Toyama => Ueno/Tokyo
11:00 => 12:26 / 12:58 => 15:22/15:28
13:15 => 14:44 / 15:11 => 17:22/17:28

b: Limited Express (Wide View Hida) via Nagoya Tokaido Shinkansen (since 1964)
For JR PASS holders, this is by all means the easiest and the fastest way to travel between two places (Takayama and Tokyo).
Takayama => Nagoya => Tokyo
09:38 => 12:02 / 12:27 => 14:10
12:33 => 15:02 / 15:27 => 17:10

For Ueno station, Hokuriku Shinkansen is better with only 1 transfer at Toyama. For Tokyo Station, both ways (either via Hokuriku Shinkansen or via Tokaido Shinaknsen) are quite similar.

The Limited Express called Wide View Hida has, as you assumed, has such a great view along Hida River between Mino-Oota and almost all the way to Takayama (precisely, the river goes through Takayama is called Miyagawa which joins to Jintsuu River and finally to the bay of Toyama). Especially those who can reserve the most front seat, wish you enjoy the train driver's view. There are 10 train service everyday between Nagoya and Takayama, but only 4 trains between Takayama and Toyama.

Shinkansen from Nagoya to Tokyo has every 10 minutes freaquent train (all 16 cars with capacity 1,323 seats). Nozomi is the fastest takes 1hour and 45 minutes, Hikari is a bit slow takes 2 hours, and Kodama is the slowest Shinkansen takes 2 hour and 50 minutes between Nagoya and Tokyo.

Hakutaka (White Hawk) : Mt.Tateyama has the legend of Hakutaka.

Kagayaki (Shining!) : Named after shining reflection of snow?! or the sea surface between Russia and Japan?!

Nozomi (Hope) : What goes/runs/travels faster than Hikari (light). We shall better to have Nozomi to live, especially after the hopeless events/news around the world. 1 hours and 45 minutes. JPY11,290. Every 10 minutes or less, which means that there are 6 or more trains every 1 hour.

Hikari (Light) : The fastest object runs in the universe. 2 hours. JPY11,080. There are 2 trains every 1 hour. Not JR but discount ticket shop like Access Ticket in Yaesu exit of Tokyo main station sells good price at around JPY9,950 for Tokyo => Nagoya.

Kodama (Sound) : Speed of sound is used to be representative of fastness. 2 hours and 50 minutes. JPY8,300 on Ordinary Car (2nd class, three-seats-aisle-two-seats) or JPY9,300 on Green Car (1st class, two-seats-aisle-two-seats). Platt Kodama details has this page.
Highway Bus direct from Takayama to Shinjuku
There are 5 buses a day. Only Summer has night bus. JPY6,690 one way, takes 5 hours and 30 minutes.
Bus from Takayama to Matsumoto
For those who would like to enjoy stopping over at Matsumoto (and Kita-Alps, North-Alps), you may take one of 4 buses a day from Takayama to Matsumoto (JPY3,190 one way). Matsumoto is directly connected by JR trains to Shinjuku (and some all the way to Tokyo). More bus information is available at this page and this page and this page.
If you are driving your own, Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road is highly recommended.
Seishun 18 Kippu
Only available during students holiday time (Winter, Spring and Summer). It can be JPY2,370 one way between Takayama and Tokyo with best minimum 5 changes as shown below (please note that usually needed 6 - 7 times transfers). HyperDia would support finding your best time tables.


Takayama 07:14 - 09:38 Mino-Ota 09:55 - 10:36 Gifu 10:38 - 11:57 Toyohashi 12:03 - 12:38 Hamamatsu 12:51 - 14:00 Shizuoka 14:13 - 15:36 Atami 15:48 - 17:41 Ueno
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