Takaoka has two main train stations. 1 Takaoka Station, in the center of town, is operated by the private Ainokaze Toyama Railway, with IR Ishikawa Railway trains offering one-seat service from Kanazawa. 2 Shin-Takaoka Station to the south serves the Hokuriku Shinkansen. The two stations are connected with a 3-minute trip on the JR Jōhana Line (¥140).
Hourly Hakutaka Shinkansen services from Tokyo stop at Shin-Takaoka, taking 2 hours 45 minutes (¥13,380; free with the Japan Rail Pass). With a good connection, you could also take the faster mornings-and-evenings Kagayaki to Toyama, and then transfer to the Hakutaka or Tsurugi, potentially saving 15 minutes.
- For Takaoka Station, transfer to the IR Ishikawa Railway (40 minutes, ¥820) for a total time of about 3½ hours from Osaka. This part of the trip is not covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
- For Shin-Takaoka Station, transfer to the Shinkansen Hakutaka or Tsurugi service for a 15-minute trip (total fare ¥8,910 from Osaka), taking 3 hours from Osaka. This is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass, but if you wish to continue to Takaoka Station the wait times for the train can vary — a bus, a taxi or a walk may be faster depending on the time of day.
3 Fushiki-Toyama Port (伏木富山港 Fushiki-Toyama-kō) is located a fair distance from central Takaoka. Depending on where you dock, it's a 10- to 20-minute walk to JR Fushiki Station, three stops away from Takaoka on the JR Himi Line (氷見線), or a 5- to 10-minute walk to any of several stops on the tram line. If you're entering Japan this way, you cannot exchange your Japan Rail Pass in Takaoka; the nearest station that accepts them is Kanazawa, over 100 km away (¥1,030 by IR Ishikawa Railway, ¥3,000 by JR).
The Far East Shipping Company, represented in Japan by Bisintour, has services roughly once a week between Takaoka and Vladivostok, Russia. The ferry crossing takes two nights and one day, leaving around 18:00 and arriving around 09:00 both ways. Fares start from US$360/person sharing a 4-berth cabin, with meals. Students can travel for US$330, while return tickets are US$600.
The Man'yōsen tram line (万葉線) trundles through town, starting at Takaoka Station. (Note that maps and route searches consider it a separate station labeled Takaokaeki, which is as awkward in Japanese as it is in English: "'Takaoka Station' Station".) Fares are ¥200-400 depending on the distance. It runs every 15 minutes from 05:30-23:30.
There are a few sights of mild interest in Takaoka.
- 1 Takaoka Great Buddha Statue (高岡大仏 Takaoka Daibutsu) (near tram Sakashita-machi (坂下町) stn). Claims to be one of Japan's Top 3 Buddhas, although it's actually only in the top three if the height of the halo is included.
- 2 Zuiryū-ji Temple (瑞龍寺) (10 min from JR Takaoka south exit). Daily 09:00-16:30. A large Soto Zen temple, three of whose buildings have been designated as National Treasures. ¥500.
- Shin Minato Fisherman's Wharf (near Higashi-Shimminato Station). 9AM-5PM daily.