Translated byLester Somera
Just a Kansai guy trying to get by
Those who wish to see the best of Japan's elegant traditional culture should definitely visit Kanazawa! In this article we introduce the ways to travel to Kanazawa from Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto.
Kanazawa City in Ishikawa Prefecture prospered approximately 400 years ago as the domain of the powerful lord, daimyo Toshiie Maeda. Even today, Kanazawa’s teahouse quarters and samurai homes remain as vestiges of that time. Visitors to Kanazawa can come in contact with samurai culture and the atmosphere of olden-day Japan.
Kanazawa is easy to access from Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto.
The Hokuriku Shinkansen which connects Nagano to Kanazawa, opened on March 14th, 2015. Thanks to this new route, it’s now much easier to access Kanazawa from Tokyo without making any stops.
The Hokuriku Shinkansen has two train types, the Kagayaki and the Hakutaka. The Kagayaki train stops at fewer stations than the Hakutaka. Even though the Hakutaka travels the same distance, it stops even at minor stations, so it’s longer than the 150-minute trip on the Kagayaki.
You can buy shinkansen tickets at the green ticket counter in train stations. While prices vary by season, as of August 2016, a single adult ticket is 7340 yen, and the charge for a reserved seat is 6980 yen, which adds up to 14,320 yen for a one-way adult ticket .
Get your ticket and board the Hokuriku Shinkansen. Despite boasting a top speed of 260 kph, the train barely shakes or makes noise, making the ride a comfortable one.
Furthermore, the train interior has been carefully designed, and uses sky blue, copper and ivory in its color scheme. The combination evokes images of Kanazawa’s clear skies, the city’s traditional industrial arts, and classic Japanese elegance. The upholstery varies according to your seat grade, but regular seats have a composed red lattice pattern, which represents traditional arts.
The cheapest and simplest way to get to Kanazawa is by taking the highway bus. Highway buses depart from major terminal stations such as Tokyo and Shinjuku. A one-way ticket for an adult ranges from 5,000 to 9,000 yen. Some bus companies have even cheaper fares, so you should be able to plan a cheap trip. The journey takes about eight hours.
Some buses have three seats to a row, and others have four seats to a row. Three-seater buses allow passengers to have a bit more personal space.
Most of these buses depart at night, since the trek takes eight hours. It’s possible to get off work, hop on a highway bus, sleep through the night and wake up in Kanazawa for sightseeing.
For people who want to get to Kanazawa from Osaka or Kyoto, going by train is your best option. We recommend hopping on the Thunderbird, which leaves from Osaka. With its stylish white body, this train has many fans in Japan.
You can buy tickets for reserved or unreserved seats at the station ticket counter. A one-way ticket from Osaka is 4,750 yen, and the charge for a reserved seat is an additional 3,100 yen, for a total of 7,850 yen. The trip takes about three hours.
A ticket from Kyoto is 4,000 yen, with an additional reserved seat charge of 3,100 yen, for a total of 7,100 yen. The trip takes about two hours and 20 minutes.
If you want to enjoy the view from the window, which is the best part of any train trip, then you should get a reserved seat. It’s easy to buy a ticket from the machines at the ticket counter.
For people who want to have a carefree trip, traveling by highway bus is the way to go.
Many buses operate routes between major stations in Osaka/Kyoto and Kanazawa.
Kanazawa is about five hours from Osaka and around four hours from Kyoto. Ticket sales are handled at station counters, and you can also buy tickets from convenience store terminals. A one-way ticket generally costs up to 4,000 yen, which is extremely cheap.
Some bus companies offer early-reservation discounts, lower prices on specific days, and other deals. Choose the best bus for you, and enjoy your trip to Kanazawa!