Kanazawa is one of the big names in Japan. It has lovely preserved town and Kenrokuen garden that is one of three well known gardens with Kairakuen (Mito) and Korakuen (Okayama). Kanazawa is located in Hokuriku region. In this region, Toyama is well known as the gateway to Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route.
- 1 Route map
- 2 Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo and Nagano
- 3 Limited Express Thunderbird from Osaka and Kyoto
- 4 Limited Express Shirasagi from Nagoya and Maibara
- 5 Limited Express Wide View Hida from Nagoya via Takayama
- 6 Nohi bus from Takayama via Shirakawago
- 7 Limited Express Shirayuki and Hokuriku Shinkansen from Niigata
Please see the map below:
As you see the map above, there are several ways to get Kanazawa and Toyama, Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo, Limited Express Thuderbird from Osaka and Kyoto, Limited Express Shirasagi from Nagoya and LImited Express Wide View Hida from Nagoya and Kyoto.
I would like to explain these routes one by one
Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo and Nagano
Hokuriku Shinkansen makes Kanazawa and Toyama be much closer to Tokyo! Please see the trip time by fastest train connection before and after Hokuriku Shinkansen open.
|Joetsu Shinkansen and
Limited Express Hakutaka
before Mar 13, 2015
after Mar 14, 2015
|Tokyo – Toyama||3 hrs 15 mins||2 hrs 10 mins|
|Tokyo – Kanazawa||3 hrs 50 mins||2 hrs 30 mins|
As you see the table above, we can save at least one hour for one way. If you want, day tirp to Kanazawa from Tokyo is not impossible. And Hokuriku Shinkansen is a direct access from Tokyo to Toyama and Kanazawa. We had to transfer at Echigo-Yuzawa or Nagaoka to get Tokyo and Kanazawa from Tokyo. This is another asset too. I wrote about Hokuriku Shinkansen at the link below. You will find more information about this Shinkansen line.
Hokuriku Shinkansen was operated as Nagano Shinkansen before March 13, 2015. It was exteneded to Kanazawa. That means this Shinkansen line connect Nagano and Kanazawa much shorter than before. Before Hokuriku Shinkansen open, we had to take local train from Nagano to Naoetsu. And then we have to transfer to Limited Express train. Hokuriku Shinkansen makes a trip between Nagano and Kanazawa be much easier and more convenient too. Now it is much easier to drop by Nagano on the way to Kanazawa and Toyama.
Limited Express Thunderbird from Osaka and Kyoto
Limited Express “Thunderbird” connects Osaka/Kyoto and Kanazawa directly. It runs very frequent and about 20 round trips. The average trip time is 2 hours 40 minutes.
Most of Thunderbird connected Osaka and Toyama directly too. But this train runs between Osaka and Kanazawa only except one round trip to Wakura-Onsen. Now there is no direct access from Osaka/Kyoto to Toyama. We must transfer to local trian or Hokuriku Shinkansen. If you use JR Pass, you cannot take local train to Toyama from Kanazawa because conventional line belong to non JR company. Only Hokuriku Shinkansen is covered by JR Pass.
Limited Express Shirasagi from Nagoya and Maibara
Limited Express Shirasagi runs between Nagoya and Kanazawa and some trips run between Maibara and Kanazawa. The average trip time between Nagoya and Kanazawa is 3 hours. You may take Shinkansen to get Maibara and transfer to this express train. The trip time is a bit shorter than Nagoya-Kanazawa direct access.
Some of this train connected Nagoya and Toyama directly. But it is same thing as Limited Express Thunderbird. All trips go to Kanazawa only and you have to transfer at Kanazawa to get Toyama.
Limited Express Wide View Hida from Nagoya via Takayama
If you go to Toyama from Nagoya, you may take this route, Nagoya-Gifu-Takayama-Toyama by Limited Express Wide View Hida.
In terms of distance, this route is shorter than Limited Express Shirasagi and Hokuriku Shinkansen route, Nagoya-Maibara-Kanazawa-Toyama. But it takes longer. It takes 3.5 hours from Nagoya to Toyama by Shirasagi and Hokuriku Shinkansen. It takes aboiut 3 hours 50 minutes by Limited Express Wide View Hida. And also most of Wide View Hida runs between Nagoya and Takayama. There are only 3 round trips between Nagoya and Toyama. The scenery is stunning to take Wide View Hida route. If you have an extra time, this route is recommended. But Takayama is worthy of a stop!
Nohi bus from Takayama via Shirakawago
If you intend to visit Takayama, you can get Kanazawa via Shirakawago by bus. This route is very popular. Many tourists take this route and visit Takayama, Shirakawago and Kanazawa same time. Please find more information at the link below:
Limited Express Shirayuki and Hokuriku Shinkansen from Niigata
Limited Express Hokuetsu connected Niigata and Toyama/Kanazawa directly before Hokuriku Shinkansen open. But there is no direct access any more and we have to transfer at Joetsu-Myoko station on Hokuriku Shinkansen. Limited Express Shirayuki connects Joetsu-Myoko and Niigata in 2 hours. Please find more information at the link below: