Sample itinerary of day trip to Kanazawa and Shirakawago from Tokyo

Higashichayagai area is one of most popular spots in Kanazawa. (C) Kanazawa City / JNTO
Higashichayagai area is one of most popular spots in Kanazawa. (C) Kanazawa City / JNTO

I have just written about day trip to Kanazawa and Shirakawago from Osaka and Kyoto on the previous post. Some readers have asked me day trip to Kanazawa from Tokyo. Thanks Hokuriku Shikansen. It reduce drastically the trip time to Kanazawa from Tokyo. Now you can do day trip to Kanazawa from Tokyo easily.

I would like to show you the sample itinerary of day trip to Kanazawa and Shirakawago in this post.

*The information in this article is current at the time of writing.

From Tokyo to Kanazawa

The new fleet, E6 / W6 series run on Hokuriku Shinkansen.
The new fleet, E6 / W6 series run on Hokuriku Shinkansen.

Tokyo 6:16 – (Hokuriku Shinkansen Kagayaki 501) – Kanazawa 8:46
Tokyo 7:20 – (Hokuriku Shinkansen Kagayaki 503) – Kanazawa 9:54

I recommend you to see Kanazawa first. Because the next bus leave for Shirakawago at 10:50.

Nohi Bus timetable (Kanazawa – Shirakawago)

Even if you take the earliest train, Kagayaki 501, you have only two hours. I thing even two hours is not enough to see Kanazawa. You can spend whole morning in Kanazawa and take a bus to Shirakawago after lunch time.

Return trip to Shirakawago

World Heritage Site, Shirakawago (C)Akimasa Yuasa / JNTO
World Heritage Site, Shirakawago (C)Akimasa Yuasa / JNTO

Kanazawa 13:15 – (Nohi Bus) – Shirakawago 14:30
Shirakawago 17:30 – (Nohi Bus) – Kanazawa 18:45

As you see Nohi Bus timetable, 17:30 is the last bus to go back to Kanazawa. You have three hours in Shirakawago. The next bus to Shirakawago after 13:15 is 14:40 departure from Kanazawa and arrival Shirakawago at 16:05. I think this is too late to arrive Shirakawago. You have less than 1.5 hour. It is too short to see Shirakawago.

Go back to Osaka or Kyoto from Kanazawa

Kanazawa station was renovated before Hokuriku Shinkansen opened.
Kanazawa station was renovated before Hokuriku Shinkansen opened.

There are two runs of Hokuriku Shinkansen from Kanazwa to Tokyo after coming back from Shirakawago.

Kanazawa 19:39 – (Hokuriku Shinkansen Kagayaki 516) – Tokyo 22:12
Kanazawa 21:00 – (Hokuriku Shinkansen Kagayaki 518) – Tokyo 23:32

So if you want to eat dinner in the restaurant, you can take the last Hokuriku Shinkansen Kagayaki 518. You will have two hours. There are many restaurants in Kanazawa station building.

If you want to go back to Osaka or Kyoto as soon as possible, take earlier departure Hokuriku Shinkansen Kagayaki at 19:39. You can grab some foods at Kanazawa station and eat on board. On board sales is available on the train. But the price of on board sales is mostly higher than than shops at the station.

Suggested deal

Hokuriku Arch Pass is most affordable deal. It is cheaper than round trip fare by Hokuriku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Kanazawa. Please see the link below to find the information about this pass:

Tokyo-Osaka Hokuriku Arch Pass user guide. Clarify valid trains, coverage area and compare single fare and pass.

But you need to add single fare to get the bus to Shirakawago.

Japan Rail Pass is also recommended. Round trip fare by Shinkansen between Tokyo and Kanazawa is almost same as 7 days JR Pass price. Even if it does not cover bus to Shirakawago, Japan Rail Pass still work for this trip.

Nohi Bus to Shirakawago is not covered by either Hokuriku arch pass or JR pass. The extra fare is 3,290 yen for return.

Japan Rail Pass user Guide. How to use JR Pass to it’s maximum.

Don’t forget to check the timetable before you go

The above sample itinerary is built by timetable of September 2015. When you use this sample itinerary, please check the updated timetable.

Hyperdia (check the train timetable)
Nohi bus (check the bus timetable)

157 thoughts on “Sample itinerary of day trip to Kanazawa and Shirakawago from Tokyo”

  1. Hi Takeshi,

    I am planning to travel to Tokyo, 6-14 Oct. Below is my drafted itinerary.
    *6 Oct: Arrive Tokyo via midnight flight. Should I go Nagano or any place before going Toyama???
    *7 Oct: Take train to Toyama. Check in hotel. Short trip to Takaoka Great Buddha
    8 Oct: Stay Toyama. Day trip to Kurobe Gorge
    9 Oct: Check out Toyama, proceed and stay 1 night at Kanazawa. Take bus to Shirakawago.
    *10 Oct: Check out Kanazawa proceed to Gero Onsen or straight to Nagoya??
    11 Oct: Stay Nagoya. Go Nabana no Sato winter illumination.
    12 Oct: Stay Tokyo
    13 Oct: Stay Tokyo
    14 Oct: Night flight return

    On 6 Oct, I am plan to stay 1 night elsewhere before proceed Toyama on 7 Oct. Do you think it is ok to stay in Nagano?
    If stay Nagano, is it advisable to visit the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route on 7 Oct which will end at Toyama ?
    On 10 Oct, will it good to stay at Gero Onsen before proceed to Nagoya on 11 Oct?
    I think I should be able to get a JR Pass for this trip, right?

    1. Hi Rachel,

      First of all, get JR pass 7 days for the first 7 days. That is your primary deal in this trip.

      You mentioned that you will arrive in Tokyo by midnight flight. Are you going to arrive in midnight or arrive in early morning on 6th. If you arrive in early morning, you can proceed to Nagano. But if you arrive in midnight, you cannot go anywhere other than Tokyo.

      Nagano is okay for the first place to stay. Especially if you intend to add Tateyama Kurobe alpine route, Nagnao is the best place to stay.

      If you really want to stay in Gero onsen, you can visit. But Gero Onsen is not located on the way to Nagoya. You will take Limited Express “Shirasagi”from Toyama to Nagoya (or to Maibara and take Shinkansen to Nagoya).

      If you go to Gero onsen, you have to take another train from Nagoya or Gifu. So the choice is yours.


      Takeshi /

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        Thanks for advice.
        I will arrive Tokyo on 6 oct, about 8.45am. I should be able explore Nagano abit on 1st day. Will i be able to squeeze in short trip to Karuizawa on 1st day too?
        Depends on my hubby, if he wish to visit Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route then we will proceed on 7 oct, otherwise will take Shinkansen to Toyama directly.

        I thought Gero Osen will be easy to reach…hmmm. Otherwise is there any osen which i can visit before going to Nagoya?


        1. Hi Rachel,

          You can drop by Karuizawa and reach Nagano. Easily you can squeeze alpine route on 7th.

          Probably Gero is most accessible Onsen around Nagoya. There is no other choices.


          Takeshi /

          1. Hi Takeshi,

            Noted. Thanks for the advice. Really looking forward to this trip.


  2. Hi Takeshi-san
    Your expert advice please on which is the most effective pass which will be suitable for my schedule below –
    Day 1 – KIX to Osaka-ku – flight arriving at 2130hrs
    Day 2 – Osaka-ku to Shirakawago to Takayama (one night in Takayama)
    Day 3 – Takayama-Kanazawa-Osaka
    Day 4 – Osaka-Kyoto
    Day 5 – Kyoto-Nara
    Day 6 – Osaka-KIX (flight departing at 1630hrs)
    Many thanks.

    1. Hi Kathryn san,

      You may use Takayama Hokuriku area pass for the first 4 days.

      Nara is not covered by this pass but you can get Kyoto by this pass. When you visit the places in Kyoto, this pass does not cover subway, bus and even local trains. You may add single fare to Nara and need to add single fare or pass in Kyoto. The easiest way is using Kansai one pass. You can use this to take any trains, subways, city bus.


      Takeshi /

      You can get Kyoto by this pass

      1. Hi Takeshi-san
        Thanks a lot for your response.
        Another question please – is a day trip to Shirakawago possible ? which means we will just visit Kanazawa or Takayam and Shirakawago. This will enable us to see more of Osaka and Kyoto incl Nara.
        Regards Kathryn

  3. Hi Takeshi san, I’m plan to go Tokyo on coming 04-12-17. I would like to go shirakawago by myself and my husband on 04-14-17 but I don’t know how to get there ? I plan for a day trip only. Could you please advise me. Thanks. Besides do we need to buy entrance ticket? Where to buy?

    1. Hi Yvonne san,

      Please read the post above one more time and if you still have any questions, please let me know which part of my post you don’t understand. I cannot explain more than this at this point.

      You don’t need to pay any entrance fee to get Shirakawago. It’s open for public.


      Takeshi /

      1. So I just need to buy Shinkansen and bus ticket to get there right? How much would it cost to me? Where to buy this pass? Through on line purchase?

        1. HI Yvonne,

          Hokuriku arch pass is most recommended deal. It’s cheaper than round trip fare to Kanazawa from Tokyo by Shinkasnen. Please see the link below:

          You can find the timetable and fare of Nohi bus at the link below. Advanced reservation is strongly recommended:


          Takeshi /

          1. Hi takeshi san, I think I need to re- send you for me whole schedule plan in Japan trip on coming April. Please advise me which pass should I buy to. Below is my whole schedule plan.

            1st day- arrival haneda airport at 10.30pm and heading to Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanazawa-ken.
            2nd day- heading to Osaka-shi/ osaka
            3rd day- Kyoto/Nara
            4th day- heading to matsudo-shi/ shinjuku/ Tokyo
            5th day- my Fuji bought day trip ticket already.
            6th day- from matsudo-shi to Kanazawa / shirakawaga then back to matsudo-shi .

            Any suitable pass to buy? Thanjs

  4. Hi Takeshi san,

    We are going to visit Japan next week.
    Then on the 4th day we are going to shirakawago.
    So it will be like this Tokyo-kanazawa-shirakawago-kanazawa.
    Is there bus from shirakawago to kanazawa if I start my trip from Kanazawa?

  5. Hi Nancy

    We will be arriving Nagoya on a Fri 9.30am. The next morning would like to visit Shirakawa-go. With your expert experience, you think it’s realistic to travel to Takayama -> Shirakawa-go -> Kanazawa. Each stay one night, and back to Nagoya for one night before flying off early the next morning…

    Or should I cut down on one place on one of the night and stay in Nagoya for 2 nights.

    Thanks in advance

  6. hi Takeshi. i will go to japan on june with whole family. and really2 want to visit shirakawago. but the other group dont want to. so i only have one day trip there. is it possible to go from osaka then shirakawago then tokyo in one day? thank you

  7. hi Takeshi,

    i am going to Japan for 11 days,
    my route is going to be like this : osaka-kyoto-osaka-kanazawa-shirakawago-takayama-tokyo-gotemba-tokyo

    which pass is more suitable for me? or is it better to buy single pass?

    and is it possible to do kanazawa-shirakawago-takayama-tokyo in one day??

    thanks a lottt

    1. Hi Silvia,

      You can use Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass.

      You can get Takayama, Kanazawa and Shirakawago by this pass. It covers until you get Nagoya after Takayama. And then you need to add single fare for Nagoya to Tokyo. If you want to save your cost, Platt Kodama is considerbale:

      In Tokyo, you may add subway pass.

      Express bus is your choice to get Gotemba.


      Takeshi /

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