The Hokuriku Shinkansen between Nagano and Itoigawa is closed due to the damage by the typhoon on October 13th, 2019. The train base in Nagano flooded and 10 of 27 train sets were in the water. The long term suspension is expected on this segment. If you go to Toyama and Kanazawa from Tokyo, take the Shinkansen to get Nagoya or Maibara and then take the limited express Shirasagi. The segment between Tokyo and Nagano, and between Kanazawa and Itoigawa are in operation. But the train operation has not been back to nomarl. The number of train is much smaller. All seats other than Green class and Gran class are non reserved seat. You cannot book a seat in the ordinary class now.
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.
In mid March, 2015, Hokuriku Shinkansen open and both Kanazawa and Toyama are very accessible from Tokyo. In this post, I would like to show you about access from Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Niigata.
- 1 Route map
- 2 Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo and Nagano
- 3 The limited express Thunderbird from Osaka and Kyoto
- 4 The limited express Shirasagi from Nagoya and Maibara
- 5 The limited express Wide View Hida from Nagoya via Takayama
- 6 Nohi bus from Takayama via Shirakawago
- 7 The limited express Shirayuki and the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Niigata
Please see the map below:
As you see the map above, there are several ways to get Kanazawa and Toyama, The Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo, the limited express Thunderbird from Osaka and Kyoto, the limited express Shirasagi from Nagoya and the 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
The Hokuriku Shinkansen is the primary way to get Kanazawa and Toyama. It takes 2 hours 10 minutes to Toyama and 2.5 hours to Kanazawa by the fastest train, “Kagayaki” on the Hokuriku Shinkansen. Please find more information about the Hokuriku Shinkansen in the link below:
The limited express Thunderbird from Osaka and Kyoto
The 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.
There is no direct trains from Osaka/Kyoto to Toyama. You must transfer to the Hokuriku Shinkansen at Kanazawa. If you use JR Pass, Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass, Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass, you cannot take local train to Toyama from Kanazawa because this conventional line belong to non JR company. Only the Hokuriku Shinkansen is covered by these trains passes.
The limited express Shirasagi from Nagoya and Maibara
The 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 the Tokaido Shinkansen to get Maibara and transfer to this express train. The trip time is a bit shorter than Nagoya-Kanazawa direct access. You may find more information in the post below:
The limited express Shirasagi goes to Kanazawa only and you have to transfer at Kanazawa to get Toyama.
The 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 the limited express Wide View Hida.
In terms of distance, this route is shorter than the limited express Shirasagi and the Hokuriku Shinkansen route, Nagoya-Maibara-Kanazawa-Toyama. But it takes longer. It takes 3.5 hours from Nagoya to Toyama by Shirasagi and the Hokuriku Shinkansen. It takes about 3 hours 50 minutes by the limited express Wide View Hida. And also most of Wide View Hida runs between Nagoya and Takayama. There are only four 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:
The limited express Shirayuki and the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Niigata
There is no direct trains any more between Niigata and Toyama/Kanazawa. You have to transfer at Joetsu-Myoko station on the Hokuriku Shinkansen. The limited express Shirayuki connects Joetsu-Myoko and Niigata in 2 hours. Please find more information at the link below: