I prefer to stay in many cities and feel different atmosphere. But I understand that some of you do not agree. Because you will travel with the huge luggage and it may be issue for you.
Thus the day trip is a prefect solution. When you stay in Kansai area, there are many places to see, such as Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Himeji, Mt. Koya and many more places. But can you believe that you can visit Kanazawa and Shirakawago from Osaka or Kyoto as one day trip?
I would like to show you the sample itinerary of this day trip in this post.
From Osaka/Kyoto to Kanazawa
The limited express Thunderbird takes you to Kanazawa directly.
I recommend you to see Kanazawa first. The next bus leave for Shirakawago at 9:40. You can catch this bus easily in 30 minutes. But if you go to Shirakawago first, you come back Kanazawa around 15:00. It is a bit late to see this town because some of attractions are closed around 17:00. If you focus on Shirakawago more, you can go to Shirakawago right after you arrive in Kanazawa. Please find the timetable of the bus to Shirakawago in Nohi bus official site:
You cannot do anything in Kanazawa for one hour. You can spend whole morning in Kanazawa and take the bus to Shirakawago after lunch time.
Return trip to Shirakawago
Kanazawa 13:10 – (Nohi Bus) – Shirakawago 14:25
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 13:10 is 14:40 departure from Kanazawa and arrival Shirakawago at 15:05. This is still okay. It depends on which place you want to see more. You can adjust as you like.
Go back to Osaka or Kyoto from Kanazawa
The last Thunderbird to Osaka leave Kanazawa at 20:47. There are some more trains before this. You can pick which departure you like. Please find the timetable of the limited express Thunderbird in the link below:
JPRail.com PDF timetable (valid until mid March, 2020)
So if you want to eat dinner in the restaurant, you can take the last train. 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. You can grab some foods at Kanazawa station and eat on board. On board sales is not available in the limited express Thunderbird. Don’t forget to grab it before getting on the limited express Thunderbird.
Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass is most recommended. This pass is valid for 5 days. Even if you use this pass just for this day trip, you can get the worth of it. This pass covers all part of your trip.
If you have JR Pass or Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass or Hokuriku Arch Pass, you can use the pass to get Kanazawa by the limited express Thunderbird. But Nohi Bus to Shirakawago is not covered by these passes.
Don’t forget to check the timetable before you go
The above sample itinerary is built by the timetable of September 2019. When you use this sample itinerary, please check the updated timetable.