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.

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)

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

  1. Hi Takeshi,

    Me and my friends will be travelling to Japan on end of December and need your expertise advice on following draft plan. Could you also suggest the passes that we shall get and there are some questions inline just thought if you could help with 🙂

    Arrival: Kansai Airport, 31st Dec 2018 (05:40)
    Departure: Kansai Airport, 11th Jan 2019 (09:55)

    Kyoto Hotel: 3 minutes walk to kawaramachi Station

    Day#1:
    ~ Kansai Airpot > Kyoto [ Haruka + ICOCA ? ]
    [ Question: Which options below would you suggest? ]
    > Limousine:
    Option#1: Kansai Airport > ( ¥2550 @ 1 hour 44 min) Shio Omiya > walk 2 minutes to Omiya Station > ( ¥150 @ 5 mins) Kawaramachi Station > walk 3 minutes to Hotel
    Option#2: Kansai Airport > ( ¥2550 @ 1 hour 44 min) Shijo Karasuma > walk 13 minutes to Hotel
    [ Question: Is walking from station with luggage on street to hotel doable and convenience? ]

    > Haruka:
    Option#1: Kansai Airport > ( ¥1600 @ 1 hour 18 min) Kyoto Station > walk 5 minutes to Shiokoji Takakura Bus Stop > (10 minutes) Shijokawaramachi Bus Stop > walk 3 minutest to Hotel
    [ Question: Do we allow taking local buses with luggages? Will that be inconvenience? ]
    Option#2: Kansai Airport > ( ¥1600 @ 1 hour 18 min) Kyoto Station > (¥210 @ 3 min) Shijo > Walk 4 minutes to Karasuma > (¥150 @ 2 min) > ( ¥150 @ 2 mins) Kawaramachi Station > walk 3 minutes to Hotel

    Yasaka Shrine > Chion-in
    [ Question: We are planning to experiencing new year eve in Japan, and searching through, both of the shrine above are near to where we’ll be staying, and I suppose both shrine are nice to be visited during new year eve? Will there be still transport available after 12am midnight in order for us go back to hotel? ]

    Day#2:
    [ Question: Is there any particular places normally Japaneses will go on 1st day of the year? ]
    ~ Kyoto [ Passes? ICOCA? ]
    Morning: (Arashiyama) Togetsukyo Bridge > Tenryuji > Bamboo Forest >Nonomiya Shrine
    Option#1: Kawaramachi Station > (¥150 @ 4 min) Omiya > walk 4 min to Shijo-omiya > (¥220 @ 25 min) Arashiyama
    Going to take Hankyu to Omiya and transfer to Randen as suggested in https://jprail.com/destinations/kansai-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-kyoto-how-to-choose-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html
    Option#2: Kawaramachi Station > (¥220 @ 7 min) Katsura > (7 min) Arashiyama (Hankyu Line)

    Noon: Kinkaku-ji
    Arashiyama (Randen Arashiyama Line) > (¥220 @ 8 min) Katabiranotsuji > (12 min) > Kitanohakubaicho > walk or taking bus to Kinkaku-ji

    Day#3:
    ~ Kyoto [ Kyoto City Bus Pass 1 day? ICOCA? ]
    Kiyomizu-dera > Nineizaka > Sanneizaka > Hōkanji Temple > Ishibei-koj
    – Probably taking bus to Kiyomizu-dera then walking along the places

    Day#4:
    ~ Kyoto > Nara > Kyoto [ KINTETSU RAIL PASS 1day ?]
    Nara Park > Tōdai-ji > Kasuga-taisha > Fushimi Inari

    Day#5:
    ~ Kyoto > Osaka > Kyoto [ Takayama-Hokuriku Pass Day 1 ]
    (Not sure if really want travel to Osaka, just thought to utilize the Takayama-Hokuriku pass)

    Day#6:
    ~ Kyoto > Kanazawa [ Takayama-Hokuriku Pass Day 2 ]
    Walk 4 minutes from Hotel to Shijokawaramachi Bus Stop > (¥230 @ 10 min – Bus. No 205) Shiokoji Takakura Bus Stop > walk 5 minutes to Kyoto Station > (Tayakama-Hokuriku Pass @ 1 hour 16 min – Thunderbird) Kanazawa

    Day#7:
    ~ Kanazawa > Shirakawa-go [ Takayama-Hokuriku Pass Day 3 ]
    Kanazawa Station > (Tayakama-Hokuriku Pass @ 1 hour 18 min – Nohi Bus) Shirakawa-go
    (This is the only day available for a stay in Shirakawa-go and so the itinerary above adjusted due to this.. :-p, will that be crowded? )

    Day#8:
    ~ Shirakawa-go > Takayama > Kanazawa [ Takayama-Hokuriku Pass Day 4 ]
    Morning: Shirakawa-go > (Tayakama-Hokuriku Pass @ 50 min – Nohi Bus) Takayama
    Noon : Takayama > (Tayakama-Hokuriku Pass @ 1 hour 30 min – Hida) Toyama Station > (Tayakama-Hokuriku Pass @ 23 min – Hokuriku-Shinkansen) Kanazawa Station

    Day#9:
    ~ Kanazawa to Osaka [ Tayakama-Hokuriku Pass Day 5 ]
    Option#1 (Google Map): Kanazawa Station > (Tayakama-Hokuriku Pass @ 2 hour 36 minutes – Thunderbird) Shin-Osaka > (¥230 @ 14 min) Shinsaibashi Station > walk 10 minutes to Hotel
    Option#2 (Hyperdia) : Kanazawa Station > (Tayakama-Hokuriku Pass @ 2 hour 33 minutes – Thunderbird) Osaka > Walk 5 minute to UMEDA > (¥230 @ 7 min) Shinsaibashi Station > walk 10 minutes to Hotel
    [ Question: In Hyperdia, there is no route that suggested by google map, should Hyperdia more reliable? ]

    Day#10:
    ~ Osaka [ Osaka Amazing Pass Day 1]
    Osaka Castle > HepFive > Umeda Sky Building > Tennen Onsen Naniwa-no-yu

    Day#11:
    ~ Osaka [ Osaka Amazing Pass Day 2]
    Nifrel > Tsutenkaku Tower > Tempozan Ferris Wheel > Tombori River Cruise

    Day#12:
    ~ Heading to Kansai Airport from Hotel in early morning [ Passes ? ICOCA? ]
    Walk 15 minutes from Hotel to NAMBA(NANKAI) Station> (Nankai-Limited Express Rapit Alpha @ 34 min) Kansai Airport
    [ Question: A bit confused with the Nankai Railway, should I buy any pass when I arrive Kansai Airport on first day or just use ICOCA card instead? ]

    Million THANKS !! 🙂 Do also let me know if anything we shall specially looking at 🙂

    1. Hi Terry,

      Day#1:
      ~ Kansai Airpot > Kyoto [ Haruka + ICOCA ? ]
      [ Question: Which options below would you suggest? ]
      Limousine is better option. It’s not hard to walk for 13 minutes. It’s same as walking on the street in your country. As long as weather is good, it’s okay.
      [ Question: We are planning to experiencing new year eve in Japan, and searching through, both of the shrine above are near to where we’ll be staying, and I suppose both shrine are nice to be visited during new year eve? Will there be still transport available after 12am midnight in order for us go back to hotel? ]

      Train, subway and city bus run all night long. But city bus will be very very crowded. Try to take a train or subway as much as you can.

      Day#9:
      [ Question: In Hyperdia, there is no route that suggested by google map, should Hyperdia more reliable? ]
      You can use Shin-Osaka route. You can change the trains at Osaka/Umeda. But Shin-Osaka is easier.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/station-information/shin-osaka-station-guide-how-to-change-shinkansen-haruka-thunderbird-and-local-train-access-to-osaka-umeda-and-namba.html

      Day#12:
      You may use Kansai one pass instead of purchasing a regular ticket.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thanks so much in answering my questions Takehshi 🙂

        I’m having further questions after further reading through your details articles 🙂

        1. By reading the “Visit Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kobe for 5 to 7 days sample itinerary” article at https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/7to9-days/visit-kyoto-osaka-nara-and-kobe-for-5-to-7-days-sample-itinerary.html , the “Day 2 & 3” is somehow more or less same as the places we wanted to go and thought I may make use of “Kyoto City Sightseeing Card 2 days pass” for my “Day 2 & 3” as well, what do you think? I thought wanted to read further on the passes on page, however, the link for the “Kyoto Sightseeing One and Two-day Pass Card” in https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html#Kyoto_Sightseeing_One_and_Two-day_Pass_Card can’t be accessible, I tried to find from google, but I only could see following two links which I’m not sure it’s what the article referring to..
        > https://www.keihan.co.jp/travel/en/tickets/special/
        > https://www.discoverkyoto.com/visitors-guide/day-pass-ticket/

        2. Do you think “KINTETSU RAIL PASS 1day” suitable for our usage on Day#4?

        Thanks again! 🙂

        1. Hi Terry,

          You can use Kyoto sightseeing card 2 days for day 2 and 3. They changed URL. Please see the link below to find the info:
          https://www2.city.kyoto.lg.jp/kotsu/webguide/en/index.html

          Kintetsu rail pass is not recommended because you cannot get Fushimi inari by Kintetsu railway. Just purchasing a regular ticket or using Kansai one pass instead.
          https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/what-is-ic-card-suica-icoca-pasmo-how-to-use-these-cards.html

          In Kyoto, you may use Kansai one pass too. If you take a bus lots and not much subway ride, you can go for one day bus pass in Kyoto and use Kansai one pass instead.

          You might take trains (JR, Keihan, Hankyu, Randen) more than subway in Kyoto but these trains are not covered by Kyoto sightseeing pass. There is no deals available for these trains + bus + subway. Please see the link below to find more info about train system in Kyoto in the link below:
          https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Good that you have pointed out the Kyoto sightseeing card doesn’t cover Hankyu and Randen line which most probably we will be travel with them on Day#2, I wasn’t aware of that, thanks again for the heads up! Which it meant I shouldn’t get Kyoto sightseeing card! Appreciated for that 🙂

              1. Hi Takeshi,

                On our Day#8, we will be travelling from Takayama back to Kanazawa at evening time, looking at the hyperdia, there are two types of Train, i.e. JR Takayama Line and LTD EXP (WIDE VIEW) HIDA, do you know what is the different between them? I’ve bought 5 Days Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass, could I use the pass to ride on LTD EXP (WIDE VIEW) HIDA train? As we probably thinking to taking the train at the time of 17:19 which shall reach INOTANI at 18:14 and taking Hokuriku-Shinkansen to Kanazawa.

                The train timetable that I’m referring:
                http://www.hyperdia.com/en/cgi/en/intervaltime.html?dep_node=TAKAYAMA&arv_node=INOTANI&search_target=intervaltime&diagram=21020&year=2019&month=1&day=7&searchday=20190107

                http://www.hyperdia.com/en/cgi/en/search.html?dep_node=TAKAYAMA&arv_node=KANAZAWA&via_node01=&via_node02=&via_node03=&year=2019&month=01&day=07&hour=17&minute=00&search_type=0&search_way=&transtime=undefined&sort=0&max_route=5&faretype=0&ship=off&lmlimit=null&search_target=route&facility=reserved&sum_target=7

                1. Hi Terry,

                  You may take Limited Express Wide View Hida by Takayama Hokuriku area pass. The other choice is a local commute train. It’s slow and stop at all stations. Wide View Hida has much nicer accommodation and it skips many stations and fast.

                  Cheers,

                  Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi,

    I am thinking to buy takayama hokuriku tourist pass for my 5 days Nagoya trip.
    Actually, I wish to join the Shirakawa -go light up on 14/1. But could’t get the nohi bus ticket . I am thinking to avoid the crowd in takayama since I can’t join it.
    In your opinion, can advise me which date shall I visit Shirakawa to avoid the crowd for Japan holiday (14/1)…..
    Worry the train too full also …
    My trip is 9/1-19/1 which stay in
    Kyoto 10-12/1, 12/1-13/1 Kanazawa
    13/1-14/1 takayama 14/1-15/1 Nagoya
    15/1-16/1 Kanazawa 16/1-19/1 Osaka
    Thinking to use the 5 days pass from 12-16/1… is that suitable ?

    Please advise …
    Thank you so much ..

    1. Hi Angela,

      I think 15th or 16th is the best day to visit there. 12th and 13th are weekend. 14th is busy even in day time.

      You can use Takayama Hokuriku area pass from 12th to 16th as you think.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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