Sample itinerary of day trip to Kanazawa and Shirakawago from Tokyo

shirakawago winter1 to 3 days
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

If you leave Tokyo very early morning, you can visit Kanazawa and Shirakawago as a day trip.

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 earliest train on the Hokuriku Shinkansen for Kanazawa is 06:16 departure. You can get Kanazawa at 08:46. There are many trains running between Tokyo and Kanazawa. Please find the timetable of the Hokuriku Shinkansen at JR East official site:

JR East official site – the timetable

I recommend you to see Kanazawa first. Because you can spend your time more efficiently by this order.

You will spend your time in the morning in Kanazawa. After lunch time, you can take Nohi Bus for Shirakawago.

Return trip to Shirakawago

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

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

I picked this schedule and you can enjoy 3 hours in Shirakawago. But you can make an adjustment as you like. Please find the timetable in Nohi Bus official site:

Nohi Bus official site

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 13:40 departure from Kanazawa and arrival Shirakawago at 15:05. It is okay but it is a bit short to see the village.

Go back to Tokyo from Kanazawa

Kanazawa station was renovated before Hokuriku Shinkansen opened.

The last train on the Hokuriku Shinkansen is Kagayaki 518 at 21:00.

If you want to eat dinner in the restaurant, you can take this last train. You will have two hours. There are many restaurants in Kanazawa station building.

If you want to go back to Tokyo as soon as possible, take earlier departure Hokuriku Shinkansen. You can grab some foods at Kanazawa station and eat on board. On board sales is available on the train. But the variety of items are limited and the price of on board sales is mostly higher than the shops in the station. I recommend you to get something before boarding.

Suggested deal

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

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

JR Pass is also recommended. The round trip fare by Shinkansen between Tokyo and Kanazawa is almost same as 7-day JR Pass price. Even if it does not cover bus to Shirakawago, JR Pass still works for this trip.

Nohi Bus to Shirakawago is not covered by either Hokuriku arch pass or JR pass.

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.


  1. BETSY LEE says:

    Hi Mr. Takeshi,
    I would like to visit Shirakawa-go for a day trip and i need your help about the journey i.e. which is the best way to travel to Shirakawa-go, from osaka or from kobe? For your information, i will stay at Kobe for 4 days and another 4 days at osaka.

  2. Patr says:

    Hi Takeshi san,

    Im thinking of getting the JR regional pass for central, for Nagoya to Kyoto and back.

    Does this pass cover the rail and bus journey to Tsumago and Nagiso.

    Very confusing..

    Tq for your help.

  3. Sharon K says:

    Hi Takeshi san,

    I am planning to head down to stay at Kanazawa for a weekend trip around 30th Jan, with the intent of stopping by Shirakawa-go to see the light illuminations at night.

    I checked on various websites and saw that the lights only start at 5:30-7:30PM. However, these buses (Nohi and Hokutetsu) all seem to leave before then. Are you aware of any other options that allows one to stay to see the illuminations?

    Thank you so much in advance!

    Kind regards,

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      Takeshi / says:

      Hi Sharon san,

      I think you have to stay overnight there to see light up.
      I have heard that some local agents have a tour to see light up. But I don’t have any info unfortunately.


      Takeshi /

  4. James says:

    Hi Takeshi,
    we plan to visit the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route next April and stay in Takayama. Is it possible to do a day trip to Shirakawago and Kanazawa, what transport should we use? Many thanks.

  5. Ira says:

    Takeshi-san, is there any way i can buy one way shinkansen ticket between kanazawa-tokyo as I would be travelling in end of December which will be a peak season for travellers.


    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      Takeshi / says:

      Hi Ira,

      The busiest day will be December 28 late afternoon to December 30 early morning from Tokyo to Kanazawa. Kanazawa to Tokyo may be busier than usual. But it’s not super busy. You will make it.


      Takeshi /

  6. kc says:

    Ok, thanks heaps Takeshi! Have a good day! Cheers, kc

  7. kc says:

    Hi Takeshi,
    I would appreciate your advice please re the best pass or combination perhaps for the follwing itinerary:
    11/12 Haneda – Keikyu Kamata for the night
    12/12 Kamata – Nagoya
    12/12 to 17-12 Walking tour so no transport reqd
    18/12 Matsumoto – Kyoto
    19/12 Kyoto
    20/12 Kyoto
    21/12 Kyoto – Tokyo (Kitasenju station)
    22/12 Tokyo
    23/12 Tokyo
    24/12 Tokyo – Muikamachi Niigata
    25/12 Nigata
    26/12 Niigata – Tadami town
    27/12 Tadami town – Aizuyanaizu
    28/12 Aizuyanaizu – Aizumiyashita – Aizuyanaizu
    29/12 Aizuyanaizu
    30/12 Aizuyanaizu – Aizuwatkamatzu
    31/12 Aizuwakamatzu – Yamagata
    1/1 Yamagata – Yamadera – Yagamata
    2/1 Yamagata – Sendai
    3/1 Sendai – Matsushima – Sendai
    4/1 Sendai – Narita
    Thank you very much for your time!
    Cheers, kc

  8. Dear Takeshi-san,

    It is possible to buy the Nohi Bus ticket to Shirakawago at Kanazawa Station without reservation?

    For your information, five(5) of us would like to make a day trip from Tokyo to Shirakawago as suggested on 03 Nov 2015 (Culture Day)

    Many Thanks.

    Best regards,

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      Takeshi / says:

      Hi Chua san,

      It depends on the availability of the bus. If there are still empty seats available, you can purchase it on the spot. But if it’s full, you cannot. It will be holiday and may be busier than weekdays. I really recommend to book in advance.


      Takeshi /

  9. Khoa says:

    Thanks for the wonderful information, I’ll be in Japan in November and bought my JR pass through this website and follow all your comments. For this particular post, I checked the Nohi bus link and it said that reservations are required. Can I reserve the sits once I got to Tokyo? How long in advance because I’m not sure bout going to the village or the Meho black sand beach? I don’t speak Japan so can I communicate with them by English?? Many thanks

  10. ztrans
    suad says:

    Hallo Takeshi,
    if i take Hokuriku shinkansen by using JR Kanto area pass, Sakudaira is the last station covered by JR Kanto Pass ?
    What should i do to get Kanazawa and Shirakawago?

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      Takeshi / says:

      Hi Suad,

      You have to add single fare for Sakudaira to Kanazawa. But total fare of Kanto Area Pass + additional fare is more expensive than JR Pass 7 days. You should go for JR Pass 7 days instead of Kanto area pass.


      TAkeshi /

      • ztrans
        suad says:

        thanks a lot for the advice Takeshi san, but i just have 4 days trip in japan, so i’m not going to kanazawa.
        if i still use kanto area pass,
        1. is it possible to visit sakuaira by hokuriku shinkansen, but i intend to visit karuizawa before. Can i stop in karuizawa for 3 hours sightseeing and then take the next shinkansen to sakudaira ? is there any additional fare also?
        2.Day 2 Go to kawaguchiko by Ltd Exp Azusa. and Day 3 Go to Katsuta by Ltd Exp Hitachi.Have i reserve seat before?

        • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
          Takeshi / says:

          Hi Saud,

          1. No. This pass gives you unlimited ride, so you can take Shinkansen as many as you want.
          2. Yes. You can reserve it in advance. I usually complete all bookings when I exchange the pass..


          Takeshi /

          • ztrans
            suad says:

            nice tohear that Takeshi san,
            1. I will buy JR Kanto area pass when i arrive in Haneda airport on may 2016.
            Is it possible to reserve seat from my country before that pass purchasing?

            2. Which type of JR transport must to reserve seat?

            3. What should i do if i have reserved seat but i’m late to get to station, can i take the next shinkansen/ ?

            • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
              Takeshi / says:

              Hi Suad,

              1. Yes. But it’s open until 18:45. See the link below:
              You cannot book it until you arrive in Japan. No online reservation site is available.

              2. Reservation is not required for most of train because train has reserved and non reserved seat. But it includes reserved seat fee so reservation is recommended. Most of express trains have reserved seat.

              3. You can change it for later train or take non reserved seat for later train.


              Takeshi /

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