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. Branson says:

    Hi Takeshi san,

    i am planning to be at japan from 22dec till 1 jan. we will be travelling tokyo- osaka – kyoto and back to narita airport. We will be in tokyo from 22 dec till 26 dec and was wondering if it is possible to go to fujikyu highland as well as shirakawago 1 day each using the JR pass? it would be better to get a 14 days pass then a 7 days pass if we were to go to those places which we mentioned? as i understand from tokyo to osaka and kyoto is covered by JR pass which we can activate before leaving to osaka on 26 dec. but we decided to add in shirakawago. do you think its better to go for 14 days instead?

  2. Takeshi san, I’ll be travelling with my parents next year April 9th-19th. Will travel by flight to Haneda and reach by 9th evening from there planning to stay at a nearby hotel to Tokyo station. So my itinerary is messed up at this point since want to cover too many spots at once. But a somewhat rough itinerary:
    Day 1 & 2(9th and 10th): Tokyo local sightseeing
    Day 3(11th): Daytrip to Hakone from Tokyo

    In the rest of the days want to squeeze 2 days Kyoto, 1 day hectic Osaka trip(not planning to stay in Osaka), Himeji, Kanazawa, Shirakawago, Hiroshima and Miyazaki, Chichibu garden/Kawachi Fujien wisteria/Hitachi seaside(which would be best?), Tateyama Alpine route,Koyasan/Kawaguchiko.
    Want to use 7 day JR Pass as much as we can. Please suggest the most optimal plan. Don’t mind a slightly hectic schedule.

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      Takeshi / says:

      Hi Lina san,

      It is very hard to cover the place on your wishlist in 7 days period. You will spend 3 of 7 days in Osaka and Kyoto. You also have to spend one day to visit Koyasan from either Kyoto or Osaka. Hiroshima is 2 hours away from Kyoto. You have to spend at least one day there. You may be able to drop by Himeji on the way to Hiroshima. And Miyazaki is quite far. It takes 6.5 hours from Osaka and 5 hours from Hiroshima. You will spend 2 days to visit Miyazaki at least. Now you spend all 7 days but you still have Kanazawa, Shirakawago, Alpine route, Kawaguchiko, and one of the garden.

      In my opinion, Miyazaki is the biggest issue to complete your trip. If you give up there, your trip will be slightly easier but it’s still tight.

      I have never been to Chichibu garden. I cannot comment about it. Kawachi Fujien is nice but it’s 2 hours away from Hiroshima. Hitachi Seaside Park is easier to squeeze.

      And Kawaguchiko should be combined with Hakone. If you are okay with very tight schedule, you can make Kawaguchiko and Hakone in one day:


      Takeshi /

      • Thanks for replying, Takeshi san!
        It seems like I mistyped Miyazaki for Miyajima! I dont plan on visiting Miyazaki at all…I kept Koyasan or Kawaguchiko as an option as I plan to visit only one of them. I feel like its better to leave Kawaguchi lake since Hakone and the lake in one day seems very tiring to me. I want you to recommend the order in which I could visit the various places from Day 4 onwards after Hakone on day 3?
        Should I start with Kyoto from 4th day? Please tell me in what order could I visit these places. Also JR pass and what other pass/cards you recommend to purchase to economize the trip?

        • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
          Takeshi / says:

          Hi Lina san,

          You can use one of my sample itineraries.

          You may add Koyasan when you are in Osaka or Kyoto. Osaka is closer to Koyasan than Kyoto. I recommend you to stay in Osaka as well.

          The day trip to Hiroshima and Miyajima is in the sample but you can stay there if you want. Himeji can be squeezed between Osaka and Hiroshima as I mentioned.

          You may add Tokyo Wide Pass for Lake Kawaguchi and Hitachi Seaside Park:


          Takeshi /

          • It was such a well planned out sample itinerary but I want Hakone to be included in the trip. Mr. Takeshi, I want to consult with you a rough itinerary I have planned so please tell if its alright.
            Day 1 &2- Tokyo local sightseeing with 2 day Subway pass.
            Day 3- Hakone day trip where I start using JR Pass
            Day 4- Tokyo to Kanazawa to Shirakawago then back to Kanazawa and take shinkansen to reach Kyoto at night
            Day 5 &6- Kyoto sightseeing on both days and leave for Osaka on day 6
            Day 7- Hiroshima Miyajima day trip from Osaka
            Day 8- Osaka tour and take Sunrise Seto to Tokyo
            Day 9- Tokyo to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route
            I have flight on day 10 morning at 9am Haneda airport. I wonder if I’ll get worth of the 7 day JR Pass.
            Please tell me how I can squeeze Himeji between Osaka and Hiroshima in my plan? Also any way to include Hitachi seaside park OR Koyasan in this plan?

            • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
              Takeshi / says:

              Hi Lina san,

              You mentioned that day 1 is 9th in the first reply. But in this trip plan, day 1 is 10th and day 10 is 19th. So you have just 9 days to make trips.
              If so, I don’t think you can add any more places. You need to one full day to visit Koyasan from Osaka. You also need one full day to visit Hitachi Seaside Park. So you have to give up one day in Tokyo and/or Kyoto. Otherwise you cannot make it.

              It is hard to squeeze Himeji in the day trip to Himeji. If you stay in Hiroshima, you can do but it is too much to squeeze into the day trip plan. If you really want to go there, spend half day to visit Himeji and half day in Osaka. This is only realistic way.

              You can get the worth of 7-day JR pass easily. Actually the worth is more than 14-day pass even though you don’t need to use it.


              Takeshi /

              • You are right, Takeshi san. It seems I miscalculated the trip days in my first message. Indeed I’ll reach on 9th evening so that day is pretty much a waste.
                So, day 1 starts from next day i.e. 10th
                And return date is indeed 19th morning so I get 10 to 18th April to decide on my itinerary. So I might reduce 1 day Kyoto to accomodate Himeji in one day but that seems too much to do for just Himeji. I heard many people manage to get major spots in Kyoto in just one day! May I replace that 2nd Kyoto day with a trip to Koyasan then if I leave for Osaka one day early?

                Anyways Takeshi san, does my trip plan sound alright? Also, you said in some article that Sunrise Seto has too much rush since its booked one month in advance. So, is there any hope to get Nobi Nobi seats if I book 9 days in advance or is it too risky?

                • Mr. Takeshi,
                  This would be my last query.
                  I know its a bit of a stretch but by replacing one day in Kyoto is it possible to do Himeji and koyasan in one day from Osaka?? Then that would be the best thing ever! I can stay the night at Koyasan on that day and return to Osaka the next day.
                  Also, just to verify the only passes I book in advance is JR 1 week pass, Subway pass, Hakone free pass, Tateyama Kurobe option ticket and Osaka one day amazing pass since all other trips can be covered by minimal fares.

                • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
                  Takeshi / says:

                  Hi Lisa san,

                  You can add Himeji and Koyasan as you like. You know how busy your trip will be. So that’s okay.

                  I cannot say about Sunrise. Sometimes you can make it in 9 days before and sometimes not. It is gamble anyway. So in case that you cannot make it, you have to prepare the back up plan. If you cannot make it, you have to take the last Shinkansen to Tokyo. It is easy to get a seat on the Shinkansen. And you have to find the accommodation in Tokyo after you arrive in Japan. This is not hard either. But if you don’t want to rearrange your trip after you arrive in Japan, just give up Sunrise and take the Shinkansen to Tokyo and stay there.


                  Takeshi /

  3. Agnes says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I’m hoping to maximise my 7-day JR pass to cover the following areas and my tentative itinerary for my 11 days trip is as follows:
    Tokyo (use IC card) – 3 nights > Takayama & Shirakawago (activate JR Pass) – 3 nights > Kyoto (to stay 1 night or make day trip from Osaka?) > Osaka (spend remaining nights here) > Haneda Airport (travel direct from Osaka to airport to catch mid-night flight).

    I’ve been doing lots of research from your website and find the info extremely useful. But would appreciate your advice on the following questions:

    #1 – Which is a better way to get to Takayaman/Shirakawago from Tokyo? From Tokyo to Kanazawa, visit Shirakawago first before heading to Takayama? Or from Tokyo to Takayama via Nagoya, then take Nohi bus to Shirakawago for a day trip the next day?

    #2 – I’m trying to minimise the change of hotels and thinking of travelling straight from Takayama to Osaka without overnight stay in Kyoto. Would you advise this? Day trip to Kyoto from Osaka is possible? If so, how do I get from Takayama to Osaka?

    Thanks in advance for your help.


  4. Minnie says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I am planning to travel to the chubu region from Tokyo for 5 days in April 2019, and final destination is Nagoya. I will fly back home from Nagoya. I am wondering if the national JR pass would cover all the trips or there are other better pass that suit my travel plan. My itinerary is as followed:
    Apr.18 Tokyo-Kanazawa-Himi
    Apr.19 Himi- shirakawa-go-Takayama
    Apr. 20 Takayama-Echizen
    Apr. 21 Echizen-Nagoya
    Would that be too rush or do you think I have enough time?

    Thanks in advance

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      Takeshi / says:

      Hi Minnie,

      JR pass is the best choice to cover your trip.

      Your trip plan is okay. But if you can make small adjustment, it will be easier and more time efficient.

      Apr 19 Tokyo – Echizen
      Apr 20 Echizen – Kanazawa – Himi
      Apr 21 Himi – Shirakawago – Takayama
      Apr 22 Takayama – Nagoya


      Takeshi /

  5. Ricardo says:

    Hi! I’m planning my Japan trip between May 8 and 23.
    Proposed sequence: Tokyo, Shirakawa-go, Hiroshima (including Miajima), Kyoto (including Nara and Osaka), Tokyo.
    I’m worried logistics are too complicated to and from Shirakawa. What do you think?
    Also, I was considering sleeping 2 nights att Shirakawa. But you wrote that 3 hours is enough, so maybe it’s too much?
    Thank you!

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      Takeshi / says:

      Hi Ricardo,

      It’s totally up to you. 3 hours is minimum to stay in Shirakawago. If you want to stay more, that’s okay. Especially if you want to visit Suganuma,
      Ainokura, you will spend many more hours. If you arrive in Shirakawago late afternoon, you will spend one full day next day. So 2 night 3 days stay is okay.

      So please make sure what you want to do and where you want to visit there.


      Takeshi /

      • Ricardo says:

        Thank you very much!
        I will search about those places and decide.
        And what about going from Shirakawa directly to Hiroshima? Would you recommend to avoid this long trip? Or is it ok?

        • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
          Takeshi / says:

          Hi Ricardo,

          It takes 7-8 hours trip. You have to take an express bus to get Kanazawa, limited express train from Kanazawa to Shin-Osaka, and then Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka to Hiroshima. If you are okay with it, you can go to Hiroshima from Shirakawago.


          Takeshi /

  6. Etrina says:

    Konichiwa Takeshi
    I am planning to Kanazawa at 9th & 10th March 2019 (Saturday & Sunday)
    Is there any Bus Tour to Shirakawago Village & Takayama Old Town for 1 day from Kanazawa Station?

  7. Serry says:

    Hi Takeshi,
    We plan to visit shirankawago from Kanazawa on 25/01/2019
    We have JR pass,but I don’t think it covers that route.
    Do u think we can just show up and buy the bus tickets for 3 pax on spot from Kanazawa station?
    We tried to book on Japan bus online,but they HV no seats available for 3.
    Pls advise…
    Thank you…

  8. Terry says:

    Hello Takeshi,

    Wanted to gather your advice on below;

    On day#9… Google map has suggested as below,
    Kanazawa Station > Shin-Osaka > Shinsaibashi Station > walk 10 minutes to Hotel

    I found that the nearest train station to Hotel is NAGAHORIBASHI so,

    @ SHIN-OSAKA >> SHINSAIBASHI with [OsakaMetro Midosuji Line for TENNOJI] [16 mins]
    @ SHINSAIBASHI >> NAGAHORIBASHI with [OsakaMetro Sakaisuji Line for TAKATSUKISHI] [1 min]
    @ Walk 4 minutes to Hotel.

    Given my hotel is Dormy Inn Premium Namba Annex, walking from Shinsaibashi Station with luggage is easier or would you advice having train interchange at Shinsaibashi station then walk from NAGAHORIBASHI station would be better?

    Thank you very much!


    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      Takeshi / says:

      Hi Terry,

      Nagahoribashi is recommended. Shinsaibashi is 1km away but Nagahoribashi is less than half distance.


      Takeshi /

      • Terry says:

        Thanks for your suggestion Takeshi!

        Having found the nearest station from my hotel now, I was initially having below plan on last day which heading to Kansai Airport in the early morning…

        @ Walk 15 minutes from Hotel to NAMBA(NANKAI) Station> (Nankai-Limited Express Rapit Alpha @ 34 min) Kansai Airport

        1. I guess it would be easier if I do as below as well?

        @ NAGAHORIBASHI station >> TENGACHAYA Station with [OsakaMetro Sakaisuji Line for TENGACHAYA]

        2. If so, is there any Passes I shall buy or just go with Kansai One Pass / ICOCA?
        3. Do you think we should pay for reserve seat? (Being found from Hyperdia that there is reserve seat, so non-reserve seat on ordinary seat would be good for us?) (we plan to depart from NAGAHORIBASHI at 6.49am )

        Thanks again!

  9. Terry says:

    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

    ~ 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? ]

    [ 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
    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

    ~ 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

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

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

    ~ 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

    ~ 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? )

    ~ 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

    ~ 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? ]

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

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

    ~ 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 🙂

  10. Angela says:

    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 ..

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of
      Takeshi / says:

      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.


      Takeshi /

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