Toyama is one of major cities in Hokuriku region. This city is known as the base of Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route and Kurobe Gorge (Kurobe Keikoku). You also can access to Tateyama by both train and bus, and Shirakawago and Shin-Hotaka by bus directly. This station is the hub of this region.
This brand new pass will be released in April, 2016. This pass covers Narita airport, Tokyo, Nagano, Toyama, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Kobe and Kansai airport. It does not cover Tokyo – Osaka/Kyoto via Nagoya direct route by Shinkansen. It is valid for consecutive 7 days. Valid period is same as Japan Rail Pass (a.k.a. JR Pass) 7 days. Price is cheaper than JR Pass 7 days but coverage area is much smaller. Is this a good deal and worth using for Tokyo-Kanazawa-Kyoto-Osaka trip?
I have written about visiting Alpine Route from Tokyo as day trip. And then I have received an inquiry about day trip to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route from Nagoya. Yes. We can do it. You also can make it from Osaka and Kyoto as well.
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 prefer to stay in many cities and feel different atmosphere. But I know that some of you do not agree. Because you will travel with huge luggage and it may be issue for you.
Thus 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 in one day?
Takayama – Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass was released in 2014 and it has been one of the most popular deals so far. But it is supposed to be discontinued at the end of June 2015 because this deal is Shinkansen 50th years anniversary product. I have received many comments that said this deal would be continued to sell or not after July 1, 2015.
Now JR Central and JR West have made a decision to continue this product. I think they noticed this is very popular and lots of demand. The price is higher but coverage is bigger. In my opinion, it is good change even though price is higher.
Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass will be released after three JR West’s new passes, Sanyo Sanin Area Pass, Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass and Hiroshima Yamaguchi Area Pass. It will be on sale on 14th March, 2015. This is the first ever deal that covers Kansai area (Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Kobe) and Hokuriku area (Kanazawa, Toyama). JR West has been selling Kansai Wide Area Pass and Hokuriku Area Pass. This pass is the deal that these passes are combined. It is much more convenient than combination of two passes and much easier to purchase.
This Shinkansen lines is currently called “Nagano Shinkansen”. On March 14. 2015, this Shinkansen lines will be extended to Kanazawa and will be called official name “Hokuriku Shinkansen”. This Shinkansen will offer us much faster transport mode than current train services. So this Shinknansen line is covered by Japan Rail Pass fully and JR East Pass covers between Tokyo and Joetsu-Myoko station.
I have received many inquiries about trip to Takayama and Shirakawago from both Nagoya and Osaka. We have never had a deal for Takayama from Kansai area, such as Osaka and Kyoto. Now JR Central and JR West have released Takayama – Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass. This pass includes not only train trip to Takayama and Kanazawa but also bus trip to World Heritage Shirakawago from both Kanazawa and Takayama.
Takayama is one of the most popular destinations for overseas travelers. Especially spring and fall seasons are very popular since the festivals are held. This city is also known as the gateway to UNESCO World Heritage Site, Shirakawago.
I would like to tell you about the access to Takayama in this post. Continue reading How to access to Takayama by trains and buses.
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.
This train will be discontinued on March 13, 2015. Hokuriku Shikansen will start to run on March 14, 2015. You can get Kanazawa and Toyama by Shinkansen from Tokyo without any transfer and much faster. The name of “Hakutaka” will be one of Hokuriku Shinkansen’s name. If you need an access to Kanazawa from Tokyo, please find more info at the post, Hokuriku Shinkansen, direct access to Kanazawa, Nagano and Toyama from Tokyo.
Hakutaka is operated between Echigo-Yuzawa and Kanazawa. Some trains are extended to operate to Fukui and Wakura-Onsen. If you go to Toyama or Kanazawa, take Joetsu Shinkansen to Echigo-Yuzawa and transfer to this train. This route is the fastest. But this train, Hakutaka is operated on Hokuetsu Kyuko Railway between Muikamachi and Naoetsu. So Japan Rail Pass does not cover this section. That means you need to pay the extra. If you do not want to pay extra and have a time, take other express train, Hokuetsu from Nagaoka. Hokuetsu is slower and operated by older fleet. But this train is operated on JR line only. So there is no restriction with using Japan Rail Pass. If you need more information about Hokuetsu, please refer this page, Limited Express Hokuetsu. Continue reading The fastest way to get Kanazawa from Tokyo, Limited Express Hakutaka
Shirasagi (しらさぎ) runs between Nagoya (名古屋) and Kanazawa (金沢). This train is the fastest transfer from Nagoya/Maibara (米原) to Hokuriku region, such as Kanazawa and Fukui (福井). This train is very popular for both business and leisure travellers. Because there are several popular locations along this trains’s route, like Awara-Onsen (芦原温泉) hot springs, Kaga-Onsen (加賀温泉) hot spring, and Kanazawa.
*Since March 2012, this train has not been operated. Even though JR East has not announced officially anything about this train, this train seemed to be discontinued.
Not (能登) is the overnight express train that is operated between Ueno (上野) and Kanazawa (金沢). This train used to be a scheduled train. But it was changed to a seasonal train in Mar, 2010. It is usually operated on every Friday and in peak season, such as spring holidays (late April to early May), Obon hoidays (mid August) and Christmas holidays. This train was operated on Saturday before Mar 2011. But JR cut down the operation days because they tried to make vehicle occupancy higher.
This itinerary includes many popular spots throughout Japan in 14 days. This itinerary starts from Tokyo. But if you want to start from Osaka, you can start from Day 11 to Day 14, and then start from Day 1 to Day10. Actually 14 days in not enough to see all popular spots in Japan. I include Hokkaido in this itinerary. But it does not include Shiretoko because of not enough time. I could not include south part of Kyushu, Hakone and Mt. Fuji either. If you can give up Tohoku part, you can get more time in Hokkaido. Of course you can go to Shiretoko.
Fall is good season to travel in Japan. JR Group operate lots of seasonal trains during this season. But it is too many to introduce all seasonal trains. So I pick up the popular trains and are operated in the popular spot.