What is the Hokuriku Arch Pass:
The Japan Rail company has a new pass that could make your travel through the country of the rising sun even more comfortable and convenient. The new pass is called the Hokuriku Arch Pass, and like the name suggests, get you through Japan in a curve through the Hokuriku area, via either Tokyo or Osaka. The pass gives you 7 consecutive days of unlimited use of the train systems going through Hokuriku for only 24,000 JPY (25,000 is you make reservations when already having arrived in Japan).
Why make use of the Arch Hokuriku Pass:
If you’re in Japan for only a short-term stay, like say, for a week, then the Hokuriku Arch Pass would be perfect for you. A fully covered JR Pass might get you through the entire country but if you’re on a tight schedule, the whole country is probably not an item on the itinerary. The range of the JR East Pass, on the other hand, might not be wide enough. The East Pass will only get you as far as Niigata. The Hokuriku Arch Pass, with its convenient stopover stations and week-long all-you-can-travel validity, would be a good bet for those with limited stay but wanting to maximize their schedule.
The Hokuriku area consists of places like Kanazawa, Fukui, Toyama, Nagano, Karuizawa and many more. Moreover, with this pass you can stop by locations in and around Tokyo and Osaka and like Nara, Kyoto and Kobe. When you have the pass, you receive discount on several attractions in the Hokuriku cities like for example the Kanazawa Loop Bus or the Tojinbo Pleasure Boat.
Hokuriku Sample Itinerary:
There are a variety of itineraries to give a go when making use of the Hokuriku Arch Pass. The one we’ve created below is just a sample of places you could go.
- Day 1: Pick-up at Airport Station. Spent the day in Tokyo.
- Day 2: Go to the mountain resort of Kanazawa, one of Japan’s most beloved summer retreats
- Day 3: Make a stop at Nagano Station from where you can visit the important Buddhist temple of Zenko-ji, and go by the famous snow monkeys of Jigokudani.
- Day 4: Get off the train at Toyama. Go to the city’s castle and surrounding attractions like the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route, with its massive dam, snow wall, beautiful nature, Tateyama ropeway, and more. These places are a bit removed from Toyama Station so it might take more than a day. See this page for more information and possible discount on transport.
- Day 5: Leave for Kanazawa. This city is famous for having one of Japan’s three most beautiful gardens, called Kenroku-en. It also has a castle park, a samurai and geisha district, and a plethora of museums like the 21st Century Art Museum, or the D. K. Suzuki Zen museum.
- Day 6: Stopover at Fukui, home to the third largest Dinosaur museum in the world, Japan’s tallest castle, and Eihei-ji, a beautiful old monastery where you can practice Zen Buddhism under the guidance of the temple’s monks. A little further is Tojinbo, a series of basaltic cliffs which offer you some beautiful sceneries.
- Day 7: Arrival at Osaka Station, Explore the surrounding cities like Kyoto, Nara, Kobe and more!
The Pass can be purchased all year round, in Japan or out of Japan.
As with most deals with the JR Passes, the pass is only available for non-Japanese who stay in Japan on a tourist visa. Those with a student/work or other long-term visa are not applicable for the transportation pass.