How to Get to Kanazawa
Located on the north coast, Kanazawa is the capital city of Ishikawa Prefecture and northern gateway to Central Japan. Once one of the wealthiest cities in feudal Japan, Kanazawa blends beautifully preserved historic districts and destinations with modern design including some of Japan’s best shopping and dining. On this page you will find the following information:
Most international visitors move to and from the city via Kanazawa Station. Located in the centre of the city, the station is the terminus the Hokuriku Shinkansen line running from Tokyo via Nagano, along with the Limited Express Thunderbird service running from Osaka via Kyoto. As such, despite being separated by quite some distance, Kanazawa can be reached from both Tokyo and Osaka in under three hours.
For visitors wanting to explore Central Japan in the comfort and convenience of their own vehicle, we can arrange private charters to any regional destination – a great option for families and groups wanting to avoid the hassle of public transport. For further information, see ‘Book With Us! Nagano’s No.1 Tour & Charter Operator’ below. We hope that the following information is of assistance when planning your visit to Central Japan.
WHERE IS KANAZAWA?
Kanazawa is the capital city of Ishikawa Prefecture, located on north coast at the top of Central Japan. Under three hours from both Tokyo and Osaka by train, Kanazawa Station is a convenient transport hub from where to explore the city and region. The Hokuriku Shinkansen service runs to Kanazawa from Tokyo via Nagano, while the Limited Express Thunderbird service runs to Kanazawa from Osaka via Kyoto allowing travelers to reach the city quickly and in comfort. Once there, visitors discover one of Japan’s most historic and pleasant cities – a place known for its former wealth and contemporary style. An ideal destination for visitors wanting to explore Japan’s feudal past while enjoying some of the country’s best seafood, dining and shopping, Kanazawa is now firmly established as a popular stop for international travelers. For suggestions of what to do while there, including accommodation listings, see ’25 Things to Do Around Kanazawa & Where to Stay’ below.
HOW TO GET TO KANAZAWA
In this section you will find information on how to reach Kanazawa from the following starting points:
NAGANO CITY – JIGOKUDANI MONKEY PARK – KARUIZAWA – TOKYO – NARITA AIRPORT – HANEDA AIRPORT – SHIRAKAWA-GO & GOKAYAMA – TAKAYAMA – KAMIKOCHI – TOYAMA – TATEYAMA-KUROBE ALPINE ROUTE – NAGOYA – KYOTO & OSAKA
We endeavour to keep this information as up-to-date as possible and in recognition that most international visitors will be using the train network to move around Japan, most directions are for using the trains. If there is alternative option i.e. express or local bus, that is notably faster or economical, we also include that information.
FROM NAGANO CITY
There are four services on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line – the Kagayaki, Hakutaka, Asama and Tsurugi – however only the Kagayaki and Hakutaka services connect Kanazawa and Nagano. Using the Kagayaki, the journey from Nagano to Kanazawa takes 65 minutes / JPY8920 or 85 to 90 minutes / JPY8590 using the Hakutaka. For daily train schedules, see our ‘Hokuriku Shinkansen Timetable’ page.
FROM THE JIGOKUDANI MONKEY PARK
To reach Kanazawa from the Jigokudani Monkey Park takes time but is relatively straight-forward when done via Nagano Station. From the park, you have the option of: 1. a direct express bus from the park to Nagano Station or 2. a local bus to Yudanaka Station followed by an express train to Nagano Station.
Starting from the park, the express bus costs JPY1500 each way and takes 55 minutes to reach Nagano Station. In comparison, taking the local bus from the park to Yudanaka Station followed by the train, takes 15 minutes and costs JPY310 before the limited express train to Nagano takes 45 minutes and costs JPY1290 – a total journey of around 60 to 70 minutes and costing JPY1600. Once at Nagano Station, simply transfer to the shinkansen bound for Kanazawa.
A stop on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line, Karuizawa is a popular mountain resort town within easy reach of Kanazawa and Tokyo. To reach Kanazawa from Karuizawa, take the shinkansen from Karuizawa Station to Kanazawa Station – 120 min / JPY11,120.
Though located far apart, it’s easy to reach Kanazawa from the capital. Tokyo Station is the southern terminus of the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line, making it easy and convenient to travel from the capital to Kanazawa. Using the Kagayaki, the journey from Tokyo to Kanazawa takes 150 minutes / JPY14,180 or 180 to 200 minutes / JPY13,850 using the Hakutaka.
FROM NARITA AIRPORT
Kanazawa can be reached in a two-stage journey from Narita via Tokyo Station. Two rapid train services connect Narita Airport to central Tokyo via Tokyo Station and Ueno Station. Both stations are stops on the Hokuriku Shinkansen service bound for Kanazawa.
1 / the Narita Express (NEX) runs from Narita to Tokyo Station. It takes 55 minutes to reach Tokyo Station (depending on the service) and costs JPY3070 with trains departing every 30 to 60 minutes. Once at Tokyo Station, follow the directions above onto Kanazawa.
2 / the Keisei Skyliner runs from Narita to Ueno Station. It takes between 40 to 55 minutes to reach Ueno Station and costs JPY2520 with trains departing every 30 to 40 minutes. Once at Ueno Station, transfer to the Hokuriku Shinkansen bound for Kanazawa.
FROM HANEDA AIRPORT
Kanazawa can be reached in a two-stage journey from Haneda via Tokyo Station. Two train services connect Haneda Airport to central Tokyo via Tokyo Station, at which you can board the Hokuriku Shinkansen bound for Kanazawa.
1 / the Tokyo Monorail connects the airport to Tokyo Station via Hamamatsucho Station in around 30 minutes. From the airport take the monorail to Hamamatsucho Station (20 min/JPY170) and then switch to the JR Yamanote Line or JR Keihin-Tohoku/Negishi Line Rapid bound for Tokyo Station (5 min/JPY160) – a total journey of around 30-minutes / JPY660 one-way. Once at Tokyo Station, follow the directions above.
2 / the Keikyu Railway connects the airport to Tokyo Station via Shinagawa Station. Take the Keikyu Airport bound to Shinagawa Station (approx.11 min/JPY300) and transfer to the Yamanote Line bound for Osaki to reach Tokyo Station- 13 min / JPY170 or a total journey of around 30 min / JPY470. Once at Tokyo Station, follow the directions above onto Kanazawa.
FROM SHIRAKAWA-GO & GOKAYAMA
While there are no direct train services, the World Heritage-listed villages of Shirakawa-go & Gokayama are within easy reach of Kanazawa. The Hokuetsu Bus company operates regular services between the main village of Ogimachi (with some additional services to Suganuma from March until November) and Kanazawa Station. A one-way journey takes approximately 85 minutes and costs JPY1850.
The Hokuetsu Bus company operates highway bus services that connect Takayama Station to Kanazawa Station via Shirakawa-go (as below). Departing every 2 to 3 hours and taking around 2 hours to make the journey, a one-way trip costs around JPY3600 while a return ticket will cost around JPY6400. There is no direct train service from to Takayama to Kanazawa. Visitors wanting to use the train should proceed to Toyama Station – see below for details – on the Limited Express Hida service – 85 minutes / JPY2890 – and then switch to the Hokuriku Shinkansen bound for Kanazawa.
Kanazawa can be reached from Kamikochi via Takayama Station, with frequent services running to and from the Takayama Nohi Bus Center – located next to Takayama Station. From the Kamikochi Bus Terminal, take the bus to the Hirayu Onsen Bus Terminal – 25 to 30 minutes – and then switch to the bus headed to Takyama – another 60 minutes. See the following page for information including timetables and fares to and from Takayama. Once at Takayama Station, follow the directions above.
Lying to the east of Kanazawa, Toyama is another convenient gateway for visitors heading to and from Central Japan especially those headed for the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route – see below. Both Kanazawa Station and Toyama Station are stops on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line, making the journey between the two quick and easy. From Toyama, take the Hakutaka or Tsurugi services – 20 to 25 min / JPY2860.
FROM THE TATEYAMA-KUROBE ALPINE ROUTE
The Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route can be accessed from the Toyama/Kanazawa-side via Tateyama Station. To reach Kanazawa, take the Toyama Chiho Railway from Tateyama Station to Dentetsu Toyama Station – 60 minutes / JPY1230. Walk the short distance to Toyama Station and transfer to the Hokuriku Shinkansen bound for Kanazawa Station – 22 minutes / JPY2860.
Nagoya and Kanazawa are located on opposite coasts however thanks to Japan’s fantastic train network, it’s easy to move between the two cities. From Nagoya Station, the Limited Express Shirasagi runs direct to Kanazawa – 180 min / JPY6930. Alternatively, take the Tokaido Shinkansen from Nagoya Station to Maibara Station, and then switch to the Limited Express Shirasagi – 150 min / JPY7370 – a faster but more expensive option.
FROM KYOTO & OSAKA
Kyoto & Osaka are connected to Kanazawa by the Limited Express Thunderbird. Frequent services run between the cities and involve the following travel times and costs: 150 to 155 minutes / JPY7260 from Shin-Osaka Station and 125 minutes / JPY6490 from Kyoto Station.
25 THINGS TO DO AROUND KANAZAWA & WHERE TO STAY
One of the most historic and enjoyable cities in Japan, Kanazawa is well-suited to a multi-day visit combining the many attractions of the city with nearby regional highlights. From it’s historic attractions and districts to its excellent galleries, museums, shopping and dining, visitors tend to fall in love with Kanazawa and wish they’d allowed more time in their schedule to explore all it has to offer. For tips and suggestions of what to do in the city, including accommodation listings, along with other great destinations nearby, see our ’25 Things To Do Around Kanazawa & Where To Stay’ page.
BOOK WITH US! NAGANO’S NO.1 TOUR & CHARTER OPERATOR
Central Japan offers many, many reasons to visit. Operating all year round, we are Nagano’s No.1-rated tour and charter operator, offering a range of services including group tours, private tours and charters. We can arrange transport including a private vehicle and driver, along with an English-speaking guide, to transport to, from and between any of these destinations and more!
Our drivers and vehicles are fully certified, allowing us to transport you to and from your preferred destinations in combination with any activity that suits your schedule. All vehicles are fitted with a protective screen – separating the driver from passenger and luggage area – and our drivers wear protective masks, allowing you to move between your destinations in comfort and safety.
We can arrange both private tours with an English-speaking guide or a private charter, including a private vehicle and driver but without a guide. We’d love to be part of your adventure in Central Japan and help you discover even more!
Why choose us?
Awarded a 2019 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award for our 1-Day Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple & Sake Tour – recognised as one of the Top 10 Experiences in Japan – we have the local knowledge and experience to help you get the most out of your time in Nagano.
Got a question about visiting Kanazawa and Central Japan? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get planning together!