1 Day Tour from Kanazawa: Ancient Temples, Panoramic Landscape Views and Butterflies in Tsurugi

1 Day Tour from Kanazawa: Ancient Temples, Panoramic Landscape Views and Butterflies in Tsurugi





Meeting Place

Kanazawa Station


Adult (13+)17,800 JPY
Child (6-12)11,000JPY

1 Day Tour from Kanazawa: Ancient Temples, Panoramic Landscape Views and Butterflies in Tsurugi

A short distance outside of the city center of Kanazawa is Tsurugi, a small town often overlooked by tourists to the area. Tsurugi has 2,000 years of history as an important site for religious worship and two of the shrines in the city have been attested to being local spiritual centers since at least the 60s BC. The shrine approach to Shirayama-hime Shrine still maintains that mystical feel as you walk through the forested and moss covered stairs. Nearby is a gondola that takes you to the top of one of the local mountains and gives you a stunning view of the town beneath and as far as the Sea of Japan. The final stop of the day is to see the butterfly house with over 1,000 butterflies. The mix of history and nature so close to the city is epitome of what makes Japan so great.


  • Walk around the town of Tsurugi, see Kinkengu Shrine and some of the local shops
  • Visit the most important shrine in the entire region, Shirayama-hime Shrine, and enjoy the atmospheric approach
  • Head up a mountain on a gondola and soak in the expansive and breathtaking views
  • Head inside the Ishikawa Prefectural Insect Museum to see the Butterfly House and the 1,000 butterflies inside

*For those looking to join the tour from Tokyo or Nagano, please see the FAQ Section below


This tour will start at Kanazawa Station at 9:00 A.M., where your guide will meet you in front of the Information Center near the Shinkansen Ticket Gates. You will have the opportunity to put your belongings in a coin locker at the station as well if you feel the need.

Once everyone is accounted for, we will head out. The first ride of the day is one of Japan’s local trains out to and through the countryside. The destination is Tsurugi, a small town in the mountains that was and is famous for soy sauce, sake and, most importantly for today’s tour, Shinto.

The old townscape is pleasant to stroll in and the natural sights give that feeling of escape. A shrine called Kinkengu, in historical records from the 1st century BC, really shows off what shrines look like in snowy locations and how they are protected. The approach is also fairly unique, with an underground tunnel right before entering the shrine grounds.

Next we will walk out of the town to the next area. The stroll along the river is really nice and leads us to a water system that was created in the late 1800s to control waterflow. It looks like a water park with water flowing on aqueducts above, below and everywhere. The history of water systems is not something you can see so easily now that everything has gone underground or is managed by dams . There is also an abandoned train station that still has many of the old items from its heyday decades ago.


After a short walk from seeing the water system we will arrive at the sando or ‘approach’ to the shrine. The moss covered stairs that lead into more forest gives an almost mystical feel. The surviving records say that this shrine has existed in some form since the year 297, with the first building on nearby Mt. Hakusan as early as 91 BC. It is also the head shrine for all Shirayama shrines all over Japan. This shrine worships the god of the mountain Hakusan and is prayed to for clean and clear life-giving water. Feel the connection to history, tradition and the mountains in this timeless location.


It’s lunch time! There are a couple of restaurants at the entrance of the shrine that you can choose from so ask you guide for recommendations.


A short distance from the shrine is an activity park that celebrates the Chinese lion and the dance performed with them. You can see some examples of the heads around the complex. But the real reason for coming to this area is the gondola which brings you way above the town and gives stunning views of the mountains and alluvial plain below. There are also often paragliders that use this area as well, enhancing the thrill, even if we are only watching. Soak in the sun and the beauty of the area as we relax at the top of the mountain.


On a small hill right outside the main town area is the Ishikawa Prefectural Insect Museum. There are about 20 different types of insects, including Hercules beetles but the main draw for visitors is the butterflies. There are over 1000 butterflies of different colors, shapes and sizes. The inside is fairly open so we can stroll along inside and try to find beautiful and interesting beetles and butterflies at our own pace!

After getting our fill of butterflies, it’s time to start the journey back to Kanazawa. First we’ll head to Tsurugi Station before getting on the train towards the city. Once we arrive back at Kanazawa Station it will be time to say goodbye. I hope you enjoyed the adventure to the gateway to the mountains and their gods! Don’t forget to ask your guide about recommendations for dinner or in Kanazawa in general!


09:00Start your tour at Kanazawa Station, where your guide will greet you begin the tour.
The meeting point will be outside the Shinkansen ticket gate, in front of the information center sign.
09:30Travel to Tsurugi. We will use the local trains to get out of the city and into the mountains.
10:00Arrive at Tsurugi and walk around the area near the station. Here you will see Kinkengu Shrine and other traditional buildings. After getting a feel for the town, we will head out to the next spots. It is a nice walk near the river as we see the water systems and old train stations.
11:30Start the journey up the approach to Shirayama-hime Shrine. Feel the peaceful atmosphere of the wooded area as you climb the stone stairs to the top.
12:00Lunch time! Ask your guide for recommendations in the area.
13:30Arrive at Shi-Shi World Museum, the entrance to the gondola. You'll learn about the history of making the lion heads from the dragon dances. Afterwards, we'll head up the mountain on the gondola and soak in the excellent views.
15:00The next stop is the Ishikawa Prefectural Bug Museum and the Butterfly Garden. Take your time learning about Japanese and local bugs and then enjoy the over 1,000 butterflies up close and personal.
15:40Leave the museum and head back to the station.
16:30Hop on the train and begin the ride back home.
17:15Arrive back at Kanazawa Station and say goodbye! If you want any recommendations for the city, don't forget to ask.




The meetup point is outside of the Shinkansen ticket gates, in front of the information center. If you are heading out from the gates, look forward and to the right and you will see a four large sumo wrestlers lined up. This is where we will be meeting. For those coming from outside the station, you will find this sign immediately inside of the East Entrance of Kanazawa Station. You may wait nearby there until the tour begins at 9:00 A.M. Be sure to look for the guide wearing a SNOW MONKEY RESORTS tour tag.



  • Transportation to and from Tsurugi
  • English speaking guide
  • Gondola roundtrip ticket
  • Entry fee at Ishikawa Prefecture Insect Museum (includes Butterfly House)
  • Guided Tour at Kinkengu Shrine, Shirayama-hime Shrine and all other locations


  • Lunch
  • Accommodation
  • Shinkansen/Transportation to Kanazawa Station start point

Other Information

  • This tour involves several hours of walking in the outdoors. We recommend that you wear shoes and clothes which are easy to walk in. Please check the weather forecast before you head to the meetup point and prepare an umbrella or rain coat if necessary.
  • In winter the temperatures will be below 10℃ at the high , and in the morning and evening may be close to or below 0℃. Please wear warm clothing and footwear appropriate for snowy and cold conditions. There may also be snow and ice on the road/sidewalk, and so you should take care to not slip by preparing the correct shoes for such conditions.
  • There will be free time along the way for guests to enjoy the locations at their own pace. However, please make sure that you are at the respective meetup points at the time stated by your guide. If you get lost or need assistance, feel free to call the number which is listed on your tour pass, and our staff will assist you immediately.


Q. I’d like to join this tour from Tokyo/Nagano. Is that possible?
Yes, it is possible to do so!

For those coming from Tokyo, please ride the Shinkansen departing Tokyo Station at 6:16 A.M., to arrive in Kanazawa at 8:43.

For those leaving from Nagano, you can catch the same Shinkansen from Nagano Station at 7:38 A.M.

Please feel free to contact us if you would like more information.
What should I wear/bring?
Please wear clothing appropriate to the season in which you are taking the tour, and check the weather forecast ahead of time. Guests may wish to bring rain coats or umbrellas on rainy days, or sunscreen to avoid sunburn during the summer months. In the winter months, the air temperatures will be cold (10 to -5 ℃ on average), and so gloves, winter boots, warm hats, and hand warmers are recommended. Otherwise, please feel free to bring any other items, such as water or a snack, which you would normally carry when walking in the outdoors.
Can I add accommodation to my tour booking?
Yes. We can help book accommodation for guests who will be spending the night in Kanazawa, or nearby areas. Please send us an inquiry if you would like to request help.
Is this tour wheelchair accessible/appropriate for guests with limited mobility?
The nature of this tour means it is not wheelchair accessible and may not be appropriate for guests with limited mobility, given the amount of walking involved. Should this be of concern, contact us prior to booking to discuss options.
Is lunch included on this tour?
No. This tour does not include lunch however there will be opportunities to purchase food and drinks during the tour. If you prefer to, please also feel free to bring snacks and drinks with you.

(Travel Agency License No: Nagano 2-562)
Snow Monkey Resorts Tours
Nagano City Kurita 1015-7, NK Copo 202, Nagano, 380-0921 Japan
Tel: (81)26-219-6256
Member of All Nippon Travel Agents Association
Travel Service Supervisor: Tomoko Kasahara