Tsuruga is a large port city on the Japan Sea coast which is easily reachable from Kanazawa Station and has a variety of attractions that can make for a pleasant day’s sightseeing.
Tsuruga’s Main Attractions
Kehi Jingu Shrine which is believed to date from the year 702. The shrine’s tori gate is one of the three biggest in Japan at 11 meters tall and is a designated Important Cultural Property. The famous haiku poet Matsuo Basho visited this shrine in 1689 and so you will find on the grounds a statue of the poet, and a memorial stone carved with his poetry. There is also a sacred spring in the shrine which first appeared in 702, and its waters are believed to give drinkers a long life.
Tsuruga Symbol Road runs between Tsuruga Station and Kehi Shrine and has along its route bronze statues of figures from two popular anime series: Galaxy Express 999 and Space Battleship Yamato. The statues were placed here in 1999 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Tsuruga Port’s opening.
Kanegasakigu Shrine was founded in 1860 and today is known as a “shrine of love” where couples pray for success in romance. The shrine is also famous for its spectacular cherry blossoms in the spring.
The Tsuruga Red Brick Warehouses are two preserved historical buildings built in 1905 that today house souvenir shops, restaurants, cafes, and a large diorama of Tsuruga port and its railway lines as they appeared in the mid-20th century with running model trains.
The Port of Humanity Tsuruga Museum is a museum celebrating both the early history of Tsuruga Port and also its role in the story of the Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara and the Jewish refugees he helped escape from the Nazis in World War II. Sugihara was stationed in Lithuania during the war and issued visas that saved 6,000 Jewish lives. The museum recounts his story as well as the stories of the refugees who passed through Tsuruga’s port.
Kehi-no-Matsubara is a large pine grove along Tsuruga Cove with around 17 thousand red and black pine trees. A place of great scenic beauty it has many walking trails and its white sand beach is very popular in the summer. A fireworks display is held here every August 16th while lanterns are floated on the sea.
How to Get There
The most convenient way to get to Tsuruga from Kanazawa is by taking a train on the Hokuriku Main Line, but it is also possible to get there by car. Let’s take a look at these alternatives.
The easiest and most direct way to get to Tsuruga Station from Kanazawa Station is to take one of the limited express services that stops at Tsuruga such as the Thunderbird or Shirasagi. A limited express train will get you to Tsuruga Station in 1 hour and 20 minutes for a fare of 4,100 yen. However, if you want to save some money you can take local trains on the Hokuriku Main Line instead and be there in around 2 hours and 33 minutes for a fare of 2,270 yen. If you take local trains then you should change trains at Fukui Station.
Tsuruga can also be reached by car via the Hokuriku Expressway. The journey should take around 1 hour and 28 minutes and cost 3,490 yen in toll fees. Of course this does not include the cost of renting a car. For more information on local driving check our article on Car Rental in Kanazawa.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.