The Hanayome Noren is a special sightseeing train that makes two round trips daily between Kanazawa Station and the hot spring resort of Wakura Onsen. This train is decorated inside and out with gorgeous designs inspired by the traditional crafts of the Hokuriku region: Wajima lacquerware, Kaga-Yuzen silk dyeing, and Kanazawa gold leaf. The experience of riding this train is like being in a traditional luxury hotel and so it has been nicknamed a “ryokan on wheels”.
The Hanayome Noren is limited express service operated by JR West so it is covered by the Japan Rail Pass. At Kanazawa Station this train departs from Platform 4.
The name Hanayome Noren means “Bridal Curtain”. In this region it was traditional for a special colorful curtain to be hung up before a new husband’s family altar when he got married. The bride would then pass through the curtain and pray to her husband’s ancestors in order to join her new family.
This train has just two carriages with seating for 52 passengers. Car number 1 has eight semi-private booths decorated with yuzen silk patterns, and separated by traditional wooden lattices. The carpet on this carriage is decorated with a design that resembles the stepping stones in a Japanese garden.
Car number 2 has more open space and is designed for events and parties. It is decorated with gold leaf and lacquerware designs, and the swirling design of the carpet is meant to resemble a river.
This train stops at the following stations:
Kanazawa – Hakui – Nanao – Wakura Onsen
Train fares and example train times below are given from Kanazawa Station.
Hakui is a beach side city whose chief attraction is the Cosmo Isle Space Science Museum which has exhibits dedicated to space exploration.
Train fare: 2,190 yen
Train time: 44 minutes on Hanayome Noren #1
Nanao is the Noto Peninsula’s largest city. Its attractions include the Nanao Art Museum, the traditional buildings on the Ipponsugi shopping street, and the lively market at Nanao Fisherman’s Wharf. Ipponsugi street also has a special exhibition of traditional bridal curtains every year in the first week of May. During this time every shop and house on Ipponsugi Street hangs beautiful hanayome noren curtains from their front doors.
Train fare: 2,580 yen
Train time: 1 hour and 19 minutes on Hanayome Noren #1
Wakura Onsen is a 1200 year old luxury hot spring resort on Nanao Bay which has many traditional ryokan style hotels. The most famous of these hotels is the Kagaya ryokan, and this hotel has played a part in creating the special on-board service of the Hanayome Noren train. The meals, snacks, and sake rice wine that are served on the train were created and chosen by Kagaya’s head chef. The cabin attendants also were trained at the Kagaya in the art of traditional hospitality.
Train fare: 2,750 yen
Train time: 1 hour and 27 minutes on Hanayome Noren #1
|Trains from Kanazawa||Kanazawa||Hakui||Nanao||Wakura Onsen|
|Hanayome Noren #1||10.15||10.59||11.34||11.42|
|Hanayome Noren #3||14.15||15.00||15.25||15.32|
|Trains from Wakura Onsen||Wakura Onsen||Nanao||Hakui||Kanazawa|
|Hanayome Noren #2||12.07||12.13||12.43||13.21|
|Hanayome Noren #4||16.30||16.36||17.00||17.54|
All seats on this train are reserved and it is a good idea to book early to avoid disappointment.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.