The extension of the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kanazawa in 2015 has made Kanazawa a very popular tourist destination. Certainly taking the bullet train is the easiest way to travel between these two cities. However, there are other options such as bus, plane, and car, which you may want to consider depending on your circumstances.
Traveling by Train
The Hokuriku Shinkansen line offers the most convenient and relaxing way to travel between Tokyo and Kanazawa. If you have a Japan Rail Pass this can also be an economical option as both non-reserved and reserved seats on this route are covered by the pass.
Services depart from Tokyo Station regularly throughout the day and can take as little as 2 hours and 30 minutes to reach Kanazawa Station. There are two services that run from Tokyo to Kanazawa. These are the Kagayaki and the Hakutaka.
The Kagayaki is the quickest service as it makes fewer stops, however you have to reserve seats for this train in advance. Reserved tickets usually cost around 500 yen extra but this can go up and down in peak and non-peak travel periods.
The Hakutaka makes more stops and takes around 3 hours to make the journey. A non-reserved ticket fare on this service is 13,600 yen.
The Hokuriku Shinkansen also has three classes of ticket: Ordinary Car seats, Green Car seats (which are 1st class), and the newest luxury Gran Class seats. To find out more about this service see our article on the Hokuriku Shinkansen. You can use the JR West Timetable & Fare Finder to look up train times and plan your journey.
Popular Hotels near Kanazawa Station
Traveling by Bus
Taking an overnight bus between Tokyo and Kanazawa is your cheapest travel option and will also save you the cost of one night’s stay at a hotel. Two reliable bus companies are JR Bus and Willer Express.
JR Bus Kanto run two night bus services from Ueno Station and Tokyo Station which run to Kanazawa Station in 8 hours and 30 minutes.
The Grand Dream Kanazawa service leaves Ueno Station at 22.10 and Tokyo Station at 22.40 and arrives at Kanazawa Station at 7.10 the next morning.
The Seishun Dream Kanazawa leaves Ueno Station at 22.40 and Tokyo Station at 23.10 and arrives at Kanazawa Station at 7.40 the next morning.
A standard seat on the Grand Dream service will cost 8,400 yen. A standard seat on the Seishun Dream service will cost 5,800 yen. The Seishun Dream service also has ladies only seats for the same price. You can use the Kousokubus.net website to book these services online. For more information check the JR Bus Kanto website.
Willer Express also have a number of night bus services running from Tokyo Disneyland, Narita Airport, and Shinjuku Station. Prices vary according to the season, the service, and what kind of seat you choose as the comfier seats are more expensive. In general you can expect to pay between 4,000 – 7,200 yen. There are three overnight services that depart from the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal. The first service departs at 21.55 and reaches Kanazawa Station at 5.35 the next morning. The second departs at 23.15 and reaches Kanazawa Station at 7.55. The third service departs at 23.45 and reaches Kanazawa at 8.15. You can look up more details and book tickets from the Willer Express website.
Traveling by Plane
Two airports in Tokyo have daily flights to Komatsu Airport in Ishikawa Prefecture. From Komatsu Airport it is a 40 minute bus ride to Kanazawa Station for a fare of 1,130 yen for adults or 620 yen for children. There are ten flights daily between Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and Komatsu Airport which are run by the ANA and JAL airlines. These flights take just 1 hour and 5 minutes and can cost 10,000 yen. From Tokyo’s Narita Airport there is just one flight a day at 18.30 which is jointly operated by the airlines Ibex and ANA. This flight takes 1 hour and 20 minutes and can cost between 6,500 yen and 15,000 yen depending on the season. Of course when deciding whether to travel to by plan to Kanazawa you should factor in the time and cost of traveling to the airport in Tokyo and also of traveling between Komatsu Airport and Kanazawa.
Traveling by Car
It is possible to drive from Tokyo to Kanazawa but it is quite a long journey and you will have to pay toll fees for at least 5 different expressways. The cheapest route will cost 9,100 yen in toll fees but take around 7 hours and 30 minutes. The easiest route will take around 6 hours but cost you 11,700 yen. To find out more about routes and toll fees check the Central Nippon Expressway Company’s website. To find out more about car rental, check our article: Car Rental in Kanazawa. The Drive Plaza website also has some useful information about traffic rules and how to use expressways.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.