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A day trip to visit major tourist spots in Kanazawa 《Special article to explore Chubu & Hokuriku areas from Shinjuku by express bus 3/3》

Located in Ishikawa Prefecture, Kanazawa is a beautiful city surrounded by mountains facing the ocean. The city has developed around Kanazawa Castle, which has stood for over 400 years without experiencing war or a major natural disaster. Owing to its history, many of the town's temples and tea shops have survived in good condition, lending an old-fashioned feel to its streets. Starting with 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, modern tourist spots are also being created for visitors to enjoy. Now I'll introduce a recommended 1-day course that's sure to satisfy you!

Kanazawa features many scenes reminiscent of history
Kanazawa features many scenes reminiscent of history

1. Access to “Chubu & Hokuriku areas

Even from Tokyo, “Chubu & Hokuriku areas” including locations in this article are easily accessible. That said, taking “Three-Star Japan Alps Line”; a highway express bus service is a must-checkout way to get around. After leaving from Shinjuku, a bus drives through Chuo Expressway and take you to Chubu & Hokuriku areas. Traveling by bus is cheaper than taking Shinkansen and some passes are combined with unlimited ride ticket for a local bus in your destination city. The fact that you can leave your big luggage in a trunk and travel comfortably is another bonus of taking a bus. Utilize an express bus pass and have a smart and fun trip! (more information about the great-value highway bus ticket at the end of this article).

A great-value express bus from Shinjuku
A great-value express bus from Shinjuku

2. The 1-Day Tour Of Kanazawa's Highlights

A previous article on taking the intercity bus from Shinjuku (Chubu-Hokuriku Edition, 2/3) introduced a 1-day trip touring the highlights of Takayama and Shirakawa-go.

After a day trip enjoying the sights of Takayama and Shirakawa-go and a night spent in the Shirakawa-go region, start this tour from there!
First, board the intercity bus from Shirakawa-go departing at 8:50 am. It will arrive at Kanazawa Station at about 10:05 am. From there, head to Kenrokuen Garden.

Destination #1: Kenrokuen Garden

  • Recommended Access: From the East Gate of Kanazawa Station, take the Hokutetsu Bus for about 20 minutes
  • Time Schedule: Arrive at 10:30 am, Stay 1 hour

Known as one of the three most famous gardens in Japan, Kenrokuen was created by the daimyo (feudal lord) of the Kaga Clan in the Edo Era (1603-1868) in a style featuring a path around a pond. It boasts beautiful scenery in each season, especially during Yuki-tsuri, when the branches of the trees are tied with protective snow ropes. The poetic scene of branches covered in pure white snow is famous all over Japan.

Kenrokuen Garden, beautiful in each and every season
Kenrokuen Garden, beautiful in each and every season
OPEN

Kenrokuen Garden

Tel
076-234-3800 (Kanazawa Castle Park Management Center)
Address
1 Kenrokumachi, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa[MAP]
Business Hours
7:00 am - 6:00 pm
(from 10/16 through February 28, 8:00 am - 5:00pm)
Closed
Open Year-Round (Shigure-tei Tea House is closed 12/29-1/3)
Admission
310 yen for Adults, 100 yen for Children
Accepted credit cards
American Express/Diners Club/JCB/MasterCard/Visa/UnionPay
WEB
URL(English)

Destination #2: Kanazawa Castle

  • Recommended Access: Walk about 2 minutes from Kenrokuen Garden
  • Time Schedule: Arrive at 11:40 am, Stay 30 minutes

In the Edo Era, this was used as the castle of the Maeda family, whose head was the daimyo (feudal lord) of the Kaga Clan. It features a stone wall built with a variety of stones from each era. Within the castle grounds, structures on the left and right were built in different styles of masonry. Two of them, "Ishikawa-mon" gate and "Sanjukken Nagaya" turret, have been recognized as Important National Cultural Assets of Japan.

Kanazawa Castle is set off by the snowscape
Kanazawa Castle is set off by the snowscape
Water in the moats surrounding the giant castle
Water in the moats surrounding the giant castle
One feature of Kanazawa Castle is its variety of stone walls
One feature of Kanazawa Castle is its variety of stone walls
OPEN

Kanazawa Castle

Tel
076-234-3800 (Kanazawa Castle Park Management Center)
Address
1-1 Marunouchi, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa[MAP]
Business Hours
7:00 am - 6:00 pm
(from 10/16 through February 28, 8:00 am - 5:00pm)
Closed
Open Year-Round
Admission
The Castle Park is free. 310 yen for Adults, 100 yen for Children to enter| Hishi Yagura Diamond Turret, Gojukken Nagaya Warehouse, Hashizume-mon Tsuzuki Yagura Turret and Hashizume-mon Gate
Accepted credit cards
American Express/Diners Club/JCB/MasterCard/Visa/UnionPay
WEB
URL(English)

Destination #3: 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

  • Recommended Access: Walk 5 minutes from Kanazawa Castle
  • Time Schedule: Arrive at 12:20, Stay 1 hour

Starting with Leandro's Pool, many works of art by modern artists are exhibited here. Under the theme of an "Open-air, Park-like Art Museum", the buildings and artworks come together with an element of attraction, engaging all 5 senses for your enjoyment.

The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary exhibits many works by modern artists.
The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary exhibits many works by modern artists.
Leandro Erlich's Swimming Pool
Leandro Erlich's Swimming Pool
OPEN

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

Tel
076-220-2800
Address
1-2-1 Hirosaka, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa[MAP]
Business hours
Exhibition Zone 10:00 am - 6:00 pm (Open until 8:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays)
Public Zone 9:00 am - 10:00 pm
Closed
New Year holidays (12/29-1/3); the Exhibition Zone is closed on Mondays
Admission
Public Zone is free but the Exhibition Zone varies by exhibition
Accepted credit cards
American Express/Diners Club/JCB/MasterCard/Visa/UnionPay
WEB
URL(English)

Destination #4: Omicho Market

  • Recommended Access: Take the Hokutetsu Bus from The 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art for about 10 minutes
  • Time Schedule: Arrive at 1:40 pm, Stay for 1 hour

This market deals mainly in seafood and everyday sundries. Also known as "Kanazawa's Kitchen", many of its shops offer a seafood rice bowl that this market is famous for. Not only does it have a beautiful presentation and overwhelming volume, the taste of this dish is also exquisite!

Fresh fish and seasonal vegetables are lined up all along the market stalls
Fresh fish and seasonal vegetables are lined up all along the market stalls
The cheap and tasty seafood rice bowl
The cheap and tasty seafood rice bowl
OPEN

Omicho Market

Tel
076-231-1462
Address
50 Kamiomicho, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa[MAP]
Business Hours
9:00 am to about 5:00 pm (depending on the shop)
Closed
At the Beginning of the Year (depending on the shop)
WEB
URL(English)

Destination #5: Higashi Chaya District

  • Recommended Access Method: Walk about 15 minutes from Omicho Market
  • Time Schedule: Arrive at 3:00 pm, Stay 1 hour

This area has been preserved as an Important Traditional Collection of buildings. Constructed mainly at the beginning of the Meiji Era (1868-1912), this street scene of buildings featuring projected lattices is full of character. They are still in use today as restaurants or museum archive libraries.

Higashi Chaya District, a beautiful street scene where you can feel Japanese history and culture
Higashi Chaya District, a beautiful street scene where you can feel Japanese history and culture
OPEN

Higashi Chaya District

Tel
076-220-2194 (Tourism Policy Section, City of Kanazawa)
Address
Higashiyama, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa[MAP]

After enjoying Higashi Chaya District, take the Hokutetsu bus to return to Kanazawa Station. Take the Hokuriku Shinkansen (bullet train) departing at 4:47 pm to return to Tokyo by about 7:20 pm.

3. Introducing great-value high way express bus pass to travel to Chubu & Hokuriku areas from Shinjuku

3-1.Three-Star Route Shinjuku Ticket

With this pass, you can travel to Shinshu Matsumoto and Hida Takayama from Shinjuku. Then, from there, you can further travel to either Kanazawa or Toyama by transferring an express bus and such. The pass is valid for 7 days. For your convenience and even greater value, there is also an option to purchase a pass that comes with a local bus ticket.
Pass Price: Adult ¥8,560/Child ¥4,280

Three-Star Route Shinjuku Ticket
Three-Star Route Shinjuku Ticket

3-2.Three-Star Alps Unlimited Ride Pass

A pass valid for 7 days that allows you to travel from Shinjuku to Shinshu Matsumoto and Hida Takayama, and also to Toyama and Kanazawa by transferring an express bus and such. In an applicable area in Shinshu Hida, you will have unlimited access to local buses. In addition, this pass comes with discount bonus for various tourist spots in the area.
Ticket Price: 12/1 to 3/31 Adult ¥15,000/Child ¥7,500
          4/1 to 11/30 Adult ¥16,900/Child ¥8,450

Three-Star Alps Unlimited Ride Pass
Three-Star Alps Unlimited Ride Pass

Find out details about the pass from the official website listed below.

URL(English)

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