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Kanazawa Area Guide | Japan Cheapo
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Pic: Lily Crossley-Baxter


Kanazawa is a city on the western Japan Sea coast of Honshu. At the end of the Meiji period, the city ranked as the fourth largest city in the country behind Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. Since then, it hasn’t grown nearly as much as those cities, so it retains much of its old-Japan charm.

Getting to Kanazawa

The travel time on the high-speed Shinkansen from Tokyo Station is two and a half hours on the fastest Kagayaki service or about three hours on the slightly slower Hakutaka service. One way tickets to Kanazawa are between ¥13,600 and ¥14,320. If coming from the Kansai area (Osaka, Kyoto or Nara), the Thunderbird express to/from Kyoto for ¥6,380 or to/from Osaka for ¥7,130 are the fastest routes to get there. The travel time from Kyoto to Kanazawa is slightly over 2 hours. Add another 40 minutes to the travel time for the same train departing Osaka.

The closest airport to Kanazawa city is Komatsu Airport, located in Komatsu City to the south of Kanazawa. There are regular flights to Tokyo Haneda, Chitose (Sapporo) and Fukuoka but none to or from the Kansai region as trains between the two areas are frequent, cheap and only take a couple of hours. Three airlines – JAL, ANA and Ibex provide domestic flights while there are international flights to Korea, Taiwan and China through various international airlines from those countries.

Route Airline One-way Fare Booking

There are regular highway buses running from major Japanese cities to Kanazawa. The travel time from Tokyo to Kanazawa is about 8 1/2 hours, 5 hours 40 minutes from Kyoto to Kanazawa and 7 to 7 1/2 hours from Osaka to Kanazawa. Buses heading to/from Kyoto or Osaka start from around ¥3,000 while buses plying the Tokyo o Kanazawa route start at ¥2,280 but on average are about ¥4,000 to ¥5,000. Willer offer hotel and bus combos as well as transport only – which can save you some yen along the way.

Getting Around in Kanazawa

Kanazawa Map Green - Studio Fim
Photo by Studio Fim

Kanazawa is a relatively small and compact city, so as long as you don’t have mobility issues, getting around is quite easy. You can walk, use one of the city’s rental bikes or hop on (and off) the loop bus if you’re on a tight schedule. See our detailed article on getting around in Kanazawa for more information.

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