It's easy to travel from Tokyo to Kanazawa - you can take a shinkansen (bullet train) direct from Tokyo to Kanazawa. Read the full details below.
Nozomi shinkansen © Rog01
The Tokyo To Kanazawa Takeaway
The shinkansen (bullet train) is the fastest way to get from Tokyo to Kanazawa. It takes 2.5 hours on the Hokuriku shinkansen.
You can use a Japan Rail Pass on this route.
The Tokyo To Kanazawa Details
Kanazawa is about 300 km or 180 miles northwest of Tokyo. The Hokuriku shinkansen train travels direct from Tokyo to Kanazawa in 2.5 hours. In Tokyo, you can board the train at Tokyo Station or Ueno Station. It's recommended to board at Tokyo Station if you have an unreserved ticket so you can get a seat.
In Kanazawa, the train starts and stops at JR Kanazawa station.
Best of all, you can use a Japan Rail Pass on this route. (See our detailed guide to buying and making the most of a Japan Rail Pass if you're undecided about getting one).
You can of course also purchase one-off tickets for just this journey too, either from the ticket machines at Tokyo or Ueno stations (see our guide to using the station ticket machines) or by buying online and having the ticket delivered to your Tokyo hotel.
Do You Need Reserved Seats on the Shinkansen?
Normally, you don't need a reserved ticket to get a seat on the shinkansen. Just buy an unreserved ticket and show up and board the next shinkansen going your way. However, if you are traveling at rush hour (between 7am and 9am and 4pm and 7pm) or during peak travel seasons (31 Dec-3 Jan; the first week of May and mid-August), consider buying reserved tickets in advance. If you buy a shinkansen ticket online a seat is reserved for you automatically.
With a Japan Rail Pass, you can make reservations at any JR ticket window, up to one month in advance of your travel. You cannot reserve from overseas.
HINT: If you have unreserved tickets and you find that the unreserved cars are full on the next train heading out, just stand in line at the boarding spot for the next train so you can board it first – this will usually guarantee a seat and you probably won't have to wait more than 15 minutes.
First and Last Shinkansen Departures
During the day, there are several shinkansen every hour between Tokyo and Kyoto. You rarely have to wait more than 10 minutes for a train. The approximate first and last departures are listed below:
Westbound (Tokyo-Kyoto): 6:00am first / 7:50pm last
Eastbound (Kyoto-Tokyo): 6:14am first / 9:30pm last
Shinkansen Schedules and Timetables
Tokyo To Kanazawa By Plane
You can also get from Tokyo to Kanazawa by plane, but it takes longer and is more expensive than taking the train. Tokyo Haneda Airport has daily flights to Komatsu Airport, the nearest airport to Kanazawa. The flight from Tokyo to Kanazawa takes around 1 hour. The shuttle bus from Komatsu Airport to Kanazawa takes around 40 minutes. Add in the time needed to get to Haneda airport, waiting time for check-in and deplaning and the flight takes a lot longer than the train. You can check flight times and prices from Tokyo to Kanazawa on 12Go.
Tokyo To Kanazawa By Bus
The cheapest option to get from Tokyo to Kanazawa is by bus. Willer Express offers buses between Tokyo and Kanazawa. You can purchase tickets on the Willer Express website. You can also book buses at 12Go.
Japan Travel Itineraries
If you're thinking of Kanazawa as part of a travel itinerary for Japan, see our 10 day Japan Itinerary: Tokyo, Kyoto and Kanazawa for ideas on how to plan out your time. And see all our other Japan Itineraries for more inspiration on where to go and how to get there.
Kanazawa Travel Guide:
To make the most of your time, see our in-depth guide to visiting Kanazawa on our companion website InsideKyoto.com
- Kanazawa Travel Guide Overview
- Things To Do In Kanazawa
- Kanazawa Walking Tour
- Places To Eat In Kanazawa
- Kanazawa Itineraries
- Kanazawa Cherry Blossoms
- Kanazawa Fall Foliage
- Kanazawa Districts
- Kanazawa Ryokan
- Kanazawa Hotels
- – Best Luxury Hotels in Kanazawa
- – Best Mid Range Hotels in Kanazawa
- – Best Budget Hotels in Kanazawa
- How To Get To Kanazawa
- Getting Around Kanazawa
- Best Time To Go To Kanazawa
Tokyo Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Tokyo guide
- Check Tokyo accommodation availability and pricing on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Tokyo
- You can buy a Japan SIM card online for collection on arrival at Tokyo Narita or Haneda airports. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare airline flight prices and timings for the best Japan flight deals.
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass – here's why it's worth it
- A prepaid Suica card makes travelling around Tokyo much easier - here's how
- Get essential travel insurance for Tokyo – World Nomads is well-regarded (and here's why)