Kanazawa Itinerary. © touristinjapan.com
Chubu, Itineraries, Kanazawa

Kanazawa 2-day itinerary

Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture is, with a population of around 466’000 not one of Japans largest cities. However in recent years Kanazawa has become increasingly popular among tourists. The increasing tourism is mainly attributed to the city’s long history and it’s well preserved edo-period temple and entertainment districts. The city boasts not less than 3 edo-period Chaya Districts, several well-kept temple areas and one of Japan’s 3 highest ranked gardens, Kenroku-en.

Accommodation Kanazawa Tours Hokuriku Arch Train Pass 

Kanazawa is often compared to Kyoto, for it’s historic buildings and areas. Spending 2 days in Kanazawa is a great alternative – or supplement – to visiting Kyoto, and sufficient time to covers the city’s major attractions. If you have just 1 day to spend, then check out the 1-day itinerary. With the Japan Railways Hokuriku Arch Pass, foreign tourists can easily and affordably travel from Tokyo to Kanazawa and Kyoto.

2-day Itinerary Map

2-day itinerary Kanazawa

Day 1

On your first day in Kanazawa, you will see many of the city’s biggest attractions. The plan of the day includes japanese gardens, a castle, an impressive shrine, a market and two historic Geisha districts.

09:00Kenroku-en Garden
11:00Kanazawa Castle Park
12:00Gyokusen’inmaru Garden
12:30Oyama Shrine
13:30Omicho Market
15:00Kazue-Machi Chaya District
16:00Higashi Chaya Geisha District

Day 2

On your second day in Kanazawa you get to dive in to some of the historic areas of Kanazawa. Explore the samurai district and visit a real samurai home. Go on a tour through a mind boggling ninja temple full of traps and illusions – then explore a historic temple town and yet another Geisha district.

10:00Nagamachi Samurai District
11:00Nomura-ke Samurai Residence
13:00Ninja Temple (Myōryū-ji)
14:30Teramachi temple district
15:30Nishi Chaya District

Itinerary Details

Day 1 details

Kenroku-en Garden, Kanazawa © touristinjapan.com

Kenroku-en Garden

Kenroku-en is a beautiful Japanese Garden located in the center of Kanazawa city. It is considered one of Japans most beautiful gardens and it is part of the “Three Great Gardens of Japan”. Kenroku-en is known for being beautiful through all seasons, hence it’s open year-round. The gardens most famous sight might be the Kotojitoro lantern, which is located on the edge of the gardens main pond.

Nearest bus stop: Right loop bus: RL8. Left Loop bus: LL9. Shuttle bus: S8.
Entrance fee: ¥310 adults, ¥100 children, Seniors free

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Kanazawa Castle Park © touristinjapan.com

Kanazawa Castle Park

Kanazawa Castle Park is a larger park where the important Kanazawa Castle was located from 1580 to 1871. Today the park contains the few buildings that have survived various fires over the centuries, and a couple of reconstructed buildings which give a sense of the castles style, size and significance.

Nearest bus stop: Right loop bus: RL8. Left Loop bus: LL9. Shuttle bus: S8.

Entrance fee: Free (except entrance to the turrets).

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Gyokusen'inmaru Garden, Kanazawa © touristinjapan.com

Gyokusen’inmaru Garden

Gyokusen’inmaru Garden is a small Japanese garden located by Kanazawa Castle Park. The garden is located up against the 22m tall castle wall, and consists of a lake with 3 islands, a waterfall and a circular walking path plus small bridges between the islands. The garden has a small tea house where, most days of the year, visitors can buy matcha green tea with wagashi sweets. There is also a nice light-up event every night from around sunset.

Nearest bus stop: Right Loop bus: RL13. Left Loop bus: LL3. Shuttle bus:  S3 and S4.

Entrance fee: Free.

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Oyama Shrine, Kanazawa © touristinjapan.com

Oyama Shrine

Oyama Shrine (Oyama-jinja) is a unique shinto shrine, located near Kanazawa Castle Park. The shrine, which is dedicated to the former feudal lord Maeda Toshiie, is especially known for the unusual main gate which features Dutch architecture. The gate was added in the late 1800’s.

Nearest bus stop: Right Loop bus: RL13. Left Loop bus: LL3. Shuttle bus: S3.

Entrance fee: Free.

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Omicho Market, Kanazawa © touristinjapan.com

Omicho Market

Omicho Market is a large food market in central Kanazawa. The market is home to more than 170 shops and restaurants, of which a lot sell seafood, fruits and vegetables. It is a great place to find an afternoon snack, or maybe schedule your visit for lunch time to enjoy some of the local sea food or other delicacies. How about a soft-serve ice cream covered in edible gold leaf?

Nearest bus stop: Right Loop bus: RL15. Left Loop bus: LL1. Shuttle bus: S1.

Entrance fee: Free.

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Kazue-Machi Chaya District, Kanazawa. Background photo by Fabian Reus. Edit by touristinjapan.com. CC BY-SA 2.0.

Kazue-Machi Chaya District

Kazue-machi Chaya District is one of Kanazawa’s three traditional entertainment districts, and the second-largest of them. In this historic area, right next to Asanogawa bridge, one finds beautiful, old edo-period buildings, lined up along the Asano River. The area is located fairly close to the larger Higashi Chaya Distric, and thus is a natural stop on the way there.

Nearest bus stop:  Right Loop Bus: RL4 or RL5 (Hashiba-cho). Left Loop Bus: LL10 (Hashiba-cho).

Entrance fee: Free.

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Higashi Chaya District, Kanazawa © touristinjapan.com

 

Higashi Chaya District

Higashi Chaya Distric is the largest of Kanazawa’s three traditional entertainment districts. In this historic area one finds beautiful, old edo-period buildings with tea houses, crafts shops, galleries, restaurants and museums. The feel of the area is much like it would have been 200 years ago. It is a great place to end the day, maybe with dinner at one of the local restaurants.

Nearest bus stop: Right Loop bus: RL4. Left Loop bus: LL10 or LL11..

Entrance fee: Free.

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Day 2 details

Nagamachi District, Kanazawa © touristinjapan.com

Nagamachi Samurai District

The Nagamachi District is a historic area where many Samurai families had their residence in the edo-period (1603-1868). The area is well known for its authentic atmosphere, and well preserved streets with canals, narrow stone paths and earthen walls which surround many of the properties. There a plenty of properties to explore, but a stroll around the area to enjoy the atmosphere is also highly recommended. 

Nearest bus stop: Right Loop bus: RL13. Left Loop bus: LL3. Shuttle bus: S3.

Entrance fee: Free.

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Nomura-ke Samurai Residence, Kanazawa © touristinjapan.com

Nomura-ke Samurai Residence

Nomura-ke Samurai Residence is a beautiful, old villa which belonged to the Nomura samurai family. The property, which is located in the historic Nagamachi samurai district, has a stunning viewing garden, a tea house with a garden view, and a museum displaying artifacts from the Nomura family. Here you will have a unique chance to look into an old samurai home.

Nearest bus stop:Right Loop bus: RL13. Left Loop bus: LL3. Shuttle bus: S3.

Entrance fee: ¥550 adults, ¥250 children (7-14), ¥400 high-school age.

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Ninja Temple, Myoryu-ji, Kanazawa. Background photo by Oren Rozen. Edit by touristinjapan.com. CC BY-SA 4.0.

Ninja Temple (Myōryū-ji)

Myōryū-ji, better known as Ninja-dera (ninja temple), is a buddhist temple located in the Teramachi temple district. Ninja-dera is known for it’s large amount of embedded traps, secret doors and rooms, fake ceilings, optical illusions and it’s 23 rooms being interconnected almost like a maze making it near impossible to navigate inside. Ninja-dera is a real life experience only matched by computer games and movies. Be aware that advance reservations are required.

Nearest bus stop: Right Loop bus:  RL11 (Hirokoji). Left Loop Bus: LL5 (Hirokoji).

Entrance fee: Adults: ¥1000, children ¥700. Advance reservations required!

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Teramachi Temple District, Kanazawa. Background photo by Shaak Kempe. Edit by touristinjapan.com. CC BY 2.0.

Teramachi temple district

Teramachi Temple district is a fairly large area, located around the Ninja Temple. The areas name, “Teramachi” means “temple town” (tera=temple. machi=town) comes from the fact the this area was a designated temple located away from the castle town during the edo-period. As Kanazawa grew, the temple town was absorbed by the city, and now is a district rather than a town of it’s own. It’s a beautiful place, filled with many unique and well maintained temples. A great area for a peaceful afternoon walk. Check the itinerary map to see an outline of the area.

Nearest bus stop: Right Loop bus:  RL11 (Hirokoji). Left Loop Bus: LL5 (Hirokoji).

Entrance fee: Free.

Nishi Chaya District, Kanazawa. Copyright touristinjapan.com.

Nishi Chaya District

Nishi Chaya District is the smallest of Kanazawa’s three traditional entertainment districts. In this small area (just 1 street), one finds beautiful, old-style 2-story buildings, housing tea houses, shops with traditional crafts and a museum displaying a complete replica of an original Chaya tea house. It’s a great place for photos since there are fewer tourists here than in the other chaya districts.

Nearest bus stop: Right Loop bus:  RL11 (Hirokoji). Left Loop Bus: LL5 (Hirokoji).

Entrance fee: Free.

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Planning your stay in Kanazawa

Hotels and accommodation

Kinjohro
☆☆☆☆☆
5* luxury Ryokan located near the Higashi Chaya District.
Reserve with booking.com
Reserve with agoda.com
The Share Hotel Kumu
☆☆☆
3* hotel located near Kanazawa Castle and Kenroku-en Garden.
Reserve with booking.com
Reserve with agoda.com

UAN Kanzawa
☆☆☆☆
4* hotel located near Kanazawa Castle and Kenroku-en Garden.
Reserve with booking.com
Reserve with agoda.com
K’s House Kanazawa
☆☆
2* Hostel with high quality, cleanliness and kind staff.
Reserve with booking.com
Reserve with agoda.com

Find more hotels

Tours, tickets and experiences

Kanazawa is full of amazing experiences, especially related to culture, food and history. Booking a couple of experiences or tours could enhance your experience further and let you dive deeper into the local culture of Kanazawa. Below is a selection of tours and experiences which you may find interesting.

Find more experiences here:

Go Voyagin  Klook  Get Your Guide

Internet on the go

Having an internet connection can help you a great deal when navigating the streets of a new city. Booking Pocket Wi-Fi or getting a Japanese SIM-card for your phone can be a great way to help yourself out of a tricky situation or help you get the most out of your day.

Book portable WiFi

Transport in Kanazawa

Kanazawa has a great network of busses, which serve most of the central city in a very effective manner. Especially useful for tourists are the two circle lines called Right Loop and Left Loop. They run the exact same path around the city, but in opposite directions. The loop busses have stops near almost all the central attractions in Kanazawa. JR also operates bus lines in central Kanazawa. The JR Bus lines are free for holders of the Japan Rail Pass.

Find maps and schedules here:

Photo credits: Left Loop and Right Loop by Sonic Blooming, CC BY-SA 4.0. JR bus by すらいむさん, public domain.

Getting to Kanazawa

By Train

It is really easy to get to Kanazawa by train. There are great connections from many of Japans larger cities, like Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe.

From Tokyo, Kanazawa is serviced by the Hokuriku Shinkansen high-speed train. The trip takes only 2.5 hours with the Shinkansen train. The trip is covered by the Japan Rail Pass. An affordable alternative to the full JR Pass is the 7-day Hokuriku Arch Rail Pass, which covers the stretch from Tokyo, over Kanazawa to Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kobe.

From Kyoto, Kanzawa can be reached in about 2 hours on the JR Thunderbird Limited Express train. The train is covered by the Japan Rail Pass. An affordable alternative to the full JR Pass is the 7-day Hokuriku Arch Rail Pass, which covers the stretch from Tokyo, over Kanazawa to Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and Kobe.

Get your train pass or ticket here:

Hokuriku Arch Train Pass (7 days) Japan Rail Pass (7,14,21 days) Tokyo – Kanzawa (single ticket)

By Air

Komatsu Airport (KMQ) is the closest airport to Kanazawa, and the obvious choice for flying into Kanazawa. There are connections between Kanazawa and Haneda (Tokyo), Narita (Tokyo), Sapporo, Sendai, Fukuoka and Naha (Okinawa). In addition to that there are a couple of international destinations, including Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei and Hong Kong.

Book flights to Kanazawa 

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