Interesting Day Trips from Kanazawa

While you could spend your entire vacation in Kanazawa and not run out of things to do and see, our city is the perfect base for some of Japan's other unique destinations in the Chubu [or Hokuriku] region. The region is rich in traditional culture and history, which has been preserved for future generations, just as we are doing in Kanazawa. These destinations are recommended as a day or overnight trip from Kanazawa, and many have convenient access by buses that depart from our city. Here are some of the incredible sights you can experience easily on your next visit to Kanazawa.

Shirakawa-go

Shirakawa-go is a village in the mountainous region of Gifu Prefecture. It represents one of Japan's finest examples of gassho-zukuri, steeply-angled thatched-roof houses that protect the residents from the long winters with plentiful snowfall.

Renowned as a UNESCO World Heritage Site preserving the traditional architecture and culture of central Japan's mountain villages, Shirakawa-go is already on the bucket list of many visitors to Japan. With many tours that originate from Kanazawa, it is one of the easiest destinations to add as a day trip. There are several museums in the village to enjoy, and you should not miss a hike up to the Ogi-Machi Castle Observation Point on the hillside north of the village. From here, you can take in a panoramic view of the entire village. On winter evenings, when the town is illuminated and covered in fresh snow, the view from here is otherworldly.

Access to Shirakawa-go from Kanazawa could not be simpler. A regular bus runs from Kanazawa East Gate Bus Terminal straight to Shirakawa-go's bus terminal and takes about an hour and 15 minutes each way.

Shirakawa-go and Gokayama World Heritage Village Tour
Shirakawa-go and Gokayama World Heritage Village Tour
World Heritage Sites Shirakawa-go and Gokayama: Same but totally different!! From/to Kanazawa Station / lunch included / accompanied by an English-speaking guide
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Shirakawa-go and Takayama Platinum route tour
Shirakawa-go and Takayama Platinum route tour
Bus tour to Shirakawago and popular Hida Takayama!! From/to Kanazawa Station / lunch included / accompanied by an English-speaking guide
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Weekend only! World Heritage Shirakawa-go One-Day Bus Tour
Weekend only! World Heritage Shirakawa-go One-Day Bus Tour
Enjoy Shirakawago to the fullest! From/to Kanazawa Station / lunch included / accompanied by an English-speaking guide
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【One day bus tour】Kanazawa Sta.~Gokayama / Shirakawago / Takayama
【One day bus tour】Kanazawa Sta.~Gokayama / Shirakawago / Takayama
Reservation possible on the day!Explore world heritage sites including Shirakawa-go, Takayama,Gokayama
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Highway Bus from Kanazawa to Gokayama, Shirakawa-go, and Takayama
Highway Bus from Kanazawa to Gokayama, Shirakawa-go, and Takayama
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[Chartered Taxi/6 hours]Shirakawago and Gokayama Tour
[Chartered Taxi/6 hours]Shirakawago and Gokayama Tour
Visit famous UNESCO World Cultural Heritages from Kanazawa
more
Shirakawa-go Adventure
Shirakawa-go Adventure
One-day trip in a comfortable wagon to a World Heritage village that also became a reference for an anime
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Gokayama

This collection of villages located in Nanto city, Toyama Prefecture, shares the same architecture and UNESCO World Heritage designation (Ainokura and Suganuma villages) as Shirakawa-go. Although the villages are smaller, many visitors prefer Gokayama over Shirakawa-go for its more intimate feel and smaller crowds. 

Surrounded by the pristine nature of the mountains, you can experience ever-changing views of picture-perfect scenery almost any time of the year. Although the winter scene of Ainokura Village covered in pure white snow is iconic, equally impressive are the autumn views when the mountains explode in the fiery colors of fall foliage. In spring, fingers of fog sometimes creep down the lush green mountainside creating a mysterious yet peaceful atmosphere. There are two main villages that cater to visitors: Ainokura and Suganuma. Because maintaining traditional arts and crafts is a vital goal of Gokayama, visitors can try various traditional experiences, from making soba noodles or handmade washi paper to learning local folk songs and dances. 

There are several options to access Gokayama (Ainokura and Suganuma villages) by bus and train from Kanazawa, ranging from about one to two hours. Some buses require reservations to be made in advance. For help and advice in English on the best way to get to Gokayama, visit the Kanazawa Tourist Information Center at Kanazawa Station.

Shirakawa-go and Gokayama World Heritage Village Tour
Shirakawa-go and Gokayama World Heritage Village Tour
World Heritage Sites Shirakawa-go and Gokayama: Same but totally different!! From/to Kanazawa Station / lunch included / accompanied by an English-speaking guide
more
Life in a Gassho-style Village: One-on-one Tour of Gokayama with a Local Guide
Life in a Gassho-style Village: One-on-one Tour of Gokayama with a Local Guide
more
Highway Bus from Kanazawa to Gokayama, Shirakawa-go, and Takayama
Highway Bus from Kanazawa to Gokayama, Shirakawa-go, and Takayama
more
[Chartered Taxi/6 hours]Shirakawago and Gokayama Tour
[Chartered Taxi/6 hours]Shirakawago and Gokayama Tour
Visit famous UNESCO World Cultural Heritages from Kanazawa
more

Takayama

Nestled in a valley in the mountains of Gifu Prefecture, Takayama has a fascinating history as a castle town that was often isolated from other cities due to harsh winter weather conditions. For this reason, Takayama has a unique culture even compared to cities that are relatively close by, like Kanazawa. 

Takayama is famous for its annual festival held twice during the year, once in spring and once in autumn, and is considered one of Japan's three most beautiful festivals. During these two-day events, large and ornate floats are pulled through the streets in a festive atmosphere. Visitors to Takayama often sample the regional specialty Hida beef, an intensely marbled type of wagyu from cattle raised in Gifu Prefecture. For sightseeing, Takayama's beautiful Shiroyama Park is a lovely place to enjoy the incredible seasonal natural beauty of the city. With its rich and varied history, Takayama has many well-preserved districts and ancient temples that give the city a distinctive feel of agelessness. The streets of the Sanmachi Historical district are lined with building that have stood here for centuries and several of its businesses have been operating since the Edo Period.

There are two bus lines that travel between Kanazawa and Takayama, taking about 2 hours and 15 minutes each way. You must make an advance reservation to take the bus, so please visit our Kanazawa Tourist Information Center at Kanazawa Station for assistance in English.

  • Shirakawa-go and Gokayama World Heritage Village Tour
  • 【One day bus tour】Kanazawa Sta.~Gokayama / Shirakawago / Takayama
  • Shirakawa-go and Takayama Platinum route tour
  • Weekend only! World Heritage Shirakawa-go One-Day Bus Tour
  • [Chartered Taxi/6 hours]Shirakawago and Gokayama Tour
  • Shirakawa-go and Gokayama World Heritage Village Tour
  • [Chartered Taxi/6 hours]Shirakawago and Gokayama Tour
  • Life in a Gassho-style Village: One-on-one Tour of Gokayama with a Local Guide

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