questions & answers: using the japan rail pass

matsumoto to kanazawa

Matsumoto to Kanazawa

Hi! What's the best way to get from Matsumoto to Kanazawa?

I've got the JR Pass but, according to Hyperdia, it takes at least 5 hours by train!

Is there any JR bus (or non-JR) which goes straightaway to Kanazawa from Matsumoto?

I'll be travelling on April 11.



Hi Denise,

If you go by train it does indeed take around 5 hours, the mountainous mainland of Japan can make traveling around there sometimes a little slow.

I checked for direct buses but no direct bus is available, you can take a bus from Takayama (via Shirakawago which is a very nice sightseeing spot too) which takes about 2.5 hours. We also had a similar post about this some time ago and I think the answer Mari posted is really good and may be helpful for you too!

I have also been reading up on other people who have made the trip by train, it turns out that the route is very scenic if you go via the north of Japan as the train will pass both beautiful mountain ranges and the coast line of Japan, so it may be worth making the trip by train.

Hope this helps,

Expert button 2

Thanks for answering, Daniel!

The matter is that I've organized my trip in this part of Japan in the following way, in order to be able to reach Takayama on time for the Festival:

from Kamakura:

09/04/2013: Magome/Tsumago
11/04: Kanazawa
12/04: Shirakawago/Takayama
13/04: Takayama
14/04: Takayama
15/04: Kyoto

which means that I'll be passing through Shirakawago/Takayama, but after Kanazawa...

I'm considering 2 possibilities:

  • Taking your advice and to face the 5 hours train ride via the north of Japan (in this case, what'd be the best option: via Nagano/Naoetsu, or Itoigawa?)

  • Changing my plans and to choose Nagano rather than Kanazawa, in order to make it easier! Is it a good change?

Any sugestion on the itinerary would be very welcomed!




Hi Again,

If case you take the train here are a couple of routes you can consider.
Route 1 is takes the least time but you will travel quite a lot by local train which is not very comfortable, especially with a suitcase. Route 2 is the most comfortable but takes about 45 minutes, you can travel the whole way by very nice limited express and only have one transfer.
Route 5 is somewhere between route 1 and 2, it is fast, you will travel with comfortable trains but have 1 extra transfer.
If I had the time I would personally go for Route 2 and otherwise 5.

Kanazawa or Nagano?
I have been to both places and both are great to visit! Kanazawa is probably the better option because it is a very beautiful city and there is a lot to see and do. Nagano makes for a nice visit too! It is more a town than a city by Japanese standards and not that large but the temple complex is very nice and there great outdoor activities and good hiking possibilities. You could probably see the city itself in less than a day though.

Hope this helps with your choice!

Expert button 2

Thnks again, Daniel!

Cheers! ;)


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