Here's a recommended route for enjoying the historical city of Kanazawa by bus! (Part 1 of two-part series introducing Kanazawa―Shirakawa-go―Hida-Takayama)

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Written by Editorial department

Since Maeda Toshiie, founder of the Kaga Domain in the 16th century, entered Kanazawa Castle, Kanazawa, in Ishikawa Prefecture, has developed into one of Japan's leading castle towns.。

It is said that during its peak it ranked after Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto as a major city. Its atmospheric streetscapes retain their appearance from that time today, having been damaged by neither wars nor earthquakes.

Kanazawa is a city where you can enjoy not only history, but also art and fine cuisine, and it enjoys a high degree of popularity among Japanese people as well. What's more, in March 2015, the Hokuriku Shinkansen went into service, and it became possible to get there in approx. 2 hours 28 minutes from Tokyo. In this medium, we will provide you with model itineraries based in Kanazawa that use a bus and a rental car in a two-part series of articles.

A model route for seeing Kanazawa by loop bus

The Kanazawa Loop Bus is convenient for going around the city of Kanazawa. This is a loop bus based at the east entrance of Kanazawa Station (Bus stop No.7) that goes around major tourist attractions in Kanazawa. We recommend a one-day unlimited ride pass (500 yen for adults) that allows travelers to get on and off as much as they want in the city center for one day. Of course, no reservations are required.
First, let's head for Omi-cho Market via the loop bus.

Fee:¥200 per ride (Adult), ¥500 unlimited rides for one day (Adult)

①Omi-cho Market
<Bus stop: Musashigatsuji, Omi-cho Market: Approx. 4 min. by bus from Kanazawa Station>
Cherished as the “citizen’s kitchen pantry,” this market supports Kanazawa’s food culture. In addition to shops selling fresh food and household goods, many restaurants offer food using fresh seasonal ingredients.

Enjoy fresh sashimi over rice or sushi here!

Address:50 Kamiomicho, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa
Business hours:Vary by shop
Closed:Vary by shop

②Naga-machi Buke Yashiki District
<Bus stop: Korinbo: Approx. 4 min. by bus from ①>
Remains of feudal retainer residences. Mud walls, canals and stone pavements preserved in the townscape give an elegant feel. Explore the stone paved alleys for a feel of the past.

Address:Nagamachi, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa

③21st Century Museum of ContemporaryArt,Kanazawa
<Approx. 10 min. walk from ②>
A glass-walled museum featuring a circular design. With “Museum open to the city like a park” as its concept, art integrated with the building can be experienced through the five senses.

Photography: 中道淳/Nacása & Partners
Photo provider:21st Century Museum of ContemporaryArt,Kanazawa

Address:1-2-1 Hirosaka, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa
Business hours:Exhibition Zone 10:00-18:00 (Open until 20:00 on Fridays and Saturdays), Public Zone 9:00-22:00
Closed:Exhibition Zone: Mon. (If a public holiday, the following weekday will be closed instead) & End-of-year and New Year holidays, Public Zone: End-of-year and New Year holidays
Fee:Public Zone: Free admission, Exhibition Zone: Vary by exhibition

④Kanazawa Castle Park & Kenroku-en Garden
<Approx. 1 min. walk from ③>

【Kanazawa Castle】
The castle formerly had as many as 20 turrets, but only the Ishikawa-mon gate, Sanjikken Nagaya and Tsurumaru-soko remain due to fire. Fine reconstructed turrets, the Gojukken Nagaya warehouse and Hashizume-mon Tsuzuki Yagura stand in the castle at the present.

Address:Marunouchi, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa
Business hours:7:00-18:00 *From October 16 to the end of February: 8:00-17:00
Closed:Open 365days
Fee:Hishi Yagura, Gojukken Nagaya warehouse and Hashizume-mon Tsuzuki Yagura: ¥310 (Adult)

【Kenroku-en Garden】
One of the three outstanding gardens in Japan known for seasonal beauty. Stroll along the garden arranged with ponds, bridges, trees, teahouses, and so on to feel the heritage and sense of beauty from the wealthy and prosperous culture of Kaga-Hyakuman-goku.

Address:Kenrokumachi, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa
Business hours:7:00-18:00 *From October 16 to the end of February: 8:00-17:00
Closed:Open 365days
Fee:¥310 (Adult)

⑤Higashi Chaya District
<Bus stop: Higashiyama 3-chome: Approx. 4 min. by bus from ④>
One of Kanazawa’s three chaya districts and a popular sight lined with elegant chaya teahouses with wood trellises. Rows of shops selling stylish crafts like gold leaf and Kaga Yuzen silk as well as shops where green powdered tea and Japanese sweets can be enjoyed.

Address:Higashiyama, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa

When you are finished enjoying the Higashi chaya district, return to Kanazawa Station by bus. From there, head for the World Heritage site Shirakawa-go by rental car!