Here is a step-by-step guide on how to get from Tokyo to Kanazawa using the JR Pass:
1. Make your way to Tokyo Station.
2. Check your desired Shinkansen train schedule. There are a couple of Shinkansen Lines serving Japan. The Shinkansen Line you need to take is the Hokuriku Shinkansen (serving Tokyo and Kanazawa).
There are two Hokuriku Shinkansen train types that travel from Tokyo Station to Kanazawa and these are: Kagayaki and Hakutaka. These two trains run at different times during the day.
If your desired time to leave Tokyo requires you to take Kagayaki, you need to do the following steps:
– Make a ticket reservation at the JR ticket counter. Kagayaki is one of the few JR Shinkansen that do not have non-reserved seats. Thus, reserving seats on the Kagayaki is MUST!
– JR Pass holders do not need to pay extra to reserve a seat in a normal car, unless you want to be in the first class car.It is possible to reserve seats at one of the bilingual vending machines at the station, but NOT ALL of the machines are capable of providing such a service.
– You can reserve your Kagayaki Train seats at any of the major JR Stations across Japan, so it does not have to be just in Tokyo Station.
You don’t have to reserve seats if you are planning to take Hakutaka as it has non-reserved car seats available. However, you ALWAYS have the option to reserve a seat. If you want to, just follow the steps above.
3. After sorting out your ticket, go to the Hokuriku Shinkansen platform. When you reach the ticket gate, go over to the manned gate (usually at the end) and show the staff your Pass and the seat reservation ticket (if you have one).
4. Look at the visible displays (typically overhead) and look for the name of your train and the corresponding platform it will depart from.
5. Find your Car using the Display on the platform as your guide. There are also signs on the train that indicate the car numbers. Cars can either be reserved, non-reserved, green or grand class.
6. Enjoy the ride. Train travel time is approximately 3 hours.
7. Arrive at JR Kanazawa Train Station. Just outside the train station is a bus terminal. You can choose from a couple of bus lines (including the JR bus) to take you to your specific hotel/guesthouse or next destination.