Hokuriku Bullet Train. Image courtesy East Japan Rail Company

Japan’s Hokuriku Bullet Train launching extension in 2024

Rapid rail travel in Japan is about to get a jolt with the launch of a new Bullet Train extension on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line between Kanazawa and Tsuruga stations.

The new route is set to open on March 16. 2024 and according to Japan Railway officials, “it will accelerate cultural and business exchanges”.

The new route will include Fukui City, reducing travel time now from Tokyo to under 3 hours. There will be 14 trains per day between Tokyo and Tsuruga, replacing older limited express trains and enhancing the ease of which the two points can be connected.

This high speed journey will pass through five stations en route:

  1. Komatsu Station in Komatsu, Ishikawa Prefecture;
  2. Kaga-Onsen Station in Kaga, Ishikawa Prefecture;
  3. Awara-Onsen Station in Awara, Fukui Prefecture;
  4. Fukui Station in Fukui; and
  5. Echizen-Takefu Station in Echizen, Fukui Prefecture

With speedy and easy connections, the Ishikawa Prefecture, long a tourism hotspot, becomes even better positioned to welcome a new influx of visitors from around the world via its new connections to Komatsu and Kaga which offer a brilliant array of experiential options.

Komatsu City offers a treasure trove of cultural and culinary delights for explorers from lacquerware studios creating pieces endemic to the region, the renowned Noguchi Naohiko Sake Institute for a glimpse into the production of this famed beverage, and spiritual centers such as Natadera Temple, an icon dating back to the 8th Century.

It has rich grounds to explore and curious rock faces with handcut meditation caves carved into the cliff to wander through while pondering life.   They were once believed to have  been an undersea volcanic eruption site, and now inspire a profound sense of wisdom and longing for a return to a simple life and reverence for nature.

For those seeking balance and rejuvenation, the expedient travel time to Kaga City ensures more time on the ground to soak up the region’s incredibly revitalizing therapeutic bubbling hot springs. Featuring a collection of the four hot spring towns of Yamashiro, Yamanaka, Katayamazu and Awazu, the region features incredible wellness opportunities as well as sanctuary in the form of an array of luxurious ryokans that welcome guests with incredibly personalized hospitality, stylish accommodations, delicious wholesome cuisine and revitalizing bathing experiences.

The Hakutaka and Kagayaki trains will directly link Tokyo and Tsuruga, and the Hakutaka will make stops at each of the 5 stations in the new extended route.

The Shinkansen has long been a staple of fast rail travel in Japan, opening in 2015 connecting Tokyo to Kanazawa, so the planned expansion is already being well received and highly anticipated both by locals and visitors alike.  An extended route to connect all the way to Osaka is also in the works, scheduled to launch down the road in 2046.

Click for more information Ishikawa’s  tourism opportunities, or visit www.facebook.com/visitishikawa or @visitishikawa.

Kenrokuen Garden, Ishikawa, Japan

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