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Kanazawa

Travel Guide Asia Japan Honshu Chubu Kanazawa

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Introduction

Kanazawa is the capital city of Japan's Ishikawa Prefecture in the Chubu region.

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Weather

Kanazawa has a subtropical humid climate with warm, wet summers and winters which don't see much rain but snow in January and February is quite heavy at 1-1,5 metres a month. Summers last from June to September when average highs are mostly between 25 and 31 °C and nights are between 17 and 23 °C. Winters from December to February see highs of 6-10 °C and lows of 0-3 °C. Unlike many Japanese places, the total montly precipitation is higher in winter because of the combination of high amounts of snow combined with still some rain. Most of the rain proper falls from April to September though.

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Getting There

By Plane

Komatsu Airport (KMQ) has regular domestic flights to Tokyo, Fukuoka, Sapporo and Okinawa, as well as international flights to Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Taipei and Seoul.

By Train

Japan Railways offers the Hokuriku line linking Kanazawa with Fukui (50 minutes), Kyoto (2¼ hours), Osaka (2¾ hours) and Toyama (35 minutes). From Tokyo take the Jōetsu shinkansen and change at Echigo-Yuzawa in Northern Honshū (four hours). The Nanao line connects Kanazawa with Wakura Onsen on Noto-hantō (one hour).

By Bus

Hokutetsu Kanko Bus Company has express buses from Kanazawa station’s east exit, to Tokyo (7½ hours), Yokohama (eight hours), Kyoto (4¼ hours) and Nagoya (four hours).

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Guest House Pongyi2-22, Rokumai-machi, Kanazawa IshikawaHostel95
Guesthouse Namaste6-14 Kasaichi IshikawaGuesthouse91
Hotel Hinodeya2-17-25 HonmachiHostel88
Kanazawa Central Hotel4-4 Horikawa-machi,Kanazawa-city IshikawaHotel90
KikunoyaKanazawa City 1-1-27, HirosakaHostel92
Nakayasu Ryokan1-10-31 Owari-choHotel-
Garden Hotel Kanazawa2-16-16, Hon-machi, Kanazawa IshikawaHotel90
Hotel Econo Kanazawa Ekimae8-8 Konohana-MachiHOTEL-
Kanazawa Guest House10-17 konohana IshikawaHOSTEL87
Castle Inn Kanazawa10-17 Konohana-choHOTEL-
Sumiyoshiya Ryokan54 Jukken-machi Kanazawa-city IshikawaHOSTEL-
Guesthouse Ochakare1-8-12 KitayasueHOSTEL-

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Keep Connected

Internet

Manga cafes are dotted along the streets of almost every city in Japan. For a very reasonable price (about ¥100 per 15 minutes), you receive a private cubicle with a PC with internet access at blistering Japanese internet speeds. The chairs are incredibly comfortable (making them an excellent place to sleep for the cash-deprived), and you can even order snacks and drinks from the staff.

A number of business hotels have Internet access available if you have your own device, sometimes for free. It is also possible to find Wi-Fi "hot spots" around many large cities in Japan, especially near tech-related businesses and large corporate buildings with unsecured wireless networks. 3G Wireless Data and Pocket Wifi are other options.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

Payphones (公衆電話 kōshū denwa) are easily found, particularly near train stations, although with the popularity of mobile phones, public pay phones are not quite as numerous as they once were. Gray and green pay phones accept ¥10 and ¥100 coins and prepaid cards. Be aware that not all places with public telephones have phones that accept coins, so it may be worthwhile to buy a phone card for emergency use. Some of the gray phones, as indicated on the display, can make international calls. Pre-paid cards can be purchased at convenience stores, train station kiosk stores and sometimes in vending machines next to the phone.

Modern Japanese mobile phones (携帯電話 keitai denwa or just keitai) tend to operate on unique cellular standards not always compatible with the rest of the world. 3G phones using the UMTS/WCDMA2100 standard and equipped with a 3G SIM card will most likely work. If your phone is up to spec, double-check with your carrier if they have a roaming agreement with either SoftBank or NTT DoCoMo. Coverage is generally excellent, unless you are heading to some remote mountainous areas. If you have no 3G phone but still have a 3G-compatible SIM card, you can rent a 3G phone in Japan and slot in your card, allowing you to keep your home phone number in Japan. For a longer trip, you can also purchase a phone, but doing this legally requires an Alien Registration Card (or an obliging Japanese friend willing to front for you).

The easier way is to get a prepaid phone. Prepaid phones are sold in most SoftBank and AU stores. If you already have a 3G phone, go with Softbank as it can sell SIMs as opposed to au whose prepaid service is phone-based like most CDMA carriers. Prepaid phones use a "card" with a pass key to "charge" a phone with minutes. These prepaid calling cards, unlike the phone itself, can be found in most convenience stores. A prepaid cell phone is available for as little as ¥5000 plus ¥3000 for a 60-90 day call time package, which will get drained at a rate of ¥100 per minute (¥10 per 6 seconds for AU's prepaid service). Both SoftBank and AU offer prepaid phones.

Post

The Japanese postal service is excellent! Domestic and international mail service is very quick and reliable. The prices for sending letters, postcards and parcels vary depending on where you send if from and to which country you send it too, and of course depends on weight as well, so check this calculation page of Japan Post for more details. Post offices generally are open from 9:00am to 5:00pm on weekdays, closing at weekends and also on national holidays, though a few open on Saturdays from 9:00am to 3:00pm. Central post offices are sometimes open until 7:00pm, open on Saturdays from 9:00am to 5:00pm and on Sundays and holidays from 9:00am to 12:30pm. There are post offices in every major city and minor town. Another thing to remember is that the post office is one of the few places in Japan that is guaranteed to have ATMs that take international cards.

Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 36.5613254
  • Longitude: 136.6562051

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This is version 12. Last edited at 10:36 on Aug 21, 13 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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