Photo courtesy of Thinkstock
The icon of Japanese modernity, the Bullet Train, is opening feudal Kanazawa to visitors.
A new $17.5 billion bullet train connection is making one of Japan’s off-the-beaten-path jewels more accessible to travelers. The long-term goal is to create an unbroken high-speed service from Tokyo to Kanazawa. The railway runs via Nagano and Toyama with bullet trains are already running between Tokyo and Nagano.
On May 24, the Nagano to Kanazawa section of the line was completed a year earlier than expected. When fully operational next spring, the journey between Tokyo and Kanazawa will be shortened to two hours and 30 minutes from its current three hours and 47 minutes. Both JR East and JR West will operate Tokyo to Kanazawa services.
Located near Japan's traditional capital Kyoto, Kanazawa is the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture on the East Coast of Honshu. Kanazawa, a UNESCO-rated castle town, preserves the feel of 16th-century feudal Japan, when the samurai Maeda clan ruled the area.
The Maeda family were connoisseurs of art and cuisine, and patronized craftsmanship in gold-leaf art, Kutani pottery, traditional confectionary, lacquer ware and high-quality sake from local pure water. Ultimately, the long term plan is to connect Tokyo and Osaka on a second Bullet Train line.