We woke up fairly early this morning and checked out by 715am. We grabbed breakfast from Seven Eleven on level 3 of the Haneda International airport and I went down to queue to exchange our Japan rail orders for passes at 730am. The JR east office was directly next to the monorail station entrance on level 2. When the office opened at 745am, there was a sizable queue.
The Japan rail orders purchased in Singapore at $338 each for a 7-day pass
In no time, we were on the monorail which departed at 759am. Trains in Japan were so precise and I was hoping to catch the 836am Kagayaki Shinkansen to go Kanazawa.
The monorail ride took exactly 20 minutes to Hamamatsucho but we had to transfer to the Yamanote line to get to the Tokyo station which was like the main station for all Shinakansen, except for the Kyushu based Shinkansen. The transfer was not as smooth as we thought because of the amount and size of luggage we had, and had to use lifts. There was a wait for the lifts and we had to use it over 2 turns.
We had wanted to catch the 920am train but it was out of service and hence, ended up with a 935am train. Kagayaki was a very new train and was somewhat considered as express train. All seats must be reserved. While Z did not need to pay for his train tickets as he was below 6 years old (based on date of birth), he could not reserve a seat so you could imagine the rounds of musical chairs we had to play during the earlier part of the journey.
Z, getting all excited with the life-sized Shinkansen
Here he was explaining to X on which train we would be taking. He had a better understanding of the leaflet than I did though it was all in Japanese.
Coincidentally, we had gotten these children’s bento lunches for them earlier, all the more you could imagine their excitement when they saw the trains. These bentos cost 1,300yen each and the food, while cold, was quite nice.
X, all relaxed and slept for a good part of the train ride
We managed to check in early after arriving in Kanazawa at 1206h.I had booked ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel and it cost us 20,000yen per room per night. It was right next to JR Kanazawa and overlooked the famous JR East gate. I was pleasantly surprised with the twin bed room because the beds were super single beds which was comfortable for a family with 2 kids. Z did not need to bunk in with my parents for the night.
After settling down, we took the local bus to the nearby Omichi Market. It cost 200yen per person for the short bus to the market. All the buses at Berth 8, 9 and 10 at Kanazawa Bus interchange would go past the market which was 3-4 stops away.
It was a Japanese fresh food market which sold many fresh produces from seafood caught at Ishikawa Prefecture to vegetables and fruits. We tried the local oysters which was pretty expensive from 550yen onwards. I tried the 750yen version and thought the ones at Binalong Bay, Australia were better deals.
We had lunch at one of the restaurants within the market. The kids and my dad shared a Tempura seafood rice set and Teriyaki Cod fish. The marinade for the fish was a tad too strong and even seemed alcoholic. The kids did not like it. My mom ordered a Uni-don at 2900yen, Mr H ordered a Maguro-don at 1000yen and my deluxe chirashi don was 1650yen.
After lunch, we headed to Kanazawa Castle which was a 300m walk to the right from the end of the market.
The castle had impressive design and was built based on piecing many big wooden blocks together. We spent an hour or so before exiting via the south gate to Daiwa Department Store. We shopped along the shopping belt before taking a bus back to JR Kanazawa.
To prepare for our next day’s itinerary, we went to the supermarket on level 2 of JR station (enter via the escalator in the middle of the station). We stocked up on snacks and drinks before heading to level 3 for ramen.
By 8pm, we were all back in the room to sort out our luggage for the next day. With kids, it was a mammoth task to decide what items to bring up for our overnight stay at the Alpine and to pack our suitcases for forwarding to Tokyo the next morning. We got our hotel to arrange for Takkyubin to send 3 large suitcases (29″-32″) at 3912yen.