Local Bus Trip to Hokuriku (Part 2)
The race from Morioka to Hakkoda Mountains continues for the bus and train teams, with a waiting game at Tohoku's largest fish market, a mad dash to train stations and a surprising twist at the end.
Our three-day bus trip across four prefectures in Hokuriku continues. A luxurious meal at a high-end hotel awaits us if we succeed in our goal of reaching Tojinbo in Fukui Prefecture by 6pm on the third day. On the second day, in Toyama Prefecture, we board the first bus heading to Nyuzen Station from Unazuki Shimin Service Centre at 7.25am. We arrive at Nyuzen Station after half an hour and find out there is a direct bus to Kurobe Unazuki Onsen Station from here. We board a cute bus with watermelon mascots at 8.30am and head to Kurobe Unazuki Onsen Station, which is about 20 minutes away.
Someone tells us we can take a bus from Kurobe Station to Uozu Station. So we take the 9.05am bus from Kurobe Unazuki Onsen Station to Kurobe Station. We speak to the bus driver and find out there are no buses going to Uozu from Kurobe, so we were given inaccurate information earlier. We still alight at Kurobe Station and ask someone if there are community buses which go close to Uozu. The person mentions the Shimin Bus which goes to Uozu Station from Kinoshitashin in Uozu City. We take the 10.20am bus to Higashi Fuseguchi and then walk to the Kinoshitashin stop, a kilometre away. We reach the bus stop at around 11am and are dismayed that the bus to Uozu City will only leave at 1.30pm.
We decide to walk to Uozu Station instead, which is three kilometres. At the station, we speak to a bus driver who suggests that if we want to go to Toyama Station, we can take the noon bus to the aquarium, which is 20 minutes away. There, we switch to a bus going to Namerikawa Station at 1.35pm. We arrive at Namerikawa at 1.55pm. From here, there is a direct bus to Toyama Station. It leaves at 3.25pm so to kill time, we walk to a shopping mall near the station to have lunch. At a restaurant called Kuratomi, we enjoy a hearty meal of onigiri, tempura and cold buckwheat noodles.
We return to the station to gather more information. We are told we can later take a bus to Takaoka from Toyama Station, before heading to Kanazawa. We board the bus to Toyama Station and reach in about an hour. We then take another bus to Takaoka Station, where we drop by the information centre. We find out that to reach Kanazawa, we can take the bus to Inami and then switch buses. We will spend the night at Takaoka and catch the 6.55am bus the next day to Inami.
We manage to find accommodation in Takaoka. For dinner, we have assorted raw fish, bigfin reef squid, shrimp tempura and grilled Himi beef. On the second day, we took seven different buses from Unazuki to Takaoka, travelling a total distance of 175km.
The next morning, the third and final day of our bus trip, we catch the first bus to Inami. The journey takes slightly over an hour. The Kanazawa-bound bus from Inami leaves more than 1.5 hours later at 9.55am. In the meantime, we visit an exhibition space, where one of the items displayed is an Inami-style lion head sculpture. Inami is well-known for its wood carving and about 200 wood carving craftsmen work here. Zuisenji, a temple in this area, was destroyed by fire many times. Each time, the temple was restored with the help of the craftsmen who developed various techniques of wood carving. The exhibition space was built in 1934 by the temple carpenters of Inami. It was previously the old Inami Station of Kaetsu Line.
We finally take the bus to Kanazawa Station. We reach the second prefectural border of the journey and are now in Ishikawa Prefecture. After slightly more than an hour, we arrive at Kanazawa Station and visit the bus information centre. We are advised to take the 12.20pm bus from Kanazawa Station and go to Terai Shiseki Kouenmae, an hour away. From this bus stop, we can take a bus bound for Komatsu Station at 1.35pm. The bus ride to Komatsu Station takes 20 minutes and we manage to catch the 2pm bus heading to Komatsu Airport, after which we switch to another bus going to Kaga Onsen Station at 2.50pm.
The bus driver tells us that if we want to reach Tojinbo in Fukui Prefecture, from Kaga Onsen Station, we should first go to Yoshizaki at the border of Fukui Prefecture. Then, by taking a Fukui bus which will run along the coastline, we can cross the prefectural border and reach Fukui Prefecture. We arrive at Kaga Onsen Station after a 30-minute bus ride and then switch to another bus at 3.40pm. At 4.15pm, the bus arrives at Yoshizaki in Fukui Prefecture. We make enquiries about going to Fukui City and are told there is a Keifuku Bus. We manage to reach the bus stop at 4.25pm but much to our dismay, the last bus left at 4pm.
We are later told we will have to take the Keifuku Bus from Awara Yunomachi. It is 10km away and it will take us more than two hours to walk there. This means we will not be able to reach our goal of Tojinbo by 6pm. So sadly, we do not get to feast on Hokuriku specialities at a high-end hotel as a reward.
1) Knowing the first or last bus of the day by checking the timetable can help you plan your itinerary
2) Some train stations have rather similar names so make sure you alight at the right stop