Wandering Leopard Japan 2024 part 2 – Hokuriku Arch

A few months back, March/April, I went to Japan for 11 days. I did meet with a few F31 brothers there, Ishii-san, Tetsuya and Sano-kun, Suenaga-san and Itabashi-san.

I was walking a lot and developed blisters on my feet, so that slowed me down. I havent’ been able to catch up on posting those pictures in my travel blog, so I’m kinda behind.

But that trip wasn’t car focused.

So I am going back this July 9th (in a few days of this posting).

Usually, I get the National JR Pass (I got the 7 day in March), but this time, I wanted to “save money” and use more the the regional passes.

People get the National JR Pass because you can use the pass on any JR train and to make it worth it, you need to use the Shinkansen (bullet train) to travel from city to city. When you have this pass, people usually go the golden route:

Tokyo to Kyoto and Osaka – Just about 2 hrs directly. This is the Tokaido Shinkansen.



This is pretty much the to go JR Pass if you want to travel throughout Japan. The problem is, in October 2023, they increased the price to more than 100%

Current prices:

With that said, JR ( believe or not, it’s a conglomerate of JR regional companies) increased the prices for the National JR Passes, and now it doesn’t feel like it is worth it.


This coming trip, I decided to get another 7 day pass that will allow me to go from Tokyo to Osaka, but a different route. This pass is the Hokuriku Arch Pass.





The bullet train here is the Hokuriku Shinkansen. This goes from Tokyo to Tsuruga, then you have to get on the Thunderbird Limited express from Tsuruga to Osaka. If you went straight from Tokyo to Osaka, it is about 5hrs, more than double the time compared to the Tokaido Shinkansen’s direct path.

The purpose of this pass is for those to spend more time exploring other regions inbetween the most popular destinations.

With this pass, I will get to see a few of my friends.

I will stay 2 nights in Nagano. My brotha Taguchi-san said he will meet me in Nagano

*picture is from 2018




with one day taking a trip to Matsumoto.

My brother Ogawara-san lives that way.

*Lake Suwa Old Car meet 2018


On the way to Kanzawa, I will also stay a night in Toyama, were I will also hang with Tanaka-san

*from 2018


I’ll spend a few days in the area visiting Fukui, Kanazawa and Toyama, after that, I will go towards Kansai region. Once you get to Tsuruga station, you can take the Thunderbird Limited Express to Kyoto/Osaka (this goes on the west side along Lake Biwa), but I will take the Shirasagi Limited Express (East side of Lake Biwa). Here I hope that I can meet with Ishii-san and others in the evening (as he works).



I have been to this area before, but this time, I will definitely explore castles and battlefields of this area.

After the 7 days of Hokuriku Arch Pass is gone, I will be in Kansai for another 7 days, so I also got the Kansai Wide Area Pass. This 5 day pass will give me access to my usual places, Kyoto, Osaka and Takamatsu (where I will meet with Noguchi-san again).


This pass will give me a bit of time to explore too. Tottori, Amanohashidate, Wakayama and parts of Mie I really want to say I visited.

My family will arrive on July 16th and after that, I will be spending time with them with a road trip to Nagoya.

I will try and meet up with a Sugiyama san and Teranishi san

Soon after, I will make my way to Shizuoka, the timing is getting pretty tight, so I hope I can meet with Tetsuya and Sano-kun again.

My last days will be in Yokohama. We fly out of Narita around 9pm. I am hoping I can figure a way to meet with my brothers in Chiba since they are somewhat nearby.





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