I caught a 3:10pm Thunderbird train at Kyoto Station heading north up to Kanazawa. Thunderbird trains are fast, but not as fast as shinkansen trains and the ride took about 2.5 hours. I believe at some point in the future there will be a new shinkasen line that will connect Kanazawa to one of the stations down on the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line (which runs from Tokyo to Osaka) but for now the Thunderbird remains the fastest way to go between Kyoto and Kanazawa by rail.
It was already dark outside when I arrived in Kanazawa. If I had been in Kanazawa a couple months earlier there still would have been a bit of daylight left but I was there in mid-November and consequently the days had gotten a lot shorter. After exiting the Kanazawa Station I took a moment to admire the Tsuzumi-mon, (鼓門) aka the Drum Gate. A lot of Japanese train stations have very modern exteriors and aren’t all that memorable but I’ve always remembered the outside of Kanazawa Station because of the Drum Gate that greets everyone entering and leaving the station. The Drum Gate is comprised of two pillars holding up a curved roof and the pillars are meant to resemble drums that are used in traditional Japanese Noh Theater productions. This gate has become something of a symbol of Kanazawa and whenever the day comes when I’m next able to visit the city I look forward to seeing it again.
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