Kanazawa station guide. How to catch the bus to the tourist spots. How to change between Hokuriku Shinkansen and other trains.

Tsuzumi Gate at Kanazawa station Kenrokuenguchi (east side). This gate is now one of the icons of Kanazawa.
Tsuzumi Gate at Kanazawa station Kenrokuenguchi (east side). This gate is now one of the icons of Kanazawa.

Kanazawa is most popular place in Hokuriku region. There are many tourist spots in this city, such as Kenrokuen garden, Kanazawa castle. Especially since Hokuriku Shinkansen opened in 2015, Kanazawa is much more accessible from Tokyo and it has been getting more popular. Kanazawa is also known as the gateway to UNESCO World Heritage Site, Shirakawago.

In this post, I would like to explain about Kanazawa station’s structures with many photos of this station. And I also show you how to take the bus to the tourist spots in town and to Shirakawago.

*The information in this article is current at the time of writing.

Kanazawa station structure, tracks and platforms

At Shinkansen platform, track #12
At Shinkansen platform, track #12

Unfortunately only the station map in Japanese is available. Please refer the link below. I will explain it one by one.
JR West Odekake-net, Kanazawa station map

Kanazawa station is three levels structure. On the ground floor, there are ticket gates and exits. In the map, this level is shown by gray color. The main concourse connects both side of Kanazawa station. Both Shinkansen ticket gate and conventional line ticket gate are connected with this concourse.

Main concourse on the ground floor. You can go through this walkway without ticket.
Main concourse on the ground floor. You can go through this walkway without ticket.

At second level, there are the platforms and tracks. This level is shown by blue and light gray color. Blue area is conventional lines and IR Ishikawa railway lines. Light gray area is Hokuriku Shinkansen platforms.

And there is a walkway at the mezzanine level between ground level and second level.

Walkway on mezzanine level. You can change the platforms and tracks by this walkway. This walkway is inside ticket gate.
Walkway on mezzanine level. You can change the platforms and tracks by this walkway. This walkway is inside ticket gate.

This walkway connects all platforms and ticket gate. And also there is Shinkansen transfer gate on this walkway. You have to go through Shinkansen transfer gate whenever you change the trains between Shinkansen and conventional line trains. There are stairs, escalators and elevators between the ground level walkway and Shinkansen transfer gate.

Platforms

Track# Lines/Trains Destination
1,2 Limited Express Thunderbird
Limited Express Shirasagi
Limited Express Dinostar
Osaka, Kyoto, Tsuruga, Fukui
3,5 Hokuriku line
IR Ishikawara Railway line
Nanao line
Tsuruga, Fukui, Kaga-Onsen
Tsubata, Takaoka
Hakui, Wakura-Onsen
4,6,7 IR Ishikawara Railway line
Nanao line
Tsubata, Takaoka
Hakui, Wakura-Onsen
11-14 Hokuriku Shinkansen Toyama, Nagano, Tokyo
Overview of conventional line platforms
Overview of conventional line platforms

Kanazawa station does not have many tracks. It is not hard to find the platforms and tracks. Most of you take Hokuriku Shinkansen and Limited Express Thuderbird or Shirasagi.

Limited Express Thunderbird and Limited Express Shirasagi depart from track #1 and #2. Those tracks are located at same platform. Other tracks, from #3 to #7 are used for all conventional trains of both JR and IR Ishikawa Railway. If you travel to Nanao, Wakura-Onsen or Takaoka, please check the departure information board to find the track.

By the way, when Hokuriku Shinkansen opened, all conventional lines between Nagano and Kanazawa were transferred to other companies. Trains run but these trains are not JR any more. If you use JR pass, Hokuriku Arch Pass, Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass, you can take Hokuriku Shinkansen but ordinary trains from Kanazawa to Takaoka, Toyama are not covered.

As you see, there are four tracks, #11 to #14, and two platforms for Hokuriku Shinkansen. But Kanazawa is the last station. All trains go to same direction, Toyama, Nagano or Tokyo.

Ticket gate/Exit

Escalator from mezzanine level to Shinkansen ticket gate on the ground floor
Escalator from mezzanine level to Shinkansen ticket gate on the ground floor

There are three ticket gates and one Shinkansen transfer gate.

On ground level, there are one gate each for Shinkansen and Conventional line. Those gates connects main concourse. If you stay in Kanazawa, you will use these gates to exit Kanazawa station.

Conventional line ticket gate
Conventional line ticket gate

On mezzanine level, there is Shinkansen transfer gate. You will go through this gate when you change Shinkansen and conventional trains.

Shinkansen transfer gate from Shinkansen side
Shinkansen transfer gate from Shinkansen side

And there is one more gate on this level. This gate is called “Anto ticket gate”. It is connected with shopping mall, “Anto”. You can exit the station at this gate too.

Kanazawa station has two exit at both east and west sides. East exit is called “Kenrokuenguchi”. This is major exit of Kanazawa station. Tsuzumi Gate is located at this side. Some of you probably know Kenrokuen garden in Kanazawa. If you go to Kenrokuen garden and other tourist spots in Kanazawa, you will exit the station from this side. There is the famous gate at this side. And also most of major bus depart from this side. I will explain you about bus later.

Kanazawa station west side, Kanazawakoguchi
Kanazawa station west side, Kanazawakoguchi

Other exit at west side is “Kanazawakoguchi”. Kanazawako means the port of Kanazawa but the port is not closed to the station. This exit is much quieter than Kenrokuenguchi. There are some hotels and bus bays.

Kanazawa station bus stops

Overview of Kanazawa station Kenrokuenguchi side bus bays
Overview of Kanazawa station Kenrokuenguchi side bus bays

There are many bus stops at both Kenrokuenguchi (east) and Kanazawakoguchi (west). If you intend to visit the tourist spots in Kanazawa, such as Kenrokuen garden, Kanazawa castle, you will catch the bus at Kenrokuenguchi.

Kenrokuenguchi exit
Kenrokuenguchi exit
You will see this view after you exit Kanazawa station Kenrokuenguchi. Tzumi Gate is located at the end of this glass dome.
You will see this view after you exit Kanazawa station Kenrokuenguchi. Tzumi Gate is located at the end of this glass dome.

You will find the departure information board right after you exit from the station building.

Bus departure information board is located just beside escalator.
Bus departure information board is located just beside escalator.

If you take a bus three times or more a day, you can purchase Hokutetsu bus one day pass at 500 yen. You can find the information about this pass at the link below:

Hokutetsu Bus One day Pass (English site)

If you take a bus once or twice, you can pay the fare by cash in the bus. Single fare is 200 yen.

There are 11 bus bays at Kenrokuenguchi. The following link shows you Japanese bus stops map. It is in Japanese but you can find the direction.

Hokutetsu bus, Kanazawa station east side (Kenrokuenguchi) bus stops map (Japanese)

In this map, Kanazawa station building is left side. The ticket booth is located beside bus bay #6 and #7.

Hokutetsu bus ticket booth
Hokutetsu bus ticket booth

You can catch the bus at the following bus bays to major tourist spots.

  • Omicho Market, Korinbou — 3,8,9,10
  • Hashibacho (Higashi Chaya District) — 7
  • Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa Castle — 6,7
  • 21st Century Museum — 3,6

Express bus to Shirakawago and Takayama

Bus bay #2
Bus bay #2

Some of you will take a bus to Shirakawago and/or Takayama from Kanazawa. The bus departs from bay #2.

Hokutetu bus ticket center is located near bay #2.

You will find this building near bus bay #2.
You will find this building near bus bay #2.
Hokutetsu bus ticket window is located on the first floor of the building.
Hokutetsu bus ticket window is located on the first floor of the building.

You cannot purchase a ticket to Shirakawago at the ticket booth near bus bay #6 and #7. You have to go to the window near bay #2.

Hokutetsu Kanazawa station

2016 winter Japan trip 873

Actually there is one more station underground Kanazawa station Kerokuenguchi. That is Hokuriku Railway’s station. This railway runs to Kanazawa port area. Most of you will not take this railway because this train does not take you major tourist spots in Kanazawa city. However if you find this train station, you may think that Kanazawa has subway. I just want to mention to you.

I hope this post is useful for your visiting to Kanazawa.

12 thoughts on “Kanazawa station guide. How to catch the bus to the tourist spots. How to change between Hokuriku Shinkansen and other trains.”

  1. Hi Takeshi-san,
    I wish to travel to Shirakawago from Tokyo..I am thinking of taking Hokuriku Shinkansen to Kanazawa station. Is the bus stop for Shirakawago nearby? Within walking distance? Do i need to call them for reservation of tickets? What are the other options for bus tickets? Thanks to advise..

  2. Hi Takeshi-san,

    I bought a Takayama-Hokuriku Tourist Pass and plan to use it from KIX to Kanazawa (D1), then from Kanazawa to Shirakawago (D3 morning). In late afternoon, will go to Takayama.

    Day 5, will travel from Takayama to Fukui.

    Question:
    1. Can I make reserve for all route at the same at Hokutetu bus ticket center?

    2. If yes, will I get a tickets for Kanazawa to Shirakawago, a ticket for Shirkawago, and a ticket from Takayama to Kanazawa?

    I am a bit worry now because I check Nohi Bus’s web site, all morning buses are full on January 27, 2017.

    Thanks

    1. Hi Nawee san,

      You can book all bus at Hokutetsu bus center in Kanazawa. But as you think, it will be booked out. You should make a call to reserve as soon as possible. Booking over the phone is only way to book a seat for this pass user.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi san,

        おはようございます. Made a call and all morning buses are full.

        My next option will be either taking bus from Shin-Takaoka or Toyama, which is better? Are both buses line covered by my PASS?

        Help!! Thanks in advance.

        1. Hi Nawee san,

          Only Shin-Takaoka to Shirakawago is covered. But this bus does not accept reservation. You may not be able to get a seat. Even if you can book a seat for bus in afternoon, you should book it. I think you have no choice.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi Takeshi-san,
    Like to check with you what buses we can take with the JR Pass in Kanazawa to the various sightseeing places? I’m not able to find any information.

    Thanks,
    Ai Ling

    1. Hi Ai Ling san,

      As far as I know, JR pass does not cover any buses in Kanazawa. But some says local route in Kanazawa that is operated by JR bus is covered.
      Actually I don’t know which one the right is. Even JR pass official site does not say anything about JR bus.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Hi takeshi san,
    I would like to know how to takayama from kanazawa using train if i dun wan take bus?. Assume im using horiku takayama pass. Thanks.

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