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

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

Kanazawa station structure, tracks and platforms

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.

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.

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.


1,2Limited Express Thunderbird
Limited Express Shirasagi
Limited Express Dinostar
Osaka, Kyoto, Tsuruga, Fukui
3,5Hokuriku line
IR Ishikawara Railway line
Nanao line
Tsuruga, Fukui, Kaga-Onsen
Tsubata, Takaoka
Hakui, Wakura-Onsen
4,6,7IR Ishikawara Railway line
Nanao line
Tsubata, Takaoka
Hakui, Wakura-Onsen
11-14Hokuriku ShinkansenToyama, Nagano, Tokyo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.


  1. Christina says:

    Hi Takeshi san

    I will be visiting Kansai region in Dec 18. I intend to travel from Kanazawa to Shirakawa-go by bus. I have check https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/highwaybus/kanazawa_en/ and it said “Round-trip tickets are not available for sale at buses”. May I know how to purchase the round trip tickets? I have checked Japan bus online website too but only separate 1 way tickets can be purchased.

    Appreciate your advice.

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

      Hi Christina san,

      That means you have to purchase a ticket before riding bus at the ticket office. But the reservatio is required to take this bus. So ou have to make a call first. Phone number is shown in the link which you gave me.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Jason says:

    Hi Takeshi san

    I will be visiting central Japan in Dec. I intend to travel from Kanazawa to Shirakawa-go (stop over for 3 hours) and to Takayama. Base on information I gather from the bus company website, it look like I need to buy separate ticket from Kanazawa to Shirakawa-go, and from Shirakawa-go to Takayama. However, the online website for the bus company does not sell the ticket from Shirakawa-go to Takayama. Do I need to buy 1 ticket from Kanazawa to Shirakawa-go, and another ticket from Kanazawa to Takayama, but board the bus at Shirakawa-go?

    Appreciate your advice.

  3. Hi Takeshi san,

    I am Mutia, I need information from you. I will go to Japan next month and on Oct 27 me and my family will go to Shirakawago. We will start our day from shin-osaka (at 06.34 a.m.) by ltd exp thunderbird 1 and arrive at kanazawa station at 09.13 a.m in track 7. We will go to shirakawago by nohi bus that will depart from kanazawa station at 09.40. I have buy tickets on-line. I want to know, is it possible for me and my family to arrive at nohi bus stop only 17 minutes walk from track 7, because we have arrive at bus stop at least10 minutes before bus depart, or we need to reschedule our bus to the next bus schedule. Could you help give me a route from track 7 to nohi bus stop at kanazawa east gate, bus stop no.2.? I am really afraid if we late to the bus stop. Thank you.


  4. azilsahashim
    Azil says:


    I am travelling from Takayama to Shirakawago and to Kanazawa then to Ueno (Tokyo).

    Based on the bus schedule I plan to take 12.20 AM bus to Kanazawa which arrive at 13.35 PM.

    Considering my first time to Kanazawa Station, do you think it is enough time for me to catch 13.56 PM SHINKANSEN HAKUTAKA 566 to Ueno? That will be around 20 Minutes.


    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

      Hi Azil,

      I think you can make it in 20 minutes. But train schedule is very stable and punctual. Bus schedule is not very stable because of traffic. As long as the bus arrive on time, you can make it easily. However the bus is late, it may be tight.

      If I were you, I will take later one. And if the bus arrives on time and 13:56 train still have space, I will try to change on the spot.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Linda says:

    Does the Hokutetsu/Nohi bus operate on during the weekends and holidays? A quick reply is always appreciated. 🙂

  6. liana says:

    Hi takeshi san..
    I would like to ask.. what is the best medium (wireless/data) for internet to use whatapps..
    I will visit kanazawa next month with my friend.. we will stay at different hostel..
    Just want to make sure.. we still can contact each other..
    Thank you

  7. 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..

  8. Nawee says:

    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.

    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.


    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

      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.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  9. Ai Ling says:

    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.

    Ai Ling

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

      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.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  10. Siew teng says:

    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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