Kanazawa Station is very well organized and easy to navigate. As well as the railway station, the station building also houses shops, restaurants, a tourist information center and other facilities. However, the railway offices, ticket machines and ticket gates are all in one clearly contained area so you won’t find it hard to find your way. In this article we will introduce the general layout of the station and show you where to catch your train.
Kanazawa Station has two exits on its west and east sides. Outside both exits you will find bus terminals and taxi ranks. The East Exit is also called the Kenrokuen Exit. This is the main gate of the station and the one you are most likely to use. From the East Exit bus terminal you can catch tourist buses for all the major tourist sites in the city. You can also catch JR and Hokutetsu highway express bus services from here. Just outside the East Exit gate you will see escalators which go underground beneath the station plaza. These lead to the Hokutetsu Kanazawa Station from which you catch trains on the Hokutetsu Railway’s Asanogawa Line. This is a local railway run by a private company and separate from the main station. Probably you won’t need to use it.
The West Exit is also called the Kanazawa Port Exit (or Kanazawa-Ko Guchi). There are some hotels and car rental offices on this side of the station. At the West Exit bus terminal you can catch Willer Express buses for Tokyo and buses for Komatsu Airport.
Inside the station building there is a central concourse that runs directly between the east and west exits. All of the railway station facilities run along the south side of this concourse. These railway facilities are divided into two main areas: local lines and shinkansen lines. The local lines are closer to the west side of the station. The shinkansen lines are just inside the east side of the station.
Popular Hotels near Kanazawa Station
Buying Tickets for Local Lines
Kanazawa Station is actually jointly operated by two rail companies: JR West and IR Ishikawa Railway. JR West and IR Ishikawa Railway both operate local line services. These services run from the same platforms and you can access them through the same ticket gates. However, these two companies have separate ticket machines. The machines are located beside each other but they are clearly labeled.
The JR West ticket machine is always on the left and darker blue in color. The IR Ishikawa Railway machine is always on the right and lighter blue in color. Both sets of ticket machines have a button you can press for English guidance, so they are easy to use.
You should use the JR West ticket machine if you want to buy tickets for the Hokuriku Main Line and the following Limited Express services: the Thunderbird, the Shirasagi, the Noto Kagaribi, the Dinostar, the Oyasumi Express, and the Hanayome Noren. You can also buy JR West tickets at the JR West Ticket Office which is located between the local line ticket gates and the shinkansen ticket gates.
You should use the IR Ishikawa Railway ticket machine if you want to buy tickets for the IR Ishikawa Railway Line, the Nanao Line, and the Ainokaze Toyama Railway Line. Services for the Nanao Line (which is run by JR West), and the Ainokaze Toyama Railway Line both use the IR Ishikawa Railway line for part of their route. You can also buy tickets for these lines at the IR Ishikawa Railway Information Counter which is right beside the ticket machines.
Access to Local Line Platforms
Once you have your ticket you should go through the manned ticket gate and show your ticket to the station staff.
Once inside the gates you should check the departure display for your train’s platform. There are seven platforms on the 2nd floor which can be reached by stairways or elevators. Platform 4 is a stand-alone platform which is accessed via platform 5.
Below is a guide to the local line service departures and their platforms.
Limited Express Services
The Limited Express Thunderbird bound for Fukui, Kyoto, and Osaka departs from Platforms 1 and 2.
The Limited Express Shirasagi bound for Maibara and Nagoya departs from Platforms 1 and 2.
The Limited Express Dinostar bound for Fukui departs from Platforms 1 and 2.
The Oyasumi Express bound for Fukui departs from Platform 2.
The Hanayome Noren bound for Wakura Onsen departs from Platform 4.
The Limited Express Noto Kagaribi bound for Wakura Onsen departs from Platforms 5, 6 and 7.
The Limited Express Thunderbird bound for Wakura Onsen departs from Platform 7.
Hokuriku Main Line Services
There are regular local train services on the Hokuriku Main line for Komatsu and Fukui.
Services bound for Komatsu depart from Platforms 2, 3, and 5.
Services bound for Fukui depart from Platforms 1, 2, 3, and 5.
The following services also run on the Hokuriku Main Line:
Services bound for Tsuruga depart at 5.24 and 16.30 from Platform 3.
A service bound for Takefu departs at 6.17 from Platform 2.
A service bound for Daishoji departs at 6.51 from Platform 5.
Services bound for Matto depart at 7.26 and 7.41 from Platform 3.
The Nanao Line
There are regular local train services on the Nanao Line bound for Nanao which depart from Platforms 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.
There are also two trains bound for Takamatsu which depart at 6.06 from Platform 3 and at 23.43 from Platform 6.
The IR Ishikawa Line & The Ainokaze Toyama Line
The Ainokaze Liner is a rapid weekday service that departs from Platform 1 at 17.17, Platform 3 at 18.13, and Platform 5 at 20.21.
Shinkansen Tickets & Platforms
The shinkansen ticket gates are located close to the East Exit of the station on the south side of the concourse. There are plenty of automated ticket machines on either side of the ticket gates, but buying shinkansen tickets can be a little complicated so you might want to use the JR West Ticket Office instead. Most staff can speak some English.
There are four shinkansen platforms on the second floor which are numbered from 11 to 14. These can be reached by stairs, escalators, or elevators. Shinkansen departures for Toyama, Nagano, and Tokyo depart from all of these platforms. You can check your train’s platform on a departure information screen on the 1st floor just inside the ticket gates.
For more detailed information on taking the shinkansen check our article: The Hokuriku Shinkansen for Kanazawa, Toyama, Nagano & Tokyo.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.