Getting Around in Kanazawa
Kanazawa is a compact city that is best explored on foot, but there are several convenient ways to get to and from places without a lot of walking. Although there are no trains or subways running through the city, buses and share cycle services provide convenient ways to explore the majority of the city.
Kanazawa Loop Bus
Kanazawa Loop Bus
Most visitors to Kanazawa will use the Kanazawa Loop Bus, which, as the name implies, travels in a loop from Kanazawa Station to popular stops around the city. The service travels in both clockwise and counter-clockwise directions, so pick up a map from the Tourist Center to figure out which direction is best for your destination. The buses traveling in both directions leave from Bus Stop #6 of Kanazawa Station and cost a flat rate of 200 yen for adults and 100 yen for children.
There are other bus routes that do not run in a loop and the fares for these buses is calculated by distance you ride on them. While it is sometimes more direct to use buses other than the Kanazawa Loop Bus to reach your destination, the bus system in Kanazawa is quite complex, so don't be afraid to ask for assistance at the Tourist Center if you are unsure which bus you should take to your destination.
One Day Pass
There is a One Day Pass that can be used to ride the Kanazawa Loop Bus and other buses as many times as you wish on a single calendar day. The pass can be purchased at the Tourist Center and other designated sellers for 600 yen for adults, 300 yen for children. You can receive valuable discounts on admission fees for some major cultural facilities in the city by presenting the pass. Keep in mind that this pass only works on the designated areas for buses other than the Kanazawa Loop Bus.
How To Ride Buses in Kanazawa
Here are a few tips to make using the buses in Kanazawa a smoother and more pleasant experience.
All buses are entered from the rear door and exited at the front after paying the fare. On most buses with the exception of the Kanazawa Loop Bus, take one of the small tickets that is distributed from the machine at the entrance door so the driver knows where you got on the bus and how much you should pay.
If you are using one of the buses run by West Japan Rail (with the JR logo displayed prominently on the front and rear of the bus), you can use your valid JR Rail Pass to ride for free. The JR Pass cannot be used on any non-JR bus, however, and many of Kanazawa’s buses are run by other companies.
If you are paying in cash, all bus fares must be paid in the exact amount of cash at your destination stop. Buses have change machines that can break 1,000 yen bills if you do not have enough change.
Kanazawa Light-Up Bus
The Kanazawa Light-Up Bus is a special bus service available only on Saturday evenings. It stops at 16 areas in the city that are beautifully illuminated and great for an evening stroll. It can also be ridden in a 45-minute long loop if you just want to enjoy the sights from inside the bus.
Machi-nori Bicycle Sharing Service
For those who prefer cycling, Kanazawa has a public bike-sharing service called Machi-nori, with over 70 locations to pick up and drop off bicycles around the city. Moreover, all the bikes are electric, making riding through the scenic streets of Kanazawa a breeze.
Here is how the service works: rent a bicycle at one of the Docking stations (“Cycle Ports”) around Kanazawa that accept a credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, JCB, or Diner's Club). Check in your bike within 30 minutes at a docking station (almost any docking station should be reachable within 30 minutes), and you will be charged 165 yen for the ride. If you do not check the bicycle in within 30 minutes, you'll be charged an additional 110 yen per 30 minutes, up to a maximum of 2,200 yen per day.
If you already know you'll be using a bicycle all day, you can purchase a one-day rental card from the Machi-nori main office or other places for 1,650 yen. You will receive an IC card that can be used to unlock your bicycle at any time during the day. The Machi-nori main office is located about a 4-minute walk from Kanazawa Station at this address:
Live 1 Building (1F)
3-2 Konohana-machi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa