Riding the local Hokutetsu bus:

Finding your local stop: There are many bus stops by the side of main roads. There are two types: larger stops with a bus shelter, or smaller ones that are just a small sign. All bear the red and blue pokeball logo. Wander around your area, or ask your sempai/supervisor for help finding the one nearest to you.

When and where? Bus stops will all have their own route maps and timetables. The route maps are pretty useless/difficult unless you know the kanji of your stop. The timetables are easy to read – see following diagram:

Waiting for the bus: Except for the most low-tech stops there will always be a little electric panel with bus numbers and lights on it. Left-side blinking light means ‘two minutes away,’ right-side blinking light means ‘one minute away’ and two blinking lights means ‘almost here!’ The bus it will have the number and destination labelled on its front and side.

Getting on/bus fare:

  • Enter the bus through the side or back door.
  • When etnerting, pick up a ticket from a small machine by the door. A number is printed on the ticket, which you will later use to determine your fare. If you are using an ICa card, swipe it on the touch panel).
  • Have a seat and relax! As you travel the automatic recording (or sometimes the driver) will tell you the next stop and what’s conveniently located near it (like a hernia clinic or a nice restaurant).

Getting off:

  • Take some time to check out the panel above the driver’s head. It’s the fare map. The fare shown beneath your number is the fare if you get off at the current stop (see below):
  • The bus is exact change only, so take this time to get change from the machine to the left of the driver (it’s got a slot for coins up to \500 or \1000 bills). If you are using an ICa card, the driver can refill it if you ask while they’re stopped at a red light.

When you arrive at your destination you get off at the door near the driver. Drop your ticket and your fare in the small plastic slot (or swipe your ICa card on the touch panel) and hop off.

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3) The fare map

5) Change machine

6) The slot for entering your ticket and your fare


How to use JR West trains:

  1. When and Where? There will be two timetables posted at your local station. One will be northbound, and the other southbound. They will be labelled in English by their end stop (for example, ‘For Kanazawa/Toyama’ is north, ‘For Komatsu/Fukui’ is south). Times are listed in military format. Next to the time will be the end stop in kanji (they never translate these). If there is kanji written in red, do not get on!! These are limited express trains: they are very expensive and do not stop at local stations. The number to the right of the train destination is the platform number. Often larger stations will have electronic signboards that show the next 3 trains departing
  2. How much? You can figure out your fare by looking at a fare map. The kanji marked in red will be the station you are currently at. Next, look for the name of your destination. The large black number above the station name will be your fare (ignore the smaller red number, they are the children’s fare).
  3. Buying a ticket: There are two types of ticket machines, newer (with a touch screen) and older (with light up buttons). They both work on the same principal. First, drop your money in the slot. The fares you can buy will light up on the screen/button. If you are buying more than one ticket, hit the button with the correct amount of people. Touch/press the fare you want when it lights up. Out the bottom will pop the ticket/s and your change.
  4. Going through the gate: When you’re ready to go, find the gate. Hand your ticket to the attendant who will stamp it and hand it back to you. Don’t lose your ticket! You have to give it back on the way out. Walk to your platform and wait. When the train arrives a sugary little song will play (or if you’re lucky, you’ll just hear some clanging). Most trains have little placards next to the doors that have the final destination on them (in English too if you’re lucky). Hop on!
  5. Getting off: If the conductors aren’t lazy that day, they will announce the next station over the loudspeaker every time you move. If they don’t, don’t worry, each station has a large sign on the platform that has its name in hiragana, kanji, and English, so keep your eye out. When you want to, hop off and walk to the gate. Hand your ticket to the attendant who will take it.
  6. Fare adjustment: If you accidentally grab the wrong ticket at the ticket machine, there is almost always a little office inside the gate where you can explain your predicament and pay for the correct ticket.

Riding the Hokutetsu Railway trains:

  1. When and Where/How much? Fares and maps work the same was as JR lines.
  2. Buying a ticket: Hokutetsu trains work two ways. Either you buy a ticket at a ticket machine, or you get a ticket on the train in the same way as a bus. Only the end-of-the-line stations have ticket machines (Hokutetsu Kanazawa and Uchinada on the Asanogawa line, Nomachi and Tsurugi on the Ishikawa line), and a conductor will punch your ticket before you get on the train. Otherwise, just take a ticket when you get on the train, and pay your fare at the front of the train when you get off. A fare chart is posted inside all Hokutetsu trains, usually at either end of the carriage, but the station names are only written in kanji – if you’re unsure of the fare, just ask the driver as you’re getting off.


Komatsu Airport (小松空港, KMQ) - Komatsu Airport is host to both civilian and self-defense force aircraft. The mountain side hosts the self-defense air force and the sea side is used by civilian air companies such as ANA and JAL. It is the biggest airport in the Hokuriku Area and it acts as a harbour airport to travel to Kanazawa as well as the southern part of Ishikawa prefecture, the Kaga area, and the Northern part of Fukui. There are international connections including Seoul and Shanghai, as well as domestic services from Tokyo, Sapporo, Sendai, Fukuoka, and Naha. Komatsu bus services leave from the airport to JR Komatsu Station every 20-30 minutes (12 mins, ¥260). Hokutetsu also runs bus services direct to Kanazawa (40-60 mins, ¥1100), Fukui (1 hour), and Kaga Onsen (25 mins, ¥500).

Noto Airport (能登空港,, NTQ) is a domestic airport located about 12km south of Wajima on the Noto Peninsula. ANA operates two daily flights from Noto Airport to Haneda Airport in Tokyo.


If you don’t have a car and your destination is too close for the bus, you’ll join the hordes of people who ride bikes to work. Advantages: no car insurance, no gas money, cheaper then buying a car, good for your health.

sucks in bad weather, gets cold/hot in the winter/summer, dangerous in snow.

Buying a bike: You can buy a typical Japanese ‘mama charie’ at almost any large home store or mall. If you want a specialty bike (American-size if you’re tall, heavy duty mountain bikes) you can import them through the smaller bike stores in KZ or go to your local Sports Authority or Sports Zebio. A ‘mama charie’ will set you back about \10000 base, an import specialty bike will cost you at least twice that if not more. Many stores will also give you the option of registering your bicycle with the local cops for \600 or so. I suggest it

But I wanna take my bike on the train! Sorry, you can’t take regular bikes on the train. The only bikes allowed on trains are foldable models that come with their own special carrying bag. You can purchase these in the same places as regular bicycles.

Repairs and Upkeep: Just accept that your bike is going to turn into a ball of rust within 6 months of purchasing it. It’s the norm. Also, since biking is such a popular mode of transportation, there will be plenty of little family-run bike shops where you can get a ‘punk’ (puncture) fixed in 10 minutes for ~\1000.


See the Driving section of the Wiki for more information on owning and driving a car in Japan.


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