- 8 min read

How to Access Shiramine by Bus

Easily visit this traditional mountain village by bus

Table of contents

  1. Quick Guide
  2. Detailed Guide
  3. Tips and Advice

People have lived in Shiramine since pre-historic times, utilizing the rich natural environment of the surrounding mountains. Winter sees snow over 2m deep, and as such a unique architecture and lifestyle developed here. Even today, this rustic mountain lifestyle remains, just waiting for visitors to experience it.

The village has received international recognition by UNESCO, being an important part of both the Hakusan Tedorigawa UNESCO Global Geopark and Mount Hakusan Biosphere Reserve, and is frequently visited by international students, scientists, and universities throughout the year. 

Despite being so remote, this village can be quite easily accessed from Kanazawa for those with an adventurous spirit, even in mid winter! Furthermore, a number of accommodation options are available. Stay a night, or even a week! Regardless of how long you choose to stay, you will receive a warm welcome, and have a relaxing time. 

Learn more about Shiramine here: https://yositai2022.wixsite.com/visit-shiramine

Quick Guide

Here is a quick guide for my recommended bus route. See a detailed explanation and other routes below, along with advice and local know-how.

Kanazawa to Shiramine

  1. Catch the “Shiramine” bus from Kanazawa Station bus terminal, platform 11. The bus leaves at 9:27am.
  2. Ride the bus for about 1.5 hours until you see “Shiramine-Kita” or “Shiramine” station on the announcement board at the front of the bus, and press one of the stop buttons located on the poles inside the bus to tell the driver to stop.
  3. Pay your fare as you leave (1,330 yen as of Oct 2023)

Shiramine to Kanazawa

  1. Catch the “Tsurugi” bus from any of the bus stops along the main road of Shiramine. The bus leaves Shiramine at 9:37am and 2:55pm.
  2. Ride the bus about 1 hour to the final stop, Tsurugi Station.
  3. Pay the fare as you leave (1,180 yen as of Oct 2023)
  4. Catch the train to Kanazawa. See here for details: https://en.japantravel.com/ishikawa/getting-to-kanazawa-s-ancient-neighbor-tsurugi/60723

Detailed Guide

Kanazawa to Shiramine

1. Exit the East Gate of Kanazawa Station (where the big wooden gate is), and find Platform 11 at the far end of the bus station.

2. The bus for Shiramine leaves at 9:27am or 5:37pm. The bus has no route number, but will instead say “白峰体験村” with “Shiramine” written beneath. Check this before getting on the bus, as many other buses also use this stop.

3. Enter the bus from the rear, and collect a paper ticket from the machine near the door.

4. Ride the bus for about 1.5 hours. In front of the bus is a screen announcing the price and next stop. This appears in English and Japanese. When you see “Shiramine-Kita” or “Shiramine” as the next stop, press the stop buttons located on the poles throughout the bus.

5. To check the price, compare the number on your paper ticket to the number on the screen. The price to Shiramine is 1,330 yen as of Oct 2023.

6. When the bus stops, place your EXACT fair into the box at the top of the machine. DO NOT put your money into the coin or note slots. These are for splitting money into small change. If you don’t have exact change for the fair, you can split your money at the machine at any time along the ride.

Tsurugi to Shiramine

Travelling from Tsurugi provides a few more buses than from Kanazawa. You can catch a train to Tsurugi from Kanazawa. See here for more information: https://en.japantravel.com/ishikawa/getting-to-kanazawa-s-ancient-neighbor-tsurugi/60723

1. In front of Tsurugi Station you will find a bus stop.

2. Take the Shiramine bus when it arrives. Buses to Shiramine don’t have route numbers, so please check for “Shiramine” written in English and Japanese on the front of the bus. The Shiramine bus leaves Tsurugi Station at 10:22, 13:38, 16:40, and 18:40 on weekdays, and 10:22, 16:40, and 18:35 on weekends and public holidays.

3. Follow instructions 3 to 6 in the above Kanazawa to Shiramine guide.

Shiramine to Kanazawa

Only one bus a day goes all the way to Kanazawa Station. If you would like to take a later bus, see below for “Shiramine to Tsurugi/Kanazawa”.

  1. Hail and catch the “Kanazawa” bus from anywhere along the bus route in Shiramine (see below tips for details). The bus does not have route numbers, so be sure to check that Kanazawa Station is written in both English and Japanese on the front of the bus.
  2. The Kanazawa bus leaves the south of Shiramine at 6:14am every day, so be waiting for the bus at about this time.
  3. Follow steps 3 to 6 in the above Kanazawa to Shiramine guide, replacing Shiramine with Kanazawa Station.

Shiramine to Tsurugi/Kanazawa

As only one bus goes directly to Kanazawa Station, it’s recommended to take a bus to Tsurugi Station and catch the train to Kanazawa.

  1. Hail and catch the “Tsurugi” or “Matto” bus from anywhere along the bus route in Shiramine (see below tips for details). The bus does not have route numbers, so be sure to check that Tsurugi or Matto is written underneath the Japanese on the front of the bus.
  2. The Tsurugi/Matto bus leaves the south of Shiramine at 6:32am, 9:37am, and 2:55pm on weekdays and 9:37am and 2:55pm on weekends and public holidays. Please be waiting for the bus at about this time.
  3. Follow steps 3 to 6 in the above Kanazawa to Shiramine guide, replacing Shiramine with Tsurugi Station. The fare to Tsurugi is 1,180 yen as of October 2023 (If you want, you can also catch the Matto bus to Matto Station, and catch a Kanazawa-bound train directly to Kanazawa Station.)
  4. From Tsurugi Station you can catch a train to Kanazawa. See the following guide for details: https://en.japantravel.com/ishikawa/getting-to-kanazawa-s-ancient-neighbor-tsurugi/60723

Tips and Advice

Checking Timetables

The Shiramine bus runs on a very analog system, so you won’t find it listed on Google Maps or other navigation services. You can check the timetable online, but it’s only available in Japanese, in PDF. Even if you can't speak Japanese, you can still easily check the times with a little explanation. Let me teach you how to check the timetable.

  1. Visit the following website: http://www.hokutetsu.co.jp/route_timetable
  2. Copy the following Japanese and use the search function (Ctrl + f) to find “北鉄白山バス遅刻表” and open the PDF link. (See the 2023 PDF here: http://www.hokutetsu.co.jp/media/route-bus/20230701/route_timetable_hakusan.pdf)
  3. For Shiramine, you want to be looking at either the “白峰線” table or the “白山線” table. Copy the Japanese and search it in the PDF by using the search function (Ctrl + f).
  4. The key stations you want to know are the following:
    • Kanazawa Station 金沢
    • Tsurugi Station 鶴来
    • Shiramine Shako 白峰車庫
    • Matto Station 松任駅前 Unfortunately, because they write the station names top to bottom, you can’t use the search function for the whole word. So try practice matching Japanese kanji! Important: Not all stops are listed. Both of the above bus lines stop at every bus stop between Tsurugi and a bus stop about 5 minutes south of Shiramine.
  5. Beneath each station name will be a time written in 24-hour format. This is the time that the bus leaves that bus stop. Now, simply match stations and times to plan your trip!
  6. See the below example that highlights all the buses that run to/from Shiramine, with English added.

Hailing a Bus

When you’re in Shiramine, you don’t need to wait at a bus stop to catch the bus. You can actually catch the bus from anywhere along the main road of Shiramine, just by hailing the bus. So, if you don’t want to walk to the bus stop, wait for the bus anywhere along the route, and wave your hand when you see the bus coming.

If you speak some Japanese, you can also ask the driver to stop anywhere along the line. If you don't speak Japanese, don't worry, the bus stops are all within walking distance of each other.

(The main road of Shiramine is the narrow North-South road that runs directly through the village, passing by the Shinsa store. It is NOT the large road that runs beside the river, and does not stop by the Saisai store in the center of the village)

If you have any questions, please feel free to comment :)

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