Kanazawa-eki in Kazanawa is the largest railway station in the Ishikawa prefecture, and one of the most beautiful stations in Japan.
The original building was opened on 1 April 1898 as a terminus of the Asanogawa line, joining two cities, Uchinada and Kanazawa. The owner and manager of the line was Japanese transport company Hokuriku, so in 1909 it was officially named Hokuriku Main Line. Following privatisation of the Japanese railway in 1987, the station was renamed Kanazawa-eki.
In the second half of the 20th century the building underwent a number of modernisations and fundamental changes. The most important investment in that time was raising the platforms and moving the station above the street level. Ceremonial opening of the modernised station took place on 5 June 1990. The next year a commercial centre was added, and on 20 March 2005 the construction of “Tsuzumi Mon” gate and “Motenashi Dome” – the most characteristic architectural elements of the facility – was completed.
Kanazawa-eki is famous for combining a traditional Japanese wooden structure and modern, futuristic architecture. The word “motenashi” means “welcome” in Japanese. Indeed, the passen-gers approaching the station are welcomed with the 46 feet (14 metres) tall “Tsuzumi Mon” gate, visible from a distance, consisting of two wooden pillars which symbolise traditional Japanese “tsuzumi” drums. The magnificent “Motenashi Dome”, covering the passage which joins the eastern and western part of the station, is made from three thousand small, glass elements. The huge roof over the station and platforms prevents train stoppages due to snowfall.
The station in Kanazawa consists of three platforms, serving two tracks each. Future modifications include building a new Hokuriku Shinkansen high speed line to Kanazawa. Kanazawa-eki has been partially adjusted to these plans, since in 1990, together with remodelling of the station, a concourse level for the Shinkansen line was constructed. When the construction is completed, the line will be served by two island platforms with four tracks. Currently, the journey from Kanazawa to Tokyo (about 286 miles / 460 kilometres) takes four hours; high-speed railway will shorten that time to 2.5 hours.