Kanazawa was a castle city during Edo era, when Tokugawa shogunate ruled Japan. It was the seat for feudal family called Maeda, which ruled the province of Kaga.
Kaga and Noto provinces now is called Ishikawa prefecture but it is not so familiar with Japanese. Japanese know Kanazawa, Kaga province but not Ishikawa prefecture.
Kanazawa is second largest city on Sea of Japan side of Japan, next to Niigata. Niigata is an important port but Kanazawa attracts much more tourists. The main tourist attraction is Kenrokuen park, which is considered as Three major parks in Japan.
Before opening of Hokuriku shinkansen, traffic to/from Kanazawa was dominated by air traffics. Although Kanazawa does not have an airport within its city limit, Komatsu airport is nearby. If you had to take trains to Kanazawa from Tokyo, you had two options.
1=Taking Joetsu shinkansen to Echigo-Yuzawa station and change to limited express Hakutaka.
2=Taking Tokaido shinkasen to Maibara and change to limited express Shirasagi.
Most of the passengers chose option 1 due to Nozomi super express does not call at Maibara station. Then the Hakutaka ran the fastes speed for normal limited express in Japan, calling at only few major stations between Echigo-Yuzawa and Kanazawa.
Celebrating the opening of Hokuriku shinkasen to Kanazawa, Kanazawa station was renewed as this photo.