Thunderbird is operated between Osaka (大阪) and Wakura-Onsen (和倉温泉), Kanazawa (金沢). This train is the fastest transfer from Osaka/Kyoto to Kanazawa. This train is very popular for both business and leisure travellers. Because there are several popular location along this trains’s route, like Awara-Onsen (芦原温泉) hot springs, Kaga-Onsen (加賀温泉) hot spring, Kanazawa and Wakura-Onsen hot spring. If you go to Kanazawa from Osaka, simply take this express train.
This train used to run to Toyama via Kanazawa. But on March 14, 2015, Hokuriku Shinkansen was opened and it connects Tokyo, Nagano, Toyama and Kanazawa directly. Now you have to transfer from Limited Express Thunderbird to Hokuriku Shinkansen when you go to Toyama from Osaka or Kyoto.
This train is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass. Let’s see the details.
Route, schedule and time required
Thunderbird runs 22 round trips a day. It takes 2 hours and 40 minutes to Kanazawa from Osaka. Some of Thunderbird are extended to operate to Wakura-Onsen. It takes about 4 hours from Osaka to Wakura-Onsen.
*You can find it at the bottom of JR West website.
View Limited Express Thunderbird in a larger map
|Shin-Osaka (新大阪)||x||Connect to Shinkansen|
|Kyoto (京都)||x||Connect to Shinkansen|
|Katada (堅田)||*||Some of Thunderbird stop|
|Oumi-Imazu (近江今津)||*||Some of Thunderbird stop|
|Tsuruga (敦賀)||*||Most of Thunderbird stop|
|Takefu (武生)||*||Most of Thunderbird stop|
|Sabae (鯖江)||*||Most of Thunderbird stop|
|Awara-Onsen (芦原温泉)||*||Most of Thunderbird stop|
|Kaga-Onsen (加賀温泉)||*||Most of Thunderbird stop|
|Komatsu (小松)||*Most of Thunderbird stop|
|Matto (松任)||*||Some of Thunderbird stop|
x:All trains stop *:some trains stop
Thunderbird is serviced by 681 or 683 series. 681 is older than 683. But basically it is no difference.
The seat pitch in Green seat is 1160mm. It is the standard of most JR trains. The seat configuration is 2+1. It has spacious and nice holding. It is quite good seat. The seat pitch in Ordinary seat is 970mm. It is a little bigger than the standard. Car#3 is only for women. Some of JR train give this kind of service for women travellers.
*Sonic Rail Garden has copyright for all images of accommodations below.
Thunderbird train formation
*G=Green seat R=Reserved seat NR=Non reserved seat
Smoking is not allowed on these trains.