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Access to Kanazawa from Osaka and Kyoto. Limited Express Thuderbird


683 series is the primary fleet for limited express train in Hokuriku region, such as Thunderbird and Shirasagi.

683 series is the primary fleet for limited express train in Hokuriku region, such as Thunderbird and Shirasagi.

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

Stations

Most of Thunderbird stop
Station to Kanazawa/Wakura-Onsen Remarks
Osaka (大阪) x
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
Fukui (福井) x
Awara-Onsen (芦原温泉) * Most of Thunderbird stop
Kaga-Onsen (加賀温泉) * Most of Thunderbird stop
Komatsu (小松) *
Matto (松任) * Some of Thunderbird stop
Kanazawa (金沢) x
Hakui (羽咋) x
Nanao (七尾) x
Wakura-Onsen (和倉温泉) x

x:All trains stop *:some trains stop

Accommodation

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.

Train formation

Thunderbird train formation

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
G R R R NR NR NR R R

*G=Green seat R=Reserved seat NR=Non reserved seat
Smoking is not allowed on these trains.

Images – 681/683 series

Green seat
681/683 series - Limited Express Thunderbird 681/683 series - Limited Express Thunderbird 681/683 series - Limited Express Thunderbird 681/683 series - Limited Express Thunderbird 681/683 series - Limited Express Thunderbird 681/683 series - Limited Express Thunderbird

Ordinary seat
681/683 series - Limited Express Thunderbird 681/683 series - Limited Express Thunderbird 681/683 series - Limited Express Thunderbird 681/683 series - Limited Express Thunderbird 681/683 series - Limited Express Thunderbird

Sanitary space
681/683 series - Limited Express Thunderbird 681/683 series - Limited Express Thunderbird 681/683 series - Limited Express Thunderbird 681/683 series - Limited Express Thunderbird 681/683 series - Limited Express Thunderbird 681/683 series - Limited Express Thunderbird 681/683 series - Limited Express Thunderbird


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99 Comments to “Access to Kanazawa from Osaka and Kyoto. Limited Express Thuderbird”

  1. Assi says:

    Hello,

    Due to i bought JR Pass 7 days, So I would like to know, I can use JR pass for this Thunderbird? If i can use, i have to reserve the seat or not.

    Thank you so much.
    Assi

  2. Linda says:

    Hi Takeshi, I plan to use the Limited Express Train from Osaka to Kanazawa on 9 May 2015. Our group has 3 adults and 1 kid (5 year old). Since we still dont need to pay the ticket for five-year-old kid, I intend to buy unreserved seat ticket so that my kid can sit individually in his seat.
    1. Is it crowded on 9 May? I note that it has passed the Golden week but it is in Saturday. How big is he chance of getting a seat for four of us?
    2. Is the non-reserved car non-smoking? How to ensure that we board a non-smoking car? It will be a nightmare if we accidentally board into the smoking car.

    Thanks.

    • Hi Linda,

      1. It’s not a peak period, but it’s weekend. You can get a seat as long as you take this train at Osaka

      2. All cars are non smoking.

      In case that all seats will be full, you may be asked by conductor to share the seat with your kid because he’s free. In basic rule, you cannot use a seat for child passenger who doesn’t pay. As long as there are empty seats, you can use it for your child.

      Just for your info.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  3. Cindy says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I am travelling to Japan from 6June to 12 June. My questions are:

    1. For ICOCA and Haruka pass, the one way pass can it be Osaka to Kansai Airport? As I saw many people bought this pass is from Kansai Airport to Osaka/Kyoto.

    2. If can’t use the pass, may I know how can I travel from Osaka to Kansai Airport? What is the cost?

    3. For Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass, can I go Kanazawa from Kyoto? If yes, which train should I take? I told by the JTB where this pass only can use JR limited express and the train schedule are very less.

    Thanks a lot.

    Cindy

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