The limited express Thunderbird connects Osaka, Shin-Osaka, Kyoto, Fukui, and Kanazawa. One round trip of this train operates to Wakura-Onsen. This train is the fastest way to get to Kanazawa from Osaka/Kyoto. If you go to Kanazawa from Osaka, simply take this limited express train.
This train is fully covered by JR Pass, Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass, Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass, and Hokuriku Arch Pass.
In this post, I will explain you about the train information of limited express Thunderbird.
The limited express Kawasemi Yamasemi runs between Kumamoto and Hitoyoshi. This train is also known as one of JR Kyushu’s sightseeing trains. It runs along Kumagawa river and it is very scenic. Kawasemi Yamasemi are the name of birds. Kawasemi is a common kingfisher and Yamasemi is a crested kingfishter.
I would like to explain about this train in this post.
Limited Express Hitachi (ひたち) and Tokiwa (ときわ) are operated mostly between Shinagawa, Tokyo, Ueno and Katsuta, Iwaki via Mito on Joban line. These trains were operated as Super Hitachi and Fresh Hitachi from Ueno station before March 13, 2015. After that, these trains depart from Shinagawa station via Tokyo station. It is much more convenient to get on this train from Tokyo now. These trains connect most of cities along the coast side in Ibaragi and southern part of Fukushima.
If you travel to Mito, Iwaki, Yumoto Hot Springs resort, this train gives you directly transfer from Tokyo, Shinagawa and Ueno.
Limited Express Inaji (伊那路) is operated between Toyohashi (豊橋) and Iida (飯田) via Iida line (飯田線). This train connects most of cities and towns along Tenryu river. If you need to access to Iida, Tenryukyo and other places in Southern Shinshu region, this train may suitable for your trip.
Iida line is not well known for the tourist. And there is no world famous sightseeing spots along this line. However the scenery is breathtaking. Especially you will see Tenryu river valley and Southern Alps mountains through the window when you take this train.
Limited Express Ayame (あやめ) is operated between Tokyo (東京) and Choshi (銚子), Kashima-Jingu (鹿島神宮). Choshi is well know as home of soy sauce and fishing port. Kashima-Jingu is one of the most famous shrine in Japan.
Limited Express Shiosai (しおさい) is operated between Tokyo (東京) and Choshi (銚子), Naruto (成東), Sakura (佐倉). Choshi is located at the mouth of Tone river. This city is very well know as home of soy sauce. And also Choshi is one of the biggest fishing port. There are lots of fresh seafood, like sardines, bonito, and tuna.
Limited Express Wakashio (わかしお) is operated between Tokyo (東京) and Kazusa-Ichinomiya (上総一ノ宮), Katsuura (勝浦), Awa-Kamogawa (安房鴨川). This train runs along the east coast of Boso peninsula in Chiba prefecture. The east coast of Boso peninsula face to Pacific Ocean. This is very popular spots for local tourist in Tokyo.
Limited Express Super Oki (スーパーおき) is operated between Tottori (鳥取), Yonago (米子) and Shin-Yamaguchi (新山口). This train connects all major cities in Sanin area with Shinkansen station Shin-Yamaguchi. Especially you can access to west part of Sanin area, such as Masuda (益田), Hamada (浜田), Odashi (大田市) where is UNESCO World Heritage Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine gate station, this train is your choice. And you can use this train for transfer among Matsue (松江), Izumoshi (出雲市) and other cities in Sanin area. Other limited express Super Matsukaze is operated between Tottori and Masuda. You can use both trains for inter-city transfer in Sanin area. Moreover don’t forget than Tsuwano (津和野) is on the way. This small town is called “Sanin’s little Kyoto”.
Limited Express Super Matsukaze (スーパーまつかぜ) is operated between Tottori (鳥取), Yonago (米子) and Masuda (益田). This train connects all major cities in Sanin area. Matsue (松江) has castle and Samurai district. Izumoshi (出雲市) is very well known by Japan’s second most important shrine, Izumo Taisha. Odashi (大田市) is a gate station to UNESCO World Heritage Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine. You can travel all these cities by Super Matsukaze. It is no doubt that this train is essential to travel in Sanin area. This train is fully covered by JR pass and JR West Sanyo Sanin Area Pass.
The Limited Express Hamakaze (はまかぜ) connects Osaka (大阪) and Tottori (鳥取) Kasumi (香住) and Hamasaka (浜坂). Even though there is only one round trip, Hakamaze is only train that connects Osaka and Tottori directly by JR Pass without any extra charge. Actually the primary train goes to Tottori from Osaka is the limited express Super Hakuto. This train is much more frequent and much faster than Hamakaze. But this train goes through Non JR line, Chizu Kyuko Railway. Therefore you have to pay extra charge if you take this train by JR Pass.
In this post, I will show you the route, schedule and accommodations.
Limited Express Super Hakuto (スーパーはくと) connects Kyoto (京都), Shin-Osaka (新大阪), Osaka (大阪), Sannomiya (三ノ宮) and Himeji (姫路) with Tottori (鳥取) and Kurayoshi (倉吉). This it the fastest and most frequent direct train service to Tottori from Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto. But this train goes through non JR line, Chizu Kyuko Railway. That means you need to pay extra if you use this train by Japan Rail Pass. If you don’t want to pay extra, Limited Express Hamakaze is available between Osaka and Tottori. However there is only one round trip and travel time is 1.5 hours longer than Super Hakuto.
I think Super Hakuto may be your choice even if you have to pay extra on top of Japan Rail Pass. Let’s see about route, schedule and accommodations.
Route, schedule and travel time
There are seven round trips. Some of these seven round trips go to Tottori only, not Kurayoshi. Kyoto/Osaka – Tottori : 5 trips Kyoto/Osaka – Tottori/Kurayoshi : 2 trips Tottori – Osaka/Kyoto : 6 trips Kurayoshi/Tottori – Osaka/Kyoto : 1 trip
Trains are operated every 2 hours. Travel time is 2 hours 30 minutes from Osaka to Tottori and 3 hours from Kyoto to Tottori. You can take Limited Express Hamakaze without any extra charge on top of Japan Rail Pass. But it takes more than 4 hours to get Tottori from Osaka. I think it is worth getting on this train with extra charge. I will tell you about extra charge later.
If you see the map below, you might think this train’s route seems to be a big detour. However this is the fastest route because Chizu Kyuko line is a high standard track for high speed train operation. And if you travel from Nagoya or Tokyo, you can transfer at Himeji.
Limited Express Super Hakuto makes a stop at these stations: Kyoto (京都) – Shin-Osaka (新大阪) – Osaka (大阪) – Sannomiya (三ノ宮) – Akashi (明石) – Himeji (姫路) – Kamigori (上郡) – Sayo (佐用) – Ohara (大原) – Chizu (智頭) – Koge (郡家) – Tottori (鳥取) – Kurayoshi (倉吉)
As I mentioned, you have to pay extra if you use this train by JR Pass. You have to pay 1,320 yen for the base fare. And also you have to pay one of these following fares:
Non Reserved Oridnary seat
Reserved Oridnary seat
You can try to get on limited express Hamakaze without any extra charge. Please see the details at the post below:
Accommodation and train formations
Super Hakuto is operated by the Chizu Kyuko Railway’s HOT 7000 series. In ordinary class, the seat configuration is 2+2 and the leg space is 970 mm. Green class seat is one of the best seat in Kansai area. The seat configuration is 2+1 and the leg space is 1,160 mm. There are only 18 seats available on one train set. It is very popular and sold out very often.
*G=Green seat R=Reserved ordinary seat NR=Non reserved ordinary seat Smoking is not allowed on this train.
The limited express Kusatsu runs between Ueno in Tokyo and Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi. Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi station is the nearest station to one of most famous hot springs resort, Kusatsu. JR Bus Kanto operates the local bus to Kusatsu Onsen.
I will explain about this train and access to Kusatsu Onsen by the bus from Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi station.
Limited Express “A Ressha de Iko (Take the ‘A’ train)” was introduced in October 2011. This is the first express train to Misumi in more than 20 years. JR Kyushu tried to expand the market to Amakusa and tie up with Seacruise ferry service to Amakusa. It is easily connected with them at Misumi station and port of Misumi. Port of Misumi is located just in front of the station You cannot miss it.
This train is named from jazz standard “Take the ‘A’train”. So this music will be played at the bar. Misumi station is the gateway of Amakusa. So “Take the ‘A’ train” means this train take you to ‘A’makusa.
Ibusuki no Tamatebako (指宿のたまて箱) is limited express train that is operated between Kagoshima-Chuo (鹿児島中央) and Ibusuki (指宿). Japan Rail Pass completely cover this train with no extra charge. But there is no non reserved seat. Reservation must be required.
This is the first limited express train on this section, Ibusuki-Makurazaki line. This train runs very slow and is operated for sightseeing along the shoreline of Kagoshima inlet. This train is operated by specialized KIHA 47 series. This train has the true Japanese atmosphere. The crew attendants are on board. Since this train has been started to operate, this is one of most popular train. It is very hard to book a seat.
*I tried to book only two days after starting to sell. Five of six trips were completely sold out. One trips was too early for my schedule. So I was forced to give up!
When you go to Wakkanai at North end of Hokkaido, the limited express trains, Soya and Sarobetsu take you to Wakkanai. Soya is operated between Sapporo and Wakkanai and Sarobetsu runs between Asahikawa and Wakkanai.
Both trains are fully covered by JR Pass and Hokkaido Rail Pass. I will show you this train guide and the timetable in this post.
This train, Aso Boy! connects Kumamoto and Beppu via Aso. When you go to Mt. Aso by a train, take the Shinkansen to Kumamoto and transfer to this train. This is the easiest way to get there.
This train offers not only access to Aso but also a big fun, especially if you travel with child(ren). This train is operated by the refurbished Kiha-183 series. This was completely redesigned by JR Kyushu chief designer, Eiji Mitooka. The facilities of this train make both parents and children enjoy the ride to Aso.
You will find how nice this train is for kids in this article.
This train has not run in the last few years. Please do not use this train in your trip plan.
This is a seasonal operation of Limited Express Okhotsk that connect Sapporo (札幌) and Abashiri (網走) in Hokkaido. This train is operated from late January to early March for Ryuhyo (流氷=Drift ice) viewing. The operation, like time required and route, is completely same as Limited Express Okhotsk. But this seasonal train is operated by specialized car. The accommodation is much better than regular train of Limited Express Okhotsk.
This train was discontinued on March 13, 2015. Hokuriku Shinkansen took over this train service. You can get Kanazawa and Toyama by Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo without any transfer and much faster. The name of “Hakutaka” will be one of Hokuriku Shinkansen name. If you access to Kanazawa from Tokyo, please find more information at the post, Hokuriku Shinkansen, direct access to Kanazawa, Nagano and Toyama from Tokyo.
Hakutaka is operated between Echigo-Yuzawa and Kanazawa. Some trains are extended to operate to Fukui and Wakura-Onsen. If you go to Toyama or Kanazawa, take Joetsu Shinkansen to Echigo-Yuzawa and transfer to this train. This route is the fastest. But this train, Hakutaka is operated on Hokuetsu Kyuko Railway between Muikamachi and Naoetsu. So Japan Rail Pass does not cover this section. That means you need to pay the extra. If you do not want to pay extra and have a time, take other express train, Hokuetsu from Nagaoka. Hokuetsu is slower and operated by older fleet. But this train is operated on JR line only. So there is no restriction with using Japan Rail Pass. If you need more information about Hokuetsu, please refer this page, Limited Express Hokuetsu. Continue reading The fastest way to get Kanazawa from Tokyo, Limited Express Hakutaka
Shirasagi runs between Nagoya, Maibara and Kanazawa. This train is the fastest transfer from Nagoya and Maibara to Hokuriku region, such as Kanazawa and Fukui. This train is very popular for both a business and a leisure travelers. Because there are several popular locations along the route, such as Awara-Onsen hot springs, Kaga-Onsen hot spring. And Kanazawa is the biggest city in Hokuriku area and it is very popular tourist destination as well.
This train, Shirasagi is fully covered by JR Pass. And if you use Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass or Hokuriku Arch Pass, only the segment between Kanazawa and Tsuruga are covered. If you use Takayama Hokuriku area pass, the segment between Tsuruga and Gifu is not covered.
Hashidate connects Kyoto and Miyazu, Amanohashidate and Toyooka. This is only train to go directly one of “Three Views of Japan”, Amanohashidate.
This train, Hashidate goes through KTR (Kyoto Tango Railway) between Fukuchiyama and Toyooka. So if you use this train and go to stations further than Fukuchiyama by Japan Rail Pass, you have to pay extra fare. But if you use Kansai Wide Area Pass, Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass or Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass, this segment on KTR is covered.
I would like to share with you about this train’s route, schedule, accommodations. I will also explain about the extra charge for Japan Rail Pass users.
Kinosaki (きのさき) connects Kyoto (京都) with Kinosaki-Onsen (城崎温泉), Toyooka (豊岡) and Fukuchiyama (福知山). When you go to the popular hot springs town, Kinosaki or one of “Three Views of Japan”, Amanohashidate (天橋立) from Kyoto you may take this train.
Maizuru (まいづる) connects Kyoto with Maizuru (舞鶴). This limited express train is always combined operation with Kinosaki between Kyoto and Ayabe (綾部).
Konotori connects Shin-Osaka (新大阪) and Osaka (大阪) with Kinosaki-Onsen (城崎温泉), Toyooka (豊岡) and Fukuchiyama (福知山). When you go to the popular hot springs town, Kinosaki or one of “Three Views of Japan”, Amanohashidate from Osaka, you may take this train.
Limited express “Midori” connects the gateway city in Kyushu, Hakata with very historical port city Sasebo. Some of trains are operated with Limited Express “Huis Ten Bosch” that is most popular theme park in Kyushu. When you go to Sasebo or Huis Ten Bosch, take Shinkansen to Hakata and change these trains.