Hokuriku Shinkansen, direct access to Kanazawa, Nagano and Toyama from Tokyo.

E7 series is one of the newest Shinkansen fleets for Hokuriku Shinkansen (C) Rsa (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
E7 series is one of the newest Shinkansen fleets for Hokuriku Shinkansen (C) Rsa (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

This Shinkansen lines is currently called “Nagano Shinkansen”. On March 14. 2015, this Shinkansen lines will be extended to Kanazawa and will be called official name “Hokuriku Shinkansen”. This Shinkansen will offer us much faster transport mode than current train services. So this Shinknansen line is covered by Japan Rail Pass fully and JR East Pass covers between Tokyo and Joetsu-Myoko station.

It does not open yet. But some of you have already started to make an itinerary for next spring. I would like to show you the information about this Shinkansen service with you.

Route, schedule and trip time

Hokuriku Shinkansen runs from Tokyo to Kanazawa via Omiya, Takasaki, Karuizawa, Nagano, Itoigawa and Toyama.

The fastest train of this Shinkansen service connects Tokyo and Kanazawa for 2 hours and 28 minutes, Tokyo and Toyama for 2 hours 8 minutes. Currently Joetsu Shinkansenlimited express Hakutaka via Echigo-Yuzawa is the fastest trains trip. It takes 3 hours 47 minutes between Tokyo and Kanazawa. So you can save about 1.5 hours for Tokyo-Kanazawa transfer by this Shinkansen train service. This is a great news for the tourist who wants to go to Kanazawa from Tokyo.

Stations and types of trains

There are four types of trains that run on this line.

Kagayaki – the fastest train that connects between Tokyo and Nagano, Toyama and Kanazawa / 10 round trips a day
Hakutaka – run between Tokyo or Nagano and Kanazawa with almost every stations stop / 14 round trips a day and 1 round trip between Nagano and Kanazawa
Asama – run between Tokyo and Nagano that is same operation as current Nagano Shinkansen / 16 round trips a day
Tsurugi – Kanazawa – Toyama shuttle train / 18 round trips a day

Station Kagayaki Hakutaka Asama Tsurugi
Tokyo (東京) x x x
Ueno (上野) * x *
Omiya (大宮) x x x
Kumagaya (熊谷) | | =
Honjo-Waseda (本庄早稲田) | | =
Takasaki (高崎) | * *
Annaka-Haruna (安中榛名) | * =
Karuizawa (軽井沢) | * *
Sakudaira (佐久平) | * *
Ueda (上田) | * *
Nagano (長野) x x x
Iiyama (飯山) | * x
Joetsu-Myoko (上越妙高) | X x
Itoigawa (糸魚川) | X x
Kurobe-Unazuki-Onsen (黒部宇奈月温泉) | X x
Toyama (富山) x x x x
Shin-Takaoka (新高岡) = X x x
Kanazawa (金沢) x x x x

x:All train stop *:Most of trains stop =:Some of trains stop |:Skip

Fleets and accommodation

One of the newest Shinkansen fleets E7/W7 series will run on Hokuriku Shinkansen. E7 series has been already introduced on Nagano Shinkansen.

At this point, E2 series that runs as Asama between Tokyo and Nagano will be expected to run after Hokuriku Shinkansen open as some of Asama. Please refer the post, Nagano Shinkansen, direct access to Nagano and Karuizawa from Tokyo to see the detail about E2 series.

In this post, I would like to show you E7/W7 series.

Train formation

Both E7 and W7 series fleets are actually same. The difference is the owner of the fleets. E7 belongs to JR East and W7 belongs to JR West.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

*This train formation is operated as Asama currently. The assignment of non reserved seat and reserved seat may be changed.

R:Ordinary class reserved seat NR:Ordinary class non-reserved seat G:Reserved Green class (Business class seat) GR:Gran class (First class seat)
*This train is all non smoking.


Gran class

Interior of Gran class seats (C) 黄金のひばりたち (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Interior of Gran class seats (C) 黄金のひばりたち (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The seat of Gran class (C) Asacyan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The seat of Gran class (C) Asacyan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Entrance deck of Gran class (C) Meitetu1380 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Entrance deck of Gran class (C) Meitetu1380 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Gran class seat is the highest category in all JR trains. Only Tohoku Shinkansen and Hokuriku Shinkansen trains offer this class. The seat is leather and the seat pitch is 1300 mm with 2+1 seat configuration. The attendant offers high-end hospitality and light meal and beverage are included. (Tsurugi and Hakutaka between Nagano and Kanazawa operation will not offer this service.) Power outlet and many amenities are offered too.

Gran class is covered by Japan Rail Pass and JR East Pass fully. Only base fare is covered. Both limited express surcharge and Gran class fee are extra on top of JR Pass.

Green class

Interior of Green class (C) 黄金のひばりたち (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Interior of Green class (C) 黄金のひばりたち (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Green class seat (C) Jonathan Ayre
Green class seat (C) Jonathan Ayre

Green class is the highest class in most of express trains. The seat pitch 1160 mm with 2+2 seat layout. The power outlet is equipped.

Ordinary class

Ordinary class interior (C) 黄金のひばりたち (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Ordinary class interior (C) 黄金のひばりたち (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Ordinary class seat (C) Jonathan Ayre
Ordinary class seat (C) Jonathan Ayre
Ordinary class seat (C) Jonathan Ayre
Ordinary class seat (C) Jonathan Ayre

It is very typical Shinkansen ordinary class layout. It gives you 1040 mm seat pitch with 2+3 seat configuration. All seats have the power outlet. Actually this is the first Shinkansen train that the power outlet is quipped at all seats.

Other images

Entrance deck(C) Jonathan Ayre
Entrance deck(C) Jonathan Ayre

Entrance deck(C) Jonathan Ayre
Entrance deck(C) Jonathan Ayre
Lavatory (C) Jonathan Ayre
Lavatory (C) Jonathan Ayre
Lavatory (C) Jonathan Ayre
Lavatory (C) Jonathan Ayre
Lavatory (C) Jonathan Ayre
Lavatory (C) Jonathan Ayre

224 thoughts on “Hokuriku Shinkansen, direct access to Kanazawa, Nagano and Toyama from Tokyo.”

  1. Hi Takeshi,

    We plan to have day trip from Kanazawa (in the morning) to Keyakidaira, sight-seeing in Keyakidaira, then, travel and stay at Takayama in early November. We get confused when checking online for the route to take.

    May I know the routes and trains to take in order to reach destination?

    Thanks in advance,

    1. Hi Ivan,

      Your route is the following:

      Kanazawa (Hokuriku Shinkansen) Toyama (Toyama Chiho Railway) Unazuki Onsen (Kurobe Keikoku Railway) Keyakidaira
      Keyakidaira (Kurobe Keikoku Railway) Unazuki Onsen (Toyama Chiho Railway) Toyama (JR Takayama line) Takayama


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi

    I would like your help to check if the Tokyo Wide Pass (to be used during days 2-4) combined with the Suica/Pasmo card would be the best options for our 7 day trip below, we are traveling June 6-12:

    Day 1: Haneda Airport to Tokyo-stay overnight in Hammamatsucho area
    Day 2: Tokyo to Karuizawa
    Day 3: Karuizawa to Nozawa
    Day 4: Nozawa to Matsumoto then on to Shinjuku
    Day 5: Tokyo (Shinjuku)
    Day 6: Tokyo (Shinjuku)
    Day 7: Depart from Haneda Airport

    1. For day 2, with Tokyo Wide Pass, I noticed the pass only stops in Sakudaira. How do we go on to Nozawa.
    2. Will the Tokyo Wide Pass cover our trip to Matsumoto and on to Shinjuku?
    3. Can we make seat reservations for all the Shinkansen and Ltd. Express trains on our itinerary?

    Thanks for your help!


    1. Hi Annabelle,

      Tokyo Wide Pass does not cover Nozawa and Matsumoto. I recommend you to use JR East Pass Nagano, Niigata:

      You can take Shinkansen from Karuizawa to Iiyama. And then take a local train to Togarinozawaonsen station which is near Nozawa onsen. And also take Shinkansen to Nagano and then take another limited express train to Matsumoto. You can take limited express train to Shinjuku from Matsumoto. These trips are covered by JR East Pass Nagano, Niigata.

      This pass is valid for 5 days in 14 days period. So you can use it for day 2 to 4. And pick any other 2 days from day 1, 5, 6 and 7. It covers monorail between Haneda and Hamamatsucho too. However JR East travel counter in Haneda open between 7:45 – 18:30. You may not be able to exchange/purchase the pass on arrival day if you arrive late.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi takeshi
    Thank you for amazing advice on the labyrinth of japan n its rails
    Like others i too am confused abt my itinerary. Pls help
    Arriving mumbai to tokyo on 25th may, at narita airport
    Day 1 tokyo city (hotel is in Ochanimizu)
    Day 2 tokyo city
    Day 3 Disney Sea
    Day 4 hakone/ kawaguchiko lake (stay d night)
    Day 5 mid day return to tokyo
    Day 6 tokyo to alpen route day trip (pls tell me its possible) back to tokyo by last or second last hokuriku shinkansen
    Day 7 kyoto
    Day 8 kyoto
    Day 9 Kyoto
    Day 10 kyoto to kanazawa
    Day 11 kanazawa to shirakawa go and takayama if possible
    Day 12 takayama to tokyo (via tayoma? Or direct possible)
    Day 13 depart for mumbai from narita

    1) is this doable?
    2) i guess only 7 day jr pass will be apropriate? Or the hokuriku arch pass is sufficient?
    3) Will my jr pass work for kyoto to Kanazawa?
    4) is there a discount ticket for narita to tokyo? Or should i go for the limouzine?
    The tateyama kuribe option ticket sales show closed on jr east website? Does it mean they are sold off? Can i buy option ticket from one of the stations like tokyo or toyama on the day i m going for d alpen route?

    Many questions. I would be grateful if you could take the time to respond
    Kavita from mumbai

    1. Hi Kavita,

      1. It’s doable, But I’m wondering why you don’t go to Kanazawa after alpine route on day 6. You can do day trip to alpine route from Tokyo.

      But Kanazawa is just step away from Toyama. Of course you can keep this itinerary.

      2. JR pass 7 days is the best choice for day 6 to 12.

      3. Yes, it does.

      4. There are lots of deals. Please see the link below:

      Tateyama Kurobe option ticket is on sale now.

      At last, Fuji Hakone pass is recommended for Fuji and Hakone trip.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Hi Takeshi

    I would like to know the best and affordable train pass for my itinerary in mid October:-

    Day 1 – Haneda – Hamamatsucho
    Day 2 – Tokyo city tour
    Day 3 – Hamamatsucho – Nagoya – Takayama
    Day 4 – Takayama
    Day 5 – Takayama – Shirakawago – Toyama
    Day 6 – Toyama – Alpine Route – Shinano Omachi
    Day 7 – Shinano Omachi – Lake Kawaguchiko
    Day 8 – Lake Kawaguchiko
    Day 9 – Kawaguchiko – Tokyo
    Day 10 – Tokyo
    Day 11 – Tokyo – Haneda

    Thank you very much

    1. Hi Kah Lai Tan,

      Only JR pass is your choice. You can use 7 days pass from day 1 to 7.

      But even if you purchase single ticket, total fare is not much different from 7 days pass. So JR pass gives you convenience but not give you a big saving. However there is no better deals anyway.

      You may take express bus from Kawaguchiko to Tokyo (Shinjuku).

      Add subway pass in Tokyo and single ticket to Haneda.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Hi takeshi,

    I read in several web that currently, JR pass is not fully cover Hokuriku Shinkansen?
    As some of the rail is sharing by private railway company just like going to tottori.
    If i’m using jr pass to kanazawa, will there any additional fare?
    I will use 7 days ordinary jr pass on mid april’17.
    What is the different using jr pass or hokuriku arch pass 7 days?
    Which you recommend?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Miranti

      JR Pass covers Hokuriku Shinkansen fully.
      JR Pass covers all JR lines in Japan. Hokuriku Arch Pass covers Tokyo, Osaka and the route between Tokyo and Osaka via Kanazawa. Please see the coverage map in the link below:


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. Hi Takeshi,
    My family of four will be visiting Japan 1st week of April and my roughly itinerary is as follow:
    1st day : arrival to Tokyo
    2nd day : going to Disney
    3rd day : explore day trip to hakone
    4th day : going to Kanazawa/ takayama – can give opinion should I stay at kanazawa or takayama
    5th day : takayama to shirakawa-go than will return back to Tokyo in the evening
    6th day : explore Tokyo
    7th day : explore Tokyo
    8th day :half day in Tokyo before departing back home
    Will the jr pass suitable for me and is my itinerary abit cramp?pls advice.
    Thx in advance.


    1. Hi Yen,

      You can use JR pass 7 days for the last 7 days. There are some deals for day 1.

      You can get Odawara but Hakone is not covered by JR pass. Please see the link below:

      If you want to visit Kanazawa, you should stay in Kanazawa on day 4 and visit Shirakawago and Takayama before you go back to Tokyo.

      You can use JR pass in Tokyo but some places cannot be accessed by JR trains. Please see the link below:


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi,
        Thx for the reply. For the jr pass some seat need to pay for extra charges on top of the base fare and how should I know how much I pay? And by using the jr pass does it cover the marunochi lines? For ur suggestion shld I stay in Kanazawa or takayama before departing to shirakawago the next day?
        Sry for many questions.


        1. Hi Yen,

          If you use JR pass ordinary (7 days, 29100 yen), you can take reserved ordinary seat. Green class and Gran class is are not covered. If you use JR pass green, you can take both reserved ordinary and Green. Gran class is not covered by Green pass either.

          JR pass does not cover any subway lines. I gave the link below. But please refer it again. All info about trains in downtown Tokyo are shown in this link:

          Regarding Kanazawa or Takayama, it depends on you want to see Kanazawa or not. If you want to see Kanazawa, go to Kanazawa first and stay there. On next day, visit Shirakawago and Takayama, and then head back to Tokyo. If not, just go to Takayama first and visit Shirakawago from Takayama.


          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi Takeshi
            Thx as I already read your post stating that Tokyo monorail can be use by jr rail so I assume monorail included marunochi lines . As for Kanazawa and takayama I’m not sure which places more worth to visits as I only want to find the most convenient and fastest route to reach shirakawago .

            Best regards,

          2. Hi Yen,

            Kanazawa is much more accessible from Tokyo than Takayama. There is no direct route to get Takayama from Tokyo but you can get Kanazawa directly by Hokuriku Shinkansen. Please see the links below:

            So if you want to make your trip be easier, just go to Kanazawa and have return trip to Shirakawago from Kanazawa. Both Kanazawa and Takayama are very lovely cities. If you have extra time, I recommend you to visit both.


            Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Hello Takeshi,
    I will be arriving @ Narita on 27 March Monday @ 3.35 pm to then go to Ilyama. I will have 2 large suitcases. Would I be best to get NEX to Tokyo to board Hokuriku with suitcases or take Keisei Skyline to Ueno to board Hokuriku. I am worried about no room for luggage. Also would Hokuriku train 6.10 pm to Ilyama be crowded?
    Thanks for any response

    1. Hi Todd,

      I recommend NEX to Tokyo and take Hokuriku Shinkansen. If you take Keisei, you have to walk outside from Keisei Ueno to JR Ueno. If it’s rain, you will be very uncomfortable.

      It’s very hard to find how busy 6:10 departure. If you really want to see the availability, use the tips in the link below.

      Hokuriku Shinkansen train has small luggage space. But it’s very limited. You may need to keep your luggage at your seat.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  8. I would like advise on how to travel between these locations.
    1) Nagoya to Takayama
    2) Takayama to Toyama
    3) Toyama to Nozawa Onsen
    4) Nozawa Onsen to Tokyo airport
    Travelling date Feb. Thank you

  9. i have checked hyperdia website ..and i want to know what is the difference between Toyama STA and toyama ?
    because i want to go from tokyo to toyama .. and i dont know what to choose .. Toyama STA or Toyama

    1. Hi Sherif,

      Toyama STA is Toyama Chiho Railway station. So you can choose Toyama.

      Actually it’s same location as Toyama station. Even if you choose Toyama STA, Hyperdia shows Toyama Sta (walk) Toyama.


      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  10. round trip Tokyo / Nagano pls adv which train is easiest, cause i m not familiar with wi your train system.

    is Hakutaka shinkansen ok?
    how much is Gran class?
    i should buy JR East Pass or Japan Rail Pass?

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