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

StationKagayakiHakutakaAsamaTsurugi
Tokyo (東京)xxx
Ueno (上野)*x*
Omiya (大宮)xxx
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)xxx
Iiyama (飯山)|*x
Joetsu-Myoko (上越妙高)|Xx
Itoigawa (糸魚川)|Xx
Kurobe-Unazuki-Onsen (黒部宇奈月温泉)|Xx
Toyama (富山)xxxx
Shin-Takaoka (新高岡)=Xxx
Kanazawa (金沢)xxxx

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.

123456789101112
NRNRNRNRNRRRRRRGGR

*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.

Images

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

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

  1. Hi Takeshi San,

    I am travelling to Japan for 2 weeks with my daughter (9) .
    We will arrive on the 9th at around 7 oclock at night . We will be staying in Chiba for the night so my daughter wont be too tired.
    10th May – chiba – Tokyo
    11 & 12 Tokyo
    13 Tokyo Hakone back to Tokyo
    14 Tokyo Kanazawa
    15 Kanazawa
    16 Shirakawa taking the bus ? then spending the night in Takamaya
    17 Takamaya
    18 Takamaya – Kyoto
    19 – 20 Kyoto
    21 Kyoto – Tokyo
    22 Tokyo – Narita ( at night)

    Could you please advice me on the best pass ?

    Kind regards
    Calina

    1. Hi Calina san,

      This is very tough to choose the deal. JR Pass is only choice to cover your trip. But 7-day pass is too short to cover and 14-day pass is too expensive:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/japan-rail-pass-user-guide-how-to-use-jr-pass-to-its-maximum.html

      If you go back to Tokyo on 20th, you can use 7-day pass for 14th to 20th. In this case, you can get the worth of 7-day pass easily. You may add other local deal in Tokyo.
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/narita/the-list-of-deals-for-access-to-downtown-tokyo-from-narita-airport.html
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kanto-area/tokyo-kanto-area/guide-to-take-trains-in-tokyo-how-to-choose-the-best-deal-and-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html

      If you don’t want to go back to Tokyo on 20th, you have to use a regular fare ticket for city to city. It’s still cheaper than 14-day pass.

      At last, if you stay near Narita airport on arrival day, that is a good idea. But if you meant that you will stay in city of Chiba, that is not much different from going to Tokyo. Because you can take express train to Tokyo and you have to take rapid or local train to get Chiba. Trip time is not much different. And also you don’t need to move to Tokyo from Chiba with luggage on day 2. This may be easier for you and your daughter.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi san,
        How does this below itenary look? If i just buy a hakone free pass and start the jr pass on the 15, is that better?

        9 arrive at 7 pm straight to tokyo
        10,11 & 12 Tokyo
        13 Tokyo Hakone stay in hakone
        14 hakone -tokyo
        15 Tokyo Kanazawa
        16 Kanazawa
        17 Shirakawa taking the bus ? then spending the night in Takamaya
        18 Takamaya
        19 Takamaya – Kyoto
        19 – 21 Kyoto
        21 Kyoto – Tokyo
        22 Tokyo – Narita ( at night)

  2. Dear Takeshi-san,

    My itinerary is as follows:

    1. Haneda airport to Nagano
    2. Snow monkey (Should I get the snow monkey pass as JR East Nagano Niigata pass does not cover this?), Obuse (Does snow monkey pass or JR East Nagano Niigata cover this?)
    3. Nagano to Matsumoto or Kanazawa (Day trip, does the JR East Nagano Niigata pass cover this??
    4. Nagano to Hakuba
    5. Hakuba
    6. Hakuba
    7. Hakuba to Echigo Yuzawa (Should I transit in Niigata so I can take the Ruto Shu Kara then Genbi Shinkansen?)
    8. Echigo Yuzawa to Niigata and back (Day trip) I would like to go to Niigata Furusato Village and Bandai city (Would the pass cover these?)
    9. Echigo Yuzawa to Hamamatsucho
    10 ….Around Tokyo

    Should I get the JR East Nagano Niigata pass? Which day should I use it to fully utilize it?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Nic san,

      You can use JR East Pass Niigata Nagano and Snow Monkey Pass. Obuse and Snow Monkey Park are covered by Snow Monkey Pass. Kanazawa is outside the coverage area of JR East Pass.
      You can use 5 days coverage for Haneda to Nagano, Nagano to Matsumoto to Nagano, Hakuba to Echigo-Yuzawa, Echigo-Yuzawa to Niigata to Niigata, and Echigo-Yuzawa to Hamamatsucho. Please add a regular fare for other segments.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Dear Takeshi san,

    We are going to Tokyo December 2018 and this is our itinerary:
    Day 1: Narita – Shinjuku
    Day 2: Shinjuku – Ueno
    Day 3: Shinjuku – Iiyama: Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort
    Day 4: Iiyama – Yudanaka: Jigokudani Snow Monkey
    Day 5: Iiyama
    Day 6: Iiyama – Matsumoto
    Day 7: Iiyama – Shibuya
    Day 8: Shibuya – Narita

    Please advise, what pass should I get and or to combine with.

    Domo arigatougozaimasu.

    1. Hi Casy san,

      You may use JR East Pass Niigata and Nagano:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/jr-east-pass-niigata-and-nagano-flex-5-days-pass-in-14-days-period-to-cover-kanto-region-nagano-and-niigata.html

      You can use it for day 1, 3, 6, 7 and 8. Shinjuku to Ueno is very short ride. You will ride a bus from Iiyama to Snow Monkey Park. This is not covered by JR East Pass.
      http://www.snowmonkeyresorts.com/access/from-nozawa-how-to-get-to-snow-monkey/

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Dear Takeshi san,

    I will be heading to Japan during December, do you think Hokuriku Arch Pass is suitable for my itinerary?
    21st – Haneda Airport > Osaka
    22-23rd – Osaka > Kyoto
    23-26th – in Osaka but will be visiting Nagano
    27th – back to Tokyo after that will use Suica thru out.

    Thank you.
    Apple

    1. Hi Apple san,

      You may use it but I recommend you to use JR pass 7 days more than Hokuriku arch pass. Because Hokuriku arch pass does not cover Tokyo-Osaka direct Shinkansen route. It you use Hokuriku arch pass, you have to take the route via Kanazawa. You have to change trains at Kanazawa and trip time is 5.5 hours which is 2 hours longer than Tokyo-Osaka Shinkansen which is Tokaido Shinkansen.
      https://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-departure-arrival-stations/stations-in-tokai/nagoya-toyohashi/what-is-shinkansen-bullet-train.html

      If you use JR pass, you can take Hikari on Tokaido Shinkansen from Tokyo to Shin-Osaka. Trip time is around 3 hours from Shinagawa to Shin-Osaka. Of course, all coverage area of Hokuriku arch pass is covered by JR pass too. It’s no problem to travel to Nagano by JR pass.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Dear Takeshi san,

        Thank you so much for replying, if it is only the journey time we are fine with it.
        We will take a short break in Kanazawa since we are not in a rush, but can we use this pass in Osaka and Kyoto? Is Osaka metro and Kyoto metro cover. Or can I use Suica for metro?

        Warmest Regards,
        Apple

  5. Dear Takeshi-san,

    Could you please recommend me if Hokuriku Pass or JR pass or other pass that suits my plan to visit Japan.

    Day 1 : arrived Haneda
    Day 2 – Day 9 : will be around Tokyo & Disneyland etc
    Day 10 : Tokyo – Takayama (stay overnight, will visit Shirakawago)
    Day 11 : Takayama – Kanazawa (stay overnight)
    Day 12 – Day 15 : Kanazawa – Kyoto (stay 3 nights)
    Day 15 – Day 17 : Osaka (2 nights)
    Day 17 – Day 18 : Nagoya (1 night)
    Day 18 : back to Tokyo (1 night) then Narita airport

    I am interested in trying the new golden route to get to Takayama. Does that mean I need to get the Hokuriku Pass or i can use JR Pass and still be on this route? and would getting the 14 days JR pass worth it for my journey?

    Please advise, what pass should I get and or to combine with.

    THank you so much I appreciate your help.

    1. Hi Imelda san,

      First of all, Hokuriku arch pass does not work because it does not cover Takayama. 14 days JR pass is too expensive to get the worth by your trip plan. I believe the best option is 7 days JR pass from day 12 to 18. Total cost will be almost same as 7 days JR pass price.

      For day 1 to 9, you can use subway pass or regular ticket. You can find the deal which include Haneda access + Tokyo subway ticket in the link below:
      https://www.tokyometro.jp/en/ticket/airport_bus/index.html

      For Tokyo to Takayama, you may use a regular fare ticket. Please find the fare at hyperdia:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/timetable-and-reservation/hyperdia-perfect-guide-train-timetable-and-route-search-engine.html

      If you want to save your cost, you can take an express bus.
      https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/highwaybus/shinjuku_en/

      You have take a bus anyway for Takayama-Shirakawago-Kanazawa which is not covered by JR pass.
      https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/highwaybus/kanazawa_en/

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. Dear Takeshi san,

    I’m going to Tokyo early 2019 and this is my itinerary:
    Day 1: Shinjuku
    Day 2: Disney Sea
    Day 3: Shirakawago (stay one night in Toyama and travel back to Tokyo the next day)
    Day 4: Asakusa
    Day 5: Hakone
    Day 6: Shibuya

    My biggest concern is the train ticket from Tokyo to Toyama. Do you think we should go for JR East Pass just to travel between Tokyo/Toyama?

    1. Hi Nicholas san,

      I recommend you to use Hokuriku arch pass. JR East Pass does not cover Toyama.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/tokyo-osaka-hokuriku-arch-pass-user-guide-clarify-valid-trains-coverage-area-and-compare-single-fare-and-pass.html

      This is cheaper than Tokyo-Toyama round trip fare. If you use JR East Pass, you have to pay Joetsumyoko – Toyama round trip fare on top of JR East Pass which is around 10,000 yen.

      Hokuriku arch pass does not help for trip to Hakone and JR East Pass covers partially.
      But Hakone Free Pass is much better choice than using JR East Pass.
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/1to3-days/how-to-build-the-trip-plan-to-hakone-various-sample-itineraries-of-hakone.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Hi Takeshi,

    i’m travelling to japan from 3rd-11th december this year from tokyo to osaka. my itinerary is as follows :
    3rd : arrive in tokyo
    4th : tokyo area
    5-6th : kawaguchiko and stay for a night
    7th : takayama
    8th : shirakawago
    9th : osaka
    10th : kyoto day trip
    11th : home.

    Would buying the JR pass benefit me? or should i just buy the takayama-hokuriku area pass?
    Thank you ^^

    1. Hi Joanna,

      JR pass is too costly for your trip. You cannot get the worth of it. You may use a regular fare ticket until you get Takayama. After Takayama for day 7 to 11, you can use Takayama Hokuriku area pass.

      When you move from Kawaguchiko to Takayama, I recommend you to take the following route:
      Kawaguchiko (Fujikyu railway) Otsuki (JR Limited Express Azusa) Matsumoto (Nohi bus) Takayama
      https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/highwaybus/matsumoto_en/
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/station-information/matsumoto-station-guide-how-to-catch-the-bus-to-takayama-hotaka-and-kamikochi-how-to-take-a-train-to-nagano-hakuba-shinano-omachi.html
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/station-information/otsuki-station-guide-how-to-transfer-from-jr-train-to-fuji-kyuko-train.html

      This route is most affordable and the fastest way.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thank you for the advice Takeshi-san,

        Also from Tokyo/Shinjuku to kawaguchiko, which means of transport is more preferable? buy bus or train? because i will be carrying luggage too.

  8. Dear Takeshi-san,

    Please recommend me any JR pass or other pass that suits my plan to visit Tokyo.

    19 oct 2018: Narita to Takayama
    20 Oct 2018: Takayama – ShirakawaGo – Kanazawa
    21 Oct 2018: Takayama – Tokyo (shibuya)
    22 Oct 2018: Asakusa
    23 Oct 2018: Shibuya – Narita

    in between 20 -21 oct, I also plan to visit toyama and tateyama alpine Route, but this is my extra plan only. it is optional.

    Please advise, what pass should I get and or to combine with.

    Domo arigatougozaimasu.

    mc

      1. Dear Takeshi san,

        What about Hokuriku arch pass? It is a bit cheaper than JR pass.

        Is it applicable for my planned trip?

        Thanks.
        mc

        1. Hi Maria san,

          Hokuriku Arch Pass does not cover Takayama. And also when you go to Takayama from Narita, you may take Narita-Tokyo-Nagoya-Takayama route. Because train runs more frequently than Narita-Tokyo-Toyama-Takayama. Hokuriku arch pass does not cover Tokyo-Nagoya-Takayama. JR pass does.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Dear Takeshi San,
            Thank you very muchh for your explaination.
            From the given detail, i change the plan. From Takayama, i change to Kanazawa. So, Kanazawa will be my base. And, from Kanazawa i will take the bus to shirakawaGo and to takayama.
            So, according to this new plan, i still have to use JR pass or i can use the Hokuriku Arch Pass??

            Thanks.
            mc

              1. Dear Takeshi san,

                After some time of thinking, i change my schedule again. The fixed schedule will be:
                1. 19 oct: Narita – Asakusa
                2. 20 oct: Asakusa – Kamakura
                3. 21 oct: to Hakone
                4. 22 oct: hakone – Gotemba
                5. 23 oct: Hakone to Narita

                Please help to advise what pass that suits me for my schedule.
                At the moment, I am still thinking these 4 passes:
                1. Tokyo Wide pass (3days)
                2. Hakone kamakura pass (3 days)
                3. Fuji hakone pass (3 days)
                4. Hakone free pass (3 days)

                Please help to advise.

                Thank you very much.

                1. Hi Maria san,

                  It’s hard to say which one is better, Hakone Free Pass or Hakone Kamakura Pass. Other two deals do not work for your trip. Roughly speaking, if you will still visit many places in Hakone on 23rd, Hakone Free Pass for 21st to 23rd may be better than using Hakone Kamakura Pass. In most of cases, Hakone Kamakura Pass is better than Hakone Free Pass.

                  There is no direct ways to get Narita from Hakone. You have to go back to Shinjuku anyway. If you intend to use subway on 19th and 20th, some airport access + subway pass deal will work for you.
                  https://www.tokyometro.jp/en/ticket/airport_bus/index.html

                  Cheers,

                  Takeshi / JPRail.com

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