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

hokuriku shinkansen E7Joetsu, Nagano and Hokuriku
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 was called “The Nagano Shinkansen”. On March 14. 2015, this Shinkansen lines was extended to Kanazawa and it is called “The Hokuriku Shinkansen”. This Shinkansen line connects Tokyo, Omiya, Takasaki, Nagano, Toyama and Kanazawa. This Shinkansen line is covered by JR Pass and Hokuriku Arch Pass fully. JR East Pass Nagano Niigata covers between Tokyo and Joetsu-Myoko station.

I would like to show you the information about this Shinkansen service with you in this post.

Route, schedule and trip time

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

Operation route map (click to view large)

The fastest train of this Shinkansen service connects Tokyo and Kanazawa in 2.5 hours, Tokyo and Toyama in 2 hours 10 minutes.

Types of trains

There are four types of trains on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line.

Kagayaki (Tokyo – Kanazawa)

Kagayaki is the name of the fastest train that connects between Tokyo and Kanazawa. All Kagayaki stops at Omiya, Nagano and Toyama. One of all Kagayaki service skips Ueno but the rest of the trips stop at Ueno. Some seasonal operation of Kagayaki stops at Shin-Takaoka.

Approximate travel time between the major stations by Kagayaki

Tokyo
30 minutes
Omiya
1 hour
Nagano
45 minutes
Toyama
20 minutes
Kanazawa

Kagayaki train formation

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RRRRRRRRRRGGR

R:Reserved Ordinary class G:Reserved Green class GC:Reserved Gran class

Kagayaki has only reserved seat. You cannot get on this train without a seat reservation. JR Pass, JR East Pass and Hokuriku Arch Pass covers a reserved seat fee. But you have to receive a reserved seat ticket before boarding. If you use one of these passes, all you have to do is showing your pass and received a reserved seat ticket.

Hakutaka (Tokyo – Kanazawa)

Hakutaka is the name of the second fastest train that connects between Tokyo and Kanazawa. All Hakutaka stops at Ueno, Omiya, Nagano, Joetsu-Myoko, Itoigawa, Kurobe-Unazukionsen, Toyama and Shin-Takaoka. Most of Hakutaka stops at Takasaki and Iiyama. Some of the trips stop at Karuizawa, Sakudaira and Ueda.

Approximate travel time between the major stations by Hakutaka

Tokyo
30 minutes
Omiya
25 minutes
Takasaki
40 minutes
Nagano
30 minutes
Itoigawa
30 minutes
Toyama
9 minutes
Shin-Takaoka
13 minutes
Kanazawa

Hakutaka train formation

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NRNRNRNRRRRRRRGGR

NR: Non Reserved Ordinary class R:Reserved Ordinary class G:Reserved Green class GC:Reserved Gran class

Asama (Tokyo – Nagano)

Asama is the name of the train that connects between Tokyo and Nagano. All Asama stops at Ueno, Omiya, Takasaki and Karuizawa. Most of Asama stops at Kumagaya, Sakudaira and Ueda. Some of the trips stop at Honjowaseda and Annaka-Haruna.

Approximate travel time between the major stations by Asama

Tokyo
30 minutes
Omiya
30 minutes
Takasaki
20 minutes
Karuizawa
30 minutes
Nagano

Asama train formation

123456789101112
NRNRNRNRRRRRRRGGR

NR: Non Reserved Ordinary class R:Reserved Ordinary class G:Reserved Green class GC:Reserved Gran class
*No meal service available on Gran class of Asama. Only the higher class seat service and Gran class seat fee is cheaper than Kagayaki and Hakutaka.

Tsurugi (Kanazawa – Toyama)

Tsurugi is the name of the train that connects between Kanazawa and Toyama. All Asama stops at Shin-Takaoka.

Approximate travel time between the major stations by Tsurugi

Toyama
9 minutes
Shin-Takaoka
13 minutes
Kanazawa

Tsurugi train formation

123456789101112
NRNRNRNRRRR(R)G

NR: Non Reserved Ordinary class R:Reserved Ordinary class G:Reserved Green class

Car #9, #10 and #12 are not used on Tsurugi. Car #8 is available on the train which runs in the busy period.

Timetable

You may find the timetable at JR East official site timetable:

JR East official site – the timetable

Photo gallery

Only E7/W7 series run on the Hokuriku Shinkansen.

E7 and W7 are same train fleet. The Hokuriku Shinkansen is operated by JR East and JR West. E7 belongs to JR East and W7 belongs to JR West.

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
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

Gran class seat is the highest category in all JR trains. Only the Tohoku, the Hokkaido and the Hokuriku Shinkansen trains offer this class. The seat is leather and theleg space is 1,300 mm with 2+1 seat layout. The attendant offers high-end hospitality. The light meal and the beverage are included. But Asama and Hakutaka between Nagano and Kanazawa operation will not offer an attendant, a light meal and beverage. Only the high class seat is offered. A power outlet and many amenities are offered too.

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
Green class seat (C) Jonathan Ayre

Green class is the highest class in most of express trains. The leg space is 1,160 mm with 2+2 seat layout. A power outlet at each seat 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 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 equipped at all seats in the ordinary seat car.

Other facilities

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

The coverage by the travel passes

There are many rail passes available. You may be confused which Shinkansen train and class are covered by the pass. The following table shows you the coverage on the Hokuriku Shinkansen lines only. The table below does not show the coverage on the other Shinkansen lines, such as the Tokaido Shinkansen, the Tohoku-the Hokkaido Shinkansen.

Type of the passCoverage
JR Pass GreenAll trains and seats except Gran class
JR Pass Ordinary
Hokuriku Arch Pass
Both reserved and non reserved ordinary seats on all trains on the Hokuriku Shinkansen lines
JR East-South Hokkaido Rail Pass,
JR East Pass Tohoku, Tokyo Wide Pass
Both reserved and non reserved ordinary seats on all trains on the Hokuriku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Sakudaira
JR East Pass Nagano NiigataBoth reserved and non reserved ordinary seats on all trains on the Hokuriku Shinkansen between Tokyo and Joetsu-Myoko
Kansai Hokuriku Area PassNon reserved ordinary seats on Hakutaka and Tsurugi between Kanazawa and Joetsu-Myoko
Hokuriku Area PassNon reserved ordinary seats on Hakutaka and Tsurugi between Kanazawa and Kurobe-Unazukionsen
Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist passNon reserved ordinary seats on Hakutaka and Tsurugi between Kanazawa and Toyama

Additional charge to take Gran class seat

As I mentioned above, the highest seat, “Gran class” is not covered by any rail pass. If you want to take a seat in Gran class, you have to pay a full fare of Gran class seat. For example, the fares for Tokyo to Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto are the following:

Base fare7,480 yen
Gran class seat fee20,000 yen
Green class seat fee11,620 yen
Reserved ordinary class seat fee6,900 yen

Even if you use JR Pass Green, you have to pay 20,000 yen to get a seat on Gran class. The additional fee is NOT the difference (8,380 yen = 20,000 – 11,620) between Gran class seat fee and Green class seat fee. If you use JR Pass Ordinary or other rail pass, such as Hokuriku Arch Pass, the additional fee is same. In this case, only base fare 7,480 yen is covered by any type of the rail passes.

Summary

On the Hokuriku Shinkansen, there is no restirictions to use the pass. On Tokaido Shinkansen between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka, the fastest train, “Nozomi” is not covered. But on the Hokuriku Shinkansen, even the fastest train “Kagayaki” is covered. This Shinkansen line makes your trip to Nagano, Toyama and/or Kanazawa be easy.

Comments

  1. YYW says:

    hi if i have an ordinary JR pass, and i would like to take gran class seat from tokyo to kanazawa. how much do i need to top up?

  2. silverflames
    Melissa says:

    Hi Takeshi,
    I’m going to Japan next week, 7 days Tokyo and will be doing a one day trip to Kanazawa. Could u advise me if there’s a need to buy JR pass and what type?
    Thanks in advance!
    -Melissa

  3. Hi Takeshi,

    I have planned a 10days trip to Japan during october, but I don’t know which JR pass shall I use to save time and cost to travelling around. Would very much appreciated if you able to help me. Thank You.

    Day 1-Arrive Haneda Airport at night, stay a night.
    Day 2-Haneda => Hakone
    Day 3-Hakone => Tokyo,Asakusa
    Day 4-Tokyo => Kanazawa
    Day 5-Kanazawa => Shirakawago => kanazawa
    Day 6-Kanazawa => Kyoto
    Day 7-Kyoto
    Day 8-Kyoto
    Day 9-Kyot => Osaka
    Day 10-Osaka => Tokyo
    Day 11- Depart Haneda

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail says:

      Hi Chee,

      You can use JR pass 7 days for day 4 to 10. Hakone Free Pass is recommend for your trip to Hakone.
      http://www.odakyu.jp/english/deels/freepass/hakone/

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

      • Hi Takeshi,

        Thanks for your valuable time for replied. I still have some question, the Exchange Order for JR Pass, if I exchange it at Day3, the activation date for JR Pass will start immediately on day 3? Day 4 I will be depart from Ueno Station to Kanazawa, can the exchange order to be turned in for JR pass at Ueno Station ?

        Thank You very much for your kind reply.

        • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
          Takeshi / JPRail says:

          Hi Chee,

          You can exchange anytime after you arrive in Japan. When you exchange it, you can decide which date you will start to use and the date will be stamped on the pass. Once you got an actual pass, you can start to book your train even if you don’t start to use the pass yet.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JP Rail

  4. Dear Takeshi

    We plan a trip to Japan between 3-13rd of April. We already purchased our JR passes. But I am wondering whether we will be able to reserve tickets for the very days we plan (and have reserved hotel rooms already).
    We stay in Tokyo April 4,5,and plan to go directly to Kanazawa on Monday April 6th, in the evening, leave from there to Kyoto on Wednesday April 8/4, in the evening,and to Hiroshima on Saturday 10/4.
    Do you think we will be able to find seats in the shinkansen trains for those dates? while abroad can we book seats?

    Thank you

    Agapi

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail says:

      Hi Agapi,

      Yes, I believe you can make it. Shinkansen is easy to book. I usually compete all bookings when I exchange the pass at Narita airport. There are lots of trains on Shinkansen. Don’t worry. You will be fine.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  5. amandine says:

    Hello Takeshi,
    We’ll visit the Takaragawa Onsen on the 17th of april and we have to take the train from Kanazawa to Minakami station. But when I search for a route on Hyperdia it suggests to take the Hakutaka Shinkansen to Takasaki and change to take the JR Joetsu line. But I read on your website that the Hakutaka will be discontinued on the 15th of march. If I look for another route I have to change trains two times (one stop at Naganoa and one stop at Takasaki) which is not convenient as we’ll have lot of baggages to carry + a baby. Will the Hakutaka be really discontinued ? Why Hyperdia still show it ? ( I put the right dates..)

    Thanks a lot for your advice,
    Amandine

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail says:

      Hi Amandine,

      Limited Express Hakutaka used to run between Echigo-Yuzawa and Kanazawa and it was discontinued as you said. But this name, “Hakutaka” is now used as one of Hokuriku Shinkansen’s train name. You can find this name, “Hakutaka” in this post above, at chapter “Stations and types of trains”. So Hyperdia is right. You can take Hakutaka to Takasaki and transfer to local train to Minakami. This is the easiest way to get there.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  6. Kristin says:

    Hi Takeshi!

    I’m trying to make reservations in advance from Tokyo to Kanazawa for April 3rd, but it appears as though you can only make Hokuriku Shinkansen reservations from Tokyo to Joetsumyoko Stations. Do I book that reservation and then extend to Kanazawa the day I pick up the voucher or what do I do? Do you think it’s necessary that I even make advance reservations or if I want until April 1st when we arrive Tokyo we would be ok to make them then?

    Thanks!

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail says:

      Hi Kristin,

      If you really need to book the specific train, like Kagayaki 503 at 7:20, I recommend you to book. If you are flexible, like that you can take any Shinkansen train to Kanazawa around 7 to 9:00 am, you will be fine without booking before you leave. As far as I check the forecast, ordinary class seat on all Shinkansen trains to Kanazawa on Apr 3 can be booked so far. I think you can book after you arrive in Japan. You can book the train to Joetsu-Myoko and change it. I have never done it before, but I believe you can do it.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  7. Planning to return to Nozawa Onsen for skiing early January 2016. Have a couple of free days before skiing, interested in visiting Toyama or Kanazawa. Would the JR East 5 day pass get us from Narita to one of the above, then back to somewhere near Nozawa eg Nagano (or somewhere even nearer?) , then from there after our skiing to Narita? If not, what would be our best option? Is it usually necessary to prebook seats at this time of year?

  8. The bob says:

    Hi Takeshi
    This is my first time to Japan in 20th march
    I had planned to chubu and kanto region

    I had get information about entend hokuriku line which I want to go to takayama kanazawa shitakawago for 2 day and thenn come back to nikkio kawagoe for 2 day

    Do you have any instruction and jr pass for me ? Hokuriko Kanto ticket pass ? how can i get the pass , Can I buy the pass in tokyo ?
    Thank so much .

  9. Maria says:

    Dear Takeshi

    Between March 9th and 16th (a week) we will be in Japan travelling from Osaka Airport to Kyoto, from Kyoto to Kanazawa, From Kanazawa to Tokyo (and on our travel from Kanazawa to Tokyo I would like to stop to visit Fujiyama – Odawara Station or Kawaguchiko Station).

    I am not sure which rail pass is best for me and my partner. Should we by a Rail Pass for the whole country (7 days) or is there a regional pass that covers Kyoto, Tokyo and Kanazawa? I’m confused whether Kanto Area Rail Pass or JR East Pass would be suitable (do they cover Kanazawa?).

    I will be very happy if you find time to answer me!

    Kindest regards,

    Maria

  10. Paunie says:

    We plan to have 10days trip in Japan during Mar 22-31.
    We try to find the right pass that save time and cost.
    Now, we found 2 pass types (1. 7-days National JR pass and 2. Hokuriku Kankou Free Ticket)
    We plan to take 7-days JR Pass but not sure that it is the right pass.
    We see Hokuriku Kankou Free Ticket in JR-Central web-site. But we not sure is it fit our program?

    Could you help us identify the right pass(es) and indicate if this itinerary is possible by train?
    Thank in advance for your advice.

    Day1 : Arrive Narita in the morning
    Day2 : Tokyo => Kawaguchiko
    Day3 : Kawaguchiko => Tokyo
    Day4 : Tokyo => Nagoya. We are not final between plan-A(to see sakura at Obara) and plan-B (to see sakura at Inuyama)
    Day5 : Nagoya => Takayama => Shirakawago => Takayama
    Day6 : Takayama => Shizuoka. Plan to go Nihondaira
    Day7: Shizuoka => Kawazu or Izu minami => Tokyo. we can swith Program at Shizuoka between Day6 and Day7.
    Day8 – Day9 : Tokyo
    Day10 : Departure Narita

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