Limited Express Hakutaka is operated by 681 or 683 series.

The fastest way to get Kanazawa from Tokyo, Limited Express Hakutaka

Limited Express Hakutaka is operated by 681 or 683 series.
Limited Express Hakutaka is operated by 681 or 683 series.

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.

* In March 2015, Hokuriku Shinkansen will be open between Tokyo and Kanazawa via Nagano and Toyama. This train Hakutaka may be discontinued after this Shinkansen service open.

Route, schedule and time required

Hakutaka is most fastest train in all JR trains except Shinkansen. This advantage gives you saving the time to go to Kanazawa from Tokyo. Hakutaka runs 13 round trip between Kanazawa and Echigo-Yuzawa. One of 13 round trips is extended to operate to Fukui. Other one of 13 round trips is extended to operate to Wakura-Onsen. JR East set the perfect connection time at Echigo-Yuzawa from Joetsu Shinkansen to this train, Hakutaka. The fastest train connects Tokyo with Toyama in 3 hours and 10 minutes, Tokyo with Kanazawa in 3 hours and 40 minutes. But as I mentioned, you need to pay the extra by using Japan Rail Pass. The extra fares are the following:
Basic fare (Muikamachi-Saigata) — 950yen
Limited Express surcharge for Ordinary class– Non reserved 1130yen / Reserved 1740yen
Limited Express surcharge for Green class — 2630yen


View Hakutaka in a larger map

Stations

StationDepart from
Fukui
Depart from
Wakura-Onsen
Fukui(福井)x
Awara-Onsen(芦原温泉)x
Kaga-Onsen(加賀温泉)x
Komatsu(小松)x
Wakura-Onsen(和倉温泉)x
Nanao(七尾)x
Hakui(羽咋)x
Kanazawa(金沢)x
Isurugi(石動)*
Takaoka(高岡)x
Toyama(富山)x
Namerikawa(滑川)*
Uotsu(魚津)*
Kurobe(黒部)*
Nyuzen(入善)*
Itoigawa(糸魚川)*
Naoetsu(直江津)x
Kakizaki(十日町)*
Kashiwazaki(六日町)*
Nagaoka(越後湯沢)x

x:All trains stop *:some trains stop

Accommodation

Hakutaka is serviced by 681 or 683 series. 681 is older than 683. But basically it is no difference. The travellers do not notice the difference. This series is the standard fleet on Hokuriku line. Thunderbird (Osaka-Kanazawa/Toyama) and Shirasagi (Nagoya-Kanazawa/Toyama) are operated by same fleet.

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.

*Sonic Rail Garden has copyright for all images of accommodations below.

Train formation

Thunderbird train formation

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GRRRNRNRNRRR

*G=Green seat R=Reserved seat NR=Non reserved seat
Smoking is not allowed on these trains.
The trips to Wakrua-Onsen is operated by Car#7-9 only.

Images – 681/683 series

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

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

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

14 thoughts on “The fastest way to get Kanazawa from Tokyo, Limited Express Hakutaka”

  1. I want to travel from Tokyo to Nozawa Onsen via Iiyama Station on the Hakutaka Shinkansen Bullet Train on the morning of Wed 13 Jan 2016, what is the name and location of the departure station in Tokyo

  2. Hi,
    I am planning to take Ltd Exp Hakutaka from Kanazawa to Echigo Yuzawa in end-Jan 2015.
    I understand that part of the journey is non-JR tracks and that I’d have to pay extra for it.
    How much is the total that I’d have to pay? Since I understand that there was tax increase in 2014, so I’m not sure if the prices you mentioned on this page was before or after the tax increase.

    Thanks.

      1. So it would be 970 + 1780yen for a reserved seat?
        Is there any non-reserved seat for this train?

        If so, do you happen to know that is the top up for non-reserved seat?

  3. Hello Takeshi,

    I am planning to go to wakura onsen from kanazawa, and if i take hakutaka limited express to wakura onsen from kanazawa, and will use jr rail pass, do i need to pay extra fee??

  4. I’m on the Hakutaka right now and I forgot about the surcharge. It was 1850 Yen which isn’t too bad. I wish they would have said something when I reserved my seat but the amount is not too bad. Time on vacation is in limited supply, right?

    1. Hi Christopher,

      I’m sorry to hear that. But as you mentioned, Hakutaka is much faster than Hokuetsu. Your choice is right.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

  5. Currently this train provides the crucial link between Tokyo and the Hokuriku region (Kanazawa, Takaoka, Toyama etc), and as mentioned, is far faster than the Joetsu Shinkansen/Hokuetsu option (via Nagaoka).

    My experience has indicated that the 681/683 series trains are more comfortable and better equipped than the 485 series trains that operate the Hokuetsu service. If you’re thinking of using a fully JR Pass covered option, it may be more comfortable to go via Maibara and use the Shirasagi service instead (also operated by 681/683 series), despite the time difference.

    In addition, construction is presently underway to extend the Nagano Shinkansen to the Hokuriku region. This route will pass through Iiyama and Joetsu Stations (presently on the Iiyama and Shinetsu lines) before paralleling the Hokuriku Main Line at Itoigawa (which connects the Oito Line towards Matsumoto).

    When completed in 2014, the new shinkansen should substantially decrease travel times from Tokyo into the Hokuriku Region, and will hopefully be fully covered by the JR Pass. I happened to pass through the region on the Twilight Express earlier this year; there is certainly a lot of work going on around Toyama for the new shinkansen. It’s good to see so much work going on to further improve rail services, especially with shinkansen services coming to both the Hokuriku Region and Hakodate on Hokkaido within a few short years. 🙂

    1. Hi Jonathan,
      The construction of Hokuriku Shinkansen will be completed in the end of 2014. As you saw, it is going earlier than the original schedule. JR East said it may be completed in fall 2014. 🙂
      It will decrease travel times to Hokuriku from Tokyo. But Shinetsu line between Nagano and Naoetsu, and Hokuriku line between Naoetsu and Kanazawa will be operated by third sector. That means JR Pass will not cover these sections. And all express trains between Kanazawa and Itoigawa will be stopped operating. JR West and East said they keep Twilight Express. But they don’t mention about Nihonkai and Kitaguni. I accept New Shinkansens. But I’m so sad because I love old fashioned trains.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        It is a bit disappointing that there is the tendancy to scrap Ltd Exp services when the shinkansen moves in. I too enjoy using the older trains much of the time. So, with the impending arrival of the shinkansen, would that mean that likely both the Hakutaka and the Hokuetsu would cease operation, or be truncated to operate between Niigata/Echigo-Yuzawa and Itoigawa? Unfortunately, I can’t see much limited express demand between Itoigawa and Echigo-Yuzawa/Niigata following the opening of the shinkansen.

        Also, does this mean that the Shirasagi and Thunderbird will be cut back to not include Toyama, and eventually cut back to Tsuruga when the line is extended that far?

        Best regards,

        Jonathan Ayre

        1. Hi Jonathan,
          JR West and East said they will stop operating any express trains between Kanazawa and Itoigawa. As you guess, Thunderbird between Kanazawa and Toyama/Uozu,, Shirasagi between Kanazawa and Toyama will be stopped operating. Hokuetsu might be remained between Itoigawa and Niigata. But it might be down-graded to Rapid service because of small demand. Hakutaka will be completely stopped. Once Hokuriku Shinkansen connect Tokyo with Hokuriku, there is no reason why Hakutaka is operated.
          Most of the part of Kanazawa and Tsuruga section have not approved by the ministry of Transport yet. JR West started construction in Fukui station, So I am not sure about this section. But I guess it will be same story as the section of Nagano and Kanazawa.
          Regards,
          Takeshi / JP Rail

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