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
x:All trains stop *:some trains stop
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.
Thunderbird train formation
*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.