Currently Limited Express Hokuetsu runs between Niigata and Kanazawa. Limited Express Hakutaka runs between Echigo-Yuzawa and Kanazawa. These trains and Joetsu Shinkansen via Nagaoka or Echigo-Yuzawa connect Tokyo and Hokuriku regions now. But Hokuriku Shinkansen will open on March 14, 2015. It will connect Kanazawa, Toyama,and Tokyo directly via Nagano, Joetsu-Myoko and Itoigawa. Therefore after Hokuriku Shinkansen will open, these trains will be discontinued and will be replaces by new train, Limited Express Shirayuki. This new train will connect Joetsu-Myoko and Niigata via other cities along the coast, such as Naoetsu, Kashiwazaki. But unfortunately there will not be any direct access between Kanazawa/Toyama and Niigata any more. And all convention lines that runs in parallel with Shinkansen that is a segment of Nagano – Noetsu – Itoigawa – Toyama – Kanazwa will be owned by third sector companies that is non JR lines. Any JR deals, such as JR Pass, will not cover this segment of conventional lines. Only Shinkansen will be covered by JR Pass. So if you take this train, Limited Express Shirayuki, the segment between Joetsu-Myoko and Naoetsu will not be covered by JR Pass and JR East Pass either. You have to pay the extra on top of JR deals.
At this point, I cannot give you the detailed information yet. But I would like to share the information as much as I can.
Route, schedule and trip time
Limited Express Shirayuki offers train services between Arai / Joetsu-Myoko and Niigata. This train will make stops at major cities along coast side, such as It connects Joetsu-Myoko and Niigata in 2 hours.
5 round trips of this limited express train will be operated. 2 of this 5 round trips will be operated between Arai and Niigata. Other 3 round trips will run between Joetsu-Myoko and Niigata.
x:All trains stop *:Only Shirayuki #1 and #6 stop at this station.
Extra fare for Japan Rail Pass and JR East Pass
There is no press release from JR East yet. But as I mentioned above, the segment between Arai and Naoetsu will be owned by Echigo-Tokimeki Railway that is new third sector railway company. This is not JR lines and I expect this segment will not be covered by JR deals.
The extra charge for this segment is the following:
|Segment||Base fare||Express surcharge||Total|
|Joetsu-Myoko – Naoetsu||240 yen||210 yen||450 yen|
|Arai – Naoetsu||320 yen||210 yen||530 yen|
This train will be operated by renovated E653 series. This train has an ordinary class only.
This train will be very simple formation. No green car and it will be only 4 cars formation.
R=Reserved seat NR=Non reserved seat
*All seats are non smoking and Green car is not available.