The Limited Express Thunderbird timetable and the train information. The train bound for Kanazawa from Osaka and Kyoto.

thunderbird 683Kanazawa, Toyama, Wakura-Onsen, Fukui
683 series is the primary fleet for limited express train in Hokuriku region, such as Thunderbird and Shirasagi.
683 series is the primary fleet for limited express train in Hokuriku region, such as Thunderbird and Shirasagi.

The limited express Thunderbird connects Osaka, Shin-Osaka, Kyoto, Fukui, and Kanazawa. One round trip of this train operates to Wakura-Onsen. This train is the fastest way to get to Kanazawa from Osaka/Kyoto. If you go to Kanazawa from Osaka, simply take this limited express train.

This train is fully covered by JR Pass, Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass, Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass, and Hokuriku Arch Pass.

In this post, I will explain you about the train information of limited express Thunderbird.

Route, schedule and trip time

Thunderbird runs one or two departure(s) in every hour and it runs more than 20 round trips a day. Average trip time is 2 hours and 45 minutes to get to Kanazawa from Osaka. Please see the route map below to find the trip time on the major segments and stations on the route:

The Limited Express Thunderbird train operation route (Click to view large)

You can find the timetable in the link below:

Due to COVID-19, it may be operated on a schedule different from the normal timetable. Check the train schedule on Hyperdia.
Hyperdia perfect guide, train timetable and route search engine


683 series for the limited express Thunderbird

Thunderbird is serviced by 681 or 683 series. 681 series is a bit older fleet than 683. But both fleets are basically same.

The seat pitch in a Green seat is 1,160 mm (46 inches). It is the standard of most JR trains. The seat layout is 2+1. It offers very spacious leg room and quite good seating.

The seat pitch of an ordinary seat is 970 mm (38 inches). It is a little bigger than the standard of JR trains. Some seats on Car #3 are exclusively available for women and small child. Some of JR trains offer this service for women travelers.

By the way, the seat pitch of most major airlines is 76 cm (30 inches) to 84 cm (33 inches). You can imagine how spacious an ordinary seat is. Unless you have a big body, an ordinary class seat is fine.

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

Train formation

Thunderbird train formation


*G=Green seat R=Reserved seat NR=Non reserved seat
Smoking is not allowed on board.


Green seat

Ordinary seat

Sanitary space

Other resources

I have a few more posts which explains you about the access to Kanazawa and surrounding area, such as Shirakawago, Takayama. Please refer the posts below to find more information. I believe these posts will help you to build your trip plan:

I hope this post will help you to create your trip plan.


  1. Steve Edelman says:

    Takeshi san,

    Thank you so much for having this site and taking the time to answer questions. We are a family of 4 (two boy’s ages 18 and 20) who will be taking the following itinerary by Shinkansen.

    Tokyo-Matsumoto (via Nagano) May 16 in the morning.
    (by car until May 22 which we drop in Nanao)
    Nanao-Kyoto May 22 in the late afternoon or evening.
    Kyoto-Tokyo May 25 in the late afternoon or evening.

    We are deciding whether to take regular, green or splurge on Gran Class where they have it. I know that is probably silly but we have nothing like this in the United States so this is a chance to try something we would never otherwise experience.

    Does it make sense to buy a JR pass for this routing for any of the classes or would we be better off buying individual tickets?

    It’s not so easy to figure out because some websites say it is permitted to use the trains like the Nozomi with the JR passes and others say you cannot. Also figuring out the cost to upgrade to Green Class or Gran Class if you have a JR Pass is not obvious. I think the pass covers the basic fare but it’s not clear how much that is or what the upgrade fee would be.

    Finally I see that some routes have a “family fare” that discounts the cost but it’s not clear how to tell which trains have this or any other discount fare and whether it is available for any particular day and time.

    Again thank you for any help you can give advising me where to look to figure out the best way to book this routing.

  2. Jess Tan says:


    Takeshi san,

    Would like some advice on going to Shirakawago from Osaka.

    I have already gotten my JR Pass because I would be using it often from Yokohama to Atami, Atami to Yokohama, and then Yokohama to Shin-osaka (on separate days), which I felt is necessary since it will cover the Shonan Shinjuku line as well. (However, if by your expertise, it was not, then please do tell me so I can plan better in the future.) Thank you.

    My aunt is interested in going to Shirakawago on 18 Feb and we are staying at Shin Osaka station. And thank you for your post that we can reach Kanazawa directly from Shin Osaka, where I can purchase a bus ticket to Shirakawago. However, I would like to ask about seats on Limited Express Thunderbird. Where can I reserve seats? Can I reserve when I reserve my seats for the Shinkansen as well?

  3. Bernadette Ramos says:

    Konnichiwa, Takeshi!

    Should I get a 7-day JR Pass with this itinerary?
    Dec 25 : Kansai Airport to Osaka hotel
    Dec 26 – 27 : around Osaka area
    Dec 27 – 29 : Osaka to Kanazawa (via Limited Express Thunderbird)
    Dec 29 – 31 : Osaka / Kyoto / Kobe
    Jan 1 : Osaka to Kansai Airport

    Your advice would be very much appreciated.
    Domo arigato gosaimas!


  4. Shirley says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    Appreciate very much if you could advice my following itinerary on which would be the types of passes to get for the shortest travel time:

    3 Dec – 9 Dec: Osaka (staying at Hilton Osaka and using Osaka as a base to travel to Kyoto for 2 to 3 days)
    9 Dec – 11 Dec: USJ
    11 Dec – 12 Dec: Osaka to Nagoya from Hilton Osaka. (Staying at Richmond Hotel Nayabashi Nagoya)
    12 Dec – 14 Dec: Takayama and Shirakawago (staying at Okuhida Garden Hotel Yakedake in Takayama)
    14 Dec – 16 Dec: Back to Hilton Osaka

    I have been doing research on the transport system and am still confused.

    Would you advice we rent a car from 11 Dec to 14 Dec while going to Nagoya, Takayama and Shirakawago if we have 5 adults and 2 children?

Copied title and URL