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

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.

Limited Express Thunderbird runs between Osaka, Shin-Osaka, Kyoto, Fukui, and Kanazawa. One round trip is operated to Wakura-Onsen. This train is the fastest train between Osaka/Kyoto and Kanazawa. If you go to Kanazawa from Osaka, simply take this express train.

This train is fully covered by Japan Rail Pass, Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass, Takayama Hokuriku Area Pass. I will tell you the detail information about this train in this post.

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 Kanazawa from Osaka. Please see the route map below to find the trip time on the major segments and stations on the route:

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

You can find the timetable in the link below:

JPRail.com PDF timetable (valid until mid October 2019)

Accommodation

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

The seat pitch in Green seat is 1,160 mm. It is the standard of most JR trains. The seat configuration is 2+1. It offers enough leg room and quite good seat with nice holding. The seat pitch in Ordinary seat is 970 mm. It is a little bigger than the standard. Some seats on Car #3 are exclusively available for women and small child. Some of JR trains offer this service for women travelers.

*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 board.

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Hotels and Ryokans in Kanazawa (from US$56)
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Images – 681/683 series

Green seat

Ordinary seat

Sanitary space

360 thoughts on “Limited Express Thunderbird timetable and the train information. The train to Kanazawa from Osaka and Kyoto.”

  1. 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?

    1. Hi Shirley,

      If you arrive in KIX, you may take the airport limousine:
      http://www.kate.co.jp/en/timetable/detail/UM

      For staying in Osaka, please see the link below to find the deal:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-osaka.html\

      But you can use Kansai thru pass to visit Kyoto:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-use-kansai-thru-pass-compare-pass-and-single-fare.html

      You don’t need a pass when you visit USJ. Just pay the regular fare.

      For Osaka to Nagoya, the Shinkansen is the fastest way. If you want to take the fastest train “Nozomi”, there is no deals. But if you are okay with slower train “Kodama” on the Shinkansen, you may use Platt Kodama:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/platt-kodama-one-way-deal-among-tokyo-nagoya-kyoto-and-shin-osaka-by-shinkansen.html

      Rent a car is okay if you have an experience to drive in the winter condition. Otherwise it’s not recommended. You can use Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass for Nagoya-Takayama/Shirakawago-Nagoya.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/takayama-hokuriku-area-pass-perfect-deal-to-get-takayama-kanazawa-toyama-shirakawago-from-nagoya-or-osaka.html

      If you are okay with going back from Kanazawa after Taayama/Shirakawago, you don’t need to pay extra. But if you go back to Osaka via Nagoya, you have to pay Nagoya to Osaka again. Please see the link below to find the route to/from Takayama:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/how-to-access-to-takayama-by-trains-and-buses.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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