thunderbird 683

The 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.

The 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 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 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 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: PDF timetable (valid until mid March, 2020)


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 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


*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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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:

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

  1. 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!


    1. Hi Bernadette,

      JR pass is too expensive and you cannot get the worth of it by your trip plan. You may use Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass.

      You can use this for the last 7 days of your trip. But this pass does not cover reserved seat. You have to take a seat in non reserved car. December 28th and 29th will be busiest days in the year.

      When you go back to Osaka from Kanazawa on 29th, I recommend you to go to the platform 30 minutes before the departure time. Actually Osaka to Kanazawa is much busier than Kanazawa to Osaka. But the train from Kanazawa to Osaka will be busier than usual too..

      You may use other deal or a regular ticket on 25th. Please see the link below:


      Takeshi /

  2. 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:

      For staying in Osaka, please see the link below to find the deal:\

      But you can use Kansai thru pass to visit Kyoto:

      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:

      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.

      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:


      Takeshi /

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        Which pass should I buy if our family of 3; 2 adults and 1 child are travelling on Dec 3 to Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Takayama and Shirakawago, back to Nagoya for 2 nights and thereafter to Osaka again before leaving for Singapore.

          1. Following are my itineraries from 3 Dec to 16 Dec:
            3/12: Reach Kansai Airport at 10pm.
            4/12: USJ
            5/12: Kyoto – Kiyomizu-dera, Fushimi Inari, Gion
            6/12: Kyoto – Arashiyama, Toei Studio
            7-8/12: Osaka
            9/12: Nagoya Mariott Associa, Legoland
            10-11/12: Takayama, Shirakawago
            12-13/12: Nagoya
            14-16/12: Osaka
            16/12: Home sweet home

            1) With such itineraries, which pass do you recommend that we buy for 2 Adults and 1 Child.
            2) Would you suggest we just get Icoca or Suica card during our stay in Osaka and Kyoto?
            3) From Osaka to Nagoya round trip, what pass should we get?

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