Limited Express Thunderbird

Limited Express Thunderbird


For many visitors, the Limited Express Thunderbird will be their mode of transport from and to Osaka, Kyoto and Central Japan via Kanazawa. Operated by Japan Rail (JR) West, the Thunderbird operates numerous time per day with increased services on weekends.


While this isn’t a shinkansen service, it is a fast, convenient and comfortable way to access one of Central Japan’s major cities and transport hubs – Kanazawa. The Thunderbird service includes the following stops:

Osaka / Shin-Osaka / Takatsuki / Kyoto / Katata / Omi-Imazu / Tsuruga / Takefu / Sabae / Fukui / Awaraonsen / Kagaonsen / Komatsu / Matto / Kanazawa*


*Please note, stations marked in bold / red on the map are stops on all services. Those not marked in bold are only serviced by certain services throughout the day. For further details including the schedule, please refer our ‘Limited Express Thunderbird Timetable’ page.


Kanazawa Station is the northern terminus however one service each day continues onto Wakuraonsen and includes the following stops after Kanazawa:

Tsubata / Unoke / Takamatsu / Hakui / Yoshikawa / Nanao / Wakuraonsen

From Shin-Osaka Station to Kanazawa Station takes approximately 150 to 170 minutes and costs JPY7260 for a non-reserved seat and JPY7590 for a reserved seat.


The Thunderbird is covered by the full Japan Rail (JR) Pass and Japan Rail (JR) Hokuriku Arch Pass.

Recommended Destinations Using the Thunderbird


Running from Osaka to Kanazawa, via Kyoto and Fukui, the Thunderbird transports visitors to Central Japan. Once at Kanazawa Station, visitors can transfer to the Hokuriku Shinkansen which runs south to Tokyo via Toyama, Nagano, Karuizawa and other stations.


We can also provide private charters and tours from the station or other locations in Central Japan – see below for details.


Kanazawa is firmly established as a popular stop on the route to and from Central Japan. Our ’25 Things do to in & around Kanazawa’ provides suggestions of some of the region’s many highlights.


From Kanazawa, the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route and its fabled Snow Walls can be accessed via nearby Toyama Station. Heading to the south of Kanazawa, the World Heritage-listed villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama are also readily accessbile.


Visitors to Shirakawa-go should surely continue onto Takayama and its historic old town before heading high into the North Japan Alps and the stunning alpine valley of Kamikochi.


These are just some of the destinations that can readily accessed when using the Thunderbird service. For further tips and suggestions, prefer to our ‘Discover Central Japan’ and ’25 Things to do in & around Toyama’ pages.

Private Charters to/from Kanazawa


Based in Nagano City and operating all year round, we are Nagano’s No.1-rated tour and charter operator, offering a range of services including group tours, private tours and charters.


Our drivers and vehicles are fully certified, allowing us to transport you to and from your preferred destinations, in combination with any activity that suits your interests and schedule including transport to and from any ski resort in the region.


We can arrange both private tours with an English-speaking guide or a private charter, including a private vehicle and driver but without a guide. We’d love to be part of that experience and help you discover even more!

Why choose us?

Awarded a 2019 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award for our 1-Day Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple & Sake Tour – recognised as one of the Top 10 Experiences in Japan – we have the local knowledge and experience to help you get the most out of your time in Nagano.

Got a question about arranging a charter to or from Kanazawa? Feel free to contact us at and let’s get planning together!