Limited Express Thunderbird (Osaka–Kyoto–Fukui–Kanazawa)
For many visitors, the Limited Express Thunderbird will be their mode of transport from and to Osaka, Kyoto and Central Japan via Kanazawa. On this page you will find the following information:
Running to and from Kanazawa Station, the Limited Express Thunderbird connects with the Hokuriku Shinkansen line running from Kanazawa to Tokyo. In doing so, it completes a northern route from Osaka and Kyoto to Tokyo that opens-up some of the best destinations in Central Japan – see below for details.
LIMITED EXPRESS THUNDERBIRD LINE MAP & SERVICES
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:
*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.
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.
LIMITED EXPRESS THUNDERBIRD TIMETABLE
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. For daily schedules, see our ‘Limited Express Thunderbird Timetable’ page. 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.
Kanazawa is firmly established as a popular stop on the route to and from Central Japan. Our ’25 Things to Do Around Kanazawa & Where to Stay’ page 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. For further details, see our ’25 Things to Do Around Toyama & Where to Stay’ page.
Heading to the south of Kanazawa, the World Heritage-listed villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama are also readily accessbile. Our ’15 Things to Do in Shirakawa-go & Where to Stay’ page outlines what’s on offer when you get there.
See our ’25 Things to Do Around Takayama & Where to Stay’ page and our ’15 Things to Do in Kamikochi & Where to Stay’ page for suggestions of just what’s on offer.
PLAN YOUR VISIT TO JAPAN
The Limited Express Thunderbird is just one part of Japan’s fantastic rail network. Unfathomable in its size and efficiency, moving around the country by train is easy and comfortable opening-up all regions of Japan for exploration. Our ‘Plan Your Visit’ page has everything you need to know about visiting Japan – from tips on the best time to travel, times to avoid, entering and exiting the country, money matters, staying connected, accommodation, staying safe and healthy and plenty more to ensure that you get the most out of your time here.
BOOK WITH US! NAGANO’S NO.1 TOUR & CHARTER OPERATOR
Based in Nagano and operating all year round, we are a No.1 tour and charter operator, offering a range of services including accommodation, transport and tours throughout the region. We have the local knowledge of where and when to go, to help you discover and enjoy the best regional destinations in comfort. For guests wanting to access the resorts in the comfort of their own transport, we can arrange a private tour or charter customised to fit your needs, starting and ending at any destination in the region.
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. All vehicles are fitted with a protective screen – separating the driver from passenger and luggage area – and our drivers wear protective masks, allowing you to move between your destinations in comfort and safety.
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 2022 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 and Central Japan.
Got a question about visiting Central Japan? Contact us and let’s get planning together!