The Hokuriku Shinkansen (北陸新幹線) is a shinkansen line that connects Tokyo with Kanazawa. It is operated by the East Japan Railway Company, commonly known as JR East, and the West Japan Railway Company, commonly known as JR West.
The shinkansen line was opened as far as Nagano in 1997 in time for the Nagano Winter Olympics and extended to Kanazawa in 2015. Before its extension to Kanazawa, the line was popularly known as Nagano Shinkansen. A further extension to Tsuruga is scheduled for 2024.
The Kagayaki is the fastest train category along the Hokuriku Shinkansen, departing Tokyo and Kanazawa in the mornings and evenings. On its 2.5 hour journey between Tokyo and Kanazawa, it stops only at Ueno, Omiya, Nagano and Toyama. The Kagayaki features twelve cars, one of which is Gran Class, the first class service by JR. The Kagayaki is one of the few shinkansen trains without non-reserved seating. A seat reservation is mandatory. When all seats are booked out, standing tickets can be purchased.
The Hakutaka is the slower of the two train categories that run along the entire length of the Hokuriku Shinkansen. It skips many stations between Tokyo and Nagano, but stops at most of the stations beyond Nagano. The Hakutaka features the same train sets as the Kagayaki, but it does offer non-reserved seating. It requires 20 to 50 minutes longer than the Kagayaki to make the trip between Tokyo and Kanazawa.
The Tsurugi shuttles between Kanazawa and Toyama stations, catering to local traffic between the two cities and providing travelers arriving by limited express train from Osaka and Kyoto with a connection to Toyama. Cars 8, 9, 10 and 12 cannot be used.
Note: For simplification, some rare train compositions and stopping patterns are omitted.