Hokuriku Shinkansen’s Kanazawa-Tsuruga Section Opens

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Hokuriku Shinkansen’s Kagayaki 502 train departs JR Tsuruga Station in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, on Saturday morning.

A new section of the Hokuriku Shinkansen line opened Saturday between Kanazawa and Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, linking Tokyo and Fukui stations by a bullet train service in under three hours.

Six new stations — two in Ishikawa Prefecture and four in Fukui Prefecture — have been built along the extension, which covers about 125 kilometers.

With the Shinkansen connecting the Tokyo metropolitan area with more of the Hokuriku region, there is an estimate that the extension will generate an economic benefit of nearly ¥60 billion. It is also expected to help the reconstruction of areas damaged by the Noto Peninsula Earthquake on Jan. 1.

The Kagayaki 506 train, which left Tsuruga for Tokyo, arrived at the newly built Kaga Onsen Station in Kaga, Ishikawa Prefecture, at 8:49 a.m. on Saturday. Ishikawa Gov. Hiroshi Hase and local people, such as members of the Lady Kaga — a group of women who manage hot spring facilities in Kaga — welcomed the arrival of the train by breaking open a kusudama paper ball.

“After experiencing a major earthquake, I’ve realized once again that Shinkansen are needed to secure transportation for people,” Hase said.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Members of the Lady Kaga group welcome the arrival of a bullet train at Kaga Onsen Station in Kaga, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Saturday morning.

The extended Hokuriku Shinkansen now connects Tokyo and Fukui in as little as 2 hours and 51 minutes, 33 minutes faster than before, and a Tokyo-Tsuruga journey takes 3 hours and 8 minutes. The Kagayaki train makes nine round trips a day, while the Hakutaka train, which stops at most stations, makes five round trips. The Tsurugi shuttle train makes 25 round trips between either Toyama or Kanazawa stations and Tsuruga Station a day.

This is the first extension to the Hokuriku Shinkansen line since the Nagano-Kanazawa section opened in March 2015.

For the envisaged Tsuruga and Shin-Osaka section, a route that will pass through Obama, Fukui Prefecture, and Kyoto has been decided. The section is scheduled to open in 2046.