We determine the timing of neural commitment by hindbrain tissue in the zebrafish using microsurgical transplantation. When transplanted at shield stage to the ventral side of the embryo, presumptive hindbrain cells are not committed, as they can adapt to their environment and give rise to epidermis. In contrast, when transplanted at 80% epiboly, hindbrain cells retain their neural fate and express neural-specific antigens. Moreover, they are able to maintain regional fate, as is evident by the expression of the hindbrain-specific marker, Krox20. In addition, we observe that committed hindbrain tissues are able to induce presumptive ventral epidermis to form neural crest derivatives, otic vesicles, and neural tissues. We propose that hindbrain progenitors have acquired regional identity as a group at 80% epiboly even before making vertical contact with axial mesoderm. These results suggest that planar induction may constitute a significant component in the zebrafish neural patterning pathway.