Planning on spending a few days in Tokyo and then going to Kyoto?
Here’s How to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto.

By Shinkansen Bullet Train from Tokyo to Kyoto

Several trains offer transportation from Tokyo and Kyoto. The different Shinkansen Tokyo-Kyoto Bullet trains are: Nozomi trains – 140 minutes, Hikari trains, a bit slower – 160 minutes

and Kodama trains, double the time – nearly four hours.

Standard fare in either direction without a reservation is 13,080 yen; and about 13,500 yen with a reservation on either Hikari or Kodama trains; you can use the Japan Rail pass. A reserved seat on a Nozomi train however will cost about 500 more yen, and the JRpass is not valid there.

Tokyo to Kyoto bullet train tickets can be purchased at most JR Stations, either at the counter – which is actually quite simple – or at ticket machines, which feature English instructions.
Note! You cannot purchase tickets online for the Shinkansen train without a permanent Japanese address. There are no discounts for Kyoto to Tokyo return tickets. Usually a reserved seat is still available half an hour before departure.

By Highway Bus

This low price option involves a 7-8 hour bus ride. Due to the popularity of this route, you can find a bus any time, night or day. Typical one way fares start at around 3500 yen, luxury busses can run 10,000 yen. For 7,000 yen you can travel overnight between Tokyo and Kyoto by bus. Reserve bus tickets at major JR train stations. Some of the luxurt overnight buses offer comfortable reclining seats, blankets, slippers and a bathroom.

For 6,000 yen you can take the same bus during daytime traveling Tokyo to Kyoto. The bus makes several stops along the way, including a few stops at service areas.

By Air

The Itami Airport in Osaka is a one hour bus ride from the center of Kyoto. That’s the closest airport to Kyoto. From Itami Airport, you can get a flight to Haneda Airport which serves most local flights, or to Narita Airport, both in Tokyo; it is a 60 minute flight. Each way usually costs about 23,000 yen.

By Car

When using the Tomei and Meishin Expressways, the trip will take about 5-6 hours. That is without taking into account rest stops and rush hour traffic. You will also have to pay a 10,000 yen toll in each direction.

By Local Trains

If you want to stop and change trains, and are in no rush or budget conscious, this is the way to go. Travel time is about nine hours, and you will probably board 4 trains. You won’t save money for all this trouble; it will probably run over 8,000 yen. You will certainly get the Best insights into Japan and its citizens with this method.

Our Kyoto Tours

Kyoto Day 1: The Best of Kyoto
Kyoto Day 2: Cherry Blossoms, Shrines and Geisha

The best way to experience Kyoto is with your own small private tour from First Time Japan.
English-speaking local guides will take you to the very best attractions and help you make the most of a short visit. (We also offer local guides speaking French, Spanish, Russian and Hebrew).

With no other people on your tour, the guides can adjust the pace to fit your special needs. This is the advantage of a fully private tour like the ones we offer. Our tours are highly suitable for families with babies in strollers, Senior travelers, travelers with mobility problems or wheelchair-bound.

When planning your trip, check current information; Above fees and schedules are subject to change.

Tokyo Trip Checklist

  • To make sure you have all the important things covered see my first-time-in-Tokyo guide
  • Get your 1,2 or 3-day Tokyo Unlimited Subway Pass to easily get around Tokyo
  • If you want to travel on bullet trains you can save big with a Japan Rail Pass. Here’s why is worth it.
  • You’ll need a prepaid sim or Portable WIFI to stay connected in Tokyo.
  • Check out my detailed Tokyo packing list to make sure you’re prepared.
  • The best site to book hotels in Tokyo is almost always And remember to book early, especially during busy times.
  • For travel insurance (which you need) Word Nomads offer great coverage in Japan and are highly recommended.

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