Access to Kyoto
It is quite easy to travel to Kyoto from other areas in Japan. You can take the shinkansen (bullet train), an airplane, or a bus from most major cities. Because Japan is a relatively small country with a fast transportation system, you can reach Kyoto conveniently no matter how far your trip is. Welcome to Kyoto!
Shinkansen Bullet Trains
If you plan to visit Kyoto from other regions in Japan, shinkansen trains may be the most convenient choice for your trip. The bullet trains are the fastest, with some operating at 320 kmph. Unlike airplanes, shinkansen trains will deliver you right to the heart of the city: Kyoto Station. With several different lines, bullet trains run from the northeast part of Japan down to the southern tip of the country via major cities such as Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, and Fukuoka.
There are many types of bullet trains. The Tōkaidō Line which services Kyoto Station operates Nozomi, Hikari and Kodama trains. Riding a shinkansen is not cheap, but if you are looking to optimize your costs, we recommend buying the Japan Rail Pass.
Shinkansen Travel Time (Average)
JAPAN RAIL PASS
The Japan Rail Pass is extremely convenient for long-distance travel between cities and regions of Japan, but it is only available to foreign tourists visiting Japan for sightseeing (with “temporary visitor” status). The pass is valid on all JR lines across Japan, including the shinkansen bullet trains, the Tokyo Monorail, part of the Aoimori Railway, the JR Miyajima ferry, and local JR buses (with some exceptions). The shinkansen is the fastest and most convenient way to get between cities such as Kyoto and Tokyo, but please note that the Japan Rail Pass cannot be used on some types of shinkansen (specifically Nozomi and Mizuho).
Japan Rail Pass Prices
|Period of Validity||Standard||Green|
(As of October 2019)
* Green Cars (first class cars) offer more spacious and comfortable seats compared to ordinary cars. All seats in Green Cars are reserved, which has to be done in advance at JR ticket offices.
HOW TO USE THE JAPAN RAIL PASS
1. Purchase an Exchange Order
An Exchange Order (sometimes called a voucher) must be purchased at an authorized sales office or agency before coming to Japan. To find the most convenient location, please visit the official website.
2. Activate Your Japan Rail Pass
Once you're in Japan, make your way to the closest Exchange Office and present your voucher to receive the Japan Rail Pass. You will need your passport for this procedure. Your Japan Rail Pass will be valid for the specified time period from the assigned starting date. The date you choose as the starting date cannot be altered once the voucher has been exchanged.
3. Book Seats
Most JR trains have cars with non-reserved seats, and a booking is not required. However, if you wish to book a seat in advance for peace of mind or to get a nice window seat, it is possible with your Japan Rail Pass at no additional fee. To make a seat reservation for the shinkansen or express trains, go to the counter at a JR Ticket Office and speak to the staff.
4. Use the Pass
To access the train platform simply show your Japan Rail Pass to the JR staff located at the gate, who will let you on through. Always carry your passport along with your Japan Rail Pass, as the staff may ask to check it.
The voucher is refundable for one year if it has never been exchanged for a Japan Rail Pass. A cancellation fee of 10% of the value of the pass will be charged.
■ No refund will be given for Exchange Orders or Japan Rail Passes after the starting date of the specified validity period.
■ No refund will be given for a lost or stolen pass.
For more detailed information, please visit the Japan Rail Pass official website.
Access from Kansai International Airport to Kyoto
Direct to Kyoto Station in 75 Minutes
The easiest options when traveling between Kansai International Airport and Kyoto are the train and the bus. However, the quickest way to get to Kyoto is the JR line's limited express Haruka, which is a dedicated train service that runs from the airport to Kyoto Station. The Haruka express train takes you to Kyoto Station in about 75 minutes.
Please check the ticket details and the timetable on JR West’s official website:
The Haruka express train is covered by the Japan Rail Pass. If you don't have a Japan Rail Pass, JR also offers an "ICOCA & HARUKA" package which you can purchase at the JR ticket office at the Kansai Airport Station under condition that you are in Japan with a "temporary visitor" status. "ICOCA & HARUKA" is a set containing an ICOCA IC card (pre-charged with ¥1,500) and a discounted ticket for the Kansai Airport express Haruka. The ICOCA card can be used on JR line trains, private railways, subways, and buses, as well as at some shops, kiosks, vending machines, and coin lockers.
For more information on the “ICOCA & HARUKA” package, check JR West’s official website:
JR Line Haruka Express Train Stops
Kyoto Train and Subway Route Map
"ICOCA & HARUKA" Ticket Types and Ticket Fare
|Kansai Airport – Kyoto Station||ICOCA Card and Haruka Express Ticket|
|One Way||Round Trip|
|Period of validity of Haruka express ticket (non-reserved seat)||1 day||14 days|
|Prepaid charge on the ICOCA card||¥1,500|
|JR-WEST Free Wi-Fi service on Haruka trains||Available|
|Shopping with your ICOCA card
(convenience stores, vending machines, coin lockers, etc.)
(As of October 2019)
Please remember that the JR line's limited express Haruka from Kansai Airport Station operates between 6:30 and 22:16 (from Kyoto Station between 5:45 and 20:30). If you arrive at Kansai International Airport outside of the train's operating hours, taking the bus is a great option. You can take a bus to the stop nearest your hotel and don't need to transfer train lines or call a taxi. Moreover, you can have a seat with no worries about your belongings fitting, even if you are traveling with large suitcases or many souvenirs. It takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes from Kansai International Airport to Kyoto Station by bus, and another 20 minutes on the bus will take you to the central Kawaramachi area. However, we recommend you budget in some extra time if traveling to the airport, as the bus is subject to traffic delays.
・ The bus stop at Kansai International Airport's Terminal 1 is on the 1st floor. Please buy your ticket at Ticket Window B and wait at the bus stop number 8.
・ The bus stop at Kansai International Airport's Terminal 2 is on the 1st floor. Please buy your ticket at Ticket Window A and wait at the bus stop number 2.
Please check the airport bus timetable at the website below:
Airport Bus Stops
Kyoto by Area
Bus Ticket Fare, Kansai International Airport – Kyoto Station
|Bus Ticket Types||Adults||Children|
|Round Trip (1 day)
Valid for one day.
|Round Trip (14 days)
Valid for 14 consecutive days from the date of first use.
(As of October 2019)
Gateway to Kyoto City
When you come to Kyoto by shinkansen, you will arrive at Kyoto Station (Kyoto-eki). You can transfer easily to many other train lines within the station or beneath it, making it an important hub for traveling in and around Kyoto. The station itself is one of the largest and the most modern buildings in the city. There are shops, restaurants, ATMs, department stores, and the rather useful Tourist Information Center inside. The iconic Kyoto Tower is also nearby.
Kyoto Tourist Information Center
At the Kyoto Tourist Information Center (Kyo Navi) you can receive directions to the destinations you’d like to reach, information on all sorts of sights in Kyoto, free maps, and updates on the latest events. Officially run as a joint venture by the prefecture and the city, the center has staff members who are fluent in multiple languages, including Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean.
Kyoto Tourist Information Center
|Address:||2F JR Kyoto Station Building|
|Access:||Second floor, near the West Gate and ISETAN department store|
|Business Hours:||8:30 – 19:00|