Looking to travel to Kyoto but unsure how? Read this short guide for an overview on all the different transportation that can bring you from Tokyo to Kyoto!
Getting to Kyoto by Bullet Train
The easiest and fastest way to get to Kyoto from Tokyo is by taking a Shinkansen (Bullet Train). It is also the most popular option amongst locals and tourists alike.
There are three Shinkansen that can get you from Tokyo to Kyoto – Nozomi, Hikari and Kodoma.
Nozomi Shinkansen is the fastest option amongst the three. The journey takes roughly 2 hours 15 min. However, it is not included in the JR Rail Pass. A one-way ticket costs ¥14,000 (~SGD$133.88) for a reserved ticket and ¥13,320 (~SGD$127.37) for an unreserved ticket.
Hikari Shinkansen is the second fastest option, taking around 2h 40 mins to get from Tokyo to Kyoto. Unlike the Nozomi, this shinkansen is included under the JR Pass. This option is definitely worth the money if you are thinking of purchasing a rail pass to travel to multiple prefectures.
The last train option is also the option that takes the longest – Kodoma Train. It takes around 4 hours for the entire journey as the train stops at every stop between Tokyo and Kyoto. Though Kodoma is also included in JR Pass, you may wish to take the Hidari Shinkansen for a speedier ride.
All trains towards Kyoto board from Tokyo Station or Shinagawa Station. If you’re coming from Narita Airport, you need to take an airport shuttle to one of the stations. The journey from Narita Airport to Tokyo Station takes an additional 1h 20 mins and costs ¥1,000.
Getting to Kyoto by Plane
Another way of getting to Kyoto from Tokyo is by plane. If you’re coming from Narita Airport, it may be easier to book a direct flight to Kyoto. Budget local airlines like Peach Aviation and Jetstar offer tickets starting from SGD$53. The plane ride itself takes around 90 mins, which is shorter than taking a train. However, if you factor in the check-in time and more, it will take a rough total of 3 hours to get to your destination.
Getting to Kyoto by Highway Bus
The most budget-friendly option is taking a Highway Bus aka Express Bus. Although it is not as fast or comfortable as the other 2 modes of transport, you can find tickets starting from ¥2,600 (~SGD$24.90). The journey on the road takes around 7 – 8 hours. Kill two birds with one stone by booking an overnight bus to save hotel money as well!