Traveling from Tokyo to Kyoto — 4 fastest & cheapest ways on how to get to Kyoto from Tokyo
When visitors visit Japan, Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka are consistently ranked among the top famous tourist spots. Tokyo is a contemporary metropolis, but Kyoto is old. The distance between these two cities is not very short, so how do you go from Tokyo to Kyoto? There are several alternatives available, depending on whether you value time or money. The ideal option is to utilize a JR Rail Pass, especially if you are visiting many cities, like as Tokyo and Kyoto. What is the best way to get from Tokyo to Kyoto? Are you finding the cheapest way from Tokyo to Kyoto? Let’s look at the four quickest and cheapest methods to go to Kyoto from Tokyo with Focus Asia Travel below.
Tokyo to Kyoto by Shinkansen (Japanese Bullet Train)
Shinkansen is the most convenient transport on how to get from Tokyo to Kyoto.
The Nozomi Shinkansen is the quickest Shinkansen. In peak season, it costs about 14110 ( 128 USD) one-way and takes approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes to go from Tokyo Station to Kyoto Station. Hikari, which is somewhat less expensive at 13,800 ( 125.3 USD) one-way, takes significantly longer at 2 hours and 40 minutes. The Kodama Shinkansen is the slowest Shinkansen. It takes around 3 hours and 50 minutes to reach Kyoto and costs the same as Hikari. If you travel during the off-season, the price will be lowered by a few hundred yen. That is any period that does not coincide with the spring and summer holidays, Golden Week, or New Year’s Day.
If you want to keep things as inexpensive as possible, the Shinkansen is not the greatest option. However, it is the most comfortable and convenient method to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto, and there are other ways to make your Shinkansen ride more affordable. The Hikari is featured in the Japan Rail Pass, which enables unlimited travel on Japan Rail (JR) trains within a week (though lengthier alternatives are also available).
In addition, there is also the Puratto Kodama Economy Plan, which allows you to travel on the Kodama from Tokyo to Kyoto at the price of ¥10,300 – ¥11,800 one-way (~ 94 – 107 USD), depending on each season. This ticket can only be purchased at least a day in advance, and the number of tickets is limited, so call or visit JR Tokai Tours office for booking.
Finally, if you do not have a JR Rail Pass, you may still buy a special cheap ticket (for tourists/visitors). If you’re only going for a few days, a shinkansen + hotel package can save you money. These bundles, unlike the Puratto ticket, contain the fastest bullet trains. Top alternatives are the 4-day rail + hotel package for $37,700 (342 USD) and the 3-day train + 4-star hotel package for $46,700 (424 USD). If you prefer, there is also a 1-night hotel + train package to Osaka for 33,000 ( 300 USD).
Time: 1 hours and 20 minutes – 3 hours and 50 minutes
Pricing: ¥10,300– ¥14,110 ~ 94 USD – 128 USD (one-way)
How to get to Kyoto from Tokyo by Low-cost airlines
Kyoto may not have an airport, but Kansai International Airport in nearby Osaka serves as the region’s entrance. Low-cost airlines such as Peach or Jetstar can take you from Narita or Haneda Airport to Osaka in only one and a half hours. Prices begin at 4,590 – 5,190 (42 – 47 USD). Be on the watch for Peach airline’s periodic sale-off fares deals. In sale-off promotions, one-way fares can be reduced to $2,490 (23 USD).
Although the rates in the promos are low, you need consider the cost of traveling to Narita, which is 900 9 USD (one-way) for a bus departing from Tokyo Station. You should also keep in mind that after you reach in Osaka, you must take a train or bus to Kyoto. The Haruka Limited Express takes around 75 minutes to link Kansai Airport to Kyoto and costs 3,570 yen (32 USD) one-way in peak season. We recommend getting a Haruka and ICOCA package for short-term travelers, which is a great value at $3,600 one-way (33 USD) and $5,200 round-trip (47 USD). You can buy an IC card called ICOCA that has an initial balance of ¥ 1,500 (~ 14 USD). You can use the card for other trains. The time and cost of airport transfers can be added up.
Time: About 4.5 hours (including the time of airport transfers)
Pricing: At least ¥6,700 ~ 61 USD (one-way, including airport fees and transfer costs)
How to travel to Kyoto from Tokyo by Local trains
The Seishun 18 pass is a kind of seasonal ticket consisting of five tickets with the cost of ¥ 11,850 ~ 107 USD (for five consecutive or non-consecutive days of unlimited travel). Anytime during the validity period, solo travelers can use in all five days, or group of travelers can share together. Thus, each day of travel costs just ¥ 2,370 (~ 22 USD). How about the disadvantages? The pass can only be used on local and rapid JR trains, which takes more time to travel!
The itineraries can be fairly difficult, so let’s plan the trip ahead of time using Hyperdia (uncheck everything but Japan Railways and local trains) and your leftover time. Because missing one train might have a cascading effect on your travel to Kyoto. If you have extra time and want to save money, this is the choice for you; however, it is not suitable for those looking for an easy and short vacation to Kyoto.
Time: About 9 hours
Pricing: ¥2,370 one-way (~ 22 USD)
How to get from Tokyo to Kyoto by Highway bus
Many bus companies provide routes from Tokyo to Kyoto, including Kosoku Bus, Midnight Express, Tokyu, and Willer. A trip from Tokyo to Kyoto costs about 4,800 (44 USD) depending on comfort and season. It takes between 6 and 9 hours to go from Tokyo to Kyoto. Buses leaving Tokyo during the day generally take longer owing to traffic, while buses departing at night may bring you to Kyoto Station around 5:15 a.m.
Time: 6-9 hours
Pricing: At least ¥ 3,000 one – way (~ 27 USD)
The conclusion on how to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto
There’s no dispute that the Shinkansen is still the fastest and smoothest transport to get from Tokyo to Kyoto, and if you’re going to buy the JR Rail Pass, don’t hesitate to take action.
The Seishun 18 ticket, on the other hand, is the cheapest choice but will squander your time. If you want to travel about without wasting too much time or money, an overnight bus to Kyoto is a preferable option. Traveling by airline might still be costly and time-consuming in airport transfers, but if you have a cheap ticket during promotion season, let’s go!