Translated by Lester Somera
Getting From Osaka To Kyoto - The Fastest And Easiest Way
Written by Kousuke DEKI
Head from Kyoto to Osaka using the fastest and cheapest method. It takes only 15 minutes by Shinkansen and as little as 30 minutes by train. Find out how to easily travel between these two popular destinations.
How to Get From Osaka to Kyoto
When traveling around western Japan, many people use Osaka as a base and head to Kyoto for sightseeing. Osaka and Kyoto are neighboring prefectures, and it’s easy to get from one to the other. Let’s see the main ways to get from Osaka to Kyoto. It takes about 15 minutes from Osaka to Kyoto on the shinkansen and about 30-50 minutes on the train; it takes roughly an hour and a half by bus or taxi. Let’s look at the characteristics of each mode of travel.
1. The Shinkansen Is the Fastest Way
If you have a Japan Rail Pass, the Shinkansen is the fastest option, taking 15 minutes to get from JR Shin-Osaka Station to JR Kyoto Station. Note that the Japan Rail Pass only works for Hikari and Kodama trains, and you cannot use it to ride on Nozomi trains. If you don’t have the pass, the fare is 1,420 yen (for a non-reserved seat). There is only a 15-30 minute difference when compared to regular trains, so if you are not a pass holder, there’s no particular need to go by Shinkansen.
JR Pass – 7, 14, or 21 Days Unlimited Rail Travel in Japan
2. Taking the Train Is Recommended
You can take the train from Osaka to Kyoto without making any transfers. You can ride the JR line or the Hankyu line, which have different stations and end up in different places, so choose the one that suits your purposes.
JR Trains - Fast and Easy: Osaka Station to Kyoto Station
The journey by JR train is short and easy to take. It is the best option for those with the Japan Rail Pass.
Take the Special Rapid train from JR Osaka Station to arrive at JR Kyoto Station in about 30 minutes (560 yen). From JR Shin-Osaka, the journey is about 25 minutes and costs the same.
The route takes less time and is easy to understand since Osaka Station and Kyoto Station are directly connected.
Be aware that Kyoto Station is not very close to Gion and other parts of the city center.
Hankyu - Go to Central Kyoto: Hankyu Umeda Station to Kawaramachi Station
Take the train from Hankyu Umeda Station, next to JR Osaka Station, to get to the central Kyoto area of Kawaramachi without transferring.
From Hankyu Umeda Station, take a Limited Express train on the Kyoto line bound for Kawaramachi (45 minutes, 400 yen).
You can get to Kawaramachi without transferring, which is close to Gion and the shopping district.
Be aware that Hankyu Umeda Station is adjacent to Osaka Station, but is five to ten minutes away on foot.
3. Other Options - Bus and Taxi
There is a bus from the Universal City Station area to Kyoto Station (two hours, 900 yen) but no bus from Osaka Station to Kyoto Station. Check the Japan Bus Online page for fare info and timetables.
By taxi, the trek is about an hour and a half and will cost roughly 15,000 yen. It may be an option if you have a group of people with a lot of luggage, and you want to get directly to your destination.
Use What’s Best for You to Get From Osaka to Kyoto
The fastest way to Kyoto Station from Osaka is the Shinkansen, while the regular train is cheap and convenient. However, there isn’t much difference in terms of overall time, so we recommend taking the train.
Picture courtesy of Magical Trip
Plan for when you arrive in Kyoto! Another tip for having a great trip is taking part in a tour. Magical Trip offers tours by locals to give travelers a great experience of the ancient capital. Click here to view tours and booking information.
Going to Osaka or Kyoto from Tokyo? Shinkansen Tickets and Discounts with JR Flex Rail Ticket
For those heading to Kyoto or Osaka from Tokyo, another suggested option is booking a roundtrip Shinkansen ticket with Veltra. The ticket includes a discounted price on a roundtrip between Tokyo and Osaka, or Tokyo and Kyoto, useable within a 7-day period. It also comes with your choice of an activity ticket. Those looking heading to Osaka can choose between free admission to Abeno Harukas, discounts on local food and drink, among other activities. For Kyoto, select from kimono rental, chopstick-making workshops, and other fun traditional experiences.