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How to Access Kyoto from Kansai International Airport (2023)

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Many visitors to Japan may wonder about the best way to reach Kyoto from Kansai International Airport. This article introduces four modes of transportation in terms of travel time and cost. Please choose one that best suits your travel style!

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Accessing Kyoto from Kansai Airport

Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, is located in the Kansai region, the western side of Japan's main island, Honshu. It's one of the most popular travel destinations in the country.

International visitors heading to Kyoto often start their trip at Kansai International Airport (referred to henceforth as Kansai Airport) in Osaka. However, many are overwhelmed by the various transportation options available at the airport.

Today's article will help relieve some of that confusion. First, we'll feature four main modes of transportation from the airport to Kyoto. Then we'll compare and explain them in an easy-to-understand manner.

Table of Contents

Train, Bus, and Taxi: Which Is Best?
Train: JR Kansai Airport Express HARUKA
Train: Kyoto Access Tickets for the Cheapest Price!
Bus: Limousine Bus
Taxi: Kansai Airport Transfer Flat-Fee Taxi

Train, Bus, and Taxi: Which Is Best?

When heading to Kyoto from Kansai Airport, it's often confusing to decide which transportation option is best.

We suggest referring to the table directly below. It compares trains (JR Line, Nankai Electric Railway), buses, and taxis by looking at their various characteristics. Please find the transportation method that best suits your travel plans!

Transport mode Ideal for these travelers Main stops in Kyoto Travel time Adult fare
JR Kansai Airport Express HARUKA ・heading to the Kyoto Station area
・heading to Nijo, Yamashina, and Fushimi area
・want to arrive in Kyoto on time
Kyoto Station about 1 hour 20 minutes ・train ticket: 1,910 yen
・reserved seating: 3,430 yen
・green car seating: 4,200 yen
Nankai Electric Railway Kyoto Access Ticket ・heading to Kyoto's Shijo Omiya, Shijo Karasuma, and Kawaramachi
・want to travel economically
・have time and aren't in a rush
Hankyu Railway Kyoto Line: Omiya Station, Karasuma Station, Kyoto-Kawaramachi Station, etc. about 2 hours (depends on transfer times) 1,250 yen
Limousine Bus ・heading to Kyoto Station area
・have lots of luggage
・heading to Kyoto from Airport Terminal 2
Kyoto Station about 1 hour 30 minutes (depends on traffic conditions) 2,600 yen
Airport Transfer Flat-Fee Taxi ・seniors and those with young children ・want to specify their drop-off point (home, hotel, etc.) about 2 hours or more (depends on drop-off point) 4,980 yen and up (depends on taxi company)

Please refer to the JR Official Website (Japanese) for information on busy times for reserved seating.

Click here to book a Kyoto accommodation with!

Click here to book a Kyoto accommodation with Agoda!

Click here for information on the JR PASS, an economical pass for visitors to Japan!

Click here to reserve a plane ticket with Skyticket!

Train: JR Kansai Airport Express HARUKA


The fastest and most comfortable way of arriving at Kyoto Station from Kansai Airport is by taking the Kansai Airport Express HARUKA (*1).

The train departs once every 30 minutes. After leaving the airport, the JR Kansai Airport Express HARUKA first arrives at Osaka's Tennoji Station and Shin-Osaka Station, before finally reaching Kyoto Station.

The exterior of the train cars is also decorated with cute Hello Kitty designs.

We recommend JR Kansai Airport Express HARUKA for those living in the Kyoto Station area. It is also idea for travelers who plan on transferring to get to Nijo, Fushimi, Yamashina, and the Shiga Prefecture area. When planning to go to central Kyoto such as Shijo Karasuma and Kawaramachi, it's best to hop on a subway or bus after getting off the train.

*1: Since February 12, 2023, all service has been suspended along some sections of JR Kansai Airport Express HARUKA's route.

HARUKA Discount Tickets: An Exclusive Bargain for Overseas Visitors!


Overseas visitors who have an ICOCA (*2) smart card are eligible to purchase the HARUKA discount ticket.

When using the HARUKA discount ticket, a one-way adult fare from Kansai Airport to Kyoto Station is only 1,800 yen! This ticket can be purchased at the JR West ticket office at Kansai Airport. You can choose either a one-way or return ticket.

For more details, please refer to the JR WEST Official Website (English, traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese, and Thai).

*2 ICOCA: a transportation IC card issued by JR West. In addition to paying for your train fare by simply touching it at the ticket gate, it can be used for cashless purchases at convenience stores and other participating shops.

Access from Kansai Airport Station via JR Train Lines

Kansai Airport Station

It takes two hours from Kansai Airport Station to Kyoto Station aboard the JR Train Line, with a stop at Osaka Station along the way. Since a one-way adult fare is only 2,000 yen, we recommend it for those interested in traveling economically—even if it requires extra time.

In the photo above, you can see the blue-colored JR Line entrance sign inside Kansai Airport Station. Let's pass through the ticket gate here and hop on the train. The following MATCHA article will give you more details on this route.

Additional Recommendation: JR PASS (Unlimited Shinkansen Rides)!

Japan rail pass

For a flat-rate, overseas visitors can buy a JR PASS, which offers unlimited use on the Shinkansen (bullet train).

The JR PASS features many options. For example, with the Kansai WIDE Area Pass, you can arrive at Kyoto Station from the airport but also go as far as Kobe and Okayama.

There's also a JR PASS that allows you to travel as far as Fukuoka, Nagoya, and Tokyo. It's an economical way to tour Japan, so please check this out.

Click here for information on the JR PASS: A bargain for international travelers!
Click here for information on the Kansai WIDE Area Pass: Great for travel and sightseeing between Osaka and Kyoto!

Train: Kyoto Access Tickets for the Cheapest Price!

Nankai Electric Railway

If you use Nankai Electric Railway's Kyoto Access Ticket, a one-way adult fare from the airport to Kyoto Station is only 1,250 yen―the cheapest fare available.

Before arriving at Kyoto Station, there will be two train transfers with a travel time of about two hours. At Kyoto-Kawaramachi Station―Kyoto's main shopping and entertainment area―you can disembark from the train to visit this popular sightseeing spot directly from the airport.

The Kyoto Access Ticket can be purchased at various places, including Nankai Electric Railway's ticket counter.

After buying a ticket, let's hop on board the Nankai Airport Line at Kansai Airport Station and head for Tengachaya Station. Then transfer to Osaka Metro's Sakaisuji Line and go as far as Tenjinbashisuji 6-chome Station. Here, we'll transfer to the Hankyu Kyoto Main Line and arrive at our final destination of Kyoto-Kawaramachi Station.

For more details on the Kyoto Access Ticket, please refer to the Nankai Electric Railway Official Website.

Bus: Limousine Bus

Limousine Bus

The limousine bus has routes to Kyoto from both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 of Kansai Airport. We highly recommend this bus for travelers with lots of luggage.

When taking the train to Kyoto, you'll need to take a shuttle bus from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1, where the train station is located. However, you can access Kyoto directly from Terminal 2 using the limousine bus. This will save you both time and trouble.

The limousine bus leaves the airport at 20-minute intervals. Depending on the type of bus, there's direct access to various spots, including Karasuma Station and Sanjo Keihan Station.

Please note that expressway traffic conditions can vary depending on the day. As a result, the bus might not reach its destination at the designated time. We recommend using the bus when you have time and aren't in a rush.

To use the bus, first go to the first floor. Please purchase your ticket from the ticket machine located outside the building.

When heading to Kyoto from Terminal 1, the bus leaves from bus stop number 8. When departing from Terminal 2, the bus leaves from bus stop number 2.

For details on the bus schedule and bus fare, please refer to the Kansai Airport Official Website (bus information).

Taxi: Kansai Airport Transfer Flat-Fee Taxi


Photo by Pixta

We recommend the Kansai Airport Transfer Flat-Fee Taxi for seniors and travelers with children heading for Kyoto.

Compared to other modes of transportation, the fare is more expensive. However, it's extremely convenient because you can specify where you want to go and be taken there directly.

For details on how to best utilize this taxi service and taxi fares, please refer to the official websites of two companies that provide this service: MK Limousine and Taxi Service and nearMe.

Rental Car: When You Want to Travel at Your Own Pace

Rental Car

Another viable option to access Kyoto from Kansai Airport is by rental car.

It's about 100 kilometers from Kansai Airport to Kyoto. The travel time is about 90 minutes, and the one-way expressway fare is 4,700 yen. Despite adding in the car rental cost, you can enjoy some leisurely side trips while heading to Kyoto.

Rental Car Reservations: you can compare Japan's major rental car companies at Tabirai Car Rental.

MATCHA is now offering a 10% discount coupon for overseas visitors at one of Japan's leading rent-a-car agencies: NIPPON Rent-a-Car.

NIPPON Rent-a-Car has several sales offices in Kyoto and a building beside Kansai Airport Station. Please consider booking a rental car if you'd like to travel at your own pace.


There are a limited number of places offering free Wi-Fi in Japan. This is why overseas visitors will find it convenient to rent a pocket Wi-Fi.

MATCHA is now offering a 20% off Ninja-Wifi coupon (English). Please take advantage of this great offer!

How to Access Kyoto from Kansai International Airport (2023)

Search for Accommodations in Kyoto

Kyoto: Top 10 Hotels for Couples and Families with Kids

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After deciding on which transportation to use from Kansai Airport to Kyoto, next up is booking your accommodation.

When looking for a reasonably priced and comfortable accommodation in Kyoto, please check and agoda.

The following MATCHA article introduces hotels in Kyoto ideal for couples and families with children. Please check out these wonderful accommodation facilities where visitors can experience Japan's traditional culture firsthand.

Click here to book a Kyoto accommodation with!

Click here to book a Kyoto accommodation with Agoda!

Enjoy Your Trip to Kyoto!

Kansai Airport provides visitors various transportation options, namely trains, buses, and taxis.

Travelers interested in arriving at Kyoto from the airport in the shortest amount of time can take the JR Kansai Airport Express HARUKA. Visitors who want to travel at the lowest possible price can use the Kyoto Access Ticket. Please choose the transportation mode that best suits your traveling style!

We hope this article will be a reference when planning your next visit to Kyoto.

Written by

Born in Taipei, Taiwan. I worked in the inbound tourism industry in Kyoto, writing a blog about travel in Japan. I joined MATCHA in October 2019. Hobbies: travel, watching trains, visiting stylish cafes, sweets, collecting seal stamps, watching musicals, taking photos, and others - so many, in fact, that I find it weird myself.
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