From Tokyo to Kyoto: Which Way is the Cheapest and Fastest??

From Tokyo to Kyoto, which way is the best?? There are several ways to get there such as airplane, bullet train, normal train and bus.

Kyoto is one of the best tourist destinations in Japan, and from Tokyo to Kyoto is a part of Japan’s Golden Route.

However, there are too many transportation options to get to Kyoto from Tokyo, and it’s difficult to choose the best way for foreign travelers especially first time visitors.

So, which way is the best: airplane, bullet train, normal train and bus.

Let me get straight to the point, Shinkansen or bus is the best way for you to get from Tokyo to Kyoto. Shinkansen is the fastest and bus is the cheapest way, and both are much easier.

Tokyo has two airport Narita Airport and Haneda Airport, but they may not be the best way for you since it costs a little money and time only to reach the airports from the center of Tokyo like Tokyo Station. Not a simple option.

Let’s compare Shinkansen with bus and check out how to get from Tokyo to Kyoto!!

Shinkansen or Bus?

Shinkansen (bullet train)

Time: 2 hours

Fare: about 13,000JPY

<<You can book your Shinkansen ticket from Tokyo to Kyoto online!!>>

Bus

Time: 8 hours

Fare: 3,000–8,000JPY (Day service)/4,500–12,000JPY (Night service)

As you can see, Shinkansen is much faster but buses are the better option for budget. The price may vary depending on the class of seats. An overnight bus may be the better choice for those who wish to save accommodation expenses. To sleep comfortably, a superior seat is recommended. Another advantage of buses is the time of the last bus: about 1 hour later than the train’s one.

So, it depends on which you value, time or money during the trip.

You should choose Shinkansen with Japan Rail Pass

If you have Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass), Shinkansen must be the first choice. In the case you take a shinkansen to Kyoto with Japan Rail Pass, HIKARI and KODAMA are available without any extra fee, but NOZOMI requires an extra fee.

<<Check out how to get and use Japan Rail Pass!!>>

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From Tokyo Station to Kyoto Station

Shinkansen

There are 3 major shinkansens whose names are Nozomi, Hikari and Kodama to Kyoto Station. The fare of Nozomi with a reserved seat is JPY13,910 and a non-reserved seat is JPY13,080. It will take about 2 hours to get to Kyoto.

For the tickets, a vending machine and a ticket office (called “Midori-no-madoguchi”) are available. Some vending machines have English menu. They are located next to ticket gates.

▽You can book and pick up Shinkansen tickets at your hotel!!▽

First train: 6:00

Last train: 22:47

Location of ticket gates: blue areas on this map

Platform: platform №14–19

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Bus

It will take much longer (8 hours) but cheaper (JPY3,900–12,000.) But please note that the day service (cheaper than the night service) ends at 14:10 and they restart at 21:50 as the night service.

Tokyo station bus terminal is located in Yaesu Exit (八重洲口.) Long distance bus tickets can be purchased at JR Expressway Bus at the bus terminal in Tokyo Station Yaesu Exit or online via bus company.

*Please note that the buses stop at either Kyoto Station Karasumaguchi Exit or Kyoto Fukakusa. To get to central Kyoto, get off at either bus stop. I recommend to choose the buses which get to Kyoto Station Karasumaguchi Exit.

Day service: 6:40–14:10

Night service: 21:50–23:50

Location of bus terminal: Yaesu South Exit (upper right on this map)

Time Table

Book online!!

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From Shinagawa Station to Kyoto Station

Shinkansen

Shinagawa Station is the other Shinkansen station in Tokyo and is the next stop to Tokyo Station of Nozomi, Hikari and Kodama shinkansens. The fare of Nozomi from Shinagawa Station to Kyoto station is the same as that from Tokyo Station.

First train: 6:00

Last train: 22:54

Location of ticket gates: blue areas at the bottom of this map

Platform: platform №23&24


From Shinjuku Station

Bus

JR Shinjuku Station is connected to BUSTA, the biggest bus terminal in Tokyo. Ticket counters and ticket vending machines are located on the 4th floor, which is the departure floor. The fare from Shinjuku BUSTA is not different from that from Tokyo Station.

*Please note that the buses stop at either Kyoto Station Karasumaguchi Exit or Kyoto Fukakusa. To get to central Kyoto, get off at either bus stop. I recommend to choose the buses which get to Kyoto Station Karasumaguchi Exit.

Day service: 7:20–13:50

Night service: 21:40–23:50

Location of bus terminal: buses to Osaka generally depart from the D Area on the 4th floor

Time Table

What Should You Do in Kyoto??

Kyoto, the second capital of Japan, has lots of historical sites and nature-rich spots for sightseeing. As for a history trip, you can’t miss Kinkakuji Temple, Kiyomizudera Temple and Fushimi Inari Shirine. In Gion area, you can enjoy Geisha performances and drinking at night!!

▼Make your perfect itinerary in Kyoto&Osaka with this article▼

▼How to move to Osaka??▼

▼Cheapest Way to Travel Kyoto!▼

▽You can book more useful and budget passes online!!▽

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