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How To Get From Osaka to Kyoto

Travelers in Japan frequently ask how to get from Osaka to Kyoto. These two enchanting cities are dynamic hubs of history, culture, and tradition. Osaka, renowned for its bustling street food scene and vibrant nightlife, is a contemporary metropolis deeply rooted in Japanese heritage. Meanwhile, Kyoto is a treasure trove of ancient temples, serene gardens, and timeless tea houses that echo the essence of traditional Japan.

Osaka and Kyoto are located just 55 kilometers (34 miles) apart in the west-central part of Honshu Island. You can make this journey in various ways, including a swift 15-minute Shinkansen bullet train ride or a leisurely hour-long scenic drive. Keep reading to discover essential tips for traveling between these historical marvels and buckle up for a breathtaking ride!

Best Way to Get From Osaka to Kyoto: Join a Tour

shinsekai japan osaka tour

When traveling between Osaka and Kyoto, guided package tours that visit these two cities are the best choice for a seamless and culturally enriching experience. Packages take the stress out of planning and ensure a hassle-free journey. From transportation arrangements to first-rate accommodation and carefully curated activities, all the logistics are expertly organized. That way, you can relish every moment of your cultural exploration. Plus, our knowledgeable guides serve as invaluable companions on excursions like this flavors of Japan 7-day tour. They’ll provide insights into historical landmarks and cultural nuances to enrich your understanding of Japan’s rich traditions and history.

We have numerous tour options that cater to any traveler’s preferences. Tours that leave from Osaka offer a snapshot of the city’s key highlights. They’re ideal for travelers with limited time. In contrast, our multi-day, all-inclusive packages allow a deeper dive into the country’s unique atmosphere. This Tokyo, Osaka & Kyoto 10-Day Tour provides a comprehensive immersion into the essence of Japan. Tours are also available from Kyoto to accommodate various travel schedules, such as our Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara & Osaka Package. From Osaka’s neon-lit streets to Kyoto’s serene temples, we have plenty of tour options perfectly tailored to your itinerary and interests.

Other Ways to Get from Osaka to Kyoto

japan highway osaka kyoto

How to Get From Osaka to Kyoto by Bus

Taking a bus from Osaka to Kyoto is convenient and straightforward. Keihan Bus operates a direct route between the two cities with five daily departures between 7:50 AM and 9:00 PM. There are three pickup locations in Osaka: Hotel Keihan Universal Tower, Universal Studios Japan, and Osaka City Air Terminal (OCAT). However, the buses may skip one or two stops on the various routes throughout the day, so it’s essential to verify the itinerary when booking your ticket for the most up-to-date information. You’ll arrive at Kyoto Station in one to two hours, depending on the route and traffic conditions. The bus fare costs ¥900 ($6), offering a cost-effective means of transport for those seeking budget-friendly Japan travel between Osaka and Kyoto.

How to Get From Osaka to Kyoto by Train

There are plenty of Osaka to Kyoto train options offering efficient and frequent daily services. The renowned Shinkansen bullet train departs from Shin-Osaka Station, reaching Kyoto Station in approximately 15 minutes. One-way tickets for this high-speed service cost ¥1,420 ($9). Alternatively, the JR Kyoto Line also operates between Osaka and Kyoto. The local trains stop at all 16 stations along the route. However, there are also Special Rapid trains that only stop at Osaka, Shin-Osaka, Takatsuki, and Kyoto Stations. This route takes around 30 minutes from Osaka Station to Kyoto Station. The one-way fare is ¥560 ($4). Or, you can catch the Haruka Express train from Osaka’s Kansai International Airport directly to Kyoto Station. The trip takes about 70 minutes and costs ¥1,880 ($12.40). The JR Rail Pass also covers these three train lines.

The Hankyu Kyoto Line and Keihan Main Line are slightly more affordable Kyoto to Osaka train routes but are not covered by the JR Rail Pass. Also, they take longer because the trains stop more frequently. Catch the Hankyu Kyoto Line from Umeda Station in Osaka, arriving at Kawaramachi Station in Kyoto in approximately 45 minutes for a one-way fare of ¥400 ($2.64). The Keihan Main Line takes about 55 minutes to travel from Yodoyabashi Station in Osaka to Sanjo Station in Kyoto and costs ¥410 ($2.70). 

How to get from Osaka to Kyoto by Car

A scenic road trip from Osaka to Kyoto is a fantastic way to explore Japan’s beautiful countryside. The 55-kilometer (34-mile) drive usually takes about an hour, depending on traffic and time of day. Osaka has numerous car rental options. Companies like Toyota Rent a Car, Nissan Rent a Car, Europcar, and Times Car Rental offer a variety of vehicles with average daily rates ranging from ¥6,000 to ¥13,500 ($40 to $90). If you prefer not to drive, taxis are readily available in Osaka with companies like Osaka MK, Sakura Taxi, and Kokusai Kogyo. A taxi for this distance usually costs ¥18,000 to ¥25,000 ($120 to $160).

When driving in Japan, remember that foreigners must carry an International Driver’s Permit and a valid driver’s license. Japan strictly enforces traffic laws, so be sure to keep left while driving, yield to pedestrians and bicycles, stop at all railroad crossings, and follow the speed limits. Additionally, tolls are common along Japan’s highways and expressways. Expect to pay around ¥3,280 ($21) in tolls on this drive.

Private Transfers

Pre-booking a private transfer between these two iconic cities offers unparalleled comfort, convenience, and flexibility, making the additional cost worthwhile. Private transfers are ideal for groups sharing expenses, families with children, or travelers with mobility constraints who may find public transportation challenging. A comfortable, private vehicle ensures a stress-free, personalized journey. With door-to-door service, ample space, and the ability to tailor the trip to your schedule, private tours provide a smooth and enjoyable travel experience.

Osaka to Kyoto: A Journey to Paradise

Evening Food Tour of Kyoto’s Pontocho & Gion Shirakawa - Night view of Pontocho, a typical narrow alley of Kyoto full of typical Japanese restaurants

When traveling from Osaka to Kyoto, guided tours like this Kyoto 5-day tour package are the ultimate choice for convenience, comfort, and cultural exploration. All our Kyoto tours streamline your journey by managing transportation and accommodations while offering invaluable local and historical insights from knowledgeable guides. If you prefer independent transport, trains provide swift transit, and buses offer a budget-friendly option. Rental cars grant flexibility, while private transfers ensure a comfortable, personalized experience. Plus, something like an evening food tour makes an excellent addition to your Kyoto itinerary.

If you’re looking for more inspiration for your trip to Kyoto, Tourist Japan has you covered. Discover the best guided tours of the city, learn about fascinating art galleries, and find out where to stay

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