Kyoto Questions


Kyoto (闔・ャ鬩幢スス), one of Japan's ten largest cities with a population of 1.5 million people, was Japan's capital and the emperor's residence from 794 until 1868.

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About Kyoto

Kyoto (闔・ャ鬩幢スス, Ky・・。。o) held the esteemed position of Japan's capital and the residence of the emperor from 794 until 1868. Despite its ancient roots, it stands today as one of the nation's ten largest cities, boasting a population of 1.5 million and donning a modern fa・・スァade.

Throughout its rich history, Kyoto weathered the storms of numerous wars and devastating fires. However, owing to its unparalleled historical significance, the city was spared from the ravages of World War II. Remarkably, Kyoto was removed from the list of target cities for atomic bombing, ensuring the preservation of its countless temples, shrines, and other priceless historical landmarks that continue to grace the cityscape to this day.

Getting around

Kyoto boasts a grid-like street system where central streets are named, unlike other Japanese cities. Main east-west streets are numbered north to south, spaced about 500 meters apart, with smaller streets in between (e.g., Shijo for 4th Avenue, Nijo for 2nd Avenue).

The bustling city center, rich with dining and shopping options, centers around Shijo-dori and Kawaramachi-dori junction. JR Kyoto Station lies south at Hachijo-dori. Key north-south arteries include Karasuma-dori, linking the station to Kyoto Imperial Palace, and Kamo River east of it.

Despite its size, Kyoto's public transport system is limited, comprising two subways, buses, and varied railways. Connectivity isn't seamless, but taxis and bikes offer alternatives. IC cards like Icoca are recommended for travel, or consider 1-day passes for extensive bus or subway use.

Getting there
  • From Tokyo: Tokyo and Kyoto are linked by the JR Tokaido Shinkansen, with Nozomi trains taking about 140 mins, Hikari about 160 mins, and Kodama about 4 hrs. Regular one-way fare from Tokyo to Kyoto: ・ゑス・13,320 for non-reserved, around ・ゑス・14,000 for reserved seats. Japan Rail Pass covers Hikari and Kodama, with a supplement fee of ・ゑス・4,960 for Nozomi trains.

    The Tokyo-Osaka Hokuriku Arch Pass offers a scenic route via Kanazawa, costing ・ゑス・24,500 for seven consecutive days. Highway buses take 7-8 hrs, with fares starting from ・ゑス・3,500 for discount buses like Willer Express. Premium buses charge up to ・ゑス・10,000, but the Japan Bus Pass can lower the cost to around ・ゑス・3,000. Osaka's Itami Airport is about an hour by bus from central Kyoto, with flight fares ranging from ・ゑス・9,000 to ・ゑス・14,000. Driving via Tomei and Meishin Expressways takes 5-6 hrs, with tolls around ・ゑス・10,000 one way.

  • From Nagoya: Nagoya and Kyoto are key stops on the JR Tokaido Shinkansen. Nozomi trains take about 35 mins from Kyoto to Nagoya, while Hikari and Kodama take 40-60 mins. One-way fare from Kyoto to Nagoya: ・ゑス・5,170 for non-reserved, around ・ゑス・6,000 for reserved seats. Japan Rail Pass covers Hikari and Kodama but requires a supplement for Nozomi.

    By local trains on the JR Tokaido Line, the trip from Kyoto to Nagoya takes about 2 hrs 15 mins with a transfer at Maibara Station, costing ・ゑス・2,640. Daytime highway buses operated by multiple companies between Nagoya and Kyoto take around 2.5 hrs, costing around ・ゑス・2,500 or less. Reserve online via Japan Bus Online.

  • From Osaka: The JR Tokaido Shinkansen takes 15 mins and costs ・ゑス・1450 for an unreserved seat between Shin-Osaka and Kyoto Station; reserved seats cost double. Japan Rail Pass covers Hikari and Kodama, not Nozomi trains. "Special rapid" trains on JR Kyoto Line take 30 mins and cost ・ゑス・580 from Osaka to Kyoto; "rapid" and "local" trains take 40-45 mins, also costing ・ゑス・580. Limited express trains, slightly pricier but less crowded, are covered by Japan Rail Pass and offer comfort. Hankyu Kyoto Line limited express reaches central Kyoto in 40 mins for ・ゑス・410, not covered by Japan Rail Pass. Keihan Main Line limited express takes 50 mins from central Osaka to central Kyoto for ・ゑス・430, also not covered.

  • From Kobe: Between Kyoto Station and Shin-Kobe Station, the shinkansen ride lasts 30 mins, costing ・ゑス・2870 for a non-reserved seat. Direct Nozomi and Hikari trains run hourly, fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass if using Hikari trains.

    Direct JR special rapid trains on the JR Tokaido Line take 50 mins and cost ・ゑス・1110 for the one-way trip between Kyoto Station and Sannomiya Station in central Kobe.

    Limited express trains on the Hankyu Kyoto/Kobe Lines take about one hour, costing ・ゑス・640 one way between Kyoto-Kawaramachi Station and Kobe-Sannomiya Station, with one transfer at Juso Station.

  • From Nara: Miyakoji rapid trains run every 30 mins between Kyoto Station and JR Nara Station, taking 45 mins and costing ・ゑス・720, covered by the Japan Rail Pass. Local trains, also twice-hourly, take 75 mins for the same fare.

    Limited express trains, twice-hourly, take 35 mins, costing ・ゑス・1280 to Kintetsu Nara Station. Alternatively, hourly direct express trains take 45 mins, costing ・ゑス・760. Additional connections via express trains are available, requiring one transfer at Yamato-Saidaiji Station. Japan Rail Pass is not valid on Kintetsu trains.

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