Jun 8, 2016

How much does it cost to travel from Osaka to Kyoto?

Travel forums about Japan are often subject to questions regarding where one should be based for exploration of Osaka and Kyoto.  In truth, it doesn't matter, such is the proximity of these two classic Japanese cities.  Still, if you want to be immersed in Kyoto's culture, then the question is answered for you.  Osaka, on the other hand,  provides a good chance to get away from the crowds of tourists and instead, enjoy getting amongst crowds of locals.  

Either way, travel between Osaka and Kyoto is a breeze.  There's a fare bit of choice though, mostly in the form of trains.  So, how much does it cost to travel from Osaka to Kyoto?  (All prices in Japanese yen).

Expensive: Shinkansen

The fastest way. JR Tōkaidō Shinkansen run between Shin-Osaka Station and Kyoto Station.

TypeUnreserved seatReserved seatGreen carJourney time
Nozomi1,4202,8203,78015 mins
Hikari1,4202,6103,57015 mins
Kodama1,4202,6103,57015 mins

The Japan Rail Pass can be used on Hikari and Kodama trains.

Mid-Range: Limited Express

There are some Limited Express options on the JR Kyoto Line from Osaka Station to Kyoto Station.

TypeUnreserved seatReserved seatGreen car Journey time
LTD. EXP. THUNDERBIRD1,2101,5302,49027 mins
LTD. EXP. SUPER HAKUTO1,2101,5302,490

29 mins

The Japan Rail Pass can be used on services above and below.

Cheaper: Special Rapid and Local

Whilst the Limited Express options above are likely to offer more comfort, given the similar journey times, travelers on a budget to opt for the services below.  From Osaka Station on the JR Kyoto Line to Kyoto Station.

TypePriceJourney time
JR Special Rapid 56029 mins
JR Kyoto Line Local56029 mins

From Umeda Station to Osaka Station it's about a 10 min walk.

From Namba, take the Osaka City Subway Midosuji Line to Umeda - 240 yen (9 mins).

From Shinsaibashi, take the Osaka City Subway Midosuji Line to Umeda - 240 yen (7 mins).

Alternative Routes

Kyoto Station is a bit of a trek from downtown Kyoto.  There are a couple of options from central Osaka that can plug you straight into downtown Kyoto.  These are private rail lines and so are not covered by The Japan Rail Pass.  How much do these journeys cost?

RouteLinePriceJourney time
Umeda - KarasumaHankyu Kyoto Line Ltd. Exp.40040 mins
Yodoyabashi - Sanjō Keihan Main Line41051 mins

Travelers might be interested in the Hankyu Tourist Pass - 1 Day (700 yen) / 2 Day (1,200 yen).  This pass provides unlimited use of Hankyu lines in Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe.  It is however, only for short-term visitors to Japan (you need to show a passport at the time of purchase).

A Kyoto-Osaka Sightseeing Pass is also available for Keihan Lines.  Adults 1-day (700 yen) / 2-day (1,000 yen).

How much does it cost from Universal Studios Japan to Kyoto Station?  Well, you're looking at journey times of around 45-50 mins and fares from 800 yen to around 1,700 yen.  Most routes transfer at Nishikujo and Osaka (stations).

Universal City - (JR Yumesaki Line) - Nishikujo - (JR Yamatoji Line Regional Rapid Service) - Osaka - (JR Special Rapid Service) - Kyoto 

Fare - 800 yen

Journey time - 47 mins

The KANSAI THRU PASS (Yes, that's the spelling) is available to visitors from overseas.  It covers a whole range of transport options in the area.  2 day ticket for adults - 4,000 yen.  3 day ticket for adults - 5,200 yen.


Driving from Osaka to Kyoto is likely to take over an hour in good traffic conditions.  Expect to pay highway fees of around 3,000 yen (NEXCO).  Simple K-cars (subcompacts) rent for around 7,000 yen for half a day.


Expect to pay fares of around 16,000 yen for the ride from Osaka to Kyoto.

There are almost certainly some bus services running from Osaka to Kyoto.  However, with this many cheap and efficient train options at your disposal, taking the bus is not only hard to figure out, but also somewhat redundant.  

Flying makes no sense at all, unless you've access to a helicopter and the funds required to get it in the air!


Over to you!  In your experience, how much does travel cost between Osaka and Kyoto?  Drop us your suggestions and experiences below.

Don't forget to check out some of our other travel cost content here on City-Cost.  How about these for a start?

How Much Does it Cost to Travel From Osaka to Fukuoka?

How Much Does it Cost to Travel From Tokyo to Osaka?

Counting the Cost: A Weekend Away from Tokyo, in Kyoto

Looking for something to do in Kyoto?

The 10 most popular attractions in Kyoto and how much they cost to enter

Twitter: City_Cost_Japan


Images (cropped)

Left: Kristoffer Trolle Flickr License

Right: 2benny Flickr License



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