May 31, 2018
Nagoya to Kyoto -- on the surface it might be harder to find a journey between two major cities in Japan with such contrasting reputations. Nagoya (名古屋), often (and unfairly) described as the most featureless of Japan’s big cities, and Kyoto, well, what’s left to say about Kyoto (京都), one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan, and a city celebrated throughout the world.
Tourist analogies aside, Nagoya and Kyoto are important financial, educational, and cultural centers here in Japan, that see plenty of human and vehicular traffic zipping between the two cities on a daily basis. And with both JR Nagoya Station and JR Kyoto Station being stops on the Tokaido Shinkansen line between Tokyo and Osaka getting from one to the other is a breeze, especially for those who aren’t too concerned about their travel budget. In the following breakdown if how much it costs to travel from Nagoya to Kyoto, fares are listed in Japanese Yen.
Shinkansen from Nagoya to Kyoto
This is undoubtedly the quickest and easiest way to get from Nagoya to Kyoto. As stops on the Tokaido Shinkansen line, Nagoya and Kyoto are served by Nozomi, Kodama, and Hikari trains. The fastest (and most expensive) of these trains is the Nozomi and cost differences between this and the Kodama, Hikari trains might almost be considered negligible. At this kind of distance, paying out for “Green seats” is probably the reserve of only the most moneyed travelers.
|Train||Unreserved seat||Reserved seat||Green seat||Time (min)|
|Hikari||5,070||5,590||7,820||45 - 50|
|Kodama||5,070||5,590||7,820||45 - 50|
*For the return costs between Nagoya and Kyoto simply double the fares detailed in the table above.
First departure from Nagoya Station: 6:20 Nozomi, arrives 6:55
Last departure from Nagoya Station: 22:58 Nozomi, arrives 23:31
First departure from Kyoto Station: 6:14 Nozomi, arrives 6:48
Last departure from Kyoto Station: 22:46 Nozomi, arrives 23:20
(Kyoto Station looking like anything but Kyoto)
While it appears to make the most sense to take Nozomi trains for journeys between Nagoya and Kyoto, saving mays be possible through the JR Tokai Tours-operated "Platt Kodama" deal (ぷらっとこだま). As the name might suggest, this deal is for Kodama Shinkansen only but it could see that 5,590 yen reserved seat fare to Kyoto reduced to 4,300 yen. Platt Kodama bookings need to be made the day before and passengers will get a drink voucher as part of the deal. You can read more about the Platt Kodama (in English) at JR Tokai Tours.
Express, rapid and local trains from Nagoya to Kyoto
The cheapest, and one of the quickest, ways to travel from Nagoya to Kyoto by regular trains involves two transfers -- at Ogaki Station and then Maibara Station.
How to get from Nagoya to Kyoto by regular train might look something like this then:
NAGOYA - (JR Tokaido Line Special Rapid Service) - OGAKI - (JR Tokaido Line) - MAIBARA - (JR Special Rapid Service) - KYOTO
The above route takes around 2 hrs 10 mins and costs 2,590 yen.
Taking a Limited Express Shirasagi train from Nagoya to Maibara will shave a few minutes of the journey but the extra costs probably isn't worth it.
NAGOYA - (LTD. EXP SHIRASAGI) - MAIBARA - (JR Special Rapid Service) - KYOTO
The cost of the above depends on seat type on the Shirasagi train. The costs for the full journey from Nagoya Station to Kyoto Station are detailed in the table below:
|Unreserved seat||Reserved seat||Green seat|
The journey time on these trains is just shy of 2 hrs. Given that a Shinkansen can take travelers between the two cities in less than an hour and at only 1,000 - 2,000 yen more, the above course wouldn't appear to make much sense.
Using express, rapid and local trains for travel between Nagoya and Kyoto will allow budget travelers and train enthusiasts to make use of the seasonal Seishun 18 Kippu (青春18きっぷ). 5 days of unlimited travel on regular trains across Japan for a one-time payment of 11,850 yen, working out at 2,370 yen for a day's worth of train travel. At this kind of distance travel in this way should be too much of a strain making the Nagoya - Kyoto run a good option for this ticket. Read more about the Seishun 18 Kippu here on City-Cost.
Taking the bus from Nagoya to Kyoto
JR Tokai Bus Company run a highway bus service between the Meitetsu Bus Center (just south of Nagoya Station), Nagoya Station and Kyoto Station.
There a 16 departures daily between 7:00 and 19:00 with the journey from Nagoya Station taking around 2 hrs 30 mins. These day-time departures are for the Meishin Expressway Bus Kyoto.
A single night bus service departs Nagoya Station at 23:30, arriving at 04:53 in Kyoto. The service is called Seishun Dream.
How much do these services cost?
Meishin Expressway Bus Kyoto: A regular one way fare costs 2,550 yen. An all-day return costs 4,100 yen. Purchasing tickets in advance could see fares reduced to 1,400 yen for weekday travel.
Seishun Dream: Regular one way fare costs 3,300 - 3,700 yen. Early purchase could reduce fares to as low as 2,600 yen.
For a cheaper bus service from Nagoya to Kyoto we were able to find the Kyoto-Nagoya Tokkyu New Star which has 4 departures in a day from Nagoya Station (in front of Bic Camera) with journey times just under 3 hrs, dropping off at Kyoto Station. Fares from 1,950 yen. We found this service via Japan Bus Online.
WILLER is usually a safe bet for finding highway bus services across Japan, but a search of their platform didn't turn up any services between Nagoya and Kyoto.
Ultimately it looks like the highway bus is the cheapest way to get from Nagoya to Kyoto, or at least the cheapest way to complete the journey in a reasonable amount of time.
Driving from Nagoya to Kyoto
Kyoto is west of Nagoya (and a little to the south). Drivers can get on the Higashi-Meihan Expressway at the Nagoya-Nishi Junction (名古屋西) before eventually joining the Shin-Meishin Expressway at Kameyama (亀山) which cuts across towards the shores of Lake Biwa. At Kusatsu (草津), just a few kilometers from the lake, drivers will join the Meishin Expressway for the final run into Kyoto. The Meishin Expressway passes south of downtown Kyoto with Kyoto-Minami Junction (京都南) around 2 km south of JR Kyoto Station seeming like a logical place to get off the highway.
In terms of expressway tolls, costs for the Nagoya - Kyoto drive as detailed above are just over 3,000 yen. Driving time is around 1 hrs 30 mins, for those who know the route at least. Tolls and a route planner are available from the Nippon Expressway Company Limited (NEXCO), the people in charge of most of Japan's highways, however this is only available in Japanese.
The cost of a rent-a-car with a pick up around Nagoya Station and a drop off around Kyoto Station will be around 10,000 - 15,000 yen for a simple "k car" model for a day or maybe 12 hours. It will be much cheaper to bring the car back to the same location in Nagoya. In which case drivers could keep it for around three days for the same price, or perhaps 1,000 - 2,000 yen more.
Taxi from Nagoya to Kyoto
Probably the most expensive way to get between our two cities (other than a helicopter), online taxi fare finders turn up costs for a taxi from Nagoya Station to Kyoto Station as being somewhere around 35,000 yen for the 1 hr 30 - 50 min drive. Only for the rich or really desperate.
What do you think is the best way to travel from Nagoya to Kyoto? How much does the journey cost? Let us know in the comments.
See our ‘How Much | Travel’ series for destinations from Tokyo and beyond ...
See us on ...
Top: Towers above Nagoya Station
A Q&A and blogging community about life in Japan (plus a load of life-in-Japan stats!). Get your questions answered, share your experience! | Inquiry -> KyodoNewsDigital International Media | Tokyo, Japan | +81 3 6252 6402