Transportation to and around Kyoto

One of the perks of being in Seoul is that there are many opportunities to travel, and because the city is so big, there are also many options for playing to other countries in Asia. With this knowledge, I wanted to take a trip to Japan, and with an upcoming holiday, I saw the perfect opportunity to have a long weekend in the land of the rising sun. When trying to decide where to go in Japan, I originally thought I wanted to travel to Tokyo. However, after looking at photos of places to see in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto, I decided that Kyoto would give me more of the feeling that I was really in Japan. With this in mind, I had to research how to get to Kyoto, so I wanted to share some tips on how to get there.

As stated in other articles, using sky scanner is an excellent way to find cheap flights. Check out this article if you want more details about it! ( I personally flew with Peach Airlines, and if you book early, they sometimes have deals where you can fly roundtrip from Seoul to Japan for 80,000 won! So if you’re like me though and you decide to go to Japan one week before the actual flight, you will probably pay considerably more. With my specific time constraints (and because the flight was cheaper), I ended up taking the late night flight from Seoul to Osaka because you cannot fly to Kyoto. My flight departed Seoul at 20:40 and arrived in Osaka at 22:25. However, when I booked this flight, I did not consider that the subway might be closed and how expensive public transportation is in Japan. I also booked a hostel that was not at a convenient location to be dropped off by the night transportation.  Luckily, immigration took a lot less time than I thought it would so I made a mad dash to the last subway on the Nankai Line, and I was able to get dropped off at a station which was a 5 minute walk to my hostel.

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Check out this links to determine what might be the best option for leaving Kansai International Airport for you:

General Information about accessing Kansai International Airport:

Information on JR West trains that connect to the airport and their timetables:

Timetable for Nankai Railway:

Information on the midnight bus to Osaka:


Getting from Osaka to Kyoto is pretty easy and usually takes only about 1 hour to get there. I personally took the Keihan Railway because they had a station near my hostel in Kyoto. This link gives some suggests on how to travel from Osaka to Kyoto (

When you arrive at the station, how to purchase your rail ticket is a bit confusing in Japan. The rail transportation charges based on the distance of your next station. There are kiosks to purchase your ticket. Above the kiosk, there are guides that tell you how much you have to pay based on the distance you are going, so you need to know which station you are starting at and ending at. When you use the kiosk, you can switch it to English but that is only helpful to some extent. You first will need to put the amount you want to pay into the kiosk, select the actual price based on the guide above the kiosk, and then the machine will issue a ticket and give you change if necessary.

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Once you reach Kyoto and are ready to sightsee, I highly recommend purchasing the Kyoto City Bus & Kyoto Bus one-day pass. For only 500 yen, you receive unlimited rides for one day on Kyoto city buses and Kyoto buses. Since one ride on the bus costs 230 yen, this ticket is well worth it if you plan on visiting many locations. This bus pass also comes with a very detailed map of the buses that run all through Kyoto. This map also has suggestions for what sites to see, what route to take, and how to get from one popular destination to another.  You can purchase this ticket at Kyoto Station at the Bus Ticket center which is outside of Kyoto Station near the bus terminals. There is also a kiosk where you can purchase this all day pass close to bus terminal D1 at Kyoto Station. There is also an All Day subway pass for 600 yen, but I felt that the bus was convenient method of traveling to all the sights in Kyoto.

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To optimize your time in Kyoto, you can take the JR West Haruka train from Kyoto directly to Kansai International Airport. It costs 2880 yen for an unreserved seat to go from Kyoto Station to Kansai International Airport. To purchase this ticket, enter Kyoto Station from the side facing Kyoto Tower and the ticket office for JR West trains will be on your left. This train only takes about 1 hour and a half and usually leaves every 30 minutes or so.

Traveling to Japan is incredible and much simpler when you get there compared to all the information there is online on researching how to get places. It seems very confusing, but I found Japanese people to be extremely helpful which made my trip a lot smoother.


Article by Catherine from the U.S.A.

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