Monday, September 26, 2011

Getting Around Kyoto ...AND... Osaka to Kyoto Trains

If you want to visit a few places around Kyoto in one day, the Kyoto City Bus One Day Pass is 500 yen.
You can buy it from information desks at train stations.
(more information about Kyoto Buses and Subways)
A single trip on the bus nomally costs 220 yen or the subway is 210-340 yen.
On the back of this map is all the bus information in English
To go to Nijo Castle (Nijojo) we came out of the Hankyu Kawaramachi Station at Exit 7, which was right at Bus Stop D, where we got onto Bus 12.  Bus 12 goes to Kinkakuji (Golden Temple), but on the way we got off at Nijojo (Nijo Castle)

Bus 12, to Kinkakuji (and Nijojo)

Osaka to Kyoto
(since it's so much cheaper to stay in Osaka)

Going to Kyoto from Osaka, I often take the Hankyu line.  Hankyu is cheapest and the Hankyu Kawaramachi station is very central in town and close to the Gion district.  In contrast, the JR line takes you to Kyoto Station, which doesn't have quite so many interesting things around

Umeda (Osaka) to Kawaramachi (Kyoto) takes 44 min and costs 390 yen

From our Hotel at Doubutsuen-mae (subway)/Shin-Imamiya (JR) Stations to Umeda (Osaka), it's 170 yen and 16 min on JR loop line (from Shin-Imamiya) or 230 yen/13min by subway (from Doubutsuen-mae)
(I recommend the subway, since it's easy to mistakenly go the long side of the JR loop line and then it takes 25min, and when you get to Umeda, it's easier to find the Hankyu station from the Subway)

Train Routes
The most common form of transport in Japan is by train.  Trains run on time and are typically timetabled every 10 minutes.
It's easy to find your way around Japan by train if you know the names of the stations you're going to and from.
Jorudan is very simple and easy to use
Hyperpedia has a lot more options and detail
There are many train companies in Japan.
JR is the national train line, but it doesn't reach all local areas.
Each region has about three private train line companies, and large cities (Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Kyoto) have subway networks.  The subways are also generally owned by more than one company.
Generally, non-JR train lines and subways work in co-operation, but JR is always separate.  So if you're taking a route which uses JR and non-JR lines, you need to buy  separate tickets (at the respective stations)
Google maps can be useful as it shows train stations in pink and Station names in Blue, with the name of the line written on the line.

Baby Boy reading Kyoto Guide Map on the way back to Osaka


  1. WE're staying in Osaka and taking a day trip to Kyoto too! So excited! I hope the weather will cooperate.

  2. I would like to find out when arriving at Hankyu Kawaramachi station, where do one buy the 500Yen Bus day pass? is this sold at Kawaramachi station information desk or can one buy at vending machine within the station.

    I am planning a visit in May so appreciate if you could let me know

    1. We got ours at a Kyoto information desk in the Shijo Kawaramachi (underground) station. We also got free tourist maps of Kyoto and bus maps there, which were very useful! Have a great trip!

  3. Hi there Shinobu-san,
    Your website on food and travelling Japan is certainly one of the more comprehensive and useful one I've come across. So thank you very much! I have noted many helpful tips from your travel logs. I have a question, do you have any recommendations for hotels in Osaka and Kyoto - considering that I will be following your tip to travel via the Hankyu line from Osaka to Kyoto. I would be very grateful for your advice.
    Thank you very much in advance.

  4. Hi! Love your post on the trip :)
    I'm still hesitating whether to purchase the one week JR pass which is pretty costly for me.
    I'll be flying to Tokyo, and would like to travel to Osaka and Kyoto from Tokyo. Perhaps a night bus which is much cheaper would save me hassle?

    What would uoour advice be?

    Thankyou! x

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