What Are The Best Routes From Osaka To Kyoto? (Quick Guide To Transportation)

Osaka and Kyoto are two of the most well-known cities within Japan to explore. Traveling between these two cities is very simple, efficient, and very reasonably priced thanks to the extensive public transportation options, there are multiple methods for traveling to and from each. 

You can travel between Osaka and Kyoto easily using a transportation method suitable to your own needs preferences and time constraints. 

Travel By Train Using JR Pass

Traveling between Kyoto and Osaka is very easy to do by train. This is because there are multiple routes that you can take to get from one city to the other.

Because Kyoto and Osaka are both large cities, you want to make your choice of route depending on where exactly where your destination is within each city. 

JR Pass Give Great Discounts On Travel Within Japan

No matter which route you take, the travel time between the two cities is very minimal. Taking the JR Tokaido Shinkansen train would be the fastest route, as it usually takes only 15 minutes (34.8 Miles). This train runs the majority of the day, between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. 

The JR Kyoto line runs through an expansive 16 stations, but there is a rapid route you can take that only makes four stops; two of those being Kyoto and Osaka.

Osaka Station

Using this Special Rapid train takes approximately 25-30 minutes at the longest. There is also a Limited Express Thunderbird train that runs on this route that takes about a half-hour. 

You can pay directly at the station to use these routes, or you can use your JR Pass to ride these routes for free. 

Travel By Train Without The JR Pass

If you don’t have a JR Pass, or just want more options, there are other routes you can take that don’t accept a JR Pass. 

Detailed Tokyo To Osaka Guide

Kyoto Tower And City Skyline

The Hankyu Railway route will take you between Osaka and Kyoto in about 40 minutes. While this is longer than your other train options, this is a very inexpensive train ride if you are looking for affordability over travel time

The Keihan Main Line lets you travel from Kyoto to Osaka and vice versa in just under an hour. This route is also more affordable than some of the other train ride options. 

Travel By Bus

You can also take a bus between Osaka and Kyoto if you would prefer. Some of the bus stations may be more conveniently located for you to choose this option to get between cities. 

There are three bus stops in Osaka that will transport you to Kyoto that run at five different times of the day.

The first bus stop is located at the Hotel Keihan Universal Tower, the second is at Universal Studios Japan, the third is at Namba (OCAT). These three busses will take you to Kyoto Station. 

Not all five bus times will stop at each stop, so you may want to check the schedule for the day that you would like to ride the bus from one city to the next. 

Travel From The Airport 

If you fly into Osaka’s Kansai International Airport, or just happen to be staying close by, this is one stop you can travel to Kyoto from riding the Haruka Express train. This train is covered by the JR Pass if you have one, and it takes about an hour and ten minutes. 

Alternatively, you can also take the JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service, also covered by the JR Pass, which will eventually take you to the Kyoto Station.

Osaka’s Kansai Airport Official Website

Kansai International Airport terminal building

You will have to do a transfer from the JR Osaka Station to the JR Special Rapid Service train. This route will take longer but is less expensive if you don’t have a JR Pass. 

If you are not in a big rush to get from the airport to Kyoto, you can take a limousine bus trip that takes about two hours. This bus can be boarded at the arrival lobby of the airport and runs two times an hour. 

What Is The Fastest Way To Travel Between Kyoto And Osaka?

If your main concern about traveling between Kyoto and Osaka is how fast you can do so, your best choice is to use the shinkansen train. Japan has a very advanced and reliable rail system, it is one of the most sophisticated and well run in the world. 

What Is A JR Pass?

The JR Pass is also known as the Japan Rail Pass. This pass allows you to take full advantage of the expansive train service offered in Japan, and it lets you take multiple rides across a set period of time.

You can purchase a JR Pass for different time periods depending on how long you are staying in Japan. There is a 7 day, a 14 day, and a 21-day option. 

Ultimate Guide To The JR Pass

You can also purchase the JR Pass online before you make your way to Japan and pick it up when you arrive there. When you buy this online, you are given an exchange order.

You will print this out and present it when you are in Japan at any of their exchange offices in order to get your JR Pass. 

About Osaka

Osaka is the capital of the Osaka Prefecture in Japan and is one of the most highly populated cities in Japan.

Osaka offers an expansive historical significance to Japan, being one of the biggest spots for trade and economic development over centuries.

A Guide To Osaka Castle

Osaka Skyline

There was a lot of innovation and construction in Osaka in the 1900s, leading it to also be known as an important industrial city for Japan. 

Many notable businesses have their headquarters in Osaka, but there are also many historical and spiritual attractions in Osaka to bring a perfect mixture of tradition and innovation.

Dotonbori Area Of Osaka Known For Its Myriad Of Restaurants And Izakaya

Osaka Official Visitors Website

There is a myriad of places to shop, enjoy different types of cuisine, and see beautiful city views and glistening blue waters of the bay. 

About Kyoto 

Kyoto is a popular destination within Japan for the immense amount of historical monuments and breathtaking sights to see.

Furthermore, many of the cultural and spiritual traditions that Japan holds very dear can be found in Kyoto. Furthermore, there are ample opportunities to learn about the traditions of Japan

Kyoto by Shinkansen
Old Traditional Area Of Kyoto

Kyoto is also one of the most populated cities in Japan, and there are endless opportunities for fun and entertainment in Kyoto.

Kyoto City Official Travel Guide Website

There are many government headquarters there, as well as museums, historical sites, and shopping and dining experiences to explore.

Osaka To Kyoto Via JR Tokaido

MT Lee
My fascination with Japan began several years back at a roadside bonsai stand while on vacation. I became more interested in the where and why's more than the trees themselves. My love of Bonsai led me to further research my interest in the gardens where they originated from and the places and people that surrounded those little trees. My curiosity was well rewarded upon visiting Saitama where the National Bonsai Museum was located and Omiya Village the bonsai mecca for lovers of this ancient art form. Exploring many towns and villages and even making my way to Japan's furthest southern prefecture of Okinawa. I hope to share my love of this wonderful and exotic place with all those who want to know more about Japan.