I'll travel to Tokyo during the first 2 weeks of November.

What's the fastest and not too much expensive way to reach Kyoto from Tokyo?

As reported here: a Shinkansen ticket form Tokyo to Kyoto is around 13,200 yen.

I also discovered that Japanican offers a two ways plus a night in a 3 star hotel single room for 25,900 yen (in November).

Do you know whether an economic two way ticket exist or not? Otherwise, do you know better connections?

  • Are you already in Japan? If not, you might look into japanrailpass.nl.
    – user141
    Sep 5, 2012 at 12:51
  • @Andra I will be there in November
    – Maverik
    Sep 5, 2012 at 12:53
  • In that case look at the jrp. A 7 day pass which allows you free travel in japan is as expensive as a return ticket Tokyo - Kyoto.
    – user141
    Sep 5, 2012 at 13:48
  • @Andra So you are sayng that buying a seven days costs more or less as buying a 2 ways ticket Tokyo-Kyoto-Tokyo? Can I use it also for the subway? Also for reach Tsukuba? Thanks again, Luca
    – Maverik
    Sep 5, 2012 at 15:29
  • 1
    OK I'll add the budget tag, but Shinkansen is so much faster than anything else it's not likely you'll find something cheaper that's not too slow for you. Sep 6, 2012 at 15:35

2 Answers 2


The fastest way is by Shinkansen - anything else is much slower.

Highway buses can be less than 5000 yen (one way), but take over 8 hours.

The cheapest (reliable) option would be the Seishun 18 ticket, which allows 5 (unconnected) days of unlimited travel, but only using local trains. Partially used tickets can be resold, so it comes out to 2300 yen (one way). The downside is that it requires changing trains a lot, takes 9 or 10 hours from Tokyo to Kyoto, and is only available/valid during summer and winter holiday seasons - so not applicable to you at all.

A 7 day Japan Rail pass is at 28,300 yen a bit more expensive than a Tokyo-Kyoto roundtrip by Shinkansen, but if you do any more travelling, it quickly pays for itself. It is valid on all JR lines, which includes some importnat local lines like the Yamanote and Chuo in Tokyo, but not the Tokyo Metro.

  • 3
    I like the overnight highway bus on this route. It's doubly cheap, since you don't need to arrange lodging that night. Seating is reserved, so you can get a window to lean against— not to look out of, as the route is rather unscenic; but then you're going at night— the best time way to travel through unscenic areas. And the city bus stations are usually near train stations, making it convenient in the morning to stash your bags, get breakfast, and be charmed by the Nijubashi Bridge in the early morning sun.
    – choster
    Sep 6, 2012 at 15:14
  • @choster can you please point me to a website for the overnight bus. It would be great if you can post it as an answer because currently it is the best one ;)
    – Maverik
    Sep 6, 2012 at 15:42
  • To add to your comment - airplane works too and is about the same time as shinkansen, including transfers to the airport and checkins. Regarding the price, airplane tends to be marginally cheaper.
    – Rilakkuma
    Jan 6, 2015 at 2:25

The fastest way is by Shinkansen - anything else is much slower.

No, flying will be just a tiny bit slower, but also cheaper. This is especially true if one arrives at NRT and wants to go to Kyoto immediately. Then just hop on a Peach or Jetstar flight to KIX, and take the Haruka to Kyoto (with the massive discount offered by the Icoca & Haruka package). This may even be faster than N'EX + Shinkansen, and will certainly be much cheaper.

From central Tokyo, it will be less immediately advantageous, since flights from Haneda are a lot more expensive (and going to Narita costs both time and money), but it's a tradeoff. It comes out slightly cheaper, but also significantly slower.

For overnight buses, see Willer Express.

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