Airport at kyoto: Getting To and From Kyoto’s Nearest Airports
by Coco Tran On October 11, 2023
Are you planning a trip to Kyoto and wondering how to get to and from the nearest airport at kyoto? I’ve put together this in-depth guide about airports at Kyoto to help you understand your airport and transportation choices for accessing Kyoto. I’ll cover everything you need to know, from the three closest airports, to train, bus, and taxi options, and even suggested itineraries. Let’s dive in!
Airport at kyoto: Getting To and From Kyoto’s Nearest Airports
Does Kyoto have an aiport?
No, Kyoto does not have its own commercial airport. The city relies on nearby airports in Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo for air travel access.
The three closest airports to Kyoto are:
- Kansai International Airport (KIX) – Kyoto’s main international gateway, located on an artificial island in Osaka Bay about 50km from Osaka itself. It’s approximately 77km or 70-90 minutes from Kyoto by direct train.
- Osaka International Airport (ITM) – Also known as Itami Airport. Osaka’s primarzy domestic airport located in Itami city, about 36km or 30 miles from Kyoto. Around 50 minutes away by direct airport bus.
- Centrair Airport (NGO) – Central Japan’s international airport serving Nagoya, located 97km or about 60 miles from Kyoto. Accessible in 80-90 minutes via direct train and shinkansen bullet train
In this article you’ll find:
In This Article: Table of Contents
Overview of Airports near Kyoto Japan
Kyoto does not have its own airport. However, it is well served by three nearby international airports that are nearest airport in Kyoto:
- Kansai International Airport (KIX) – Kyoto’s main international airport, located on an artificial island in Osaka Bay. About 1.5 hours from Kyoto by direct train.
- Osaka International Airport (ITM, Itami) – Osaka’s domestic airport, located in Itami city. Only 50 minutes from Kyoto by direct bus.
- Centrair (NGO) – Nagoya’s international airport. Around 1.5 hours from Kyoto by train/shinkansen.
Below, I’ll cover each airport in detail, including transportation options to Kyoto, pros and cons, and sample itineraries.
But first, here’s a quick Kyoto to airports comparison:
|Airport||Distance to Kyoto||Travel Time to Kyoto||International Flights||Domestic Flights|
|Kansai (KIX)||77 km||70-90 minutes||Yes||Yes|
|Itami (ITM)||36 km||50 minutes||No||Yes|
|Centrair (NGO)||97 km||80-90 minutes||Yes||Yes|
As you can see, Kansai International (KIX) is Kyoto’s main gateway for international travelers. Itami (ITM) is very close, but only serves domestic routes. And Centrair (NGO) provides a third international option.
what airlines fly into These Airport in Kyoto Japan
Here are some of the major airlines that fly into the 3 airports closest to Kyoto:
Kansai International Airport (KIX):
- ANA – Japan’s largest airline, with extensive domestic and international networks
- Japan Airlines (JAL) – Second largest Japanese carrier, also serves domestic and global destinations
- Delta – Major US airline with nonstop flights from North America
- United – Another big American airline flying direct from the US
- Air Canada – Canada’s largest carrier with direct KIX flights
- Cathay Pacific – Hong Kong’s airline with regional Asian routes
- Emirates – Major Middle Eastern airline connecting via Dubai
- Air France – Direct flights from Paris to KIX
- British Airways – UK carrier with London flight
- Lufthansa – German airline with Frankfurt route
Osaka International Airport (ITM):
- ANA – Majority of domestic flights out of Itami
- JAL – Also operates many domestic routes from ITM
- Skymark Airlines – Budget domestic carrier in Japan
- Peach Aviation – Low-cost carrier with domestic and some international
- AirAsia Japan – Budget airline subsidiary with domestic service
Centrair Airport (NGO):
- ANA – Domestic flights plus international routes within Asia
- JAL – Offers domestic connections plus long-haul routes like New York, Paris, London
- Delta – Daily nonstop flight from Detroit
- United – Direct flight from Guam
- Air Canada – Nonstop routes from Toronto and Vancouver
- Emirates – Connects Centrair with Dubai and beyond
So in summary, Kyoto’s nearby airports offer flights from all the major domestic Japanese airlines as well as international carriers from North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. This provides good air access from most global destinations.
Other Japan Articles
how far is kansai airport from kyoto
Kansai International Airport (KIX) is located approximately 77 km or around 48 miles from Kyoto.
- KIX is on an artificial island in Osaka Bay, about 50 km southwest of Osaka itself.
- Kyoto is located around 27 km or 17 miles northeast of Osaka.
- So the total straight-line distance from KIX to Kyoto is roughly 77 km or 48 miles.
However, it’s important to consider travel time and not just physical distance when airport planning.
The fastest way to get from Kansai Airport to Kyoto is via the JR Haruka limited express train. This covers the 70-90 minute journey with brief stops along the way.
Other options like limousine bus or shared van will take 90-120 minutes typically.
So in summary:
- KIX is approximately 77 km or 48 miles southwest of Kyoto as the crow flies
- But allow a total travel time of around 70-90 minutes to reach Kyoto city center
- Haruka limited express train is fastest at just 75 minutes total
Even though Kansai Airport is not incredibly close to Kyoto in terms of pure mileage, the good transportation infrastructure and express trains allow you to cover the distance quickly. This makes KIX a very viable and commonly used airport for Kyoto travel.
is kix or itm closer to kyoto?
KIX (Kansai International Airport) and ITM (Osaka International Airport) are the two main airports serving Kyoto. Of the two, ITM is closer to Kyoto.
Here’s a comparison of the distance and travel times:
- ITM is located in Itami city, about 36 km or 22 miles from Kyoto. By direct limousine bus, ITM is only around 50 minutes away from Kyoto.
- KIX is significantly further from Kyoto, located on an artificial island in Osaka Bay around 50 km or 30 miles southwest of Osaka itself. The travel time from KIX to Kyoto by direct train is around 70-90 minutes.
So in terms of sheer distance and required transit time, Osaka International Airport (ITM) is more convenient and closer to Kyoto compared to Kansai International Airport (KIX).
However, KIX offers far more flight options as it handles most of the international traffic for the region. ITM only serves domestic flights within Japan.
So for travelers coming from overseas, KIX will likely be the airport used to reach Kyoto, despite being slightly further away. But for those already in Japan, ITM can be the easiest and quickest airport option to get to Kyoto thanks to its proximity.
- Distance and travel time: ITM is closer and faster to Kyoto
- Flight options: KIX offers vastly more international connections
- For overseas visitors: KIX is the primary gateway airport
- For domestic travelers: ITM is more convenient and closer
So the best airport depends on your origin, but ITM (Osaka International) has the advantage of being the closer airport to Kyoto by distance.
Now let’s explore each airport and transportation in more detail.
Kansai International Airport (KIX) : Airport Near Kyoto Japan
Kansai International Airport (KIX) is Kyoto’s primary international airport. It handles flights from major cities across Asia, North America, Europe, and Australia/New Zealand.
If you’re flying into Japan from overseas, KIX will likely offer the most direct options to reach Kyoto.
Here are some key facts about Kansai International Airport:
- Located on artificial island in Osaka Bay, about 50km southwest of Osaka itself.
- Two terminals – Terminal 1 handles international flights, Terminal 2 for domestic only.
- Main airport for the Kansai region including Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, and Nara.
- Offers direct train, bus, shared van, taxi and rental car access to Kyoto.
KIX Kansai International Aiport Transportation Options to Kyoto: How To get from Kansai Aiport to Kyoto
If you’re arriving at Kansai International Airport, you have several good transportation choices to reach Kyoto:
Train – JR Haruka Limited Express (Fastest Option)
- Time: 70-75 minutes
- Cost: ¥2,980 (non-reserved seat), ¥3,500 (reserved seat)
- Frequency: 2-3 per hour from early morning to late evening
The JR Haruka limited express train is the fastest and most convenient way to get between KIX and Kyoto Station. The sleek blue trains depart directly from the basement level of KIX’s passenger terminal.
The trip takes just 70-75 minutes and trains run frequently from early morning to late evening. You can choose non-reserved or reserved seating. I’d recommend grabbing a non-reserved seat to save money, unless traveling during peak periods when trains fill up quickly.
If you have a Japan Rail Pass, you can use it on the Haruka at no extra charge – a great option!
Bus – Limousine Bus
- Time: 90-100 minutes
- Cost: ¥2,550
- Frequency: 2 per hour generally
Express limousine buses offer a comfortable and direct trip between KIX and Kyoto with stops at major hotels. Buses depart from the 1st floor bus terminal outside the passenger terminal.
The journey takes around 90-100 minutes depending on traffic. Buses run 1-2 times per hour so quite frequent. No reservations needed – just turn up, buy a ticket and board. A solid budget option.
- Time: 90-120 minutes
- Cost: Around ¥3,500
Shared van services like MK Skygate Shuttle run convenient door-to-door vans from KIX to hotels and residences around Kyoto. The benefit is they drop you right at your accommodation.
The potential downside is travel time can be longer as you have to wait for other passenger dropoffs. I’d recommend reserving a shared van in advance online if possible.
- Time: 60-90 minutes
- Cost: Varies, ~¥8,000-12,000 per day
Driving yourself is an option, but keep in mind that Kyoto’s roads are complex with limited parking. If you plan to explore outside the city, a rental car could be convenient, but I’d avoid it if just sticking to Kyoto’s main sights.
Be sure to get an International Driving Permit before your trip. Rental desks are located on KIX’s 2nd floor.
- Time: 90-120 minutes
- Cost: ~¥20,000-25,000
Regular taxis are very expensive from the airport. The trip can take 90 minutes to 2 hours depending on traffic and costs around ¥20,000-25,000 – not ideal for budget travelers!
KIX Airport Facilities
Aside from transportation connections, KIX offers solid amenities including:
- Restaurants/Shops – Plenty of dining and shopping options in both terminals including restaurants, cafes, drugstores, and duty-free stores. Everything from fast food chains to nicer sit-down places.
- Lounges – Priority Pass and individual airline lounges available in both terminals for first/business class passengers. Provide complimentary food, drinks, wi-fi, etc.
- Hotel – Direct airport hotel connected to KIX Terminal 1. Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport. Offers comfortable rooms, spa, and multiple dining options.
- SIM Cards – SIM card vending machines located in Terminal 1 arrivals and departures to get cellular data service immediately upon arrival.
Overall, Kansai International Airport is a modern facility with solid amenities and multiple transportation choices to reach Kyoto or Osaka. It should meet the needs of most international travelers.
Now let’s look at sample itineraries for reaching Kyoto from KIX Airport.
KIX to Kyoto Sample Itineraries
Here are some suggested timelines for getting to Kyoto from Kansai International on weekdays or weekends:
- 8:00am – Arrive KIX on international flight
- 8:45am – Clear immigration and customs
- 9:30am – Purchase Haruka ticket from basement train station
- 10:05am – Catch Haruka train to Kyoto
- 11:15am – Arrive Kyoto Station
Total time: 3 hours 15 minutes
- 10:30am – Arrive KIX on international flight
- 11:15am – Clear immigration and customs
- 12:00pm – Buy Haruka ticket, catch next train
- 1:20pm – Arrive Kyoto Station
Total time: 2 hours 50 minutes
As you can see, you can count on around 3 hours start to finish on a weekday, and as little as 2.5 hours on weekends when immigration lines are shorter.
This allows you to easily travel from KIX to Kyoto in half a day. I’d recommend catching the first Haruka train possible to maximize your time.
Osaka International Airport (ITM)
Osaka International Airport, also called Itami Airport (ITM), serves as the main domestic airport for Osaka and the surrounding Kansai region.
Located just north of Osaka itself in the city of Itami, it is the closest airport to Kyoto – only about 36km or 30 miles away.
Here are some quick facts on Itami Airport:
- Domestic flights only, mostly service within Japan
- Centrally located, easiest airport for accessing Kyoto and Osaka
- Offers bus, shared van, train, and taxi access to Kyoto
- Limited international connections, mainly codeshare flights on ANA/JAL
So while Itami Airport is closest to Kyoto, do keep in mind it is domestic-only. If you need to arrive from an international destination, you’ll likely fly into Kansai International instead and connect domestically to Itami.
But for travelers within Japan, it can be a convenient choice. Let’s look at transportation.
ITM Transportation Options to Kyoto
If you’re flying into Itami Airport on a domestic flight, you have several main options to reach Kyoto:
Airport Bus – Limousine Bus (Recommended)
- Time: 55 minutes
- Cost: ¥1,310
- Frequency: Every 20 minutes
The easiest and most popular way to get between Itami and Kyoto is via direct limousine bus. The bus makes the journey in about 55 minutes and drops off at Kyoto Station.
Buses depart every 20 minutes and run from early morning to late evening. No reservations needed – just purchase your ticket and board. A great budget option.
- Time: 60-90 minutes
- Cost: ¥2,300
Like at Kansai Airport, shared van shuttles like MK Skygate provide convenient door-to-door service from Itami Airport to Kyoto accommodations.
Travel time can vary depending on other passenger stops, so I suggest reserving online a few days ahead if possible. Still a good value compared to regular taxis.
- Time: 60-75 minutes
- Cost: ¥980
Technically you can take local trains between Itami and Kyoto for less than ¥1,000 but it involves 2-3 transfers and is not as direct. I’d stick with the limousine bus or shared van for the best experience.
- Time: 60-90 minutes
- Cost: ¥15,000-20,000
Regular taxis from Itami to Kyoto are quite expensive, similar to KIX, and best avoided if traveling on a budget.
If you have no other option, expect to pay ¥15,000-20,000 and ensure the driver uses the meter not a flat fare.
ITM Facilities and Amenities
As Itami serves mostly domestic travelers, facilities are more limited than at Kansai International Airport:
- Dining/Shopping – Some restaurants and shops, but selection is small including fast food, cafes and basic stores. Better to eat in Osaka or Kyoto.
- Lounges – No major airline airport lounges, but a small JAL First Class Lounge available.
- Hotels – No airport hotels at Itami, but several options in nearby Osaka. Hilton Osaka is a popular airport hotel choice.
- Wifi – Limited free wifi only available for one hour. Best to get a SIM card or pocket wifi rental if needed.
So I’d recommend not planning a long layover at Itami Airport itself. Focus instead on getting to your Kyoto accommodation quickly.
ITM to Kyoto Sample Itineraries
Here are sample timelines for getting from Itami Airport to Kyoto by limousine bus:
- 8:45am – Arrive Itami on domestic flight
- 9:15am – Collect bags, exit terminal
- 9:30am – Purchase limousine bus ticket
- 10:25am – Arrive Kyoto Station
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
- 3:30pm – Arrive Itami on domestic flight
- 4:00pm – Get luggage, exit airport
- 4:15pm – Buy bus ticket, board next bus
- 5:10pm – Arrive Kyoto Station
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
No matter what time you arrive, you can dependably get from Itami Airport to Kyoto Station by limousine bus in around 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes.
This makes Itami the preferred airport for short domestic transfers into Kyoto from within Japan.
Centrair Airport (NGO)
Centrair Airport (NGO) serves the city of Nagoya in Japan’s Chubu region. Located conveniently on an artificial island in Ise Bay, it offers both domestic and international flights.
At about 100km or 60 miles from Kyoto, Centrair is the farthest of the three airports. But it can still be a good option thanks to fast, direct rail links.
Here are quick facts on Centrair:
- International and domestic flights to destinations in Asia and globally
- Central Japan hub – connects well to Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka and beyond
- Direct train and bus options to Kyoto available
- Smaller than KIX but modern terminal with good amenities
For travelers looking for budget flights or more options, it’s worth comparing fares into Centrair vs Kansai or Itami.
While further away, the transportation connections make Centrair very accessible. Let’s look at how to get to Kyoto.
Centrair Transportation Options to Kyoto
To travel between Centrair Airport and Kyoto, you have two solid transportation choices:
Train – Meitetsu + Shinkansen
- Time: 80-90 minutes
- Cost: ¥2,720 (Meitetsu) + ¥5,640 (Shinkansen non-reserved)
The fastest way is to take the Meitetsu limited express train to Nagoya, then connect onto the Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train for the 36 minute trip to Kyoto.
The Meitetsu portion only takes 30 minutes, so you can get from plane to Kyoto in under 90 minutes total. If using a rail pass, this is a cost effective option.
- Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
- Cost: ¥3,000
Taking two airport buses with a connection in Yokkaichi is cheaper but takes over three hours, so the train is vastly preferable for getting to Kyoto quickly.
Given the distance, taxis or driving yourself are not recommended ways to reach Kyoto from Centrair. Both will be expensive and take at least 2.5-3 hours.
Centrair Amenities and Facilities
As an international airport, Centrair offers excellent facilities:
- Restaurants/Shops – Large selection includes ramen shops, character cafes, Japanese craft beer pub and international dining. Plus duty free stores.
- Lounges – Wide range of airline lounges available including ANA, JAL, SkyTeam and Star Alliance.
- Hotels – Adjoined directly to Terminal 1. Offers comfortable rooms, spa and sauna and room service.
- Wifi – Free 24 hour wifi available throughout the airport terminals.
Centrair is essentially a mini-city under one roof. I recommend arriving early and sampling the dining and shopping if you have time before your flight.
Centrair to Kyoto Itineraries
Here are example travel timelines from Centrair to Kyoto on weekdays or weekends:
- 8:00am – Depart Centrair on domestic flight
- 8:40am – Arrive Centrair
- 9:05am – Board Meitetsu train for Nagoya
- 10:00am – Arrive Nagoya, transfer to Shinkansen
- 10:36am – Arrive Kyoto Station
Total time: 1 hour 36 minutes
- 2:30pm – Arrive Centrair on international flight
- 3:15pm – Clear customs and immigration
- 3:50pm – Purchase Meitetsu train ticket
- 4:20pm – Depart Centrair for Nagoya
- 5:05pm – Arrive Nagoya, transfer to bullet train
- 5:41pm – Arrive Kyoto Station
Total time: 2 hours 11 minutes
For international itineraries, count on around 2.5 hours minimum if connections go smoothly. Still very reasonable to access Kyoto the same day.
Comparing Kyoto’s 3 Closest Airports
Now that we’ve covered Kyoto’s three main airports in detail, let’s recap the key differences:
- KIX – Kyoto’s primary international gateway with connections globally. Fastest rail access.
- ITM – Most convenient for domestic travelers already in Japan. Quickest transit times.
- Centrair – Viable international alternative to KIX. Good for budget flight deals.
Many factors like your origin, airline prices and travel preferences will determine which airport works best.
For international visitors, I generally recommend starting your search with KIX as it offers the widest range of global connections and fastest rail links to Kyoto.
But also compare flight costs into Centrair, as occasionally you can find better fares. Itami is less likely to be cheaper when arriving from overseas.
If you’re already traveling within Japan, Itami offers the best convenience if you can fly into Osaka domestically.
how do i get to kyoto from the us?
Here are the main options for traveling to Kyoto from the United States:
- Fly directly to Kansai International Airport (KIX) – This is Kyoto’s main international airport and has nonstop flights from major US gateway cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Honolulu. Both ANA and JAL offer daily direct flights.
- Connect via Tokyo to KIX – If no direct KIX flights from your US city, you can transit through Tokyo Narita or Haneda instead. Then take a domestic connection to KIX on ANA, JAL or another airline. Adds about 2 hours.
- Take the shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo – If already visiting Tokyo first, you can take the shinkansen to Kyoto very conveniently from there. About a 2.5 hour trip.
- Fly into Osaka Itami Airport (ITM) – ITM has domestic connections from Tokyo on ANA, JAL and low-cost carriers. Very close to Kyoto at just 50 minutes by bus. Limited utility for US travelers though.
- Fly into Nagoya’s Centrair Airport (NGO) – Offers some direct connections from North America as well as options to connect via Tokyo or other Asian hubs. Around 90 minutes to Kyoto by train.
I’d recommend looking first for nonstop flights into Kansai International for the most direct and efficient option from the US.
If no nonstop service from your airport, connecting in Tokyo to KIX is the next best choice.
The shinkansen from Tokyo is also an easy option but only if you plan to visit both cities.
With good connections now from major US hubs, getting to Kyoto from the States is very convenient and fast
Accessing Kyoto from Tokyo Airports
Many international flights from North America and Europe fly into Tokyo’s two main airports – Narita (NRT) and Haneda (HND).
If your trip starts in Tokyo, you have efficient transport options to reach Kyoto as well. Here are the details on getting from Tokyo to Kyoto after arrival.
Narita Airport to Kyoto
Narita International Airport (NRT) is located 66km northeast of Tokyo in Chiba prefecture. Most international flights go through Narita.
To get to Kyoto, take the Narita Express into Tokyo first, then transfer to the shinkansen bullet train:
- Narita Express to Tokyo Station – 1 hour, ¥3,020
- Shinkansen to Kyoto – 2 hours 20 minutes, ¥13,080
Total travel time is around 3 hours 40 minutes and the total cost is ¥16,100.
Using a Japan Rail Pass covers the shinkansen portion only. You can also transfer at Shinagawa Station if timed better.
I suggest booking your shinkansen departure from Tokyo 1.5-2 hours after your Narita Express arrival to account for connections.
Haneda Airport to Kyoto
Haneda Airport (HND) serves mainly domestic flights but has grown its international network in recent years. Located just 22km or 14 miles south of central Tokyo.
From Haneda, take the Keikyu Airport Line to Shinagawa, then ride the shinkansen:
- Keikyu Line to Shinagawa – 16 minutes, ¥410
- Shinkansen to Kyoto – 2 hours 10 minutes, ¥13,080
Total journey is just under 3 hours and costs ¥13,490 total.
Again, the Japan Rail Pass covers the bullet train portion only. Leave 1-1.5 hours to connect at Shinagawa Station.
Tokyo Airport Tips
If your flight arrives very late at night, you may want to spend the night in Tokyo and head to Kyoto the next morning.
Narita and Haneda both have comfortable on-site hotels connected to the terminals making this easy – just head upstairs after arrival.
In general, I’d avoid arriving into one of the Tokyo airports very late and trying to make it all the way to Kyoto the same night. It is doable but you’ll be exhausted.
Aim to arrive into Tokyo as early as you can to maximize your time. Mid-morning arrivals are ideal to make the trip to Kyoto comfortably.
With the above guidance, you can seamlessly continue to Kyoto after flying into Narita or Haneda.
Tips for Navigating Kyoto’s Airports
To wrap up this guide on accessing Kyoto’s nearby airports, here are some top tips:
- Reserve trains/buses in advance – Especially during busy seasons, reserve seats on your airport train or bus transfer whenever possible. This guarantees you a ride.
- Allow extra connection time – Don’t schedule things too tightly. Leave ample time between flight arrivals and ground transportation departures in case of delays.
- Consider luggage transportation – Companies like Yamato Transport can conveniently ship your bags directly from the airport to your Kyoto hotel for around ¥2,500 per bag. Lets you travel light.
- Get a SIM card – Rent a SIM or pocket wifi to get online immediately after arrival. Helps you use maps or contact your hotel if needed.
- Load a Suica/IC card – Having a prepaid IC transit card like Suica or Icoca makes traveling around Kyoto easy. They work on all trains, subways and buses.
- Pack light essentials – When arriving, have any necessities you may need during airport transfers easily accessible like documents, masks, medications, battery banks, etc.
- Verify terminal and gates – Double check which airport terminal you’ll be arriving and departing from. Give yourself enough time to transit between terminals if needed.
- Relax and go slowly – Don’t rush. Moving calmly and patiently through the airports will help prevent mistakes and reduce stress.
Follow the tips in this guide and you’ll be prepared for smooth travels to and from Kyoto via Japan’s well-connected airports. Have a wonderful trip!
Planning a trip to japan:
Ultimate japan travel planning Guide
find these helpful japan articles and resources to plan your ultimate trip to Japan: