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Train From Osaka to Kyoto: Ultimate guide to Getting from Osaka to Kyoto 

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During my three week trip to Japan this past November, I had the chance to travel between Osaka and Kyoto multiple times using the convenient and efficient train system connecting these two vibrant Kansai cities. With several rail options offering swift transport at reasonable prices, the train makes exploring both sides of Osaka Bay a breeze.

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Kyoto , Arayashima

Train From Osaka to Kyoto: Ultimate guide to Getting from Osaka to Kyoto 

distance from osaka to kyoto

From Osaka to Kyoto distance is about 45-50 km or around 30 miles.

The main stations used for train travel between the cities are:

Osaka Station: Located in the Chuo ward of central Osaka Kyoto Station: Found in the Shimogyo ward of central Kyoto


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The travel distance and train times between Osaka Station and Kyoto Station are:

  • JR Tokaido Shinkansen:
    • Distance covered: 45 km
    • Duration: 15 minutes
  • JR Special Rapid Train:
    • Distance covered: 50 km
    • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Hankyu Railway Limited Express:
    • Distance covered: 48 km
    • Duration: 40 minutes

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Silhouette of Kyoto Japanese Pagoda At Sunset

best train from osaka to kyoto: My recommendation

There are several options depending what your priorities are: the fastest bullet train covers the Osaka-Kyoto distance of 45 km in only 15 minutes, while regular express trains take 30-40 minutes to travel between these two Japanese cities separated by around 30 miles of railway.

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My recommendation is if you have the Japan Rail Pass take the Shinkansen from Osaka to Kyoto as it is included in the Japan Rail Pass. If you are paying for the train ride with an IC card or out of pocket I’d suggest taking the local “rapid train” it’s not much longer and it costs way less.

That’s the train I took because I lost my JR rail pass on the 3rd day in Tokyo, and our friends took the Hikari bullet train and we got there about 15 minutes after they did. So not a huge difference honestly.

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Best way to get from Osaka to Kyoto by train

Here are the main options on how to get from osaka to kyoto.  for fastest, cheapest, and most convenient ways to travel by train from Osaka to Kyoto:

Fastest Way to get train from osaka to kyoto: Osaka to Kyoto bullet train

The fastest train is the JR Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train, which takes only 15 minutes to travel between Shin-Osaka Station and Kyoto Station. Unreserved seats cost ¥1450 one-way. With trains departing several times an hour, it’s speedy and efficient. The downside is Shin-Osaka Station’s less central location in Osaka.

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Cheapest Way: train from osaka to kyoto Japan Rail pass

Regular JR “Special Rapid,” “Rapid,” and “Local” trains are the most affordable option, costing just ¥580 for the 30-45 minute one-way trip. JR trains use Osaka Station and Kyoto Station, making this a budget-friendly and still relatively quick train route between city centers.

Silhouette of Kyoto Japanese Pagoda At Sunset

Most Convenient train from osaka to kyoto

For convenience, the trains that depart frequently from centrally located stations are best. The JR Special Rapid services fit the bill, taking 30 minutes and running regularly from the downtown Osaka Station to downtown Kyoto Station for ¥580 with no transfers needed. This combines affordable cost with quick travel time and easy accessibility within each city.

The train links between Osaka and Kyoto make getting between the two cities very straightforward. Choosing which option – fastest, cheapest or most convenient – depends on your priorities for the trip! Let me know if you need any other details on navigating between Osaka and Kyoto by rail.

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Train Options Between Osaka and Kyoto 

01.  kyoto from osaka and Osaka To Kyoto on JR Lines

The fastest way to travel between Osaka and Kyoto is via the JR Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train.

The trip takes only 15 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station to reach Kyoto Station,

Bullet train osaka to tokyo cost

with unreserved seats costing ¥1450 one-way. Trains depart several times an hour.

Note : that Shin-Osaka Station is less centrally located than Osaka Station. If you have a Japan Rail Pas, you’re covered on the  Hikari and Kodama shinkansen trains on this route.

02. Osaka to Kyoto JR Line “Special Rapid” Train

For just ¥580 and with trips ranging from 30-45 minutes depending on train type, Japan Rail (JR) also offers frequent “Special Rapid,” “Rapid,” and “Local” services along the JR Kyoto Line between major city-center stations Osaka Station and Kyoto Station. All JR train options here are covered by rail passes.

03.  JR limited express trains from  Osaka to Kyoto

make the Osaka-Kyoto journey in about 30 minutes for ¥1340-¥2270 per ticket. While pricier, these trains tend to be less congested.

kyoto from osaka on Private Railway Lines

Hankyu Railway trains connect Osaka-Umeda Station to the central Karasuma and Kawaramachi stations in Kyoto in around 40 minutes the train tickets ¥410 one-way. Service is frequent. Hankyu Railway is not covered by rail passes.

Keihan Railway limited expresses take approximately 50 minutes and cost ¥430 to traverse between Yodoyabashi Station in Osaka and Sanjo Station in central Kyoto. Also not included in rail passes but with regular departures.

train to kyoto from osaka

If you’re making the opposite trip, it’s very similar to the Oska to kyoto route. Here are the key details on taking the train to Kyoto from Osaka:

Popular Train Lines to kyoto from Osaka:

  • JR Tokaido Line – Offers regular “Special Rapid,” “Rapid,” and “Local” trains between Osaka Station and Kyoto Station. Travel time is 30-45 minutes and fares are ¥580 one-way. Covered by Japan Rail Pass.
  • JR Shinkansen Bullet Train – Fastest option at just 15 minutes between Shin-Osaka and Kyoto Stations. Fare is ¥1450 for an unreserved seat. Some bullet trains covered by Japan Rail Pass.
  • Hankyu Railway – Limited express trains connect Osaka-Umeda and central Kyoto stations in about 40 minutes for ¥410.
  • Keihan Railway – Limited express trains take around 50 minutes and ¥430 to go between Yodoyabashi Station in Osaka and Sanjo Station in Kyoto.

Key Details:

  • Fastest trip is the 15 minute shinkansen bullet train ride
  • JR rapid trains offer best value at ¥580 and 30 minutes between city centers
  • Private Hankyu and Keihan lines useful for travelers without a rail pass

With regular, fast, and reasonably priced connections, getting between Osaka and Kyoto by train is very convenient. Direct trains depart frequently from morning to night.

Train From Osaka to Kyoto: Ultimate guide to Getting from Osaka to Kyoto 
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Key Train Stations and Where to Board: Train from osaka to kyoto

In Osaka, major stations offering train service to Kyoto include:

  • Osaka Station: Access point for regular and limited express JR trains; located centrally downtown
  • Umeda Station: Transit hub offering connections to Hankyu and Hanshin railway lines

The main train stations to board trains bound for Osaka in Kyoto are:

  • Kyoto Station: Terminus for all JR train lines and also houses local subway and bus stations
  • Kawaramachi Station: Key stop on Hankyu Railway located downtown
  • Gion-Shijo Station: Services Keihan Railway; based in heart of popular tourist district

what is the last train from osaka to kyoto

The trains depart every 30 minutes with the first at 06:00 and the last one at 22:30.

Using Buses, Subways and IC Cards in Osaka and Kyoto

Buses: With tourist sights spread out, Kyoto’s buses help bridge the gaps. Most operate on a flat ¥230 fare for adults within the city center. Uses buses along major sightseeing routes.

Subways: Two train lines with limited coverage – Karasuma (north-south) and Tozai (east-west). Convenient to reach select city destinations.

IC Cards: Stored value cards like Icoca simplify payment on all transit. Also consider discount day passes.

Getting Around By Taxi and Bicycle

Taxis wait at stations and hotels. Standard daytime flag fall is ¥610 then ¥80 for each additional 300 meters.

Bicycles rent from ¥1000-¥2000 daily. Convenient for seeing top sites and atmospheric neighborhoods. Some lodgings offer free cycles.

With numerous transportation choices, Kyoto and Osaka make an easy paired vacation.

I’m already planning my next train trip between the two cities! Let me know if you have any other questions.

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