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best way to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto

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Canberra, Australia
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best way to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto

I am going to Japan for 5 nights only next month (March). Planning on doing 3 nights in Tokyo then 2 in Kyoto so a bit of a whirlwind trip. The JR train pass for 7 days is very expensive - i've been quoted £220. Does anyone know the cost of a return trip to Kyoto not using the JR pass but just an ordinary ticket? Is it any cheaper and, if so, how do I book this? Is it possible to drive instead?

Cambridge, UK
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1. Re: best way to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto

The Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Kyoto will cost you just over 13,000 yen each way for a reserved seat. At just over 26,000 yen total, that's not too different from the price of a 7 day pass. You can buy tickets at the station - no need to reserve before you go.

I'd strongly recommend not driving if you've never driven in Japan before. Getting out of Tokyo would be an achievement in itself. There is the bus option, cheaper but obviously takes longer and is not nearly as convenient as the shinkansen. Given the short time you'll be in Japan, the 7 day pass and a trip on the world's most reliable trains would probably be your best option.

Tokyo
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2. Re: best way to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto

Very relevant thread: http://preview.tinyurl.com/brnthy

Puratto Kodama info:

…blogspot.com/2008/08/puratto-kodama-discoun…

Canberra, Australia
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3. Re: best way to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto

Thanks for the advice. I've just done the sums using Hyperdia and it works out roughly the same so I will go with the 7 day pass.

One other thing - I will need to go straight to Narita from Kyoto to fly out for Australia. Does the JR rail pass cover the Narita Express? Should I allow about 4 hours for this?

thanks again

Canberra, Australia
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4. Re: best way to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto

many thanks!

Japan
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5. Re: best way to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto

The hyperdia site will also give you the schedule information you need to plan your trip. Getting from Kyoto to Narita for the trip home is quite simple. I usually do Kyoto-Tokyo station, then hop over to the Narita Express. Yes, they are both covered with the JR pass.

This site is also good to use for train schedule planning:

jorudan.co.jp/english/…e-norikeyin.html

Note that you must make a reservation for the Narita Express. You can do that with your rail pass for no extra charge, just stop at one of the green windows. When you get to Kyoto on shinkansen, you will follow signs to the Karasuma exit, by going up the escalators, across the walkway over the tracks, and then back down on the other side. As you are exiting through the turnstiles, the green window office for tickets and reservations is to your right. You can make your shinkansen reservations for the Kyoto-Tokyo trip, and they will then advise you which Narita Express you will be able to catch. Know when your flight departs, and they will help you set up the connections. (they are usually very helpful!)

Nashville, TN
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for Himeji, Kobe, Osaka
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6. Re: best way to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto

You can drive, but the highway tolls aren't much better than the cost of the shinkansen ticket, and it takes a very, very long time. If you take local highways it takes forever.

The best cheap way is to take a highway bus overnight. If you had more time I'd suggest doing it all on local lines using the seishun ju happu tickets, but a trip by local line takes all day.

If you're doing the shinkansen (not nozomi) then use the rail pass; it more than pays for itself with a trip to Kyoto and back plus some local travel as well.

John W.

Canberra, Australia
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7. Re: best way to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto

thanks for everyone's help. all really useful!

Tokyo
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8. Re: best way to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto

Shinkansen - Narita Express connections:

…blogspot.com/2008/09/train-connections-betw…

The schedules are subject to revision from 14th March, though the changes will be minor.

Portland, Oregon
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9. Re: best way to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto

Do I need a reserved seat for a 2 year old between Tokyo and Kyoto?

10. Re: best way to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto

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