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Day trip to Nara

Milan, Italy
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Day trip to Nara

Hello,

I'm currently planning a short trip to Japan with three friends (all of us young adults) in April 2012. We are thinking to stay for 4 nights in Kyoto (before heading North to Tokyo) and having a day trip to Nara from there.

I currently see that I have a choice of 2 different train companies reaching Nara: JR and Kintetsu. I've seen that tickets with both companies have similar prices (690 vs 610 Yen one-way) and that travel times are similar (around 45-50 minutes).

Is one company recommended over the other for any practical reasons? I seem to understand that with Kintetsu we'd need a train change at some point (unless we use the limited express train, which is a lot more expensive), but I also see that the two companies use different stations at Nara, so I'm wondering wheher one is more convenient than the other for the sights in Nara, or if they are both walking distance from the sights.

Will we have to use any additional local transport in Nara (buses, etc.)?

Thanks

Tokyo and California
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1. Re: Day trip to Nara

If you take the Kintetsu trains bound for Nara, there is no need to change trains.Take the express (Kyuko) train. If you take the semi-express (Junkyu) or local (Futsu) it'll take much longer. The Ltd. Express is fast but you have to pay the express fare.

Kintetsu Nara station is located closer to main attractions like Todaiji and Nara Park. So if you're not using the JR Pass, I recommend taking the Kintetsu Line.

Kintetsu Nara Station to Nara Park is about 10 minutes on foot.

Nara, Japan
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2. Re: Day trip to Nara

It's nice soaking in the atmosphere of Kyoto and Nara in April because of an obvious reason. Lots of tourists come to visit Kyoto in particular, in hopes of their stay being well-timed to the peak of cherry blossoms, so in that regard you need to secure your accommodation pretty much ahead of the time.

As for JR vs Kintetsu, Kintetsu winds hands-down when you think of its proximity to Deer Park/Great Buddha Hall. That said, Kintetsu Nara is only a 10min-walk away from JR Nara (if you walk it on the boulevard side). So unless you are a JR pass holder, you may want to hop on a Kintetsu Rapid (bound for Nara) that doesn't require transfer along your way. There's at least one departing at 50-something to every hour of the day if my memory is correct. Yes, paying an extra: 500yens, for a bit plushy ltd express will be your alternative.

Once you arrive in Nara, your mode of transport will be, um, nothing but your strong feet if you're as fit as your age indicates. IMO, you'll have an ample reward if you cover Wakakusa Hill.

Enjoy your trip!

Tokyo, Japan
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3. Re: Day trip to Nara

There are trains running to 3 different destinations (Kintetsu Nara, Tenri, Kashihara Jingumae) on Kintetsu Kyoto line. All trains stop at Yamato Saidaiji Station, where frequent transfers are available for trains going to Kintetsu Nara, the more centrally located station. There are ltd exp and exp going directly to Kintetsu Nara station.

JR Nara station is a bit away from the center, so you'll be adding extra yens for the bus going to Nara Park and Todaiji. That means, if you are not a JR pass user, it is better to take Kintetsu express (kyuko) from Kyoto. Add a couple of yens more for ltd express train (I almost always take it when I come home to Nara from Tokyo via Kyoto).

Edited: 08 January 2012, 19:32
Milan, Italy
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4. Re: Day trip to Nara

Thank you all,

we will not have a JR pass, so we'll get Kintetsu! Personally I wouldn't mind spending a few Yen more and get the Limited Express, but my travel companions are very "budget-wise", so they'll surely insist on getting the express train, instead.

So my easiest alternatives with Kintetsu are:

-)Limited express to Kintetsu Nara (1.110 Yen each way) - no changes

-)Express train to Kintetsu Nara (610 Yen each way) - no changes

-)trains bound to Tenri or Kashihara Jingumae, changing at Yamato Saidaiji for a train to Kintetsu Nara (610 Yen each way)

I've tried desperately to find timetables on the English version of Kintetsu's website (so I can check frequency, departure times during the day, etc.), but I don't seem to find them: does anyone have a link to a web page where I can find a timetable (train schedule) for this line?

And finally, one last confirmation: JR and Kintetsu stations are separate in Nara, but JR and Kintetsu trains use the same station in Kyoto, right?

Thanks

Tokyo and California
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5. Re: Day trip to Nara

Weekday:

eki.kintetsu.co.jp/norikae/T2…

Weekend:

eki.kintetsu.co.jp/norikae/T5…

奈= Bound for Nara; 橿= Kashihara-Jungumae; 天= Tenri; No mark= Terminates at Yamato-saidaij

In red= Ltd Express with 500 yen surcharge; Purple= Kyuko (this is what you should take if you don't want to pay the express fare), Green= SemiExpress; Black= Local

JR and Kintetsu share the Kyoto central station. Kintetsu Station is located at Hachijo Exit, west side of the Shinkansen.

Milan, Italy
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6. Re: Day trip to Nara

Thank you Shibuyakko,

being unable to read Japanese, I could have never made it by myself!

Tokyo, Japan
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7. Re: Day trip to Nara

Hi!

Here's the English ver of timetable for Kintetsu line.

kintetsu.co.jp/foreign/…3-9.html

Milan, Italy
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8. Re: Day trip to Nara

Thanks history_walker,

I went crazy trying to look for that in the English version of the website!

It seems it was there, in the end... :)

Nara, Japan
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9. Re: Day trip to Nara

For what it is worth, the seats in train cars as in JR rapid expresses and Kintetsu lmt expresses have a bit of more privacy because they can be aligned in a compartmental style: you can push the back of the seats back/forth so they can face each other.

Conversely, Kintetsu rapid expresses' (and some of the JR locals') are fixed on both sides of the car walls under the windows, with one line of seats at one wall facing the other at the opposite wall, a wider aisle in between.

NYC
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10. Re: Day trip to Nara

You can also look at hyperdia.com for trains from Kyoto to Nara on the Kintetsu line - after entering the stations and time, go to Search Details and un-check Japan Railway......