Travel to Kyoto
Flying to Kyoto
Japan's national airline is Japan Airlines; other airlines include All Nippon Airways, Jetstar Japan and Peach Aviation.
From London - 13 hours 30 minutes (including stopover); New York - 18 hours (including stopover); Los Angeles - 12 hours 30 minutes; Toronto - 17 hours (including stopover); Sydney - 12 hours (including stopover).
Travel by road
Traffic drives on the left in Japan and the legal driving age is 18 years (16 for a motorbike). Speed limits are up to 100kph (62mph) on expressways and 40kph (25mph) in built-up areas. An International Driving Licence and valid national licence is required, along with a minimum six months' driving experience and basic travel insurance.
The Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) (tel: +81 570 008 139; www.jaf.or.jp/e), provides an English-language ‘Rules of the Road' booklet. JAF Road Service offers 24-hour breakdown assistance for both members and non-members. In the case of an accident, you must inform the police (tel: 110).
Emergency breakdown services
JAF (tel: #8139, in Japan only).
Kyoto has good road connections as it is situated almost at the crossroads of the transport lines running between Tokyo and the southwest of Japan. It is connected to Osaka and Nagoya by the Meishin Expressway, which connects with expressways heading east, west and north.
Highway bus services run regularly between Kyoto and Tokyo, Nagoya, Hiroshima, Fukuoka and several other cities across Japan. The trip from Tokyo to Kyoto by highway bus takes around 7 hours. Both daytime and overnight buses are available.
J R Bus Kanto (tel: +81 3 3844 1950; www.jrbuskanto.co.jp, in Japanese only) operates regular coach services between Kyoto and Tokyo, while J R Tokai (tel: +81 52 563 0489; www.jrtbinm.co.jp, in Japanese only) runs coach services to and from Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya and several other cities.
Time to city
From Tokyo - 5 hours; Osaka - 50 minutes; Yokohama - 5 hours; Kōbe - 1 hour.
Travel by Rail
Rail services in Japan are among the best in the world, with modern trains that are clean, efficient, frequent and punctual. Kyoto Station, located in Shimogyo ward, is the city's main railway station and is served by all Japan Railways trains. Tokyo and Kyoto are connected by the JR Tokaido Shinkansen line.
Central Japan Railway Company (http://english.jr-central.co.jp) operates the bullet trains that stop in Kyoto on their way between Tokyo and Shin Osaka, while the West Japan Railway Company (www.westjr.co.jp/global/en) runs the Tōkaidō Main Line between Tokyo and Kōbe, the San’in Main Line across western Japan to Shimonoseki Yamaguchi, and the Nara Line commuter route between Osaka, Kōbe and Kyoto.
Other lines to pass through Kyoto Station include the Kyoto Line run by Kintetsu (www.kintetsu.co.jp/foreign/english) which connects the city to Uji and Nara, and the Kyoto Municipal Subway which joins the outer wards of the city.
From Tokyo - 2 hours 20 minutes.