Travel to Kyoto
Flying to Kyoto
Japan's national airline is Japan Airlines; other airlines include All Nippon Airways, Jetstar Japan and Peach Aviation. The nearest airport to Kyoto is Osaka International (Itami) Airport; however, this airport only takes domestic flights leaving international travellers finding Kansai International Airport more convenient. From there, the JR Haruka Limited Express train can take you to Kyoto in 70 minutes. However, if there are no direct flights to Kansai, it is advised to fly to Haneda and taking a connecting flight to Itami.
From London - 12 hours 10 minutes; New York - 17 hours 10 mins (including stopover); Los Angeles - 12 hours 30 minutes; Toronto - 17 hours (including stopover); Sydney - 9 hours 55 minutes.
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 a valid national licence is required, along with a minimum of three months' driving experience and basic travel insurance.
The Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) (tel: +81 570 00 2811; 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 (www.jrbuskanto.co.jp) operates regular coach services between Kyoto and Tokyo, while J R Tokai (www.jrtbinm.co.jp) runs coach services to and from Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya and several other cities.
Time to city
From Tokyo - 5 hours 30 minutes; Osaka - 50 minutes; Yokohama - 5 hours 20 minutes; Kōbe - 1 hour 10 minutes.
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 15 minutes; Osaka – 1 hour 30 hours; Yokoshima – 3 hours; Nagoya – 1 hour 40 minutes.