Andrea Urbinati

How To Travel From Tokyo To Kyoto

Di Andrea Urbinati

blogger, andrea urbinati, marketing, copywriting, seo
From the neon lights of Tokyo to the serene temples of Kyoto, embark on a journey packed with adventure, culture, and lots of fun! Tokyo to Kyoto, here we come!
Tokyo to Kyoto, traveling to japan


Hello there, intrepid traveler! Ready to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto and have an epic trip?

Have you ever stood amidst the electric hum of Tokyo’s neon-drenched streets, only to yearn for the peaceful whisper of Kyoto’s ancient temples?

It will just blow your mind. Just like all the coolest things you can do in Tokyo!

It’s like day and night. 

My story begins in Tokyo, a metropolis that pulses with the rhythm of the future. It’s like a never-ending symphony, each skyscraper a high note in this concert of modernity. 

But in my hands, I held a ticket to a different tune – a melody steeped in centuries-old culture and tranquility. Yes, a train ticket courtesy of my trusty Japan Rail Pass.

This was my golden ticket, my gateway from the 24/7 symphony of Tokyo to the zen-infused harmony of Kyoto

Through this blog, I’ll be your trusty guide, sharing my experiences, anecdotes, and insights that’ll transform your journey from Tokyo to Kyoto into a memorable escapade. 

Think of this as your treasure map, each tip a sparkling jewel guiding you through the journey.

Sound like an adventure you’d like to embark on? 


Pack your virtual bags, dear reader, because we’re about to journey through time – from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo Station to the tranquil beauty of Kyoto.

Ready to start this incredible journey? 

Let’s go!


travel from tokyo to kyoto, river and boat


Preparing for the Journey

Preparing for my one-way trip from Tokyo to Kyoto was like prepping for an exciting treasure hunt! 

I was about to travel between Tokyo, the city that never sleeps, and Kyoto, the heart of Japanese tradition. So, it was essential to do my homework.

I started off by diving into research like a detective on a mission. I searched the internet, read blog posts, and even watched travel vlogs.

I found out lots of things to do in Tokyo at night and general tips on traveling during November.

Booking my ticket was the next step. 

Off I went to central Tokyo to grab my Japan Rail Pass. I felt like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory holding the golden ticket! 

I won’t deny it; there was something thrilling about securing that one-way trip from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo to the peaceful vibes of Kyoto Station.

Then came the packing. I’m not the biggest fan of stuffing (who is?), but I’ll tell you this: Pack smart, not hard. 

The less you have, the more you explore!

Plus, leaving some space in your suitcase means more room for souvenirs, right?

This is what you should do. Research well, secure your tickets in advance, and pack only the essentials. 

Remember, you’re embarking on an adventure, not moving houses!

It’s time to go, are you ready??


travel from tokyo to kyoto, 2 girl walking in japan


Various Ways to Travel from Tokyo to Kyoto

Bullet Train (Shinkansen)

Time to talk about the bullet train! Or, as the locals call it, the Shinkansen!

The Shinkansen is like a spaceship on rails! I was amazed by its speed traveling from Tokyo to Kyoto. The seats were incredibly comfortable, and the experience felt like a sci-fi movie!

The journey from Tokyo to Kyoto is like watching a live movie of Japan’s beautiful landscapes whizzing by the window. It’s truly mesmerizing. And while a local train can also get you to Kyoto, nothing quite beats the swift magic of the Shinkansen.

Let me give you some details.

There are three types of Shinkansen: Nozomi, Hikari, and Kodama.

Nozomi’s the fastest, but the 7-day JR Pass doesn’t cover it. But hey, Hikari’s a little slower, and it’ll whisk you from Tokyo to Kyoto in around 2.5 hours. 

The tickets? 

They can range from 13,000 to 14,000 yen, but with the JR Pass, you’re covered!

Are you itching to experience the Shinkansen now? I bet you are! 

You can purchase your JR Pass here. 

Fasten your seatbelts because the bullet train waits for no one!


travel from tokyo to kyoto, bus and cars in japan


Air Travel

Sure thing, let’s take to the skies with air travel:

So, let’s switch gears (or should I say wings?) and chat about air travel in Japan.

I have to say it; I take flights only if I have to.

Let’s be clear, not because I don’t like them, but because I prefer to enjoy my ride and take my sweet time.

When taking the air, you lose contact with the place you are in!

Anyways, I took a flight once from Tokyo to Kyoto. 

One minute I’m sipping on my pre-flight coffee in Tokyo, and the next, I’m landing in central Kyoto!

I have to say it was pretty convenient. Fast and clean.

But here’s the thing: while flying is fast, you miss out on the epic landscapes you’d see from the train window. And in a country as beautiful as Japan, that’s a big miss!

But if you need to get to Kyoto fast.., flying is the best way.

You can fly from Tokyo to two main airports: Narita and Haneda.

You’ll land at Osaka’s Itami or Kansai airport; from there, it’s a quick hop to Kyoto. It’s only an hour and more expensive than the train.

Are you feeling like spreading your wings? 

If you need to fly, you can click here, and it will take you to the official website. 

Just remember to send me a postcard from Kyoto when you get there, alright?

And if you want to get a massage in Tokyo before leaving for Kyoto, you can check my blog post here!

japan woods, green trees

Highway Buses

You got it! Let’s take the highway and explore bus travel:

Now, if you’re like me and love a good old road trip, then buckle up because we’re hopping onto a highway bus from Tokyo to Kyoto!

Need to save some money? Get a bus 😀

Plus, there’s a chance to meet and chat with fellow travelers. 

My bus ride was a delightful adventure. While it’s slower than the Shinkansen (about 7-8 hours), the highway buses go straight to Kyoto.

Ah, you can take a nap and not worry about changing lines!

One cool thing about these buses is the amenities. I’m talking about seats as soft as marshmallows, onboard Wi-Fi, and toilets. It’s like a mini hotel on wheels!

Ready to hit the open road? You can book your highway bus tickets here. 


travel from tokyo to kyoto, night japan street


Car Rental

Alright, picture this: you’re behind the wheel, windows down, wind in your hair, belting out your all-time favorite songs. No train schedules to stick to, just you, your car, and the open road stretching from Tokyo to Kyoto. Doesn’t that feel like an epic road trip waiting to happen? If you’re a fan of freedom and spontaneity, car rental is your perfect companion.

I tried this once, and boy, was it an adventure! 

But it could be better… Navigating the roads and understanding local traffic rules can feel like solving a tricky puzzle. 

Renting a car is pretty straightforward, with many international rental companies available. Just make sure you have an International Driving Permit along with your license. The drive is around 5-6 hours, depending on traffic and speed.

Ready to rev up the engine and set off on your road trip? You can rent your car here. Remember, the journey is half the fun! 

So, buckle up and enjoy your drive from Tokyo to Kyoto. 

And don’t forget to check out what are the best things to do in Japan!


travel from tokyo to kyoto, mt Fuji, japan



Alright, for the truly adventurous, how about cycling from Tokyo to Kyoto? Yes, you heard me right!

Alright, listen up, all you gym buffs and eco-warriors, this one’s for you. Ever thought about pedaling your way from Tokyo to Kyoto?

Now, it’s not the easiest walk – it’s a serious workout, and it’ll test your mettle. But hey, who said adventures were supposed to be easy?

The distance from Tokyo to Kyoto is around 460 kilometers – that’s like cycling ten marathons! But imagine the sights, the sounds, the experiences you’ll encounter on such a trip. You’re not just traveling; you’re truly living the journey.

I’ve been on a few cycling marathons myself; trust me, there’s something magical about it. You’re not just traveling; you’re becoming one with the road, the wind, the scenery. 

You’ll need to plan your route carefully, and I’d recommend cycling along the old Tokaido road, which connects Tokyo Station and Shinagawa Station to Kyoto.

As for renting a bike, there are plenty of rental shops in Tokyo

Feeling the urge to start pedaling? 

Just remember to stay safe and take plenty of breaks. And try to do this trip during August! 


travel from tokyo to kyoto, night city in japan


Getting to the Station in Tokyo

So, you’re all set to start your journey from Tokyo to Kyoto.

Now it’s time to get to the station in Tokyo, and that in itself can be a mini adventure 😀

I felt like I’d jumped straight into a live-action game during my journey. You know, zipping through the buzzing lanes of Tokyo, dodging a sea of people, and playing detective to find the right subway line. Sound chaotic? Maybe. But boy, was it a hoot!

Tokyo’s public transportation is like a well-oiled machine. It can get you almost anywhere in the city and is super reliable. For our journey to Kyoto, the two main stations you’d likely start from are Tokyo Station and Shinagawa Station.

Suppose you’re bunking in downtown Tokyo.

Well, you’ve got plenty of options to reach these stations – hop on a metro, catch a bus, or hail a taxi!

And if you are with kids, don’t forget to read my post with all the best activities to do in Tokyo with kids!

Got yourself a Japan Rail (JR) Pass? Even better! You can use it on JR trains and the Shinkansen.

But remember, my friend: time is of the essence. So, plan to arrive at the station early to avoid any last-minute dash. How’s that for a travel hack?

Tokyo is a massive city, and it’s easy to underestimate travel times. So, leave early, grab a coffee on the way, and enjoy the buzz of Tokyo’s streets before you embark on your journey to Kyoto (or Osaka, if you’re going further).


travel from tokyo to kyoto,, man walking with a bag in japan


The Train Journey

Remember the thrill that coursed when you first hopped onto a plane or a rollercoaster? 

The pulse-pounding excitement?

That’s what it feels like when I first set foot on the Shinkansen!

This isn’t your everyday train ride; it’s an immersion into Japanese culture

As soon as that streamlined Nozomi train swept into the station, I knew I was in for an unforgettable ride. 

Spoiler alert: it didn’t disappoint!

As the landscapes zipped past the window at lightning speed, I was treated to a panorama of Japan that you just can’t get from 30,000 feet in the air. Urban jungles transformed into serene countryside and back again, all from the comfort of my plush seat.

And can we talk about the bento box meals on the train? Delicious and beautifully presented, they are the icing on the cake of this delightful journey. Trust me, the ekiben (station bento) is a must-try.

Alright, here’s the scoop. The trek from Tokyo to Kyoto will gobble up about 2-3 hours of your time, but that’s the charm of it! It all depends on whether you’re aboard the lightning-quick Nozomi train or riding the slightly more leisurely Kodama. Either way, it’s time well spent!

And good news for those with a JR Pass, it covers the Hikari and Kodama trains!

The trains have all your amenities: comfortable seats, clean toilets, and power outlets.

But remember, Japanese trains are a quiet zone, so keep your phone silent and your conversations low.

Ready to experience the thrill of the Shinkansen? Strap in and enjoy the ride from Tokyo to Kyoto.

Check out my post with the best travel guide for Japan if you are looking for some info!


travel from tokyo to kyoto, beautiful woods in japan


Arriving in Kyoto

Stepping off the Shinkansen in Kyoto felt like stepping out of a time machine.

From the quiet hush that greets you at the station to the old-world charm that permeates the city, Kyoto is a world away from Tokyo – and what a beautiful world it is!

If Tokyo’s neon lights dazzle you, Kyoto’s subtle elegance will soothe your soul. It’s a city of temples, gardens, and teahouses, where tradition takes center stage. 

Now, onto some practical stuff. Navigating Kyoto Station is a breeze, even though it’s one of the country’s largest railway stations. There are signs in English, and the station staff are helpful if you need directions. If you’ve got a JR Pass, it will cover your journey to the city center via the local JR lines. How convenient is that!

When you finally get there… Breathe in slowly: You made it into the most beautiful city in the world (in my opinion). 

I’ll never forget that sense of anticipation, knowing I had the whole of Kyoto to explore. And guess what? You’re about to experience the same!

So, grab your Shinkansen ticket, and let’s make this day trip from Tokyo to Kyoto one for the books. 


travel from tokyo to kyoto, japan with lanterns


Exploring Kyoto

As I set foot into Kyoto, I felt like a kid in a candy store – too many sights, not enough time! But that’s the beauty of Kyoto, a city that keeps giving.

Remember the first time you saw a movie scene that you thought was amazing? That’s how I felt when I first saw the Fushimi Inari Shrine. With its iconic red torii gates creating a path up the mountain, it was like walking through a portal to another world. The hike to the top might be steep, but trust me, the panoramic view of Kyoto is worth every step.

Next up, Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavilion, a zen temple that’s, well…golden! Its top two floors are covered in gold leaf, and the sight of it reflecting on the pond is something that words can’t do justice to. My tip for you?

8 am is the best time to get there

And then there’s the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, a magical place that feels like a scene from a fairy tale. 

Insider tip: listen to the sound of the wind rustling through the bamboo; it’s incredibly soothing.

So, if a day trip from Tokyo to Kyoto is swirling around in your head, snag that Shinkansen bullet train ticket and prepare for a thrilling, unforgettable ride. And always keep in mind the real fun of traveling isn’t just about arriving—it’s also about the electrifying journey on the Tokaido Shinkansen and all the unexpected adventures you’ll stumble upon.

Happy exploring!


travel from tokyo to kyoto, river in japan



Looking back, my journey from Tokyo to Kyoto could have been better; Like everything in life, you must improve from mistakes and make the best decisions, but I was fortunate enough to enjoy my ride every time I traveled from Tokyo to Kyoto.

From the whirlwind of packing my suitcase in Tokyo to the soothing zen of the bamboo forests in Kyoto, every moment was a new experience to cherish.

Navigating Tokyo station, buying the Shinkansen ticket, feeling the rush of the bullet train as it raced through the Japanese countryside – every single step added to the thrill of the journey.

Kyoto’s landmarks are like living history lessons, full of exciting stories. It’s like stepping right into a history book.

Now, it’s your time to experience the journey from Tokyo to Kyoto.

So, whether you take the Shinkansen, opt for an overnight bus, or even decide to bike it, remember that the JR Pass covers much of your travel within Japan. Also, check out my essential phrase guide for surviving Japan!

So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, plan to travel, and set off on Tokyo to Kyoto adventure. Trust me; it’s going to be epic!

Table of Contents

About the author
blogger, andrea urbinati, marketing, copywriting, seo

Hi! I’m Andrea, a passionate freelance writer with a knack for captivating storytelling.

With a decade of marketing expertise and a genuine love for crafting compelling content, I bring your ideas to life!

Let me know if you need a writer for your blog!

You may also like