Nara is within easy day trip distance of cities like Kyoto and Osaka. It’s also very close to Kansai International Airport. In this section, I give the best, fastest and cheapest ways to reach Nara from these places.
Nara train: jointstar / Shutterstock.com
Nara is 35 kilometers south of Kyoto City and about 28 kilometers east of Osaka. Thus, it’s within easy day trip distances of these cities. Of course, if you want to slow down and enjoy Nara a bit more, it makes sense to stay a night in Nara to really explore the area. Check here for recommended Nara hotels and here for recommended Nara ryokan. Nara is also very close to Kansai International Airport.
Nara is connected to all of these places by a rich network of transport links that include trains, buses, private cars etc. Here, I’ll give you the lowdown on how to get to Nara from nearby cities and airports in the fastest and most efficient manner.
How To Get To Nara From Kyoto
Easily the best way to get from Kyoto to Nara is train and there are two rail lines that connect the two cities: JR and the private Kintetsu Line. The Kintetsu is the fastest and most comfortable way to get there. Just be sure to take a direct express (tokkyu). This is the way I always get to Nara and I recommend it for those traveling without a JR Rail Pass. If you have a JR Rail Pass, you’ll want to take the JR line. I recommend the Miyakoji Kaisoku Express on the JR Line in this case, because it only takes 45 minutes.
JR Nara Line: Y690, 45 minutes by express (kaisoku), 70 minutes by local (futsu), departs from JR Kyoto Station in Kyoto and arrives at JR Nara Station in Nara
Kintetsu Nara Line: Y1110, 35 minutes by express (tokkyu), departs from Kintetsu Kyoto Station (on the south side of JR Kyoto Station) in Kyoto and arrives at Kintetsu Nara Station in Nara
How To Get To Nara From Osaka
Nara is even closer to Osaka than it is to Kyoto. As is the case with Kyoto, you can choose between the JR Line and the private Kintetsu Line. Note that the JR Line departs from JR Osaka Station, while the Kintetsu Line departs from Kintetsu Namba Station (a couple stops south of JR Station on the Midosuji Subway Line).
The Kintetsu Line is the faster of the two lines and this is the best choice for those traveling without a JR Rail Pass. Those traveling with a JR Rail Pass will want to take the JR Line, which is also quite fast and comfortable.
JR Kanjo-Yamatoji Lines: Y780, 50 minutes by Yamatoji Kaisoku (express), departs from JR Osaka Station and arrives at JR Nara Station
Kintetsu Nara Line: Y540, 40 minutes, departs from Kintetsu Namba Station in Osaka and arrives at Kintetsu Nara Station in Nara
If you’re planning to spend time in Osaka, be sure to check out my companion website InsideOsaka.com
How To Get To Nara From Other Parts of Japan
If you’re coming from other parts of Japan like Tokyo, Nagoya, Kobe or Hiroshima, the best way to get to Nara is to take the shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto and then follow the above instructions from Kyoto.
How To Get To Nara From Kansai International Airport
You can get to Nara from Kansai International Airport (KIX) easily by train or limousine bus. The latter is easiest if you have luggage, the former is the best choice for those traveling with a JR Rail Pass who wish to save money.
Limousine Bus: Y2050, 90 minutes, board at the bus stop outside the arrivals hall at KIX and get off at JR Nara Station or at the stop near Kintetsu Nara Station
JR Line: Y2180, about 70 minutes (not including waiting time between trains), take the JR Haruka Airport Express and switch to a JR Yamatoji Kaisoku (express) at Tennoji Station and get off at JR Nara Station
Where Are These Places Located?See these places on our Nara Google map:
- Open the Nara map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
Nara Travel Guide:
- Nara Travel Guide Overview
- Things To Do In Nara
- Nara Walking Tour
- Places To Eat In Nara
- Nara Itineraries
- Nara Districts
- Nara Hotels
- Nara Ryokan
- Nara Cherry Blossoms
- Nara Fall Foliage
- Best Time To Go To Nara
- How To Get To Nara
- Getting Around Nara
- Nara Annual Festivals And Events