How to do 1 day trip to Kyoto from Tokyo!!

Tokyo and Kyoto is the most famous cities in Japan!
Many tourists go both cities.
If you can spare one-day during your stay in Tokyo, you can trip to Kyoto!
This article will introduce how to do one day travel to Kyoto from Tokyo.

Transportation to Kyoto

There are two options for transportation to get to Kyoto.
・Shinkansen Bullet Train
・Night Bus
Let us see one each.

Shinkansen Bullet Train: fastest and comfortable

The fastest way is Shinkansen.
If you take the fastest Shinkansen called Nozomi, it takes about 140 minutes and costs 13,080 yen per person for one way.
When you have JR rail pass and you choose second fastest train Hikari, it takes about 165 minutes and no extra charge!

Tips for Shinkansen Bullet train ride:
・From Tokyo to Kyoto: Choose the seat E because you can see Mt. Fuji from the seat window on a sunny day. Mt. Fuji appears 40 mins after the departure of Tokyo.
・Tokyo station: Buy a Bento Lunch Boxes. There are variety kinds of unique lunch boxes are sold.

Bus : Cheapest

The cheaper way is taking a bus, especially NIGHT bus.
If you take a night bus, departure time is around 10-11pm, then arriving time is 6-7 am.

The price varies on days. It costs usually between 1,700 yen and 6,000 yen. Weekends and the holiday season of Japanese will be high price.

Our recommended bus company is those three.
Willer Express 4,000 yen-
VIP liner  4,000 yen –
Sakura Kanko bus 1,700 yen- *Sorry it’s only in Japanese.

Recommended Itinerary

 1. COMFORTABLE PLAN: Bullet train round trip

8:00-11:00 Bullet train
11:00-18:00 Sightseeing in Kyoto for 7 hours.
(How to enjoy Kyoto for 7 hours is here.)
18:00-21:00 Bullet train
(Transportation fee:  about 26,000 yen)

Recommended hotels very close to Tokyo station (Lux and First Class)

The Tokyo Station Hotel
Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi
Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo

 2. KYOTO LONG STAY PLAN: Go by Bullet train and back by night bus

Transportation fee: approx.15,000-20,000 yen

8:00-11:00 Bullet train
11:00-18:00 Sightseeing in Kyoto for 7 hours.
(Please check itinerary from here.)
18:00-22:00 Enjoy dinner and night activity in Kyoto.
23:00-6:30 Back to Tokyo by night bus.
Recommended budget hotels in Akihabara station easy access to Tokyo station’s bus terminal.

GRIDS AKIHABARA
First Cabin Akihabara
Glansit Akihabara

3. BUDGET PLAN: Go and back by night bus

Transportation fee: about 4,000-12,000 yen
23:00-6:30 Go to Kyoto by night bus.
6:30-8:00 Have a break and breakfast
8:00-18:00 Sightseeing in Kyoto for 10 hours.
18:00-22:00 Enjoy dinner and night activity in Kyoto.
23:00-6:30 Back to Tokyo by night bus.
(Transportation fee: about 4,000-12,000 yen)

Comparative Table

Transportation Price Duration Station
Bullet Train Non reserved seat:13,080 yen
Regular reserved seat:13,910 yen
Green Car reserved seat(1st class): 18,690 yen
2hours and an half JR Tokyo/ Shinakawa station
Night Bus 1,700 yen-6,000 yen about 7 hours Busta Shinjuku
Tokyo station Bus Terminal

How do you think about that?
Recently night bus become more comfortable than before so it is one of the easy way to go Kyoto!!
If you want to have our advice, please free free to ask us.
(http://blog.japanwondertravel.com/travel-concierge)
Hope you could enjoy Japan efficiently!!

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8 Comments

  1. Hi there! Thank you for the tip on this page! May I please ask if it’s advisable to take the Hikari there and back? And by what time should we take the Hikari at night?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Vivian-san,
      Thank you for your inquiry. Of course you could use Hikari between Tokyo and Kyoto.
      You could use Hikari with JR rail pass.
      Then last train is about 8pm between Tokyo and Kyoto.(It takes about 3 hours.)
      If you have any question, please feel free to let us know.

      Best regards,
      Yu

  2. Hi.. in regards to the bus.. is it safe for non- Japanese speaking passengers? Is it comfortable? How do I get more details on the bus? I’m flying in to Haneda.. how do I go by bus from there?

    • Hi Husna-san,
      Yes it’s safe for non-Japanese speaking passengers. I used bus last month, some non Japanese speaking passengers were in bus.
      3 seat-row is comfortable, 4 seat-row is bit tight, I think.

      Please check bus’s company page. From airport, there is an airport limousine bus to Shinjuku bus terminal.

  3. Hello! Would it be worth buying a JR pass just for this one day trip, as I am based in Tokyo and will only do one trip outside of Tokyo due to time. I’ve heard a return trip on the bullet train is as expensive as a JR Pass.

  4. Don’t use the night bus if you’re claustrophobic, afraid of the dark, or need to look out of the window when you travel. The entire seated area is boxed off with curtains (you can’t see out of the windshield in front either), lights are not allowed, opening the curtains is not allowed. It’s supposed to create a relaxed environment but there’s nothing much relaxed about it. They’ve been pretty strict when I’ve tried to see where I’m going.

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