Nara was the centre of Japan for many times until 794 AD. There are lots of temples built around that time, that means lots of things are even older than in Kyoto, there are more world heritage sites and national treasures.
It is not far from Kyoto and easy to do a day trip. Let’s find out what way is the cheapest, and how long it takes.
How to get from Kyoto to Nara.
Using a train in the common way to travel from Kyoto to Nara. There are 2 major stations by different train lines at the centre of the Nara tourism area, and they are about 1 km apart from each other. Picking the right train line could save you some time and walking.
What’s the cheapest way to get from Kyoto to Nara?
You can use Kintetsu trains or JR trains from Kyoto station. And which train could be cheaper depends on your situation.
If you are holding Japan Rail Pass.
Japan rail is operating between Kyoto and Nara. JR Nara station is farther to Nara park than Kintetsu Nara station, but it does save money as you don’t need to pay any additional fare.
There are Miyakoji Rapid trains every 30 mins in the day time, which takes about 45 mins to Nara. If you are travelling in the early morning or late afternoon, you need to catch other trains and they take about 1 hour.
JR trains are more comfortable to travel with than Kintetsu trains as well. The fare without Japan rail pass is 710 yen and it is little more than Kintetsu trains.
The cheapest way without Japan Rail Pass.
Using Kintetsu line from Kyoto to the Kintetsu Nara station is the popular way to travel between the destinations, as the Kintetsu Nara station is just in front of Nara park, and it is more convenient to visit Todai-Ji Temple, Kofuku-Ji Temple and Nara Park.
The cheapest option is to catch an express train which is 620 yen and it takes about 50 mins.
There is also the fastest option. If you pay 510 yen on top of 620 yen, you can catch a limited express. It takes about 35 mins and you will be in the centre of Nara’s sightseeing area.
How to get to Nara park from the stations?
There are about 600 m from Kintetsu Nara station and 1.5 km from JR Nara station to Nara Park.
Catching a bus to the furthest destination, and then walk your way back is probably the best option for saving time and energy.
When we went to Nara from Kyoto.
We didn’t hold JR pass when we stayed in Kyoto for 6 nights, and everything we wanted to visit in Nara was around Nara park, so we used the Kintetsu train line to travel to Nara.
We travelled in the late morning, and the train was pretty busy that we could luckily sit down. The Kintetsu Nara station is close to the park as you can see on the map, and it was convenient to visit Kofuku-Ji temple and
Todai-Ji Temple on foot.
We visited Kofuku-Ji temple, Todai-Ji temple, Kasuga Taisha shrine by walking though Nara park.
When travelling back to Kyoto, we paid the extra money and caught the limited express train, as the next train was that one, and we were tired after walking around all day.
We think it was a wise decision as the limited express train was lots more comfortably made and there were fewer people on the train.