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Kyoto to Osaka by train or bus

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Hi there, since we are first time traveller to Japan, please allow me to ask many questions.

A. What is best economical and easiest option to move from Kyoto to Osaka at Kyoto Station:by train or bus? We are travelling with kids and have 4 big luggages. And can you tell us the exact way?

B. I read Japan has many transportation card for tourits. If we just want to spend 2-4 days by bus sightseeing (Raku bus, Kyoto city bus, Osaka Wonderloop) in Kyoto and Osaka, what is type of card do you suggest?


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Hello there,

Taking the train is definitely the best way to travel between Kyoto and Osaka. Which train you take depends where you travel from in Kyoto. If you want to travel from Kyoto Station then the Special Rapid service on the JR Kyoto Line will get you directly to Osaka Station in 28 minutes for 560 yen. However, this train tends to be very crowded and doesn't have any luggage space, so I think it will be uncomfortable for you. You can reserve seats on a Shinkansen bullet train between Kyoto Station and Shin-Osaka Station but this will cost 1420 yen. 

If you travel from the center of Kyoto, you have other options: the Keihan or Hankyu private rail lines. On the Keihan line you can go from Gion-Shijo Station in central Kyoto to Yodoyabashi Station in Osaka in 49 minutes for 410 yen. On the Hankyu line you can travel from either Kawaramachi Station or Karasuma Station in central Kyoto and get to Hankyu Umeda Station (right beside Osaka Station) in around 40 minutes. The Hankyu train is the cheapest option at only 400 yen. These two private lines are generally not as crowded, so they may be a better option if your hotel is in the town center.

For more details, you can find a complete guide to traveling between Kyoto and Osaka here: https://www.kyotostation.com/traveling-from-kyoto-to-osaka/

About travel passes, unfortunately there isn't a travel pass that will cover bus services in both Kyoto and Osaka. Also the Osaka Wonderloop is a special tour bus service, so it isn't covered by regular Osaka discount bus passes. The Raku bus is however run by Kyoto City Bus, so you can use the same pass in Kyoto. In Kyoto you can choose either a Kyoto City Bus & Kyoto Bus One-Day Pass or a Kyoto Sightseeing Pass.

About these:

The Kyoto City Bus & Kyoto Bus One-Day Pass is 500 yen for adults and 250 yen for children. This gives you one day’s unlimited travel on Kyoto City Bus and Kyoto Bus routes within the designated flat fare zone.

The Kyoto Sightseeing Pass – This covers all Kyoto City buses, all Kyoto Municipal Subway trains and most buses run by the Kyoto Bus company. There is a one day pass for 1200 yen or 600 yen for children and a two day pass for 2000 yen or 1000 yen for children.

You can find more details on taking buses in Kyoto in this article: https://www.kyotostation.com/taking-a-bus-in-kyoto/

I hope that helps!

Best wishes,


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