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With 3 airports near Kyoto, and several ways of transferring to the city at each, choosing the best way of getting to your hotel isn’t always straightforward…
That’s why on this page I outline each airport and its transfer options, so that you can choose the transport options that fits your situation, budget, and comfort level best.
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About the 3 Airports Near Kyoto
The three airports close to Kyoto are Kansai Airport (KIX), Itami Airport (ITM), and Centrair Airport (NGO). Kansai and Itami are both located in Osaka, and Centrair is located in Nagoya. The picture at the top of this page shows Kansai Airport, Terminal 1.
Kansai Airport is where travelers arriving on international flights land. It isn’t the airport nearest to Kyoto, though it’s an easy 70-minute train ride away.
If you’re traveling to Kyoto via a domestic flight, Itami Airport will be the closest and most convenient option. The city is 50 minutes away by airport limousine bus.
Another option if you’re traveling from somewhere within Japan is Centrair Airport. It’s the furthest away from Kyoto, but trains will still get you to the city within 90 minutes.
Osaka’s Kansai Airport (KIX) to Kyoto
From Kansai Airport, you have the option of transferring to Kyoto via train, limousine bus, or taxi. The fastest and most convenient way is the JR Haruka Limited Express train, which will get you to the city in about 70 minutes.
JR Haruka Limited Express Train
The JR Haruka Limited Express train departs from Kansai Airport every 30 minutes, and takes around 70 minutes to arrive in Kyoto Station.
You can purchase reserved or non-reserved seats on the train, or use an Icoca prepaid card to get a discount which is only available to foreign visitors.
Here are the fares, depending on your seat choice and purchase method:
- Non-reserved seat: 2,850 JPY (~$27)
- Reserved seat: 3,500 JPY (~$33)
- Icoca & Haruka discounted fare: 1,600 JPY (~$15)
A direct airport bus from Kansai Airport will take you to Kyoto in about 100 minutes. There are 1-2 buses per hour, and a trip costs 2,550 JPY (~$24). No reservations are necessary – just get your ticket from the transport counter, and head to the boarding point.
The buses also pass by several major hotels in Kyoto, so this option may be worth considering if your accommodation is located at or nearby any of the stops.
Shared Taxi Van
Shared taxi vans are mini buses shared by several passengers. Advance reservations are usually required for these. The fare varies, but it generally is about 3,600 JPY (~$34) per person.
Other than being budget-friendly, the shuttle taxis are also a convenient choice as they will drop you directly at your desired location. However, they may have to stop at several places, so the journey takes a bit more time.
A regular taxi trip to town will take around 90 to 150 minutes, depending on your destination. It costs about 20,000 JPY (~$188) to 25,000 JPY (~$235).
Osaka’s Itami Airport (ITM) to Kyoto
Picture by Joe Jones
From Itami Airport, you can transfer to Kyoto via limousine bus, or shared taxi van. The limousine bus is the fastest, most convenient option, taking you to the city in about an hour.
The direct airport buses connect Itami Airport with Kyoto Station, and make several other stops around the city as well. The one-way journey will take about an hour, and costs 1,310 JPY (~$12).
There’s no need to make a reservation, as you can simply purchase tickets at the arrivals hall. The bus departs from Itami Airport every 20 minutes.
Shared Taxi Van
The budget-friendly shared taxi van is also available at Itami Airport. It’s convenient because the service will drop you right at your accommodation, but travel time can be longer as it makes multiple stops.
Shared between several passengers, a ride on the taxi shuttle will cost 2,300 JPY (~$22) per person.
Nagoya’s Centrair Airport (NGO) to Kyoto
From Centrair Airport, you have the option of transferring to Kyoto via train, or bus. The best way is to take a Meitetsu line train followed by a shinkansen train, with a combined travel time of a little over an hour.
Centrair doesn’t have JR train links to Kyoto, so you first need to take the Meitetsu line train from the airport to Nagoya Station, a half-hour journey. From there, it’s an easy shinkansen trip of about 36 minutes to Kyoto.
Here are the fares needed for the entire one-way trip:
- Centrair to Nagoya Station: 870 JPY (~$8) (1,230 JPY (~$12) for μSKY or first class)
- Nagoya Station to Kyoto: 5,640 JPY (~$53)
If you’re on a budget, getting to Kyoto by bus could be a good option. Like the trains, you’ll have to take a combination of two buses to get from Centrair Airport to Kyoto, and the whole journey will take around 3 hours and 15 minutes.
From the airport, you’ll first travel to Kintetsu-Yokkaichi Station in the city of Yokkaichi. You’ll then have to change buses there for the second leg of your journey to Kyoto. The fare for the whole one-way journey costs 3,000 JPY (~$28).
Conclusion & Summary
As you can see, there are plenty of options available when it comes to airport transfers to Kyoto, so you can pick the option that best fits your budget and comfort level.
P.S. If you’re still searching for a good place to stay, have a look at Kyoto’s Best Accommodation Locations & The Top 12 Ryokan.