Transportation in Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and around

by Coelho - TripleLights travel specialist

Transportation in Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and around

One of the most common questions for tourists visiting Kyoto, Osaka, and Nara is: "Should I use public transportation? Should I rent a car? Should I hire a driver? What is the best means of transportation for those areas?

In this Q&A article, I will help you understand your options and take a decision.

 

Can I go everywhere just by public transportation?

The simple answer is yes. Kyoto, Osaka, and Nara are super well connected by public transportation. You may need to walk a little bit from your location to the nearest station or bus stop, but it is never a big problem.

In Kyoto and Nara, you may need to walk a little bit more if you want to go from one tourist spot to the next one or wait a while for the bus to arrive.

I would encourage using public transportation, walking around those blessed places is of the joys of traveling there.

Transportation in Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and around

Can I use only trains? Or do I need other means?

In Osaka yes, Osaka is very well connected by subways and trains. But in Kyoto and Nara no, you will need to combine the train system and the bus system to go from one place to another.

In which cases do I need a car?

You only need a car if your group includes someone that cannot walk long distances. In that case only, I would recommend getting a car, otherwise, the public transportation will serve you perfectly well.

Transportation in Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and around

How much is a car with a driver / guide?

 The prices vary from 150USD and 500USD depending on your group size, the tour duration and the inclusion of a guide.

You can see here: Kyoto cars, Nara Cars, Osaka Cars

Transportation in Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and around

How can I rent a car?

The average rental fees are around 5000 yen for a 24-hour period if you are hiring a sub-compact car. For a compact car, it would be 7500 yen. Mid-sized cars 10,000 yen, 15,000 yen for full-sized cars and 20,000 yen for vans.
Keep in mind that rates are sometimes increased during peak seasons.

You will need a special permit to drive in Japan. Foreigners can drive in Japan with an International Driving Permit (IDP) for a maximum of one year, even if the permit is valid for a longer period.

International driving permits are not issued in Japan and you should obtain yours from your home country in advance. The permits are usually issued through your country's National Automobile Association for a small fee.

It is important to note that Japan only accepts the International Driving Permit based on the 1949 Geneva Convention. Please check if your country is in the list of the countries that are parties to the convention through this link.

Although it may seem complicated, it is quite simple to make your IDP and it is recommended for people who want to drive in Japan. Also, driving in Japan is not as difficult as one would imagine due to the English hand and the language. The roads are friendly, organized and simple to navigate.

In the USA, the IDP is issued by the American Automobile Association and the National Automobile Club, please check their websites to learn how to take your permit.

 

Should I hire a guide?

Absolutely! This entire area is full of history and mystery, a local guide will most certainly make your trip much more meaningful and memorable. Every corner of these cities have a story or a hidden interesting thing that you can only learn about with a professional tour guide, so please, absolutely hire a tour guide and have a wonderful time creating beautiful memories in Japan.

A tour guide can also help you learn about the local train and bus systems, give you tips on where to eat in the best local places, help you with Japanese translations and teach you anything you want to know about Japan.

Check here: Tours in Kyoto, Tours in Osaka, Tours in Nara

Did you like my article?

If you are interested to know more and save your time during your trip to Kyoto, You can send a message to our local guides to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

In the TripleLights website you can find the best professional guides all over Japan to help you plan your trip. Check our local guides for Kyoto


09 Oct 2017

Plan your trip to Kyoto

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started

Recent Tour Reviews in Kyoto

“ Knowledgeable and Friendly ”

Excellent
30 minutes ago Traveler: Puteri -   Tour Guide: Masaki

It was my husband and mine’s first trip to Japan and it was our honeymoon. We were fortunate to have booked Makoon. From day 1, it was easy to plan our trip. Communications were clear and prompt. He was knowledgeable and friendly throughout the trip. He was respectful of us Muslims and ensured every food we tried was halal. He also suggested places to eat as well. We were able to explore Japan in ...
read more

“ 1 Day Kyoto Highlights ”

Excellent
12 hours ago Traveler: Marcus -   Tour Guide: Mana

Our group of 7 people from NZ, Australia, China, and the Philippines had an excellent day with Mana. We had communicated itinerary ideas ahead of time by email, sorted our meeting arrangements, and were duly met on time in our hotel lobby. After introductions, we then set off on our journey for the day using an easy mixture of walking, buses, subway, and taxis. The sightseeing aspect was gr...
read more

“ Best guide ever! ”

Excellent
20 hours ago Traveler: ADELE -   Tour Guide: Hiroyuki

Hiro took us on tours of Nara and Kyoto and we are so glad we picked him to be our guide! We learned so much about the history behind every site that we never would have learned had we not had him with us. You can tell Hiro enjoys what he does because of his enthusiasm. We will definitely hire him again the next time we visit Japan!
read more

“ Torri Gates w/ Mari ”

Very Good
1 day ago Traveler: Norina -   Tour Guide: Mari

It was amazing tour for us..I did not regret booking our tour with Mari.she was vey helpful to us throughout the day..she was fun to be with..easy to talk to and always smiling tour guide..next time we will visit Japan i will book again with her😀
read more

“ Very obliging and kind ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Jonathan -   Tour Guide: Michiko

Michiko was very obliging and kind to us during the tour. Michiko was particularly good when I needed to go shopping - she was very able in finding an obscure place and in dealing with the people. Because of her excellent English, she could interpret what we needed very well.
read more

“ Knowledge and cultural expertise combined ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Astrid -   Tour Guide: KAZUO

I met Kazuo my guide for the day at the train station. He is a very knowledgeable and kind gentleman showing me the top sights of his home town Kyōto- in a very dense time frame. Always conscious of time to see the most relevant sights but also always ensuring my personal well being - great! Thank you / arigatou gozaimasu ! I will be back !
read more

“ Fun day in the Arashiyama area ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Amy -   Tour Guide: Takehiko

We had a great day with Zumi-san (Takehiko-san’s nickname) on Oct. 13, 2019 He was great at communicating with us beforehand, and suggested some schedule changes given a big storm coming through. He was knowledgeable about the places we visited and very flexible in terms of making sure we did and saw what we most wanted to see.
read more

“ 1 full day tour ”

Excellent
2 days ago Traveler: Elizabeth -   Tour Guide: Kaori

We LOVED our day with Kaori. She was absolutely wonderful. Knowledgeable about Japanese history, bubbly, outgoing. She took us to a delicious soba noodle restaurant for lunch. Would highly recommend her.
read more

“ Samurai trail ”

Very Good
2 days ago Traveler: Cindi -   Tour Guide: Masaki

I don’t think we would have appreciated Kyoto without Masaki. He really helped us understand the history and the importance of Kyoto to the rest of Japan. Besides being very informative, he was extremely flexible and caring We were a rough crowd of five different personalities and ages from the United States and he was able to keep our attention and make sure that we got what we needed from the ...
read more

Related cities

Plan your trip to Kyoto

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started