Transportation in Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and around

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


09 Oct 2017

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Recent Tour Reviews in Kyoto

“ Day trip with Keiko ”

Excellent
20 hours ago Traveler: Arthur -   Tour Guide: Keiko

Keiko was a great guide for our one day trip in Kyoto. She took us to a number of sites in Kyoto, catering to our interests and allowing us to make any adjustments to her suggested list. Keiko was very easy to communicate with, both in person and through email leading up to the tour. She was very patient and helpful as we love to take many pictures and would give us interesting facts and info abou...
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“ Very friendly, knowledge,considerate and accommodating. ”

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22 hours ago Traveler: Carl -   Tour Guide: Michiko

Taylored tour as we moved from place to place to accommodate my wifes limited walking endurance. Took us to a very nice teahouse at the end of our tour where we shared small talk and relaxed - very nice.1
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“ Excellent guide. Knowledgeable, attentive and very fit!! ”

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1 day ago Traveler: Christopher -   Tour Guide: Yoshihisa

Yoshihisa is an impressive tour guide, Knowledgeable and super attentive. Highly recommended for private tours. If you are looking for an experienced guide, who is fluent in English, sticks to the itinerary (and more), then you MUST try Yoshie's private Kyoto tour. You will not be disappointed. 10 stars from me!! Great Job!
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“ Great day in Kyoto ”

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1 day ago Traveler: Tara -   Tour Guide: Hiroshi

My husband and I had an excellent 1-day tour. We saw many of the top sights in Kyoto and each was explained in detail. We are experienced travelers and have hired many guides and Hiroshi would be one of the best. He answered our questions and would seek answers if he didn’t know. When we expressed interest in art, he took us to a famous artist’s home which was a highlight of the day. Hiroshi is ...
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“ The best decision we made for our first trip to Japan! ”

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1 day ago Traveler: Dan -   Tour Guide: Seiko

My girlfriend and I did a 6 hour tour with Seiko in Kyoto. It was, without exaggeration, the best decision we made by far. She is incredibly knowledgeable and professional, and her English is near native speaker level. But what really impressed us was her ability to connect with us and the positive energy she brought to the time we spent together. By the second hour, it felt more like a good frien...
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“ Great Day! ”

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2 days ago Traveler: Craig -   Tour Guide: Masaki

Masaki aka Makoon was the absolute best! After 5 minutes together, my wife and myself felt like we were with a friend we had known for many years! Not only is he a wonderful person, he was an amazing guide! The day spent with Makoon was the highlight of our visit to Kyoto! He customized everything about the day from places we visited to the food we ate. My only regret is we only had one day to s...
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“ Enriching day in Kyoto ”

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2 days ago Traveler: Barak -   Tour Guide: Yasuna

The guided tour with Yasuna was a 5/5 experience. First of all, we started the day a little eariler and finished a little after. That is not obvious with guides. Secondly, Yasuna is very knowledgeable and I learned new things in all of the many different places we visited during the day. She had answers to all of my questions, and I asked a lot .. Moreover, she's very nice and friendly and it ...
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“ Highlight of Kyoto Trip! ”

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5 days ago Traveler: Tim -   Tour Guide: Kazuhiko

We wouldn’t have been able to see as many areas nor be as efficient on the train without Kazu! He was an AMAZING tour guide! He also was very accommodating with our large party and understanding with a baby on board. Kazu was also very personable, showed us very interesting sites, and even tried to get us an earlier train since we finished a little early because of the baby! Highly recommended gui...
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“ Excellent one day tour of Kyoto ”

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6 days ago Traveler: Valeria -   Tour Guide: Toichi

Toichi was a great tour guide for us. We highly reccomend him for a personalized tour. He was helpful, informative, flexible and speaks very good English. He has great communication with his clients before, during and after the tour.
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“ Kyoto Day Tour ”

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6 days ago Traveler: Nicola -   Tour Guide: Mitsuyuki

Mitsuyuki, was an excellent guide. He was very flexible and promptly replied to all messages. He gave some commentary for the places we visited and it was very interesting. I would recommend this tour to anyone with limited time in Kyoto.
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