Mar. 04, 2023 UPDATE

Cheapest and fastest way to get to Kyoto from Kansai International Airport

Which one is the cheapest and fastest way to get to Kyoto from KIX? Hankyu? JR? Keihan? We’re going to find out.
JR Haruka Airport Express

Beside Osaka, most people want to get to Kyoto from either Kansai International Airport or from Tokyo, and this time we are going to take a look at the options you have if you are coming to Kyoto from Kansai International Airport (KIX).

First, you need to decide where you want to go to in Kyoto: JR Haruka Airport Express takes you to Kyoto Station, whereas the main stations you can get with Hankyu are Karasuma and Kawaramachi.

If however, you want to go to Uji, you should take Keihan from Osaka. And the airport buses take you to most of the main places in central Kyoto. If you have a lot of luggage with you taking the airport bus might be the best option.

Kyoto Access Ticket ¥1,250 ※ The price has changed.

Kyoto Access Ticket 

First, let’s start with the cheapest way of getting to Kyoto, and that is by buying the Kyoto Access Ticket from the airport, or if you are going the other way, from Hankyu stations.


The Kyoto Access tickets can be bought here from Nankai. If you want the ticket to Kyoto, go on the line on the right.


This ticket costs ¥1,250, and you will have to change trains at Tengachaya and Awaji before you get to Kyoto. 


Pay attention to the transfer at Tengachaya, as this is the station just before the terminal Namba. The transfer itself here is really easy to make. In Awaji, the transfer is even easier – just move to the train on the other side of the platform. 


Just notice that when changing trains at Awaji you should take one that is bound for Kawaramachi, and has a red or blue sign on it. The ones without the sign stop at every station so it will take longer for you to get to Kawaramachi. 

Note that if it’s the rush hour you may not be able to have a seat and will have to stand. 

Kyoto Access Ticket is the way to get to Arashiyama, but also the cheapest way to get to Karasuma and Kawaramachi stations. 

JR Haruka Airport Express

JR Haruka Airport Express

Haruka Airport Express tickets can be bought here at the Kansai International Airport, at the JR Ticket Office. 


Maybe the best way of getting to Kyoto is by getting the Icoca & Haruka set ticket, where you get the IC card Icoca with ¥1500 (plus ¥500 deposit) and discount tickets for Haruka. With this set, you can get a one-way ticket for Haruka for ¥1,800, about half the normal price you would have to pay for the tickets. 

You can use Icoca on JR, Hankyu, Keihan, and Kyoto City Bus when in Kyoto. If you use these discount tickets, taking Haruka is actually cheaper (and faster) than the normal JR commuter trains which come out at ¥1,910 from Kansai International Airport and take around two hours before you get to Kyoto.


Notice that with the discount Haruka tickets you only get a non-reserved seat, so you can only sit in the carts marked as such. If you want a reserved seat that is going to cost you extra.  

airport bus

If you take the airport bus you can get to Kyoto in around one hour and 20 minutes, if you don’t get stuck in a traffic jam. The bus tickets cost ¥2,600 one way, so it is the most expensive option. 

ticket machines

The bus tickets can be bought from these ticket machines at the airport. 

Using Keihan

With Keihan there are discount tickets for getting to Kyoto from the airport, you just have to buy the normal ones, and change trains a few times. First, you should take JR Airport Rapid Service until Shin-Imamiya Station, from there take Osaka Loop Line until Kyobashi, and from Kyobashi ride Keihan until Uji. Altogether the tickets will be ¥1,520.

※ Information as of February 28, 2023.

So, to recap, here are the ways you can get to Kyoto from Kansai International Airport:

Hankyu Kyoto Access Ticket: 

Price: ¥1,250

Time: Around two hours. 

Recommended for: Those going to Arashiyama, those who want to get to Kyoto for the cheapest price possible. 

Icoca & Haruka:

Price: ¥3,800 (Including ¥2000 Icoca IC card)

Time: 1 hour 15 min.

Recommended for: Those going to Kyoto Station, those who are in a hurry.

*Note that you need to pay extra for a reserved seat on Haruka. 

**This ticket can only be bought by tourists who don’t have a residence permit in Japan, so, for example, those who are studying in Japan cannot buy this ticket.  

Airport bus:

Price: ¥2,600

Time: 1h 35 min.

Recommended for: Those with a lot of luggage.


Price: ¥1,520 (To Keihan Uji Station)

Time: 2h 20 min.

Recommended for: Those going to Uji. 

Click below for more information about Kyoto Station:

Address Higashishiokoji Kamadono-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto
Open Hours Central gate ticket office: 5:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Sampo[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ]
For most people, the Haruka tickets are probably the safest bet, but for those who are going to Arashiyama, Karasuma, or Kawaramachi, the Hankyu ticket offers a cheaper alternative.
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