[JAPAN] How to Get to Kyoto from Osaka without a JR Pass

How to go to Kyoto from Osaka: To those who use the typical MRT map, here’s one for you. I am that person who checks where the specific location in maps and look for a landmark. I’m bad with directions so I do not rely on google directions because I know I will not understand it.

When we arrived, I still didn’t have any idea on what stops I will hop on and off, from different blogs, I already saw that there are 3 ways on how to get there— but I used these 2 routes (since I do not have a JR Pass):

  1. Via Hankyu Railways (BEST OPTION to go to Arashiyama)
  • From Hankyu Umeda Station, take the Limited Express train to Kawaramachi Station.
  • Alight at Kawaramachi Station.
    • Travel Time: Approximately 45 minutes
    • Fare: ¥450-¥500
    • Seat Fee: None
    • No. of Transfer: None (direct from Awaji Station)
    • Note: Kawaramachi Station is located in central Kyoto. Aside from linking downtown Osaka to downtown Kyoto, this railway also connects central Kyoto to the tourist attraction in western Kyoto including Arashiyama. Since this is a private company, it is not covered by JR Pass.
Awaji Station (Interchange station going to Kyoto): If you are riding a train from a Sakaisuji subway — that’s the city subway, then you need to go down to transfer to Hankyu Kyoto mainline. You may either ride in the Limited express or Local express, either way, you will reach Katsura just at a different time.

2. Via Keihan Railways (Best option to go to Fushimi-Inari Shrine, Kiyomizudera Temple)

  • From Keihan Yodobashi Station, take the Limited Express train to Sanjo Station.
  • Alight at Sanjo Station.
    • Travel Time: Approximately 55 minutes
    • Fare: ¥450-500
    • Seat Fee: None
    • No. of Transfer: None (direct to and fro Namba station)
    • Note: Sanjo Station is located in downtown Kyoto. Aside from linking downtown Osaka to downtown Kyoto, this railway also connects the southern and northern parts of central Kyoto, providing access to most of the popular tourist attractions including Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine. The line terminates at Demachiyanagi Station in Kyoto. This is also a private company, so it is not covered by JR Pass.
Fushimi-Inari station
I had several setbacks before I reached this station, I was lost 2x (I was on a sight-seeing bus then I dropped in the middle of the road and went back to Kyoto main station. I again rode the sightseeing city bus and dropped at somewhere in Shijyo station thinking that I was going to Kiyomizu-Gojo– I was in Kiyomizu-Gojo when I realized that I needed to go back to Fushimi Inari. And that’s where I realized that the same sightseeing city bus that I took still went to Fushimi-Inari.

P.s Fares above are subject for changes. My route started at Tengachaya station.

Our hostel has maps—and glad I’ve got the Wide Area Route Map for Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe at 5 AM before my friends left for the BTS concert. I went off from Tenggachaya at 6AM and loaded the ICOCA card for 2000JPY (1000PHP) and it’s more than enough thinking that going back and forth to Osaka-Kyoto will only take about 1000JPY (500-600Php), yet I was also preparing for the bus & subway fares.

So getting that map, I was able to familiarize some stops and other train stations, but I missed the interchange station in Awaji. I learned that there’s a Limited Express, Rapid and a Local train. That explains the stops in Google directions. To make the long story short, in Awaji transfer, I didn’t know that there’s a different rail, so I just transfer to the train in front of where we stopped and then I realized that I took the wrong taxi, I got back to the same station and rode a local train to Arashiyama where it has many stops. I worried that the Rapid train might cost much.

How to use trains and subways in Japan:

Local trains stop at every station. Rapid trains skip some stations. Express trains stop at even fewer stations than rapid trains. Limited express trains stop only at major stations.

See more: https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2016.html

Tip: If you are in a hurry, avoid the Local train, but if you want to do some sight-seeing this is a better choice.


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