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How to travel between Nara and Kyoto

Two railway companies, JR and Kintetsu, provide train connections between Kyoto and Nara:

By Japan Railways (JR)
Direct, 45 minutes, 720 yen one way, two connections per hour
Miyakoji rapid trains operate every 30 minutes between Kyoto Station and JR Nara Station. The one way trip takes 45 minutes, costs 720 yen and is covered by the Japan Rail Pass. For the same fare, the trip could also be made by twice-hourly local trains in 75 minutes.

By Kintetsu Railways
0-1 transfers, 35-45 minutes, 640-1160 yen one way, multiple connections per hour
Twice-hourly limited express trains take about 35 minutes and cost 1160 yen for the one way trip from Kyoto Station to Kintetsu Nara Station. Alternatively, there are hourly direct express trains that take 45 minutes and cost 640 yen one way. There are additional connections by express trains if you do not mind transferring once at Yamato-Saidaiji Station. The Japan Rail Pass is not valid on Kintetsu trains.

Above fees and schedules are subject to change. Be sure to check current yen exchange rates.

Getting around

Nara is served by two railway companies, Kintetsu Railways and JR West. The Kintetsu station is an underground station just a few steps from Kofukuji and Nara Park, while the JR station is a 15-20 minute walk west of Kofukuji and the park. A network of buses, operated by Nara Kotsu, connects the two stations with all sites of interest. All major IC cards are accepted on the trains and buses around Nara, including Suica and Icoca.

Many of Nara's main attractions are found in the centrally located Nara Park and can be visited on foot. The great temples Toshodaiji, Yakushiji and Horyuji, however, stand several kilometers outside of central Nara and are best accessed by bus or train.

Passes and Tickets

The Nara Bus Pass provides unlimited use of Nara Kotsu buses around Nara. It comes as a 1-Day Pass for 500 yen that covers central Nara and the Toshodaiji/Yakushiji area, a 1-Day Pass Wide for 1000 yen that additionally covers the Horyuji area, and a 2-Day Pass for 1500 yen that additionally covers the Asuka area. The pass is on sale at the bus ticket offices across the street from Kintetsu Nara Station and inside JR Nara Station.

A sort of an extension of the Nara Bus Pass' 1-day wide version is the 1-Day and 2-Day Kintetsu Rail Pass, which is available to foreign tourists only. In addition to the buses around Nara (as far as Horyuji), it also covers unlimited rides on Kintetsu local, rapid and express trains between Osaka, Nara and Kyoto. The 1-day pass costs 1500 yen while the 2-day pass costs 2500 yen.

Hotels around Nara

Top rated in Nara
Budget:
    • Yuzan Guesthouse
      Budget-friendly
      Conveniently located a 5-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station and a 8-minute walk from JR Nara Station, Yuzan Guest House Annex offers cosy accommodation with a shared kitchen. Free WiFi access is available throughout the property. Each room is simply decorated and comes with air conditioning and heating facilities. Guests can choose to stay in Japanese-style rooms featuring tatami (woven-straw) floor and futon bedding. Bathroom facilities are shared. At Guest House Yuzan Annex you will find a small garden, a terrace and a shared lounge. Free luggage storage is also available upon request. Guests can make a 10-minute stroll to the Nara Park, located in the city central area. Todaiji Temple and Heijo Palace are both a 10-minute drive away while Kansai International Airport can be reached with a 80-minute drive. Meals are not served on site.
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    • Mountain Home Lodge in Deer Park
      Budget-friendly
      Situated in Nara, near Nara Park, Kasuga Taisha and Kofuku-ji Temple, Mountain Home Lodge in Deer Park features free WiFi. Each unit is fitted with air conditioning, private bathroom and a kitchen including a microwave, fridge, stovetop and a toaster. If you would like to discover the area, hiking is possible in the surroundings. Todai-ji Temple is 2.4 km from the lodge, while Heijo Palace Ruins is 6 km from the property. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 49 km from Mountain Home Lodge in Deer Park.
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    • Hilo Hostel
      Mid-range
      Located 1.5 km from Kofuku-ji Temple, Hilo Hostel provides rooms with air conditioning in Nara. With free WiFi, this 3-star hostel offers a shared kitchen and luggage storage space. Local points of interest like Todai-ji Temple and Kasuga Taisha are reachable within 2.4 km and 2.6 km, respectively. Popular points of interest near the hostel include Naramachi, Nara Prefectural Art Museum and Gangoji Temple. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 46 km from Hilo Hostel.
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    • NARA Visitor Center and Inn
      Budget-friendly
      The Nara Visitor Center and Inn is situated in the heart of Nara, just a 3-minute walk from Kofuku-ji Temple and Naramachi. The Todai-ji Temple and Deer Park are a 10-minute stroll away, while Nara Station on the Kintetsu Line is a 7-minute walk. JR Nara Station is 14-minutes away on foot. All guest rooms feature air conditioning and heating, and are equipped with a fridge and flat-screen TV. Japanese samue nightwear are available to all staying guests. Some units come equipped with an en suite bathroom with a shower, while some Japanese-style rooms come with an en suite shower. Japanese-style rooms feature tatami (woven-straw) floors and Japanese futon bedding. The property offers free WiFi access and a 24-hour front desk. Luggage storage is available. There is a public bath on site, where guests will find free toiletries and hairdryers. A coin launderette, a shared kitchen and free-use internet PCs are offered on site. The on-site tourist information desk offers information in English, Chinese and Korean. Services offered at the desk include transport and meal tickets at a discount, currency exchange, bike hire at a charge, cultural activities at an additional charge, such as Japanese calligraphy lessons, and tour arrangements. Some cultural activities such as origami folding are offered free of charge.
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    • SLOW HOUSE NARA
      Budget-friendly
      Located within 2.1 km of Todai-ji Temple and 2.3 km of Kasuga Taisha, SLOW HOUSE NARA offers rooms in Nara. The 2-star guest house has air-conditioned rooms with a private bathroom and free WiFi. The accommodation provides a shared kitchen and luggage storage space for guests. At the guest house, each room comes with a desk. At SLOW HOUSE NARA every room is equipped with bed linen and towels. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Kofuku-ji Temple, Naramachi and Gangoji Temple. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 47 km from SLOW HOUSE NARA.
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    • Hotel Rokune
      Mid-range
      Located in Nara, Hotel Rokune provides 3-star accommodation with private balconies. Located around 1.4 km from Kofuku-ji Temple, the hotel with free WiFi is also 2.3 km away from Heijo Palace Ruins. The property is 2.3 km from Todai-ji Temple and 2.5 km from Nara Park. At the hotel, every room is equipped with a desk, a flat-screen TV, a private bathroom, bed linen and towels. All units at Hotel Rokune include air conditioning and a wardrobe. The accommodation offers 3-star accommodation with a hot tub and terrace. Popular points of interest near Hotel Rokune include Naramachi, Gangoji Temple and Nara Prefectural Art Museum. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 36 km from the hotel.
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    • Nara Guesthouse Kamunabi
      Budget-friendly
      Nara Guesthouse Kamunabi has a restaurant, bar, a shared lounge and garden in Nara. Popular points of interest nearby include Naramachi, Nara National Museum and Shin Yakushiji. Free WiFi is available and private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. Complete with a shared bathroom, all guest rooms at the guest house come with air conditioning, and some rooms also feature a seating area. The rooms feature a safety deposit box. Continental and American breakfast options are available every morning at Nara Guesthouse Kamunabi. The area is popular for cycling, and bike hire is available at the accommodation. Popular points of interest near Nara Guesthouse Kamunabi include Kofuku-ji Temple, Todai-ji Temple and Gangoji Temple. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 48 km from the guest house.
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    • Hotel Naranohamori
      Mid-range
      Set in Nara, 700 metres from Kofuku-ji Temple, Hotel Naranohamori offers rooms with air conditioning and free WiFi. The property is around 2 km from Nara Park, 4.3 km from Heijo Palace Ruins and less than 1 km from Nara National Museum. The hotel features family rooms. All rooms in the hotel are equipped with a flat-screen TV. The units feature a private bathroom, slippers and bed linen. Popular points of interest near Hotel Naranohamori include Todai-ji Temple, Kasuga Taisha and Nara Prefectural Art Museum. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 47 km from the accommodation.
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    • Guesthouse Nara Komachi
      Budget-friendly
      Just a 5-minute walk from JR Nara Station, Guesthouse Nara Komachi features affordable rooms with free Wi-Fi and a private bathroom with shower. The non-smoking hostel offers rental bicycles. Nara Komachi Guesthouse offers Japanese-style rooms and Western rooms. The rooms are simple, yet comfortable, and come with an 32-inch LCD TV and bathroom amenities. Facilities at Komachi Nara include a lounge with TV, a shared kitchen and an information corner with guide books and maps. The computer corner offers free use of headsets. Guesthouse Nara Komachi is a 15-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station. Convenience stores, a post office and banks can be found within a 5-minute walk. No meals are served.
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    • Guesthouse Nara Backpackers
      Budget-friendly
      Just 200 metres from Nara Park, Nara Backpackers offers affordable accommodation with free Wi-Fi. The traditional, 100 year-old house includes a modern free-use kitchen with microwave. Bicycle rental is offered. Each dormitory-style bunk bed at Guesthouse Nara Backpackers has a reading light, power outlet and privacy curtains. Bathrooms and toilets are shared. A coin-operated washing machine is provided. Children must be 13 or older to stay at this property. The guesthouse is about a 10-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Train Station. JR Nara Train Station is 1.8 km away. Todai-ji Temple and Kofuku-ji are a 10-minute walk.
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