How to travel between Asuka/Sakurai and Kyoto
Take Kintetsu Railway from Kyoto to Kashiharajingu-mae Station (about 70 minutes by express train or 55 minutes by limited express) and transfer to another train to Asuka (5 minutes). The entire one way journey takes around 80 minutes and costs 960 yen if using express trains or 65 minutes and 1860 yen if using limited express trains. The trip is covered by the Kintetsu Rail Pass and Kansai Thru Pass (except limited express fee), but not by the Japan Rail Pass.
Take Kintetsu Railway from Kyoto to Yamato-Yagi Station (about 50-60 minutes) and transfer to another train to Sakurai (5 minutes). The entire one way journey takes just over an hour and costs 940 yen if using express trains or 1840 yen if using a limited express train. The trip is covered by the Kintetsu Rail Pass and Kansai Thru Pass (except limited express fee), but not by the Japan Rail Pass.
Alternatively, take the JR Nara Line from Kyoto to Nara (50-65 minutes) and transfer to the JR Sakurai Line for Sakurai (30 minutes). With a good connection, the entire one way trip takes about 100 minutes, costs 1140 yen and is covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
Above fees and schedules are subject to change. For the current yen exchange rate, click here.
Asuka and Sakurai are located at the southern end of the Yamato Plain, the cradle of Japanese civilization. To the south, east and west are mountains, and at the northern end of the plain, 20 kilometers away, is Nara, Japan's first permanent capital. In the mountains to the south lies Yoshino.
Asuka and Sakurai are located near the center of the expansive network of Kintetsu Railway, with connections to Osaka, Kyoto, Nara and Yoshino, the Shima Peninsula and Nagoya. If spending a few days in the area, foreign tourists may want to consider the Kintetsu Rail Pass or Kansai Thru Pass.
The local attractions of Asuka and Sakurai are spread out over a relatively wide area:
Sakurai Station is a major transportation hub where the Japan Railways (JR) meet Kintetsu Railway and which is also served by many local bus lines, including the one to Tanzan Shrine. The Yamanobe-no-michi Trail runs parallel to the JR Sakurai Line north of Sakurai Station and can be accessed from several stations along the way. Hasedera and Muroji are located further east of Sakurai Station along the Kintetsu Osaka Line.
The sites of ancient Asuka are spread out over what has become a very rural area. The main attractions are all within about three kilometers of Asuka Station. Alternatively, Kashiharajingu-mae Station can serve as the local transportation hub.
On dry days, rental bicycles are the most popular and convenient means of exploring Asuka. There are rental shops outside Asuka Station, Kashiharajingu-mae Station and Okadera Station, as well as elsewhere in the area. Renting a bicycle typically costs 900 yen per day on weekdays and 1000 yen per day on weekends and holidays. Shops are usually open from 9:00 to 17:00, and some offer drop-off services, overnight rental or rental by the hour.
Alternatively, the Kame Loop Bus for tourists serves most of the sights around Asuka. It generally operates once per hour except during some busy travel seasons there are two buses per hour. The bus runs between Asuka Station and Kashiharajingu-mae Station, passing most of Asuka's main attractions along the way. The cost for a single ride starts at 190 yen and increases depending on distance traveled, while a day pass for unlimited use on one calendar day is available for 650 yen.