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Travelling to Kyoto during Golden Week 2018/2/6 21:34
I am going to Japan with 2 of my friends from 30th of April until the 10th of May. We will be in Tokyo until the 5th of May, and will then travel to Kyoto with the Shinkansen. My question is, how crowded should we expect the trains to be? I have read somewhere, that if you don't travel during the beginning and end of Golden week, the trains shouldn't be too crowded. Does anyone here have experience with it?

by ZarahRoehling  

Re: Travelling from Tokyo to Kyoto in early May 2018/2/7 15:39
How are your flights scheduled?
Which airport(s) will you fly into and fly out from?

In 2018, the Golden Week will last until the 6th of May:
the weekend from Saturday, the 28th of April will be expanded to be until Monday (holiday), the 30th;
the 1st and the 2nd of May will be weekdays;
the 3rd to 5th of May, which are consecutive holidays, will be followed by Sunday, the 6th.
The 7th to 11th of May 2018 will be normal weekdays.
https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2282.html

I recommend that you, after getting through the immigration procedure, as soon as possible, will visit a JR ticket counter and try to reserve your Shinkansen train seats.

Also a domestic flight from Tokyo Haneda [HND] to Osaka Itami [HND] may be your option if you successfully book it in advance.
- ANA Experience JAPAN Fare
https://www.ana.co.jp/en/us/promotions/share/experience_jp/
- How to travel between Itami Airport and Kyoto
https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2433.html?aFROM=2158_2433

(A) You will fly out from Kansai [KIX].

In this case, it would be better to head to Kyoto Station on 4 May or, in the morning on 5 May at latest.
From the afternoon on 5 May to the night on 6 May,
westbound trains on the Tokaido Shinkansen may get relatively crowded with passengers returning to western Japan.
Getting to Kyoto on 7 May may not leave you time enough for trips in Kansai Region.

(B) You will go back to Tokyo and fly out from Narita [NRT] or Tokyo Haneda [HND].

In this case, you can avoid the expected peaks of the crowdedness in Shinkansen trains,
by heading to Kyoto Station on 2 May and back to Shinagawa or Tokyo Station on 7 May.
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