The JR Nara Line runs between Kyoto and Nara with stops at important sightseeing locations, Tofukuji, Inari and Uji along the way.
Trains depart from platforms 8, 9 and 10.
JR Tofukuji Station
Tofukuji Temple is an expansive Buddhist temple complex 10 minutes walk from JR Tofukuji Station. It is famous for its gardens, in particular its moss garden, and for maple leaf viewing in the autumn.
Train fare: 140 yen
Train time: 3 minutes
JR Inari Station
JR Inari Station opens directly before Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine. This Shinto shrine is Kyoto’s most popular tourist destination. It is famous for its fox statues and for the trail up Inari Mountain which is lined with thousands of vermilion torii gates.
Train fare: 140 yen
Train time: 5 minutes
JR Uji Station
Uji is a small city on the outskirts of Kyoto, which is popular for its tea shops and temples, and most notably for its two World Heritage Sites, the Byodoin Temple and Ujigami-jinja Shrine. Other attractions include the Tale of Genji Museum, dedicated to the world’s first novel and, in the summer months, cormorant fishing in the Uji River.
Train fare: 240 yen
Train time: 17 – 30 minutes depending on the train
JR Nara Station
The city of Nara is famous for its many shrines and temples, many of which date back to the 8th century when Nara was Japan’s first permanent capital. Eight locations are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Read our Nara Station guide for more information.
Train fare: 710 yen
Train time: 45 – 70 minutes depending on the train
Traveling to Nara
Two train lines connect Kyoto Station with Nara: the JR Nara Line and the Kintetsu Kyoto Line. On the JR Line the Miyakoji Rapid train is the fastest connection between Kyoto and Nara as it takes only 45 minutes. If you are carrying a Japan Rail Pass this is certainly the best service to use. However, as there are 21 stations on the JR Nara Line, you should be careful not to take a local train if Nara is your destination. This would add an extra 25 minutes to your journey.
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If you do not have a Japan Rail Pass you might choose to use the private Kintetsu Kyoto Line for a number of reasons. Express trains on the Kintetsu Nara Line usually take no more than 50 minutes and cost just 620 yen. This compares with the JR Line fare to Nara of 710 yen. If you are willing to pay an extra 510 yen surcharge there is also a Limited Express service on the Kintetsu Line that will get you to Nara in 35 minutes. Another factor to consider is that Kintetsu Nara Station is more centrally located in Nara City, and more convenient than JR Nara Station for the major tourist sites. For more detailed information on the Kintetsu Line service see the Kintetsu Kyoto Line article.
When deciding which service to take, English language online route finders like Jorudan and Hyperdia are easy to use and will help you find the best train for your journey.
Traveling to Tofukuji, Inari and Uji
All trains on the JR Nara Line stop at Tofukuji and Uji, however only local trains travel to Inari. If your destination is Inari, you will have to take a local train. Please note that the Keihan Line also has stations at Tofukuji, Inari and Uji. Whether you take the JR or Keihan lines will depend on where you are in the city. If you are in a more central location, and closer to Keihan stations such as Sanjo or Shijo, the Keihan Line may be a better option.
JR Nara Line Stations:
The JR Nara Line is served by Local, Regional Rapid, Rapid and Miyakoji Rapid services.
You can use the JR West Timetable and Fare Finder to find trains on this line.
Article and photos by Michael Lambe