In this article we will look at all your options for traveling between Haneda International Airport and Kyoto. Travel options available include train, bus, plane, and car, but by far the easiest and most convenient way to go is by train.
Though there are no direct trains between Kyoto and Haneda Airport, it is very easy to make a transfer in Tokyo. From Haneda Airport you can take the Keikyu Airport Line’s Rapid Limited Express train to Shinagawa Station, and then transfer to a shinkansen bullet train for Kyoto. Times vary but with this route it is possible to cover the distance in under 3 hours. Let’s look at the details of this train route first before considering other options.
Traveling by Train
When traveling from Haneda Airport, we recommend taking the Keikyu Airport Line’s Rapid Limited Express train. This will get you to Shinagawa Station in 16 minutes for just 410 yen. At Shinagawa Station you can then transfer to the shinkansen bullet train.
At Shinagawa Station there are three types of shinkansen you can take to Kyoto. These are the Nozomi, the Hikari and the Kodama. You should not take the Kodama because it stops at every station on the way and takes about four hours. The Nozomi is the fastest and most frequent train and travels between Shinagawa and Kyoto in just 2 hours and 10 minutes. However, the Nozomi is not covered by the Japan Rail Pass. If you wish to use the Japan Rail Pass, your best choice is the Hikari which takes just 2 hours and 30 minutes to get to Kyoto. The normal fare from Shinagawa to Kyoto is 13080 yen.
When traveling from Kyoto Station to Haneda Airport you can simply take the same route in reverse.
The Keikyu website has an excellent online Haneda Aiport Access Guide with train timetables and a guide to the airport. To plan your overall route we recommend using online English language route finders like Jorudan and Hyperdia.
Traveling by Bus
There are no direct bus services between Haneda Airport and Kyoto. If you wish to save money by traveling by bus, you will first need to travel from the airport into Tokyo and then take a highway bus service to Kyoto. This is certainly an economical option. However, a bus journey can take up to 8 or 9 hours. There are also night buses that leave Tokyo in the evening and reach Kyoto at around 6 or 7 in the morning. This will save you the cost of one night’s stay at a hotel. However some people find it hard to sleep comfortably on a bus, so you may find the trip exhausting.
Traveling from Haneda Airport into Tokyo you have a number of options. Keikyu also run a limousine bus service to a variety of destinations in Tokyo. However, depending on where you are going, it may actually be cheaper and faster to use the Keikyu train. There is also a Tokyo Monorail which you can use in combination with the JR Yamanote Line to get to destinations like Shinjuku and Shibuya. However, again it is actually quicker and cheaper to use the Keikyu Airport Line for these destinations.
There are a variety of companies offering highway express bus services between Tokyo and Kyoto. However, only Willer Express has an English website. If you wish to book online then that is your only choice. Willer Express are a reputable company and their buses are quite comfortable. In Tokyo they have night buses running from destinations like Tokyo Station, Shinjuku, and Ikebukuro. In Kyoto most of their bus stops are on the south side of Kyoto Station. To find out more about bus route between Tokyo and Kyoto, read our article: Traveling from Kyoto to Tokyo.
Traveling by Air
At Haneda Airport it is possible to transfer to a domestic flight and fly into one of two airports in Kyoto’s neighboring city Osaka. These airports are Osaka Itami International Airport and Kansai International Airport. There are no low cost carriers for these airports, so ticket prices for both airports are comparable and could cost between 23000 and 40000 yen. However, Osaka Itami Airport has the advantage of being closer to Kyoto, and has more frequent flights.
Traveling via Osaka Itami Airport:
Every day there are 30 flights each way between Haneda Airport and Osaka Itami Airport. These flights take just 1 hour and 10 minutes. These flights are run by the Japanese airlines ANA and JAL. If you can get a deal from the airline flying you into Japan from overseas, then it may be possible to get this domestic flight for free.
You can travel between Osaka Itami Airport and Kyoto by either limousine bus or taxi. The limousine bus costs just 1310 yen and takes about 55 minutes. Traveling from Kyoto Station you can get on the limousine bus at the G3 bus stop directly across from Kyoto Station’s southern exit.
MK Taxis also run a shuttle service between Osaka Itami Airport and Kyoto. This costs just 2400 yen and can take between 1.5 to 2 hours. If you are traveling into Kyoto, they will also take you directly to your hotel.
Traveling via Kansai International Airport:
Every day there are 18 flights each way between Haneda Airport and Kansai International Airport. These flights are run by the airlines ANA, JAL and StarFlyer and they take 1 hour and 15 minutes.
There are various options when traveling between Kansai International Airport and Kyoto, but the easiest and fastest option is the Limited Express Haruka train which takes just 75 minutes for 2850 yen. For more details check our article: Traveling Between Kyoto and Kansai International Airport.
Traveling by Car
It is possible to drive between Haneda Airport and Kyoto via the Chuo Expressway or the Tomei Expressway. This could take 6 or 7 hours depending on traffic. However, when you consider the expressway toll fees of around 10000 yen this does not seem cost effective. For information about car rental companies at Haneda Airport check the airport website. For information about car rental companies near Kyoto Station check our article: Car Rental in Kyoto.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.