FlightsFlights to Kyoto
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“It’s not possible to fly directly into Kyoto…find out the closest airport to fly into and how to get to Kyoto from there.”

Flying into Beautiful Kyoto

As Japan’s capital for over 1,000 years, most of the traditions we associate with Japan have their origins in Kyoto.  In addition to its peaceful shrines and temples, Kyoto’s charm lies in its way of life, which remains firmly rooted in the past even as the rest of Japan propels into the future.
Hotels in Kyoto
Hiiragiya Ryokan
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Hotel Keihan Kyoto GRANDE
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$50 avg/night
RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto
$105 avg/night
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More About Flights to Kyoto

Kyoto attracts millions of tourists every year, but with no major airport found in the city, it’s not possible to fly directly into Kyoto. So what’s the best way to get to Kyoto? Read on to find out the closest airport to fly into and how to get to Kyoto from there.

What Should I Know About Flying to Kyoto?

The closest international airport to Kyoto is Osaka’s Kansai International Airport, which is located about 100 km away. Flights to Kansai Airport are offered from major cities around the world, and can be quite affordable if you’re not afraid to mix-and-match airlines and endure stopovers. For example, flights to Kyoto from Singapore can be found for as low as $313 RT.

As with most destinations, you can score some excellent flight prices to Kyoto by visiting during the off-season. Many international travelers book flights to Japan in the spring in order to see the country’s iconic cherry blossoms in bloom. While the cherry blossoms are well-worth seeing, flight prices typically rise in response to this increased demand.

Consider instead booking your trip during the autumn to see the stunning fall leaf colors, with flights to Kyoto from Melbourne priced around $700 in October. You can also land some great deals in the chilly, but beautiful, winter months.

How Do I Get to/from Kyoto and Kansai Airport?

The quickest option for traveling to Kyoto is to take the JR Haruka Super Express train, which offers service every 30 minutes to Kyoto Station. The trip takes 70 minutes and costs 2850 yen ($24.22) by non-reserved seat, around 3500 yen ($29.74) by reserved seat, or it’s free with the JR Rail Pass.

A slower, but more affordable option is to take the JR Kanku Kaisoku which costs 1880 yen ($15.97). The train reaches Kyoto in 100 minutes, with a train change at Osaka station.  A third option is the Kansai Airport Limousine Bus, which costs 2550 yen ($21.67) with a journey time of about 100 minutes.

Taxis are prohibitively expensive for most travelers, with the 90-minute ride to Kyoto costing between 20,000 and 25,000 yen ($169-$210). Some taxi companies also offer "shuttle services" in mini-buses that are shared with several passengers. This option is more budget-friendly at 3600 yen ($30.59) per person, and most will take you directly to your hotel in Kyoto.

Will I Be Able to Find a Hotel Near Kansai Airport?

If your flight arrives early in the morning or late at night when buses and trains to Kyoto are not operating, it’s best to spend your first day at a hotel near the airport.

There’s one hotel found at the airport, Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport, as well as several hotels located around nearby Rinku Town Station that offer free shuttle service to/from the airport.

Kansai Airport Washington Hotel provides free airport shuttle service between 5am and 11:30pm each day. Rooms are pleasant and the shuttle takes less than 10 minutes to reach the airport.

Best Western Hotel Kansai Airport also offers shuttle service to/from the airport at fixed times throughout the day. Room rates include free breakfast, and visitors can enjoy the sauna and fitness center found on-site.

Should I Spend a Night in Osaka or Head Straight for Kyoto?

While many visitors travel directly to Kyoto from Kansai Airport, it’s worth stopping for a night or two in Osaka first. Modern Osaka provides an insightful contrast to traditional Kyoto. While a Kyoto itinerary is packed with “must-see” temples and shrines, Osaka is best visited by simply strolling around and enjoying the vibrant atmosphere.

One of Japan’s great foodie cities, Osaka is known as the birthplace of some of Japan’s most popular dishes. Walk around the busy Dotonbori area and order a box of takoyaki (fried dough balls filled with octopus) from one of the many vendors you’ll see.

Bonus Tip:

If you have a little time before your flight departs, check out Kansai Airport’s Sky View Observation Hall. Located close to one of the airport runways, the hall offers exciting views of planes taking off and landing. Found nearby the ferry terminal building, the hall can be reached by taking one of the free shuttle buses that depart from Terminal 1 every 10-20 minutes.