With your Japan Rail Pass
- Travel time: About 15 minutes
- Cost: Covered by your JR Pass
To travel from Osaka to Kyoto using your JR Pass, the fastest options are the Hikari and Kodama trains on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line. In only 14 minutes, it can get you from Shin-Osaka Station to Kyoto Station.
There are also many other JR-operated local trains, limited express trains, and rapid trains that run between the two cities and are covered by the JR Pass, but they take 10 to 30 minutes longer.
Shinkansen or bullet train
- Travel time: 14 minutes
- Cost: From 1,420 yen
The Nozomi trains on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line also connect Osaka and Tokyo, but they are not included in the list of JR-operated trains, buses, and ferries where the JR Pass is valid. Thus, you have to purchase a ticket, which costs 1,420 yen (unreserved seat) or 3,220 yen (reserved seat). A one-way trip from Shin-Osaka Station to Kyoto Station takes only 14 minutes.
- Travel time: About an hour
- Cost: Around 400 yen
Osaka and Kyoto are also served by the private railway companies, Hankyu Railway and Keihan Railway.
Hankyu Railway’s limited express trains depart from Umeda Station in Osaka and arrive to Karasuma Station and Kawaramachi Station in Kyoto, and Keihan Railway’s limited express trains depart from Yodoyobashi Station in Osaka and arrive to Sanjo Station in Kyoto. A one-way trip takes around 40 to 50 minutes, and costs about 400 yen.
Bus from Kansai Airport or Itami Airport in Osaka
- Travel time: About 1 hour to 1 hour and 40 minutes
- Cost: From 1,310 yen
At Kansai Airport, you can catch a direct Osaka Airport Limousine bus bound for Kyoto Station. There are multiple departures per day, and a one-way trip takes under two hours and costs 2,550 yen.
Itami Airport also offers limousine buses with multiple departures for Kyoto Station per day. A one-way trip is about an hour long, and costs 1,310 yen.
Visit the Osaka Airport Limousine website for complete timetables, fares, and other information.
With other kinds of rail passes
There are other rail passes, like the Kansai Thru Pass and the Kintetsu Rail Pass, which you can use to travel from Osaka to Kyoto, as well as other nearby areas, such as Nara, Kobe, Himeji, and Hiroshima.
The Kansai Thru Pass is a rail pass that is valid for use on non-JR railway, subway, metro, cablecar, and bus services in Osaka, Kyoto, and the rest of the Kansai region. It covers a long list of lines that include Hankyu Railway, Keihan Railway, Kintetsu Railway, Nankai Railway, Hanshin Railway, Osaka Monorail, and all the subway lines that serve Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe.
Only available for foreign tourists, the Kansai Thru Pass comes in two types: the 2-day pass, which costs 4,000 yen, and the 3-day pass, which costs 5,200 yen. More information is available here.
The Kintetsu Rail Pass is a pass that is valid on the Kintetsu Railway network in Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Nara, and Ise-Shima. For 3,800 yen (if bought inside Japan) or 3,600 yen (if bought outside Japan), foreign tourists get to enjoy unlimited rides on Kintetsu Lines within a span of 5 days.
More information is available here.