questions & answers: general japan travel

travelling kyoto/osaka/narita on new year's day 1/1/14

Travelling Kyoto/Osaka/Narita on New Year's Day 1/1/14


We plan to travel from Kyoto to Osaka then to Narita on New Year's Day 1/1/14. Will need to be at Narita by 5pm to catch a plane.
can you please help me to understand if New Year's day will be very crowded on rail and air in Japan? I have never been to Kyoto before.... what is the best way to get from Kyoto to Osaka? would we have to book ticket in advance? I guess best to fly from Osaka to Narita?
How long is trip from Kyoto to Osaka by rail? Is train very frequent?

Thank you very much, look forward to your reply.


Hi Again!

Travel around the New Years period is always very busy and I would recommend reserving seats at least 2-3 days in advance.

The best way to travel between Tokyo - Kyoto is to take the Shinkaisoku service, which is a rapid express train departing every 10 minutes and only takes 29 minutes to reach Osaka from Kyoto.

Travel by rail from Osaka - Narita Airport can take up to 5 hours, this is very important to keep in mind if you have a flight on the same day. This leaves little time if you want to reach Narita Airport on time before your flight (take at least 2 h).
Trains depart at-least every 30 minutes, so you never have to wait long.

Hope this helps!


Hi Daniel,

Thank you so much for your reply, it is most appreciated!

To be on the safe side, I'm thinking of pre purchasing train tickets from Kyoto - Narita airport for travel on 1st Jan. My flight out of Narita is at 8pm. Can you please tell me how I can do this from Australia?

I hear that Kyoto - Narita will have to make a stop in Tokyo. Do you think it'll work if I leave Kyoto early morning on 1st Jan, from Kyoto, then spend a few hours in Tokyo then onward to Narita? How long is train ride from Kyoto to Tokyo and from Tokyo to Narita?

Thank you Daniel.


Hi Again,

You can buy tickets for the JR the moment that you are in Japan at any JR ticket office or station.

Making a stop at Tokyo can be fun for sure! Tokyo station alone is worth spending some time at. From the station you can also walk to the Imperial Palace or to the uphill shopping streets of Ginza.

The trainride from Kyoto - Tokyo is 140-160 minutes and Tokyo - Narita Airport is takes about 60 min with the Narita Express.

I hope this helps too!


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