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GoWithGuideFind your perfect tour guide at GoWithGuide. Relax and cherish unforgettable tours with loved ones. Create personalized tours for a truly memorable trip!

Transportation in Kyoto, Osaka, Nara and around

Coelho C.

by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Coelho C.

Last updated : Apr 28, 20224 min read

Travel Tips

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One of the most common questions for tourists visiting Kyoto, Osaka, and Nara is: "Should I use public transportation? Should I rent a car? Should I hire a driver? What is the best means of transportation for those areas?

In this Q&A article, I will help you understand your options and take a decision.

 

Can I go everywhere just by public transportation?

The simple answer is yes. Kyoto, Osaka, and Nara are super well connected by public transportation. You may need to walk a little bit from your location to the nearest station or bus stop, but it is never a big problem.

In Kyoto and Nara, you may need to walk a little bit more if you want to go from one tourist spot to the next one or wait a while for the bus to arrive.

I would encourage using public transportation, walking around those blessed places is of the joys of traveling there.

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Can I use only trains? Or do I need other means?

In Osaka yes, Osaka is very well connected by subways and trains. But in Kyoto and Nara no, you will need to combine the train system and the bus system to go from one place to another.

In which cases do I need a car?

You only need a car if your group includes someone that cannot walk long distances. In that case only, I would recommend getting a car, otherwise, the public transportation will serve you perfectly well.

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How much is a car with a driver / guide?

 The prices vary from 150USD and 500USD depending on your group size, the tour duration and the inclusion of a guide.

You can see here: Kyoto cars, Nara Cars, Osaka Cars

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How can I rent a car?

The average rental fees are around 5000 yen for a 24-hour period if you are hiring a sub-compact car. For a compact car, it would be 7500 yen. Mid-sized cars 10,000 yen, 15,000 yen for full-sized cars and 20,000 yen for vans.
Keep in mind that rates are sometimes increased during peak seasons.

You will need a special permit to drive in Japan. Foreigners can drive in Japan with an International Driving Permit (IDP) for a maximum of one year, even if the permit is valid for a longer period.

International driving permits are not issued in Japan and you should obtain yours from your home country in advance. The permits are usually issued through your country's National Automobile Association for a small fee.

It is important to note that Japan only accepts the International Driving Permit based on the 1949 Geneva Convention. Please check if your country is in the list of the countries that are parties to the convention through this link.

Although it may seem complicated, it is quite simple to make your IDP and it is recommended for people who want to drive in Japan. Also, driving in Japan is not as difficult as one would imagine due to the English hand and the language. The roads are friendly, organized and simple to navigate.

In the USA, the IDP is issued by the American Automobile Association and the National Automobile Club, please check their websites to learn how to take your permit.

 

Should I hire a guide?

Absolutely! This entire area is full of history and mystery, a local guide will most certainly make your trip much more meaningful and memorable. Every corner of these cities have a story or a hidden interesting thing that you can only learn about with a professional tour guide, so please, absolutely hire a tour guide and have a wonderful time creating beautiful memories in Japan.

A tour guide can also help you learn about the local train and bus systems, give you tips on where to eat in the best local places, help you with Japanese translations and teach you anything you want to know about Japan.

Check here: Tours in Kyoto, Tours in Osaka, Tours in Nara

Shiga Tour Guide - Koichi W.

Koichi W.

4.95 / 5
(56 reviews)
Japan

Hi! I'm Koichi. I was born in Osaka, I studied in Kyoto when I was a university student. Now I live in Shiga next to Kyoto. I am a national government licensed tour guide. I have been guiding about 160 groups over the past twelve months. I usually guide my customers mainly in Kansai region including Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Kobe and Shiga by public transportation systems. Well, I am curious about Japanese history, especially the history of Japan's ancient times since I was raised next to the world biggest mausoleum of the ancient Emperor called "Nintoku" in Sakai city Osaka which has just become one of the world cultural heritage sites. I dug out some ancient earthen ware vessels around there when I was a primary school student like the adventure archaeologist “Indiana Jones" (It’s our secret!!). That was my hobby. Now, one of my hobbies is outdoor activities such as mountaineering, kayaking, skiing and others. So I would like to take you to some good places where you can enjoy Japanese unique nature. I love to guide foreign visitors from all over the world. I think it is my calling or heavenly given job. Let's go and enjoy together! I hope to see you soon.                                                                                                                                 

Osaka Tour Guide - Takashi M.

Takashi M.

5.00 / 5
(17 reviews)
Japan

Hi, my name is Takashi!! When I go abroad, I think that how nice it would be to have a friend there and hang out together. I want you to feel like you have a friend in Osaka and we can go around and explore the city. I was born and grew up in Japan. And I speak English, Spanish and Japanese. I can be the perfect guide for you!! I can also guide you any other cities in Japan, just let me know where you wanna go :)                                                                                                                                 

Osaka Tour Guide - Kazuyoshi M.

Kazuyoshi M.

5.00 / 5
(5 reviews)
Japan

This tour mainly tours Osaka and Kyoto. I have lived in Osaka for 10 years and have been to Kyoto 300 times through tourism. I can also offer hands-on guided tours. I can offer maiko and geiko viewing, furoshiki (wrapping cloth) making, matcha (powdered green tea), professional acupuncture in ninja costume, and introduction-type experiences. My Instagram account has been viewed by 130,000 people in one month. Not to mention famous places. I can also guide visitors to places where foreign tourists do not usually go. I can be flexible. Best regards.                                                                                                                                 

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