So, you’re going from Tokyo to Kyoto with a JR pass.
Or maybe Hiroshima to Kyoto.
Can you use your JR pass for trains in Kyoto?!
Yes, there ARE some top Kyoto attractions that you can visit using your JR pass.
There are different train companies in Kyoto, and there is a “JR” train too.
The “JR train” is the ONLY train you’ll be able to use your JR pass.
The JR train lines don’t go everywhere, but if you want to maximize the use of your JR pass when you are in Kyoto, there there are a few places that you can go taking the JR train.
There’s a subway system in Kyoto, and your JR pass won’t be good for that.
To know which your JR pass is good for, the train will say that it’s “JR” and that’s how you’ll know whether you’ll be able to use your JR pass for any given train.
When you’re looking at Google Maps, it’ll say “JR” in front of the train line, so be sure to look out for that. If you look on google maps of any of the places listed below from Kyoto Station and don’t see “JR” then you might need to adjust the departure time so it’ll show up. The immediately departing trains may not include the JR trains.
Google Maps can be a pretty reliable way for getting around Kyoto by public transportation.
There are also limited places to go taking the JR bus in Kyoto too.
4 best places to visit by train around Kyoto with a JR pass
Arashiyama is an area of Kyoto, and you can get to Arashiyama by JR train.
Some of the top things to do in Arashiyama…
This is probably among the most iconic pictures of Kyoto.
There are 2 train stations near the Fushimi Inari shrine. If you’re looking at Google Maps, you’ll want to go to “Inari” station, and not “Fushimi Inari” station. Inari station is for the JR train.
A visit to the Fushimi Inari shrine is a part of this 2-day Kyoto itinerary.
But a day of Fushimi Inari and Arashiyama sounds perfect! If you decide to go to both in one day, then I think going to Fushimi Inari first is better, because you’ll find a lot more things to do in Arashiyama so you don’t have to feel as rushed knowing you need to go somewhere else afterwards!
3. Nijo Castle
This is a UNESCO world heritage site. Also visit the Nijo Castle teahouse!
You can get to Nijo Castle by JR train, but consider also paying around US$5 for a one day bus pass so you can go to a bunch of other spot to go along with it.
Although not in Kyoto, there’s also a JR train that will take you to Nara.
Nara is the former ancient capital of Japan and city with deer roaming around.
It can be perfect to spend one day in Nara.
See more about taking the train from Kyoto to Nara with a JR pass.
And if you’re flying out of Osaka after Kyoto, you can get from Kyoto to Kansai airport by JR train too!
JR bus in Kyoto
Again, there are also a few places you can get around Kyoto by JR bus.
This may be a bit more limiting compared to if you allow yourself to ride on any subway or train in Kyoto, but it’s there.
The sequence of taking a train in Kyoto!
Just follow the signs!
HAPPY JR TRAIN RIDE IN KYOTO!
How to spend winter in Japan
More quick tips for planning your trip to JapanThere are affiliate links on this page that take you to partner websites.
Among the top 3 things people get specific for a trip to Japan
- JR pass for quick and easy long distance train travel (see price here and see here how to calculate train routes to figure out it's worth it for you)
- Pocket wifi to make travel in Japan easier (see price here)
- Travel insurance for natural disasters just in case especially for travel disruptions (see price here and see here for past natural disaster that affected foreigners)