How to transfer between Nagoya and Osaka/Kyoto by train

Which one is better, Shinkansen (left) or Kintetsu (right) ?

If you have to move between Nagoya and Osaka (or Kyoto), you have two choices, Shinkansen or Kintetsu railway. I would like to compare these two choices and tell you pros and cons of each choice.

Travel between Nagoya and Osaka

Please see the image below:

Nagoya-Osaka transfer map (Click to view large)

In the map above, I put three names of Nagoya station, Nagoya, Kintetsu Nagoya and Meitetsu Nagoya. These three stations are located at same place. You can move among these stations on foot. Please see the link below to find more information:

Shinkansen Nozomi

Pros
Fast. Trip time is less than one hour to get Shin-Osaka from Nagoya.
Direct transfer to Shin-Osaka. JR Osaka (Umeda) is only one statins away from Shin-Osaka by JR local train.

Cons
Pricey. Reserved seat fee and base fare are 6,560 yen in a regular season.
Need changing trains/subways for Namba and other areas. You have to take subway or other local train to get Namba and other places in southern part of downtown Osaka.

If you will have a round trip between Nagoya and Osaka, you may use Flex Rail Ticket Osaka to save a cost. This deal is slightly cheaper than the regular fare:

If you can purchase a ticket at least one day prior to travel day, you can purchase a deal called “Platt Kodama”. Kodama is one of the Shinkansen train but it is slower than Nozomi. But this deal is cheaper than a regular fare. This deal cannot be purchased on travel day. Please see the link below to find more information:

Kintetsu Railway Nagoya-Osaka limited express train

Pros
Affordable. Reserved seat fee and base fare are 4,260 yen.
Direct to Namba. You can get the biggest downtown core of Osaka directly.

Cons
Slow. Trip time is more than two hours. It is much slower than Shinkansen and subway transfer via Shin-Osaka.
Need changing trains for Umeda and other areas. If you access to northern part of downtown Osaka, such as Umeda, you have to take subway.

If you intend to make more trips by Kintetsu Railway, such as trip to Nara, you may use Kintetsu Rail Pass. This may be the reason why you take Kintetsu railway between Nagoya and Osaka. Please see the link below to find more information about Kintetsu Rail Pass:

Kintetsu Rail Pass, Most affordable deal for Osaka/Kyoto-Nagoya and access to Ise.

Travel between Nagoya and Kyoto

Please see the image below:

Nagoya-Kyoto transfer map (Click to view large)

The situation is a bit different from Nagoya-Osaka transfer.

Shinkansen Nozomi

Pros
Very fast. Trip time is less than 40 minutes to get Kyoto from Nagoya.
Direct transfer to Kyoto.

Cons
Pricey. Reserved seat fee and base fare are 5,800 yen in a regular season.

If you will have a round trip between Nagoya and Kyoto, you may use Flex Rail Ticket Kyoto to save a cost. This deal is slightly cheaper than the regular fare:

If you can purchase a ticket at least one day prior to travel day, you can purchase a deal called “Platt Kodama” as well as transfer to Osaka. Please see the link below to find more information:

Kintetsu Railway Nagoya-Osaka limited express train

Pros
Affordable. Reserved seat fee and base fare are 4,490 yen.

Cons
Slow. Trip time is more than two hours.
Need changing trains at Yamato-Yagi. There is no direct Kintetsu Railway trains between Nagoya and Kyoto.

The price difference is much smaller than Nagoya-Osaka because Kintetsu Railway fare for Nagoya to Kyoto is more expensive than Nagoya to Namba. Shinkansen fare to Kyoto is cheaper than trip to Shin-Osaka. And also there is no direct trains to Kyoto from Nagoya by Kintetsu. It is very hard to find the reason to take Kintetsu for Nagoya to Kyoto.

However if you intend to make more trips by Kintetsu Railway, such as trip to Nara, you may use Kintetsu Rail Pass. This may be the reason why you take Kintetsu railway between Nagoya and Osaka. Please see the link below to find more information about Kintetsu Rail Pass:

Kintetsu Rail Pass, Most affordable deal for Osaka/Kyoto-Nagoya and access to Ise.

Hope this post helps you to build your trip plan.

15 thoughts on “How to transfer between Nagoya and Osaka/Kyoto by train”

  1. Hi Takeshi San,

    I will be travelling with my family of 8 (2 adults, 4 senior citizens and 2 toddlers) next year from 3 May 2020 to 12 May 2020.

    Below is my itinerary, i have trouble finding the easiest way to travel between the cities with 5 luggages. Can help me please?

    3rd May to 5th May : Osaka (airport) to Nagoya
    (is there luggage delivery service from the airport to nagoya hotel? how much does it cost?)

    5th May to 8th May : Nagoya to Kyoto
    In kyoto we will be visiting the kiyomizu shrine and gion geisha.
    Nara deer park? toyota car museum?
    any other places of interest to visit?

    8th May to 12th May : Kyoto to Osaka
    umeda, namba,
    where else to visit?
    Is there kansai airport limo?

    Hope to hear from you soon!
    Thank you 🙂

    Regards,
    Xuan

    1. Hi Xuannon san,

      There are a few luggage shipping service in Kansai airport. It costs 2,000 to 3,000 yen per luggage. The price is varied by the size and the weight. You can receive your luggage next day.

      The easiest route to get Nagoya is the following:
      Kansai airport (Nankai railway) Namba (Kintetsu railway) Nagoya

      Please see the link below to find the route between Kansai and Osaka. This link helps you to find the route for Osaka to Kansai as well:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/how-to-access-from-kansai-airport-to-downtown-osaka-kyoto-and-kobe.html

      For Namba to Nagoya route is covered by Kintetsu rail pass.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/kintetsu-rail-pass-most-affordable-deal-for-osakakyoto-nagoya-and-access-to-ise.html

      But if you use Kintetsu rail pass, you may take the detour route from Nagoya to Kyoto as I mentioned the post above. I mentioned the Shinkansen route is the easiest. But this route is not covered by Kintetsu rail pass.

      If you want to save your cose, use Kintetsu Rail Pass for Namba to Nagoya, Nagoya to Kyoto via Yamato-Yagi. Otherwise you cannot get the worth of Kintetsu rail pass. You cannot get Kyoto from Nagoya by Kintetsu rail pass. Kintetsu rail pass covers a day trip to Nara from Kyoto as well.

      If you want the easiest way, pay a regular fare for Namba to Nagoya by Kintetsu railway and use Platt Kodama for Nagoya to Kyoto Shinkansen ride.
      https://www.ticket.kintetsu.co.jp/vs/en/e-ticket/
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/platt-kodama-one-way-deal-among-tokyo-nagoya-kyoto-and-shin-osaka-by-shinkansen.html

      You have to pay a regular fare for Kyoto to Osaka. But there are some deals to cover sightseeing in Kyoto and Osaka. Please find the link below:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-osaka.html

      Please find the info about sightseeing in Nagoya, Osaka and Kyoto in Japan-Guide:
      https://www.japan-guide.com/

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Thanks Takeshi-san for your reply.

    Hope you can help clarify the following questions:
    1. The Takayama Hokuriku Pass is valid for 5 consecutive days, does it mean that if we use the pass on 26 Dec, it also covers our journey from Kyoto to Osaka on 29 Dec? ( we plan to stay 26 Dec night in Kanazawa and 2 nights which is the 27 and 28 in Kyoto)

    2. To sightsee in Kyoto and Osaka, what pass do you recommend?

    3. Also just to confirm, on 26 Dec we take Limited Wide View Hida from Nagoya to Takayama? Then take Nohi bus from Takayama to Shirikawago and Kanazawa. How early do we have to call to make resevations?

    4. On 27 Dec, we take Limited Express Thunderbird from Kanazawa to Kyoto?

    5. 29 Dec, Limited Express Thunderbird from Kyoto to Osaka?

    6. 30 Dec, we travel on the Kansai Wide Area pass from Osaka to Takamatsu and the rest of the places?

    7. Since it is the year end, with all the holidays will it be difficult getting reserve seats etc. Also will places be close on 30 and 31 Dec in Takamatsu, Naoshima and Kurashiki?

    7. With all these traveling, would you recommend that we stay near Shin Osaka or Osaka station?

    8. Will it be difficult to buy the Platt Kodama as we need to return to Nagoya on 2 Jan?
    Appreciate your response and advice. Thanks very much.

    lucy

    1. Hi Lucy san,

      1. Yes. You may start using that pass when you leave Nagoya and it covers your trip for these 4 days.

      2. Takayama Hokuriku area pass covers JR local train in Osaka. Please see the link below:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/guide-to-take-trains-in-osaka-how-to-choose-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html

      If it’s not enough, please find the deal in the link below:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-osaka.html

      And you can find the deal in Kyoto in the link below:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html

      3,4,5. You can start booking on the phone for Nohi bus for Takayama to Shirakawago and Shirakawago to Kanazawa on the day of one month prior to the departure date. But for the train, you cannot book a seat until you exchange the pass. When you get Nagoya, please exchange the pass as soon as possible and book a seat.

      6. Yes.

      7. Please see the link below to find the busy day of the train in the link below:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/travel-tips/2019-busiest-period-to-travel-by-train-tips-to-book-your-seat-in-even-during-the-busy-period.html
      Many restaurants and shops are closed early on 31st. 30th is okay.

      7. It depends on what the important thing for you. Osaka station area is the downtown core in Osaka. There are lots of shops and restaurants. Shin-Osaka is the Shinkansen terminal station. It is convenient place and the average hotel rate is cheaper than Osaka but it’s not in downtown.

      8. I think Jan 2nd is okay because this is not a super busy day. But please try to purchase it right after you get Osaka.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi-san,
        Thanks very much for your reply.
        Need your help with the following:-

        1. How do we travel from Nagoya airport to the city? And sightsee in Nagoya city?
        2. Can I buy the Platt Kodama (my return trip Osaka to Nagoya) when I arrive in Nagoya rather than in Osaka?
        3. Also it is feasible to do Nagoya-Takayama-Shrikawago-Kanazawa all in a day and then head to Kyoto on the same day?
        4. Thinking of using the Kansai Wide Pass to Kinosaki Onsen, which day would you recommend we go base on our itinerary?

        Thanks Takeshi-san.

        lucy

        1. Hi Lucy san,

          1. Please see the links below:
          https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/airport-access/chubu-ngo/chubu-nagoya-airport-transportation-guide-find-info-about-airport-station-and-access-to-nagoya.html
          Subway is the ordinary way to move around Nagoya:
          https://www.kotsu.city.nagoya.jp/en/pc/TICKET/TRP0001071.htm

          2. Yes, you can.

          3. I don’t recommend it. It’s too much to see all places. You should stay overnight in Kanazawa.

          4. Your trip plan is already very packed. But if you really want to visit there, you may be able to squeeze it on 29th to 30th. You will stay in Kinosaki instead of Osaka. Or you will put Kinosaki instead of Osaka on 1st to 2nd January.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi Takeshi San
    My family of 3 adults plan to visit Japan this December. The following is our itinerary.
    24 Dec Arrive in Nagoya
    25 Dec Day trip from Nagoya to Magome or Tsumago
    (not sure which is more accessible?)
    26 Dec Nagoya to Takayama, Shirakawago, Kanazawa
    (How do we forward luggage to Kanazawa?)
    27 Dec Kanazawa to Kyoto
    28 Dec Kyoto
    29 Dec Kyoto to Osaka
    30 Dec Osaka to Naoshima and Takamatsu
    31 Dec Takamatsu to Okayama, Kurashiki
    1st Jan Kurashiki to Osaka
    2nd Jan Osaka to Nagoya
    3rd Jan Nagoya
    Appreciate your advice. Thank you

    1. Hi Lucy san,

      I recommend you to to use the following deals and tickets:

      Regular ticket for Nagoya to Nakatsugawa round trip
      Nakatsugawa is the closest station to Magome. Magome is 30 minutes away from Nakatsugawa by bus. It is more convenient than access to Tsumago.

      Takayama Hokuriku area pass for Nagoya to Osaka via Takayama, Shirakawago, Kanazawa and Kyoto:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/takayama-hokuriku-area-pass-perfect-deal-to-get-takayama-kanazawa-toyama-shirakawago-from-nagoya-or-osaka.html

      For trip to Takamatsu, Okayama, Kurashiki, you can use Kansai Wide Area Pass:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/the-newest-jr-west-rail-pass-for-kansai-and-okayama-kurashiki-kinosakai-and-shingu-area-kansai-wide-area-pass.html

      But you have to add the ferry fare for Uno-Naoshima-Takamatsu.

      And you may add single fare or Platt Kodama to get Nagoya from Osaka:
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kansai-area/how-to-transfer-between-nagoya-and-osaka-kyoto-by-train.html

      At last, you can ask a delivery service at your hotel in Nagoya. Most hotels can manage the delivery service. But you have to ship one day before usually. Otherwise you have to store your luggage at Takayama and Shirakawago. Takayama station and Shirakawago bus stop have coin lockers.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Hi Takeshi,

    Good day.
    Can I buy a Shinkansen Ticket from Tokyo to Osaka and do overnight at Hakone and 2 nights at Nagoya before going to Osaka?

    Thanks,

    Rudy

    1. Hi Rudy,

      You can use one base fare ticket for Tokyo to Osaka. You can make stopovers at Odawara (Hakone) and Nagoya. It’s valid for 4 days. But you have to purchase the Shinkansen seat ticket for each segments, Tokyo to Odawara, Odawara to Nagoya and Nagoya to Shin-Osaka. Please see the link below to find more info:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/for-non-jr-pass-travellers-guide-to-use-jr-single-ticket-basic-rules-validity-and-stopover.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Dear Takeshi-san,

    Many thanks for providing all these wonderful information in this website!
    I will be travelling with my family (3 Adults & 1 Child) next week and may I seek your kind advice on which pass should I purchase to save cost?
    Should I consider Kintetsu Rail Pass (5 Days) and for the remaining travel within Kyoto & Osaka, will be ICOCA card?

    Day 1
    Kansai Airport – Nagoya (via Kintetsu)
    * Rent car from Nagoya to Takayama

    Day 2
    Takayama

    Day 3
    Nagoya – Kyoto (via Kintetsu)

    Day 4
    Kyoto & Nara Park

    Rest of the remaining days will be within Kyoto & Osaka
    Many thanks!

    1. Hi Chingyi san,

      You may use Kintetsu rail pass for day 1, 2 and 4. You can get Nara on day 4 by this pass but it does not cover any transportation in Kyoto and Osaka. You may use ICOCA as you think. But there are some deals available. Please see the links below to find more info:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-osaka.html
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. Hi Takeshi san,

    I will be going to Japan next month, I would like to know which pass you recommend. Firstly, I will need to travel from Osaka to Tokyo (which train to take?). Thereafter, spending 5 days in Tokyo before flying back home.

    Thank you.

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