2 hours 21 minutes
Nozomi, the fastest Shinkansen, costs US$121.22* one-way and can get you from Tokyo Station to Kyoto Station in about 2 hours and 20 minutes. Hikari, which is slightly cheaper at US$118.48* one-way, takes a little longer at 2 hours and 40 minutes. The slowest Shinkansen, Kodama, reaches Kyoto in about 3 hours and 50 minutes, and for the same price as Hikari.
If you want to keep things super cheap, then the Shinkansen isn’t your best bet. However, it’s such a smooth way of traveling from Tokyo to Kyoto and there are ways to make your Shinkansen journey cheaper. If you have a Japan Rail Pass, which allows unlimited travel on Japan Rail (JR) trains for a week (though longer options are also available), the Hikari is covered by the pass. There’s also the Puratto Kodama Economy Plan, which allows you to travel on the Kodama from Tokyo to Kyoto for US$89.30* – US$114.06* one-way, depending on the season. This plan can only be purchased at least a day in advance, so call or visit JR Tokai Tours for booking.
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$122 / person*
* starting from