Starting from next spring, from March 23, you will be able to visit Kyoto via the traditional Kyotrain from Osaka. Many people see Osaka as the heart of Kansai, as it is easy to access the rest of the region from there. They also see it as a cheaper alternative for hotels, with a better nightlife too. That’s why the trip from Osaka to Kyoto is so common for tourists, and so convenient too as it only takes around 30 minutes by train.
However, from the spring you’ll be able to feel the atmosphere of Kyoto as soon as you get on the Kyotrain Garaku. The train’s interior decor resembles a traditional ryokan inn or tea houses that are located throughout Kyoto. In fact, each carriage has been designed to resemble one seasonal aspect of Kyoto.
Inside the Kyotrain
The Kyotrain’s first carriage has an autumn theme with its images of maple leaves. The second carriage in theme with winter is decked out in Bamboo, a popular decoration used for New Years. The third carriage salutes the Japanese Cherry Blossoms in spring. Meanwhile, the fourth carriage celebrates summer with its brightly coloured geraniums. The last 2 carriages will focus on more specific seasonal beauty of Kyoto, such as grass and plum blossoms.
Some of the impressive yet elaborate touches include miniature gardens and tatami lined walls. There is also the appeal of outward facing seating on some of the carriages. These peer out the windows to give passengers the opportunity to view the scenic landscapes of the Kyoto district.
Starting Next Spring
The Kyotrain will begin operation on 23 March 2019, at the brink of spring. It will operate between Umeda (Osaka) and Kawaramachi (Kyoto) stations. The total journey will take approx. 45 minutes and will cost 400 yen each way. Please note the service only operates on weekends and national holidays. Operating times will begin around 9:30 am and finish each day at 3:30 pm from Umeda. Other stops along the way include Karasuma, Katsura, Awaji, and Just.
Unfortunately, the Hankyu lines are not covered by the JR Rail Pass. So pass holders will need to pay extra to enjoy the scenic ride. At 400 yen though, we think this is cheap enough to enjoy the novelty of the journey.
If you’re planning your travels in Japan, we invite you to join our rapidly expanding Travel in Japan Discussion Group via facebook.