The city of Nara is famous for its many shrines and temples, many of which date back to the 8th century when Nara was Japan’s first permanent capital. Eight locations are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Two train lines connect the cities of Osaka and Nara: the JR Yamatoji Line, and the Kintetsu Nara Line. The JR line is covered by the Japan Rail Pass, but the Kintetsu Line is not. However, within Nara city, Kintetsu Nara Station is actually more centrally located than JR Nara Station and has better access to the main sightseeing locations. The Kintetsu Railway also has its own discount passes which can be used to travel between these cities.
The JR Yamatoji Line
Traveling from Osaka Station the Yamatoji Rapid Service will get you to JR Nara Station in 50 minutes for 800 yen.
Traveling from JR Namba Station, take the local train of the Yamatoji Line to Kyuhoji Station and then transfer to the Yamatoji Rapid Service. This will get you to JR Nara Station in 51 minutes for 560 yen.
To find the best train times for the JR Yamatoji Line use the JR West Timetable and Fare Finder.
The Kintetsu Nara Line
Traveling from Osaka Namba Station, a Rapid Express train on the Kintetsu Nara Line will get you to Kintetsu Nara Station in 39 minutes for 560 yen.
Limited Express services also run between Osaka Namba Station and Kintetsu Nara Station and take just 34 minutes, but they cost considerably more at 1,070 yen.
To find the best train times for journeys on the Kintetsu Nara Line use an English language route finder like Jorudan or Hyperdia.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.