Getting there & away
There is an overnight bus service between Tokyo’s Shinjuku (highway bus terminal) and Nara (one way/return ¥8400/15, 120). The bus leaves Nara at 10.27pm and reaches Tokyo the next day at 6.15am. The bus from Tokyo leaves at 11.15pm and arrives in Nara the next day at 6.35am. In Nara, call Nara Kotsu Bus (22-5110; www.narakotsu.co.jp/kousoku/index.html in Japanese) or check with the Nara City Tourist Center for more details. In Tokyo, call Kanto Bus (03-3928-6011; www.kanto-bus.co.jp in Japanese).
Unless you have a Japan Rail Pass, the best option is the Kintetsu line, which runs between Kintetsu Kyoto station (in Kyoto station) and Kintetsu Nara station. There are direct tokkyū (¥1110, 33 minutes) and kyūkō (¥610, 40 minutes). The kyūkō usually require a change at Saidai-ji.
The JR Nara line connects JR Kyoto station with JR Nara station (kaisoku, ¥690, 53 minutes) but departures are not frequent.
The Kintetsu Nara line connects Osaka (Kintetsu Namba station) with Nara (Kintetsu Nara station). Kaisoku and futsū services take about 36 minutes and cost ¥540. Tokkyū services do the journey in five minutes less but cost almost double, making them a poor option.
The JR Kansai line links Osaka (Namba and Tennō-ji stations) and Nara (JR Nara station). A kaisoku connects Namba and JR Nara station (¥540, 36 minutes) and Tennō-ji and JR Nara station (¥450, 30 minutes).