While this is a very popular journey to complete within Japan, particularly for tourists attempting to tick off the nation’s main highlights, there aren’t a huge number of ways to do it. Despite being a considerable distance to the west (360km to be exact), flying isn’t really an option from Kyoto to Hiroshima. However, there are other ways to reach Hiroshima, most importantly by taking a bus or the train. Here are the best options how to get from Kyoto to Hiroshima:
Bus from Kyoto to Hiroshima
Willer Express, one of the country’s leading bus companies, has prices from as low as 3,400 Yen (ca. 34 USD) for a one-way ticket. It is also possible to pay a little more to ensure you get more leg-room and a generally more comfortable journey, but often fares will be higher at certain peak times. The overnight buses tend to be slower but the usual time for one of these buses is approximately 7 hours. They often leave from Kyoto Station and arrive at Hiroshima station, or Hatchobori, but other pick-up and drop-off points are available. The ubiquitous JR company also offers highway buses for similar prices.
Train from Kyoto to Hiroshima
Without any direct flights, the fastest way between Kyoto and Hiroshima is on the Shinkansen. Even if there were flights (and an airport in Kyoto as well), it probably wouldn’t be much quicker than taking the appropriately named bullet-train. The Nozomi Shinkansen, the fastest of all, covers the 360km in just over 1 hour and 30 minutes, meaning you wouldn’t even have time to watch the latest Studio Ghibli film before arriving in beautiful Hiroshima. This type of Shinkansen departs from the centrally located Kyoto station and arrives at the equally central Hiroshima station, costing 11,610 Yen (ca. 116 USD) for the journey.
Car from Kyoto to Hiroshima
Japan has plenty of car rental companies to choose from, with a huge amount of (usually) Japanese-made cars to select from. The cheapest ones for a short-term rental are typically a ‘660cc Car’ or a ‘Compact Car’ but because of the huge distance between the pick-up location and the drop-off, the fee is nearly 25,000 Yen (ca. 250 USD) for most companies. On top of this, you would need to pay almost 10,000 Yen (ca. 100 USD) in toll fees. Therefore, renting a car is not really the best way to journey from Kyoto to Hiroshima.
Tour from Kyoto to Hiroshima
If you’re basing yourself in Kyoto and you don’t wish to/ have enough time to spend a few nights in Hiroshima, then visiting Hiroshima on a day-trip is a possibility, providing you leave relatively early and that you take the Shinkansen both ways. Otherwise, it’s not really feasible. Taking a tour is another good way to make sure you see all the main sights of Hiroshima, without having to sort out an additional hotel.
Best way to get from Kyoto to Hiroshima
If you have enough time in the country, then taking a bus through Willer Express or JR is a great way to save some extra money, and travel in comfort too. While it would take up a large part of a day, the overnight option is a good choice for those seeking to save some time. Otherwise, the Shinkansen is pretty much the only other option. Thankfully, it’s a pretty spectacular last resort and riding on one should be considered a must-do for all tourists as well.