If you have the Japan Rail Pass the quickest way to reach Nara from Nagoya is to take a shinkansen to Kyoto Station and then change to the JR Nara Line for JR Nara Station. The journey takes about 90 minutes: 36 minutes on a Hikari Shinkansen from Nagoya Station to Kyoto and then 44 minutes on a JR Nara Line rapid service train. Ordinarily the journey would cost 6,560 yen one way.
It is also possible to go from Kintestu Nagoya Station to Kintetsu Nara Station but this would involve two changes - at Yamatoyagi and Yamatosaidaiji, take two hours, 20 minutes and cost 3,860 yen single.
Much cheaper is to take a Meitetsu Highway Bus from Meitetsu Highway Bus Terminal to either JR Nara Station or Kintetsu Nara Station. This takes two hours, 40 minutes and costs only 2,550 one-way or 4,100 yen return.
To spend a full day in Nara from Nagoya it is best to catch the first bus at 7.50am and come back on the last bus at 6.40pm. Other buses for Nara leave Nagoya at 10.50am, 2.50pm, 6.50pm and 8.50pm.
The bus is rarely full and can be booked online or in person at Meitetsu Highway Bus Terminal. The bus makes stops at Yamato Takahara, Tenri, Kintetsu Nara Station and JR Nara Station.
Meitetsu highway buses run to various destinations throughout Japan including Beppu-Oita, Chubu International Airport, Fuji Five Lakes, Fukui, Fukuoka, Hirugami Onsen, Kanazawa, Kochi, Iga-Ueno, Iida (in Nagano Prefecture), Kamikochi, Kitakyushu, Kobe, Kyoto, Matsumoto, Matsuyama, Nagano, Nagasaki, Niigata, Shirakawa-go, Sendai, Shingu in Wakayama, Shinjuku in Tokyo, Shirakawa-go, Takamatsu-Marugame, Tokushima, and Toyama.
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