The Tōdai-ji is located in Nara prefecture’s Nara city: the first thing to do is going down there.
The temple is easily reachable from two stations. The closest one is Kintetsu Nara Station, on the Kintetsu Nara private line. The site is 20 minutes far walking from here.
From this station and from Nara JR Station you can take a city bus loop line and get off at “Daibutsu-den Kasugataisha Mae” (大仏殿春日大社前). From here you can get to the Tōdai-ji in a 5 minutes walk.
From Tōkyō and Kyōto
Coming from Tōkyō you have to get to Kyōto station, usually by Shinkansen hi-speed train. Then you need to transfer to the local line Nara line, and you will reach Nara JR station in 45 minutes. The whole journey takes 3 hours and 20 minutes and costs 15.000 yen, which are totally covered by the Japan Rail Pass (however the Nara loop bus has to be payed separately).
You can get to Kyōto and Nara by a night bus as well, which costs 4.000 yen (however consider that it can be more expensive during season peak periods).
By clicking on the link provided here you will be able to check the seat availability and the tickets prices: http://tinyurl.com/n6h69ov
Since the recent expanding of low cost companies, you can get to Kansai International Airport from Tōkyō’s Haneda and Narita airports in an even cheaper way than with the Shinkansen trains. Once you are there you can choose to use the JR line or the Nankai plus Kintetsu combination to go to Nara.
Travelling on the JR line is suggested, especially if you have bulky luggage. You can reach Nara in 90 minutes at the price of 1.700 yen. From the airport, take the train heading to Ōsaka city centre. At Tennōji Station transfer to the Yamatoji Line and get off at Nara JR Station.
By traveling on the Nankai and Kintetsu lines, you can get to Nara in 2 hours at the price of 1.500 yen. From the airport’s station take the Nankai Line and get off at Nanba Station. From here you can walk to Ōsaka Nanba Station by foot and then take the train to Nara.
※There are many stations and lines in Nanba, and moving from a station to another passing through the underground shopping district might take some time: that’s why we advice you to travel on the JR line.
From the airport you can also take a highway bus which will lead you to Nara in 90 minutes at the price of 2.000 yen.
Taking this bus doesn’t require line transfers, so it’s the easiest and most comfortable way to get to Nara.
Coming from Ōsaka‘s centre, take the Yamatoji Line form Ōsaka Station and get off at Nara JR Station, or you can take the Kintetsu line from Nanba Station if you are staying in the southern area.