Using Public Transport
On the left-hand side of this page,
you should see a city bus route map.
As you can see, the city bus and subway route runs throughout the city, making it a very convenient service.
Plus, they provide an economical way to visit all of the city’s most famous sightseeing locations.
But, for brand new tourists to the city, it may be a bit overwhelming and complex. You may even lose your will to travel by bus.
However, don’t give up yet!
We have a handy route map that you can view here. Its most relevant details are contained below.
Arukumachi KYOTO Route Planner — “Bus and Train Veteran”
This site collects almost all transportation options for Kyoto. Not only does it include the city bus information, but it also includes the train system, and other companies.
In the picture below, you should see an easy-to-use application service for searching the best routes, timetables, and fares for city buses and rail services in Kyoto. Simply enter the departure and destination points. Also, the application provides detailed information such as a bus route map, so that you can learn more about Kyoto’s geography.
Once you see the route map, you will easily understand what you need to do. The map can be downloaded below.
But, we also recommend that you view the printed map to see details.
And it’s provided for free
at “Kyo-Navi” or the Bus information center in the Kyoto Station.
“Arukumachi Kyoto Route Planner also offers a smartphone app.
However, we have not yet examined it well, so we are unable to comment.
Based on their web services, we highly recommend the service.
Bus fares and Flat/Non-Flat fare Zone
The fare area of the City bus in Kyoto is greatly divided into two zones.
Inside the area is Flat fare zone. The outside is the Non-Flat fare zone.
The map below shows the Flat fare Zone.
Inside the Flat fare area,
a one-way bus ticket costs JPY230 for adults, and JPY120 for children ages 6~12.
Out the flat fare area(Non-Flat fare),
a one-way bus ticket depends on the area traveled.
There are two main bus paths.
Kyoto City Bus & Kyoto Bus One-Day Pass
JPY Adult 500/ Child 250
It includes unlimited travel within the flat fare zone of the Kyoto City Bus & Kyoto Bus. Within the city’s flat fare zone, you can travel freely throughout the day, without having to worry about paying again. Just don’t lose your ticket!
However, if your destination is outside the city’s flat fare zone, you will need to pay a separate fare from the bus stop on the zone border.
Kyoto Sightseeing One- and Two-Day Pass Prices
One-Day Pass Price: JPY Adult 1200/ Child 600
Two-Day Pass Price: JPY Adult 2000/ Child 1000
All Kyoto City buses, subway train, and buses run by the Kyoto Bus Company, will accept these cards for repeated fares. When a one-, or two-day card is purchased, a free guide map will be provided. This guide map includes coupons from certain stores and vendors.
How to ride, pay the fare and get off the bus.
Board from the rear door.
And exit at the front. The bus fare is paid as you get off the bus.
Pay When you get off.
Put the exact fare. The payment box does not give change.
Exchange bills and coins beforehand with the change machine in the payment box. Small change is only available from coins and 1,000yen notes.
For more information, Click the picture left.
Kyoto Station Bus terminal
The main terminal is located on the north side of the station. If you go straight out the Central exit, you will see the Kyoto Tower. Most of the buses start from this area of the Kyoto Station. On your right, you should see a “Bus Information Center,” where you can purchase one-day, or two-day tickets, and receive a free bus route map.
Although there are many boards that explain the bus system, the best one is located right in front of Kyoto Tower. Featuring the latest technology, this electronic display shows the current status of all buses coming to-and-from Kyoto Station at a glance.
About the “Hachijo Exit” on the South Side of Kyoto Station.
Note; At Kyoto Station, the south exit is called “Hachijyo Exit.”
For passengers on long distance buses;
Such as Airport limousine buses or Highway buses (not including the JR bus),
the boarding terminals are on the south side of Kyoto Station at Hachijo exit.
Also, some of the city buses heading south towards places;
Such as “Toji Temple” and “Fushimi Inari Shrine,”
depart from the bus stop at the Hachijyo exit.
How to Understand the Fancy Bus Electronic Display
On the right-hand side, you can see a list of all the buses that operate at this bus terminal. And it shows the approaching status of each bus, classifying the destination of the bus by color.
Detailed Information to Help You Understand What This Shows
Here is a breakdown of the display above from left-to-right.
- Operating companies are color-coded.
- “Bus Route No” that is color-coded as follows:
- Blue: City Bus, Flat Fare, One-Way Route*
- Orange: City Bus, Flat Fare, Circular Route. **
- White: City Bus, and NOT a Flat Fare Route. Destination is too far.
- Green: “Kyoto Bus” Company Bus. NOT a Flat Fare Route.
- Approaching Status. It normally shows the estimated arrival time. As the bus approaches, it shows a flashing yellow sign ― “Approaching”.
- No. of Boarding Platform. This is where you will board this bus.
* When there is a Chinese character instead of a number, it means that the bus will only run for a temporary amount of time.
** Circular Buses: The majority of these buses operate within Kyoto city. In case you use this type of bus, please make sure to confirm the destination and direction of it. As it follows a circular route, it has two directions: clockwise and counter-clockwise. Since the circulation bus has two directions, please confirm the details to make sure you are going in the direction you prefer. That way, you won’t lose any precious time.
After confirming the destination of the bus, and where you would like to go, refer to the boarding number. Then, look at the Terminal Map on the left-hand side of the Information Board. The exact location of the boarding platform will be indicated there.
The map below shows a list of boarding numbers based on the destination of major sightseeing spots. It should be very helpful in your adventures around Kyoto!
RAKU bus (“Raku” meaning Kyoto) that travel through popular sightseeing areas, is operated for tourists by Kyoto city.
The buses are distinctively painted with images of the four seasons in Kyoto, and provide enhanced on-board announcements in English.
The Raku 100 bus goes to the Higashiyama and Okazaki areas of Kyoto: Heian Shrine, Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Ginkakuji Temple in the east of the city.
The Raku 101 bus goes to Nijo Castle, Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine and Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Pavilion) in the central and western parts of the city.
The Raku 102 bus goes to and from Ginkaku-ji Temple via Kinkaku-ji Temple and Daitoku-ji Temple in a loop of the northern part of the city from east to west and back again.