Kyoto Getting Around Kyoto By Bus

by Jun 11, 2020

Let’s take the bus around Kyoto!

Of course! Can’t see anything underground…

Kyoto City Bus tl;dr

  • Get a Day Bus Pass
  • Makes Getting Around Town Easier
  • If You’re Adverse to Traffic, Consider a Taxi

You’re in a new place for short period of time, let’s say a weekend, and are trying to see as much as you can! What do you do? Do what we did when we were in Kyoto for less than 48 hours and get the full local experience!

You want to go somewhere fast, then you take the fastest way there. If you want to see more local life on the streets of a new city, you take the bus. At least, that’s what I tell myself. It may not always be the fastest, but you’ll see a lot more of city instead of underground darkness.

First things first, we went to get a Kyoto 1 Day Pass (or for however long you’ll be in town) when we got off the train at Kyoto Station for 600 yen (at the time). If you’re there longer or plan to go to further out of downtown locations then maybe spring another 300 yen for the 900 yen Pass that includes use of the subway. And then off you go!

While wildly convenient, be WARY of getting a day pass anywhere you are. Consider how many places you want to go in the given time frame and calculate whether there’s value or not; sometimes it worthwhile and sometimes not so much.

There were a lot of places we wanted to visit, way more than 3 stops so it just made sense to get the day pass both for value and slice of local life.

From There

We wanted to do specific things and get in as much as we could in the limited time we had available to us. Sure, we didn’t see everything but we did as much as we could. And most of that is thanks to the Kyoto City Bus that helped spirit us around to many of the local sites:

  • Kinkaku-ji | Golden Pavilion
  • Gion | Area known for Geishas
  • Nijo Castle
  • Kyoto Imperial Palace
  • Nishiki Market

AND a great pair of walking shoes.

While I’m always a fan of a plan, be conscious of what’s happening. Most plans should be flexible enough to embrace things as they happen in the present versus rushing off to the next location missing life between places.

We did miss the Fushimi Inari Temple, Arashiyama and other sites due to time constraints along with their physical locations being a touch off the beaten path but that just gives a reason to come back someday.

At the time, internet information wasn’t as readily available as it is today. We could have possibly better scheduled things however we would have been more rushed to see more things as opposed to experiencing moments casually making these experience more memorable.

Also consider that busses are not only useful to you but the locals as well. Figure out when the rush hour is to avoid getting caught in it.

This gave us a reason to come back another time during a different season to get another chance to see things.

What is It

Kyoto City Bus Pass is a pass to give you on and off bus privileges around most, if not everywhere you want to go in Kyoto for 24 hours.

Whenever you’re in a new location, and you happen to be not alone, watch what the locals do before assuming anything. Counterintuitively to most non-Japanese, like myself, is that you board the bus from the back and exit by the driver.

Where is It

Kyoto City Bus Passes can be purchased at the:

  • Kyoto Station
  • Kyoto Station Visitor Center
  • City Bus(?)

I believe you can purchase it on the bus itself but given my lack of Japanese, I figure it would be easier to get it at the the Kyoto Station versus holding up the line of potential local passengers getting onto their bus.

Don’t be that guy!

You're going to eat, you might as well eat something tasty.
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