A Beginner's Guide to the Kyoto City Bus System Part 1: The Basics

[Local College Students Tell All!] Kyoto City Buses help immensely when you want to go around to the many sightseeing spots in the city effectively. However, people often say things like the routes are complicated and that they do not know the system. Local students introduce the knack of using the city buses wisely! Here is a beginner's guide!


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Part 2: A Beginner's Guide to the Kyoto City Bus System Part 2: How to Read the Destination Indicator & Recommended Sightseeing Routes

Part 3: A Beginner's Guide to the Kyoto City Bus System Part 3: Convenient Bus Services Categorized by Time and Destination



If you use a city bus wisely, it will enhance your Kyoto sightseeing experience! Please try using a city bus so that you can enjoy Kyoto more!

About Kyoto City Buses

Kyoto city buses run throughout the entire city, so it can be said that this is a must-use transportation means for local sightseeing.

You can see that the bus destination is shown on the front, the side and the back of the bus.

This picture shows 2 examples of bus stops. There are several designs including a covered-roof and a poster-columned bus stop.

About the bus fare

There are 2 types of Kyoto city buses: the first type runs in the center of the city and the fare remains the same (flat-fare route) and the other type runs between the center of the city and the suburbs and the fare is determined by the distance traveled (multi-section route).

The flat-fare route costs 230 yen for adults and 120 yen for children, however, please pay attention when using the multi-section routes, because they vary according to the distance traveled. It is in your best interest to double check which route your destination falls into. In addition, it is good to use route maps which are available at city bus and subway information centers. 

Kyoto Transportation Bureau:http://www.city.kyoto.lg.jp/kotsu/ (Japanese only)

Economical Passes

You can either pay for your fare in cash or by using an IC card, but try the Kyoto Sightseeing Pass, which can be purchased at city bus and subway information centers. If you ride the bus several times, you can not only save money, but time as well because payment is quick and easy.

Kyoto Sightseeing 1 and 2 Day Passes

There are both 1 day passes (1,200 yen for adults and 600 yen for children) and 2 day passes. If you purchase one of these passes, you can ride the Kyoto city bus, the Kyoto subway and some of the Kyoto buses as much as you want. You can get around the city effectively using both a bus and the subway, which never gets delayed due to a traffic jam!

Kyoto City Bus and Kyoto Bus One-day Pass

In addition, Kyoto City Bus and Kyoto Bus One-Day Pass is useful, because it costs 500 yen for adults and 250 yen for children, and you can ride as much as you want with in the flat fare zone. You can buy this pass inside the bus, but there could be an instance when their stock is out, so it is better to buy before getting on the bus.

Let's Practice Riding a Bus!

Here is how board a flat-fare route bus, which you might use frequently within the city. Are you ready to ride?

You enter the bus by using the rear door (A) and exit by using the front door (B) and pay the fare when you get off the bus.

This picture shows the interior from the front of the bus looking back, and at the very back of the bus there is a seat that can accommodate several people.

Please note, if you see the picture above on the windows, it marks priority seating for the elderly, the handicapped, expecting mothers, people with small children, and people with internal disabilities.

The electric panel located on the upper left side of the driver's seat shows the next destination in both Japanese and English. There are also announcements in both Japanese and English.

If you want to get off at the next bus stop, please press the button like the one shown above, which are on the walls and handrails of the bus. When the bus stops at your destination, you can drop your money into the fare box and exit out of the front door.

About Paying the Fare

The fare box is in the front of the bus, next to the driver's seat.

Your payment method depends on how you are paying your fare.


Put your coins in (A), but if you need to exchange money, please do so beforehand by using the exchange machine (B). Please note that you cannot exchange 5,000 and 10,000 yen notes!

2. Day Pass Card 

Insert your pass in (C). When using either Kyoto City Bus and Kyoto Bus One-Day Pass or Kyoto Sightseeing 1 and 2 Day Passes, insert the card only on the first time, and then show the dates printed on the back of the card to the driver.

3. IC Card

Scan your card above (D).

This picture shows the reverse side of a day pass. The first time you get on the bus, insert the card into the card reader, and the date will be printed on the back of the pass. On your next ride, just show the back of the pass to the driver.

Once you figure out how to ride a city bus, you will find it more useful than you imagined. So please use the buses more often, and fully enjoy your sightseeing adventure in Kyoto. However, always make sure to check the timetables before you start your trip, so that you will not miss your bus because you are having such a good time going around the city!




Kansai Feature

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

About the author

We're a group of local college students in Kyoto that produce information about Kyoto's charms to release to the world. We write articles about Kyoto using information that only locals could know. We hope you enjoy our work!

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