【20 things】to know and be careful about when traveling to Kyoto, Japan for sightseeing.

20 important things when traveling to Japan


What are the recommended sightseeing spots in Kyoto?

Recommended spots include Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, and Kinkaku-ji Temple.

What is the recommended sightseeing map for Kyoto?

Please refer to the official Kyoto tourism website: Kyoto Tourism Navi.

Is taking a bus recommended for sightseeing in Kyoto?

While the one-day pass is affordable and convenient, be cautious of the heavy crowds.

bus driver

I, a former Kyoto City bus driver, will be your guide.

Ten things to know and be careful about when traveling to Kyoto, Japan for sightseeing.

1: The Kyoto City buses where the one-day pass can be used are always very crowded.

This is a live video from the bus stop at Kyoto Station, heading towards Kiyomizu-dera Temple.

This is the busiest bus stop for traveling from Kyoto Station to Kiyomizu Temple. It’s a 15-minute distance to Gojozaka/Kiyomizu-michi bus stop, but you may wait for over 30 minutes before boarding.

  • We have to wait in a long queue for the bus.
  • The bus I boarded is very crowded.
bus driver

If you absolutely want to take this bus for a cheaper option, be prepared.

Taxis in Japan are safe, reliable, and affordable. We recommend using taxi apps for a comfortable experience.

English-friendly taxi booking app.

2:The one-day pass in Kyoto allows unlimited rides on both the subway and buses. Try to make the most of the subway whenever possible.

You can access most tourist spots within Kyoto city by bus, but it takes time and buses are often crowded. For faster and more comfortable transportation to major destinations, consider using the subway.

bus driver

Especially if you’re heading towards Kyoto Station in the evening, buses can get extremely crowded, so prioritize using the subway.

3:The buses you can ride with a one-day pass are only the green Kyoto City buses. Red, blue, and maroon-colored buses are not eligible.

Basically, you can only use buses of this color. ↓

You cannot use these colored buses. (Some are available for use.) ↓

bus driver

Remember that only the green buses are available for rides with the one-day pass.

4:Buses heading to Kiyomizu-dera and Kinkaku-ji have both clockwise and counterclockwise routes, so be careful not to board in the opposite direction

The bus stop for Route 206 bound for Kiyomizu-dera is “D2”

bus driver

There are two bus stops for Route 206, but the one with the queue is always for Kiyomizu-dera direction.

The bus stop for Route 206 in the opposite direction is “A3”. It takes approximately 100 minutes.

The bus stop for Route 205, the shortest route from Kyoto Station to Kinkaku-ji Temple, is designated as “B3”

bus driver

The estimated time required is approximately 45 minutes.

If you take Route 205 from bus stop “A2” and go clockwise, it will take about 60 minutes.

bus driver

The Route 205 bus has the highest number of passengers in Japan. Buses arrive every 10 minutes, but they are always very crowded.

5:Kyoto City bus drivers do not speak English

If you need to ask the driver something, I recommend using the translation feature on your smartphone.

bus driver

I apologize for the lack of preparation/study

6:If you haven’t properly touched your transportation IC card at the train station, it cannot be used on the bus. You need to return to the train station to have it released.

Make sure to carefully check and properly touch the card when passing through the station’s ticket gates, as the card will remain unusable until you return to the train station and release it.

bus driver

There’s nothing you can do on the bus.

7:Credit cards cannot be used for payment on Kyoto City buses. Only cash, IC cards, and one-day passes are accepted.

Before boarding the bus, let’s prepare cash, an IC card, or a one-day pass.

bus driver

It would be convenient to use credit cards, but Japan is behind in this regard. I’m sorry about that.

8:When paying cash on Kyoto City buses, please prepare exact change or 1000 yen bills. Payment cannot be made with 10,000 yen bills

Only 1,000 yen bills can be used.

Not usable: 10,000 yen bills, 5,000 yen bills.

bus driver

Make sure to check before boarding the bus.

9:When using a transportation IC card on the bus, make sure to charge it at stations or convenience stores beforehand, or you may not be able to use it due to insufficient balance.

You can charge with a 1000 yen bill on the bus. Please communicate with the driver using simple words or gestures.

bus driver

Please don’t give up just because this IC card is no longer usable. It’s convenient to have it for traveling anywhere in Japan, so make sure to recharge it properly.

10:The fare for Kyoto City buses is a flat rate and is paid upon exiting the bus. There is no need for card touch or payment when boarding.

For buses other than Kyoto City buses, you may need to take a numbered ticket or touch your IC card in advance, so be sure not to make a mistake.

bus driver

For Kyoto City buses, numbered tickets are required only for a very small number of minor routes, but you don’t need to worry too much about it.

11:2024 Latest Edition! Enjoy Kyoto Travel Economically! Recommended One-Day Pass Information

bus driver

Here is the recommended one-day pass information!

What is the recommended affordable one-day pass for Kyoto sightseeing in 2024?

It would be the ‘Subway and Bus One-Day Pass (1,100 yen).

Where can I purchase a one-day bus pass for sightseeing in Kyoto?

You can purchase it at Kyoto Station Information Center, on city buses, at subway stations, and convenience stores.

While it’s a cost-effective one-day pass,

relying too much on buses can lead to congestion and time loss, so caution is necessary

12:With JR Shinkansen tickets, you cannot use Kyoto City buses. Only the blue JR buses are available for use

To travel from Kyoto Station to Kinkaku-ji Temple on the 205 city bus route, an additional fee is required.

If you take the blue JR bus from Kyoto Station to the Waratenjin-mae bus stop,

it’s about a 10-minute walk from there to Kinkaku-ji Temple.

bus driver

JR buses have few routes and infrequent services, making them inconvenient for travel

Reference route map↓

13:Let’s use affordable and comfortable private taxis for sightseeing in Kyoto.

If you want to spend a comfortable day exploring Kyoto, we recommend hiring a private sightseeing taxi.

Since there are few Japanese drivers fluent in foreign languages,

the recommended sightseeing taxi company is ‘MK Sightseeing Taxi‘ without a doubt!

Prices range from around ¥38,350 for 6 hours to ¥56,050 for 9 hours.

bus driver

The driver also recommends delicious restaurants.

English-friendly taxi booking app.

14:”Visit by train without using buses” Kyoto sightseeing trip

Sightseeing within Kyoto city can be largely covered by Kyoto city buses,


major tourist spots in Kyoto are easily accessible by train and walking alone.

1st in importance:Keihan train

Keihan train

2nd place in importance:JR train

JR train

3rd place in importance:Subway


bus driver

It’s definitely more comfortable than dealing with crowded buses.

15:If you’re looking for a recommended double-decker bus for sightseeing in Kyoto, the Sky Hop Bus is your best choice.

Kyoto city buses are inexpensive, but they are often confusing and crowded due to frequent use by the general public, resulting in long wait times and standing room only inside the vehicle.

Using the tourist route bus “Sky Hop Bus” addresses these issues as it connects only major tourist destinations, making it easy to understand, quicker in terms of time, and allowing passengers to sit comfortably while enjoying the scenery during travel.

It may cost a bit more, but it will surely provide a comfortable means of transportation.

Points to note when using the Sky Hop Bus

  • The frequency of operation is lower than that of Kyoto city buses, so if you miss one, the next bus will be approximately 25 minutes later.
  • If the number of passengers exceeds the seating capacity, you may have to wait for the next bus.
  • Sky Bus tickets are only valid for the day of purchase and do not remain valid for 24 hours from the time of purchase.

Tourist spots accessible by Sky Hop Bus

Sky Hop Bus

bus driver

It is 4,000 yen per adult in Japanese currency.

16:”Kyoto Sightseeing Model Course: 1 Night 2 Days – A Travel Plan to Enjoy Gourmet Experiences!”

Day 1
Day 2
bus driver

Kinkaku-ji is worth seeing for its golden color, but Ginkaku-ji, lacking the silver hue, might not be as worthy of a visit

17:”Kyoto Sightseeing Model Course: 3 Days 2 Nights – A Travel Plan to Enjoy Gourmet Experiences!”

Day 1: “Exploring Along the JR Line”
Day 2: “Touring the City’s Attractions”
Day 3: “Journey to Feel Nature and Power”
bus driver

It is recommended to take a train to a slightly distant place on the first day, and to relax and return on the last day

18:”Kyoto Sightseeing Model Course: 4 Days 3 Nights – A Travel Plan to Enjoy Gourmet Experiences!”

Day 3: “Touring the City’s Tourist Attractions”
  • Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)
  • Kiyomizu-dera
  • Kamo River
  • Gion District / Hanami-koji
  • Samurai & Ninja Museum Kyoto
  • Nishiki Market / Pontocho
  • Hotel
Day 4: “Journey to Feel Nature and Power”
  • Sanzen-in Temple in Ohara
  • Kifune Shrine
  • Kurama-dera Temple
  • Kamigamo Shrine
  • (Shimogamo Shrine)
  • Return journey
bus driver

Experiencing activities at the beginning and ending with relaxation is recommended

Arrangements are flexible. Customize your favorite spots! Following this model course is the most efficient direction

19:If you’re staying at a hotel in Kyoto, I recommend either the area around Kyoto Station or Shijo Karasuma

In Kyoto, the choices for accommodation can be broadly divided into two categories.

If you’re seeking luxurious dining options and upscale rooms, hotels around Kyoto Station are recommended.

The downside is that the Kyoto ambiance might not be as prominent in the vicinity of Kyoto Station.

If you wish to experience dining, alcohol, shopping, and the traditional Kyoto atmosphere until late at night, hotels around Shijo Kawaramachi are recommended.

The downside here is that the hotel restaurants may not be as diverse, and the hotels might be smaller in scale.


these two locations are only about 3 minutes apart by subway, or approximately a 1000 yen taxi ride away.

bus driver

If it were up to me, I would choose the bustling district of “Shijo Kawaramachi” and enjoy Kyoto’s nightlife

20:【Kyoto sightseeing recommendations 2024】 This is perfect! Introducing the top 10 must-sees for travelers

bus driver

Numbers 1 to 7 are in central Kyoto.
Others are a little far away.

bus driver

Japanese restaurants don’t have to be high-end restaurants to be delicious. that can only be enjoyed in Japan

bus driver

Experiences that can only be enjoyed in Japan

bus driver

All can be purchased at Kyoto Station on the Shinkansen

【Summary】20 Things to Be Mindful of When Touring Kyoto.

Visiting a foreign country is an enjoyable experience, but without being aware of its cultural nuances, one might end up regretting it.

Japan is an affordable and friendly country, but it’s important to be mindful of the above 20 points.

Wishing you a wonderful journey of exploring Japan.

20 important things when traveling to Japan


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