Recommended Transportation Options for Sightseeing in Kyoto


What are the recommended transportation options for sightseeing in Kyoto?

A combination of subway and bus is the most economical option. Trains and walking are also recommended. Taxis are effective for comfortable travel.

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.

What is the recommended Kyoto sightseeing information website?

For reference, the Kyoto Tourism Official Website: Kyoto Tourism Navi is recommended.

bus driver

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

Let’s consider the modes of transportation in this order

Solo travelCouple or friends tripFamily trip
① Taxi
② Train & walk
③ Sightseeing bus
⑤ Kyoto City Bus


Why isn’t the Kyoto City Bus recommended?

This is a live video of the Kyoto Station bus terminal.

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.

Advantages and disadvantages of recommended modes of transportation

Top Recommendation: Taxi

  • Get to the destination as quickly as possible.
  • You can spend time sightseeing.
  • Not crowded
  • It’s okay to drink alcohol
  • If several people are using it, it can sometimes be cheaper than taking the bus by splitting the fare.
  • It costs several times more than the bus fare.

The cost may be high, but there’s nothing more valuable than time well spent.

English-friendly taxi booking app.

Second recommendation: Train and walking.

The train system within Kyoto city is not extensive, but it’s convenient to take a train to a station near your destination and walk the rest of the way.

  • It’s not as crowded as the bus.
  • High level of safety.
  • My legs get tired from walking
  • Difficult if you have small children with you

On your trip, you probably want to visit many different places, but it’s best to narrow down your spots. I recommend limiting it to about three places.

Third recommendation: Sightseeing bus.

“The Kyoto city bus, which can get extremely crowded, especially with the use of daily passes.”

  • Compared to Kyoto city buses, the interior of the vehicle feels more comfortable.
  • Due to the low frequency, timing is crucial.

You can find more details about the Sky Hop Bus here.

Fourth recommendation: Kyoto City Bus.

  • You can travel cheaply with a one-day pass.
  • You can reach most tourist destinations just by using the city bus.
  • There are many bus numbers, making it difficult to know the destination.
  • The travel time is very long.
  • The bus interior is very crowded.
  • The bus drivers barely speak English.
  • Payment by credit card is not accepted.

The Kyoto City Bus is cheap and convenient, but be aware that there are many drawbacks overall.


Kyoto Station Bus Terminal

Kiyomizu-michi Bus Stop ”Kiyomizu-dera Temple”

Gojozaka Bus Stop ”Kiyomizu-dera Temple”

Gion Bus Stop

Kinkakuji-michi Bus Stop ”Kinkakuji Temple”

Arashiyama Bus Stop


These bus stops can get extremely crowded, especially in the evenings, making it difficult to catch a bus. Please be mindful of your return train or flight times.

Kyoto City Bus and Subway Information
Kyoto City Bus One-Day Pass Information

Further detailed explanation! Basic transportation methods for sightseeing in Kyoto.

When sightseeing in Kyoto, choosing the right mode of transportation is crucial. By effectively utilizing public transportation such as buses and trains, you can efficiently explore the beautiful temples, shrines, and charming streets. Rental bicycles are also popular for exploring at your own pace. Additionally, knowing the key points when using taxis can ensure a comfortable Kyoto sightseeing experience.

How to Use Public Transportation

In Kyoto, a diverse range of public transportation options, such as buses and trains, are well-developed.

In particular, the bus network that traverses the city is convenient for sightseeing, allowing access to major tourist spots.

Checking the route map before boarding and using an IC card enable smooth travel.

Moreover, from Kyoto Station, easy access to the suburbs is available using trains such as JR, Keihan, and Hankyu lines.

As Kyoto’s tourist attractions are spread over a wide area, the combination of public transportation becomes crucial.

The appeal of rental bicycles

Kyoto’s streets are perfect for exploring by rental bicycle. Riding a bicycle along the narrow alleyways and riverside paths of Kyoto allows you to experience its unique atmosphere. Additionally, with the availability of rental electric-assist bicycles, even hills become manageable. When using rental bicycles, it’s important to always lock them to prevent theft and to ride responsibly, obeying traffic rules and being mindful of pedestrians and cars. You’ll be able to fully enjoy the charm of a leisurely journey at your own pace.

Key Points for Taxi Travel

Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

Firstly, taxi stands are often located near major tourist attractions, allowing you to board without waiting for long periods.

Furthermore, taxi drivers are often knowledgeable about tourist destinations, so you can obtain information while traveling.

However, delays due to traffic congestion or high fares may occur, so it’s recommended to consider the time of day and distance before using a taxi.

By using taxis wisely, you can achieve a comfortable sightseeing experience in Kyoto.

English-friendly taxi booking app.

Optimal Transportation Methods by Area

When exploring the beautiful tourist destinations of Japan, such as Kyoto, knowing the most suitable mode of transportation for each area can enhance your travel experience significantly.

Discovering gentle yet efficient ways to navigate through the historic streets can create unforgettable moments during your journey.

By understanding the characteristics of each area and introducing comfortable access methods, we hope to contribute to making your time more fulfilling.

How to Get Around the Arashiyama District

Arashiyama is a popular tourist destination dotted with charming spots such as Togetsukyo Bridge, bamboo groves, and riverside dining.

To efficiently explore this expansive area, renting a bicycle is highly recommended. Especially during the cherry blossom season in spring or the autumn foliage, you can enjoy the changing scenery at the speed of a bike.

Moreover, the area around Togetsukyo Bridge is ideal for exploring on foot. By wandering into narrow paths, you may encounter unexpected discoveries or stumble upon hidden cafes for a relaxing break.

Furthermore, Arashiyama offers unique transportation options such as the Sagano Scenic Railway and Hozugawa River Boat Ride, allowing you to appreciate different scenery depending on the season.

Access to Kiyomizu-dera Temple Area

Kiyomizu-dera Temple is known as one of Kyoto’s iconic tourist spots.

The surrounding area boasts many attractions such as Gion and Yasaka Shrine, making it perfect for exploring on foot.

Due to the numerous slopes and stone steps, wearing comfortable shoes is essential when visiting.

Additionally, the area is well-served by bus routes, making travel by city bus convenient.

For those using trains, the nearest station to Kiyomizu-dera is Kiyomizu-Gojo Station from Kyoto Station. However, the journey from the station to Kiyomizu-dera is also charming and worth exploring.

You can enjoy a leisurely time while taking in the views of Kyoto’s streets.

How to Visit Kinkaku-ji and Ginkaku-ji Area

Kinkaku-ji and Ginkaku-ji are two iconic temples that symbolize Kyoto, but both are located a little away from the city center.

Therefore, it’s important to make good use of public transportation.

There is a direct bus from Kyoto Station to Kinkaku-ji, and for Ginkaku-ji, access using a combination of city buses and the subway is convenient.

Along the way, there are scenic walking paths such as the Philosopher’s Path, so you can enjoy exploring as a mini excursion from the bus stop.

These areas are crowded with tourists throughout the year, so to avoid bus congestion, it’s recommended to visit early in the morning.

You’ll be able to quietly appreciate the beauty of the golden and silver temples and experience the richness of Kyoto’s history and nature.

Sightseeing tour around Kyoto by bus.

To fully enjoy the beautiful scenery of Kyoto,

taking a sightseeing bus tour is ideal.

With various routes available, you can efficiently visit many famous landmarks and historic sites.

Especially for those who prioritize time and seek the convenience and high tourist value unique to bus travel,

it’s a perfect choice.

The Sky Hop Bus Kyoto is a bus service specialized for sightseeing in Kyoto,

especially with its one-day unlimited ride ticket being a great deal.

For a fixed price, you can freely explore designated tourist spots, reducing unnecessary travel time

and allowing you to visit more places.

These buses blend into Kyoto’s streets with unique bus stops,

making the journey itself enjoyable.

Efficient, economical, and comfortable, the Sky Hop Bus Kyoto offers a great way to tour Kyoto.

You can find more details about the Sky Hop Bus here.

Recommendation for exploring Kyoto on foot.

When visiting Kyoto, one thing I highly recommend is exploring on foot.

The city’s streets are renowned for their historical buildings and beautiful natural surroundings, making leisurely strolls the most charming way to enjoy them.

For instance, places like the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and the Philosopher’s Path offer an ambiance best experienced on foot.

Moreover, walking is not only beneficial for health but also allows you to tour attractions at your own pace, free from concerns about traffic congestion.

Wandering through the serene gardens of temples and shrines can be a refreshing experience for the soul.

Walking helps refresh both the mind and body, allowing you to appreciate the ever-changing seasons of Kyoto.

Summary of Transportation Options for Sightseeing in Kyoto

To fully enjoy sightseeing in Kyoto, it is essential to choose transportation options based on your preferences, physical abilities, and budget.

Personally, due to the excessive congestion at city bus stops and on board, I recommend avoiding buses as much as possible and opting for comfortable transportation options such as trains, walking, or taxis.

bus driver

While taking advantage of the merits of each mode of transportation, please make the most of your time and fully enjoy the charm of the ancient capital.

I hope your sightseeing trip in Kyoto will be comfortable and delightful.


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