Tag Archives: bercuti ke kyoto

Sagano Romantic Train

Sagano Romantic Train

On our second day in Kyoto, we’ll be visiting attractions in the Arashiyama district located on the western side of Kyoto. We will be riding the Sagano Romantic train first. Tickets has been pre-purchase at the JR (West) ticket office in Kansai airport a day earlier as it is known to run out fast. Most major JR (West) ticket office sells the Romantic train tickets and you can purchase it, up to 1 month in advanced. A one way ticket cost ¥620, rather expensive for a 15 minutes ride.

Sagano Romantic Train
Ticket with car & seat number allocation. Kameoka to Saga, Nov 8 @ 9:29am. The last 2 tickets for Sagano 2.

From the Kyoto train station, we took a 30 minutes JR San-in train line to Umahori station. You can board any of the trains from either platform 31, 32, or  33. Icoca card was used for fare payment on this sector. You tab your card at the ticket gate entering Kyoto train station and tap out at Umahori station.

Sagano Romantic Train
Way to the platforms.
Sagano Romantic Train

Kyoto train station map.                                                                                                                              Credit:KyotoStation.com

After getting off at Umahori station, it is a 10 minutes walk to Kameoka Torokko Station, the stop for the Romantic train. Our plan is to board the Romantic train from Kameoka Torokko station and getting off half-way at Arashiyama Torokko station where you can access the Sagano Bamboo forest within a couples of minutes walk.

Sagano Romantic Train

The walk from Umahori station to the Romantic Train stop at Kameoke Torokko, the brown building to the right.

Sagano Romantic Train

Early morning mountain view.

Sagano Romantic Train

Left to Umahori station. Signboard at Kameoke Torokko station.

Sagano Romantic Train

Directional sign for Hozugawa river boat.

Starting from Kameoka Torokko station, we would suggest sitting on the left side facing the direction of travel. From this side, you’ll get more of the river and mountain view through the ride. Please note you will be sitting on small uncomfortable wooden chair with little shoulder room that isn’t exactly romantic. Do expect the train to be crowded and noisy. Standing passengers can come close to your seat and obstruct your scenery or worst, give you an elbow. Nonetheless, the train is clean and well maintained with its bright colorful exterior paint.

Sagano Romantic Train

The first train for the day, Sagano #1 arriving from Saga Torokko. The return train will be Sagano #2 and so on.

Sagano Romantic Train

Sagano #1 passengers getting off, while passengers for Sagano #2 scrambles in. Don’t know why. Seats are already numbered.

The train will coast along the Hozugawa river and goes through the ‘scenic’ forest. You will be treated with river and forest views which will definitely be lovely during cherry blossom or autumn foliage. During other seasons, this may just be another typical train ride, nothing to write home about.

Sagano Romantic Train
Sagano Romantic Train
Sagano Romantic Train
Sagano Romantic Train
Sagano Romantic Train

We have decided to start our Romantic train ride from Kameoke Torokko and get-off at Arashiyama Torokko, the 2nd last stop about half way through the ride. This way, we will be getting the best views of the river and forest as opposed to starting from Saga Torokko. The famed Arishiyama Bamboo forest is 170m from Arishiyama Torokko station and the densest part of the forest is at about this point. If you opt not to get-off here, your last stop shall be Saga Torokko station. You can get off at any of the stations in between but NOT onto the train again.

Sagano Romantic Train

Our route in green.

Sagano Romantic Train

Hozukyo Torokko stop.

Sagano Romantic Train

A small platform for the stop at Arashiyama Torokko.

Arashiyama Torokko station.

Kyoto Station bus stand

Kyoto Bus Service – How To Ride

Bus services are extensive in Kyoto and you will likely be taking the bus, rather than the subway or train most of the time to places of attractions around Kyoto. A flat fee of ¥230 is charged for adult irrespective of the distance traveled within the designated zone. The Kyoto City buses are light green in color, with darker green stripes. The hub for Kyoto City buses is the Kyoto Station which is located just outside the Kyoto train station.

Kyoto City bus

Kyoto City bus.                                                                                                                                                    Credit:medium.com

Riding the bus is straight forward, although at first you may feel intimidated. First of all you should know where you want to go from your originating location. A route map of Kyoto City Bus is a must have to enable you to plot your route. You can download it from their website for the latest version. Alternatively, get it free from the information racks all over Kyoto train station. Outside the station, head over to the Bus Ticket Centre to get one.

Kyoto City bus

The Bus Ticket Center is to the right as you exit Kyoto train station. The Kyoto Tower is directly in-front of the center.

Kyoto Station bus stand

Location of Bus Ticket Center.


How to find which bus to your intended location.

For example, you are at Kyoto station and wanting to go to Shijo Kawaramachi to visit Teramachi shopping street.

Kyoto city bus

A segment of Kyoto City bus route map.                                                                                            Credit:www2.city.kyoto.lg.jp

1. Looking at the bus route, several buses from Kyoto station goes to Shijo Kawaramachi bus stop. You can choose bus #104, #4, #17 & #205.

2. Lets say you fancy the ‘blue’ bus route that bus #104 uses. You will then need to know where the bus stand for bus #104 is, as there are many bus stand outside Kyoto station.

Kyoto city bus

This table is part of the route map.                                                                                                     Credit :www2.city.kyoto.lg.jp

3. From the above table, bus #104 will pick-up passengers at stand A2. So that’s where you will board your bus.

4. You can take the same bus #104 for your return to Kyoto Station.


How to ride the Kyoto City bus.
Go to the designated bus stand to board your bus. Fare payment is done upon exit. You enter the bus through the center door. An LED board inside the bus will display the next stop. Ring the bell if your stop is coming up and make your way towards the front door for fare payment and exit.

Kyoto City bus

You board from the middle door & exit from the front.                            Credit:www2.city.kyoto.lg.jp

  • Fare payment by cash.
    Cash fare payment is made into a fare box next to the driver by putting in coins. All fares are to be paid in EXACT amount and no change is given. There is a coin change machine next to the driver that ONLY accept ¥1,000 notes as well as bigger coin denomination for change.

Kyoto City bus

Payment by cash.

Kyoto City bus

How a fare box and the change machine looks.                                                                              Credit:arukumachikyoto.jp

  • Fare payment by Icoca card.
    Payment by pre-charged Icoca card is the simplest. Just tab your Icoca card at the reader with the ‘IC’ symbol and you are done. Almost all other pre-charged cards of other card issuer are also accepted, example Suica, PASMO, PiTaPa, etc.

Kyoto City bus

Two variants of the Icoca cards.

Kyoto City bus

A more detailed graphic of the fare box, change machine, charge card reader, etc.                        Credit:why.kyoto/blog

Fare payment by card (paper) ticket or ‘1-day pass’ card.
Passengers with card ticket (counter/vending) or ‘1-day pass’ will have to insert the ticket into the card ticket slot. Users of ‘1-day pass’ will have their ticket stamped with the date and the ticket will be ejected out at the other end of the machine. Keep this pass for your subsequent ride for the day by just showing the driver the date stamped.

Kyoto City bus

A used ¥600 ‘1-day pass’ with the usage date stamped on the reverse.

What is a ‘1-day pass’ ?
It’s a ¥600 all day ticket. You can travel to any designated bus stops, as many times you like within the day. It can be purchased from the Bus Ticket Center, vending machine in-front of the center or on board the bus from the driver. Please note bus driver may only carry limited quantity of passes. There is no problem buying several for later use, there is no expiry date.

The ‘RAKU’ Bus
The RAKU bus complements and forms part of the Kyoto City bus fleet. These buses have different design and meant to assist tourist by stopping ONLY at tourist attractions. It’s sort of an express bus covering tourist destinations within Kyoto. The RAKU buses are nos: 100, 101 & 102 and their routes are also incorporated into the Kyoto City bus route map.

Kyoto City RAKU bus

The 3 variations of RAKU buses. The ‘norrnal’ green bus has also been spotted covering the RAKU circuit. Credit:yunosuke.com

You may find locals boarding this bus too, as they might be staying in close proximity of the attractions. So, the RAKU bus isn’t exclusive for tourist only. Fares and payment method is the same as other Kyoto City buses. Only RAKU bus 100 and 101 goes to Kyoto station.

Kyoto City bus

Extract of the routes covered by RAKU buses.                                                                                 Credit:moneywehave.com

Kyoto attractions

Downtown Kyoto Attractions

Right after Nomura Tailor, we headed for Shinkyogoku  & Teramachi Shopping arcades, followed by a visit to Nishiki Market and Hanamikoji street in Gion.

Parallel and side-by-side, Shinkyogoku & Teramachi shopping street makes it the heart of Kyoto’s main shopping area. These covered shopping arcades, are packed with shops and restaurants that sell day-to-day clothes & goods and draws the younger crowd from the more upscale stores of Shijo street where both the Shinkyogoku & Teramachi street starts.

Kyoto attractions

OIOI Kyoto Murai department store at the intersection of Shijo main street.

Kyoto downtown attractions

Attractions we’ll be visiting. Click to enlarge.

Shinkyogoku street is a much newer, narrower and crowded street than Teramachi street, It tends to attract the younger crowds with a wide range of appealing fashion & cosmetic shops, souvenir shops, game arcades, restaurants and cinema. The products on sale here are more to the liking of the younger generation as the prices are catered for their segment.

Shinkyogoku Shopping Arcade

Entrance to Shinkyogoku street from Shijo main street in the background.

Shinkyogoku Shopping Arcade

A section of Shinkyogoku street. Free wi-fi available.

Shinkyogoku Shopping Arcade

You’ll find fast food outlets and chain stores like Daiso here.

Shinkyogoku Shopping Arcade

Street with products appealing to the teens as well as to the elders.

Teramachi Shopping Arcade

Nishiki-Tenmangu shrine about mid point of Shinkyogoku street sharing it’s frontage with other stores.

Teramachi Shopping Arcade

Lanterns at the entrance of Nishiki-Tenmangu Shrine. This frontage can also be seen from across the mid-point of Teramachi street.

Teramachi street is altogether a more refined spot, with a variety of fashion shops, bookstores, art galleries, souvenirs shops, pharmacies and tea shops which makes it popular with tourists.

Teramachi Shopping Arcade

One of the entrances to Teramachi.

Teramachi Shopping Arcade

More of local brand stores at Teramachi.

Teramachi Shopping Arcade

Clean and airy with a sizable crowd too.

Teramachi Shopping Arcade

Shoes & handbags in this section.

Teramachi Halal

Mezopotamia, Halal Turkish kebab, mid-point along Teramachi street. We had kebab for lunch here.

Teramachi Halal

They have Turkish ice cream too.

Nishiki Market branches off Teramachi about 100 meters north of Shijo Street, is a colorful narrow food market famous for its street food. The market is clean, and the dry walkway makes an interesting walk to explore what’s new.

Nishiki market

One of the entrances to Nishiki Market.

Nishiki market

Walkway inside the market.

Nishiki market

Notice that sign. “No eating while walking”

Nishiki market

Clamps almost as big as a child’s fist.

Nishiki market

Skewered seafood.

Nishiki market

¥200 at the market, ¥160 from the vending machine, cheaper still at roadside shops. This is the Coca Cola Kyoto limited edition.

After covering three attractions along Shijo street, walk or take a short bus ride to Hanamikoji street which is one of the most popular streets in the Gion district. This narrow street is made of large stone bricks instead of asphalt, indicating a departure from the main road. There are no sidewalks, thus the first time visitors would have the impression, it is a pedestrian street. However, vehicles are allowed into this street and they maneuver through the crowd of tourists, ruining what would otherwise be, a cool pleasant stroll in autumn.

Hanamikoji street, Gion

Left for Hanamijoki street .

Hanamikoji street, Gion

This is the reality. So be weary of traffic when taking photos or selfie.

A walk down Hanamikoji street towards Kennin-Ji temple, will transport you down history. Here you can marvel at beautifully preserved wooden buildings, quaint road signs and traditional tea houses that makes a nostalgic sight.

Hanamikoji street, Gion

Hanamikoji street, Gion

Hanamikoji street, Gion

Hanamikoji street, Gion

Hanamikoji street, Gion

Hanamikoji street, Gion

Hanamikoji street, Gion

Hanamikoji street, Gion

Along the street, the old charm is still very well preserved all these years. The fact that the establishments here are still operating, adds an extra element of thrill and a feeling of walking back into old Japan thousands of years ago.

Hanamikoji street is the end of the day’s itinerary and we again took the bus back to Kyoto station to pick-up our begs and then headed to our apartment.

Hanamikoji street, Gion

Hanamikoji street, Gion

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