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Kyoto Station bus stand

Kyoto Bus Service – How To Ride

November 2018
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. Make at least 3 trips (¥230 X 3) and you’ll start to save ¥90. Your subsequent trips are then for free. The pass 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

Guesthouse Urban Kyoto

Guesthouse Urban Kyoto

November 2018
Our accommodation in Kyoto is ‘Guesthouse Urban Kyoto’. It’s a 8~10 minutes, 650m walk from the Kyoto train station and is on bus #5 route. Right in-front of the apartment is the bus stand to Kyoto station whilst bus coming from the Kyoto station stops just before the apartment. A taxi ride to/fro Kyoto train station cost +/- ¥650.

Guesthouse Urban Kyoto Station

Frontage of Guesthouse Urban Kyoto. Our rented apartment is at the top right. Unit #302, 3F (2nd Floor). The ground floor consists of a Pharmacy & a cafe.

Guest House Urban

Map showing Guesthouse Urban Kyoto relative to the Kyoto train station.

The ground floor of the apartment is occupied by a pharmacy and a cafe. The entrance to the apartment is via a side door behind the pharmacy. There is no elevator and you’ll need to climb a narrow staircase, not something an elderly or a traveler with heavy begs would cheer about. Access to the apartment is by entering number codes at the main entrance as well as to your unit. So, it’s rather a key-less entry system, no worries about loosing your keys or entry card. There is no manned counter and entry information will be e-mail to you prior to your arrival. Check-in is 15:00 and check-out is 10:00

Guesthouse Urban Kyoto Station

The narrow and steep staircase. Hauling a heavy beg is a challenge.

Guesthouse Urban Kyoto Station

Apartment #302 in the centre. A mechanical keypad is used for entry.

Our apartment is a corner unit which is bigger than the rest. I wonder how small the others are, as our apartment meant for 3 guests, but only occupied by two of us is considered compact. (The owner also has 2 guests apartments in this building). The kitchen is small however we only used it to heat instant meal packs. The bathroom is tiny, it’s difficult not to bump against something inside. Even for us small size Asians, movement is restricted in the bathroom. During our 4 nights stay, no rubbish collection nor room cleaning was done. Booking of this apartment can be made through hotel aggregators.

Guesthouse Urban Kyoto Station

Mini kitchen with an induction stove.

Guesthouse Urban Kyoto Station

Water kettle, microwave oven and a small refrigerator.

Guesthouse Urban Kyoto Station

Multi drawer cupboard and small LCD CTV.

Guesthouse Urban Kyoto Station

2 single beds side-by-side. A foldable mattress under the bed for a 3rd guest.

The apartment has an air conditioner cum heater and if you need to do some laundering, at the ground floor you’ll find washing machines. A 7-Eleven convenience store is close by the apartment. If only an elevator is installed, this apartment would be a recommended option to a hotel.

Guesthouse Urban Kyoto Station

The VERY tiny bathroom. Even the wash basin and bath tub is half size and the WC is positioned at an angle to optimise space.

Kyoto attractions

Downtown Kyoto Attractions

November 2018
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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