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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.