Do you know how to “ move “ in Japan ? #1–1 Kyoto by the BUS

Most Japanese would say that “ It is difficult to move using public transportation in Japan.” This story might sound silly for travelers but public transportation networks in Japan are very complex.

Kyoto is famous for temples, shrines, and being the birthplace of Japanese culture. Most travelers would want to go to many famous places and know the culture, if possible. But one big barrier in doing so is traffic.

  1. Moving by Bus

We can use a lot of buses in Kyoto. They are a common means of transportation for residents in Kyoto and travelers. That’s why bus stops cover Kyoto-city.

There is one major difficulty : There are 5 bus companies in Kyoto.

Kyoto municipal bus

Kyoto municipal Bus

The Kyoto municipal bus is the largest bus network in Kyoto city. If you can take this bus, you can go to almost all places where you want to go.

However, the number of bus routes are too many — over 100. When you go to ‘Gion’ — it is famous for Maiko, Geisha and the beautiful scenery. — from Kyoto station, you can take the bus №4, 5, 17, 100, 104, 106, 110, 205, and 206. Furthermore, those buses launch at different spot around the same bus stops. Lots of buses may be good for going to places but this complicates things, making customers feel uneasy with so many choices. For first-time travelers in Japan, this situation leads to confusion.

Important points :
Check the correct bus number to your destination. 
Check the launch-spot around the bus stop.

Link : English Map for Kyoto municipal Bus

↓ useful website for knowing where to find the correct launch spot at the bus stop (picture maps)

<Information : Kyoto municipal Bus>

FARE: 230 yen

500 yen (per-day) *only used by Kyoto municipal Bus and Kyoto Bus

16 bus launch-spot at Kyoto station

Other bus companies - Kyoto Bus, Keihan Bus, Hankyu Bus, JR Bus

Kyoto Bus

Kyoto Bus

The Kyoto Bus is the 2nd major bus company in Kyoto city. Although the Kyoto municipal
bus can take us to most shrines and temples in Kyoto city, it isn’t useful for
doing to Arashiyama. By taking the Kyoto Bus, it is easy to go to the Arashiyama
area. Moreover, you can also go to the
Kihune-shrine — a hidden
attraction in Kyoto and famous for its stairs to the shrine made by rocks and the
clear stream around the shrine.

1-day free pass for Kyoto municipal bus can be also used for Kyoto Bus.

The name of
both buses — Kyoto municipal Bus and Kyoto Bus — is similar. Be careful not to
take the wrong bus. In this case, there is no problem if you have a free pass.

<Information : Kyoto Bus>

FARE: 230

500 yen (per-day) *
only used by Kyoto municipal Bus and Kyoto Bus

Link: Japanese map for Kyoto Bus

Keihan Bus, Hankyu Bus and JR Bus

They are operated by railway companies. Their main use if in conglomeration with the railway. That’s why their buses do not have many customers and are not useful for us. These buses operation don’t cover famous places. It is recommended that you don’t take these.

Keihan Bus
Hankyu Bus
JR Bus

However, the shape of the 5 buses are similar and the number of people taking the wrong bus is continually increasing. If you have a free pass for the Kyoto municipal Bus and the Kyoto Bus, you can’t use it on either of the Keihan Bus, Hankyu Bus and JR Bus and you have to pay additional fare if you take these buses accidentally. (230 yen).

At last, a point in common with the 5 buses is that the time of the last bus is earlier than that of both Tokyo and Osaka, and maybe throughout the world. In Kyoto, most of these buses finish around 10 o’clock pm. Any time after 10pm is probably pushing it a little as buses later in night are crowded and they come less frequently.

Recommend buses in Kyoto : Taking Kyoto municipal bus basically, Buying 1 day free pass, Taking Kyoto Bus secondary if you want not-famous places, Going back to Hotel before 22 o'clock.

Writer has the plan to write next : #1–2 Kyoto by train

The combination of the bus and the train is also effective if you want to visit Kyoto.