Kyoto tales: City travel is simple and efficient, buy a bus pass

By Melissa Masatani, Staff Writer

Travel within Kyoto is relatively simple, with an efficient and reliable bus system that will get you to almost every major site.

Independent travelers can easily coordinate their own sightseeing schedules with a Kyoto city bus travel map, “Bus Navi,” available in English at the Kyoto Tourism Information Office in the Kyoto Station.

A one-day bus pass is 500 yen (depending on the day’s exchange rate, $4.92), which will pay for itself on your third 220-yen ($2.16) bus ride. Most bus drivers, even if they don’t speak English, know the tourist spots and will play a pre-recorded announcement in English before a popular stop.

A one- and two-day sightseeing pass offers fare for all city buses and subway trains at 1,200 yen ($11.81) for one day, 2,000 ($19.68) yen for two days, for the more ambitious adventurer.

A limited Japan Rail train system is available for Americans using the JR Pass, though it pales in comparison to Tokyo’s rail lines. Taxis also are abundant, but more costly and usually require some knowledge of Japanese.

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