Kyoto City Bus & Kyoto Bus One-Day Pass

Kyoto City Bus & Kyoto Bus One-Day Pass
Kyoto City Bus & Kyoto Bus One-Day Pass

If you are planning on taking the bus and traveling to more than 1 attraction (e.g. Kyoto Imperial Palace, Nijio Castle, Gion, Tofukuji Temple etc...) per day, than it is worth considering getting the Kyoto City Bus & Kyoto Bus One-Day Pass. The Kyoto City Bus & Kyoto Bus One-Day Pass can be used within the allocated zone of the city and costs a flat rate of 500¥ for unlimited travel. This means that you can travel any number of times throughout one day within the City Bus & Kyoto Bus Flat-Fare Zone multiple times throughout the day.
Note: If your destination is outside the Flat-Fare Zone, a separate fare applies from the bus stop on the zone border. And you have to purchase the pass before you board the bus, if you board the bus without the pass, you have to pay either by cash or IC card.
Since the one day pass costs only 500¥, it is more worthwhile to get it than pay a standard fare of 230¥  per  trip within the City Bus & Kyoto Bus Flat-Fare Zone. You just need to go to at least 2 attractions and a trip back to the station or to your hotel and you would have easily covered the cost of the pass. Moreover, using the pass is easy and you would not have to dig for coins or notes to pay when you alight the bus. All you need to do is just flash the card to the driver as you are alighting. It is that simple. No need to worry about getting back a refund either.

The pass is perfect if you plan to visit the local attractions within a day or two that are on route along the Kyoto City Bus & Kyoto Bus route. And you can even travel like a local: many locals use the same buses for their daily commute, giving you the 'living like a local' experience.

Taking the bus like a local
Taking the bus like a local

You can purchase the card at the Tourist Center located outside Kyoto Station, and if you are in doubt you can always ask the counter staff (who are proficient in English) to recommend the best route and which bus to take. You can also purchase the pass from vending machines at Kyoto Station. Alternatively, most hotel receptions and some convenience stores sell them as well, so you could purchase from these places as well.

Bus Ticket Counter at Kyoto Station
Bus Ticket Counter at Kyoto Station, where we bought our tickets and language was not a barrier.

If you want to travel by train and do not have the Japan Rail Pass or are traveling to a station that does not have a JR line (i.e. local train lines), than you might want to consider getting the:
  • Kyoto Sightseeing One and Two-day Pass: Costing 1,200¥ and 2,000¥, this pass is valid on all Kyoto City buses, subway trains and most buses run by the Kyoto Bus company. When a one or two day card is purchased, a free guide map will be provided along with coupons for certain stores.
  • Kyoto City Subway One-day Pass: Costing 600¥, this pass is only valid on all Kyoto City Subway trains (Karasuma Line & Tozai Line) for unlimited travel throughout the day


How to board/ride city bus in Kyoto?

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  1. Unlike in Singapore, where you board from the front and exit from the back. In Kyoto, you board the bus from the back and exit from the front.
  2. You can see the next bus stop on the monitor display at the front of the bus, or you can hear the announcement made in Japanese, Chinese, Korean and English. 
  3. You pay only when you alight. So that means 
    • If you are using the IC card, you have to tap the IC card once when you exit.
    • If you are using the city pass, just show it to the bus driver when you are alighting.
    • If you are paying with cash, you put your money (exact change) into the slot. There is a machine next to the driver where you can change your notes to smaller change. The biggest note that the machine can accept is 1,000¥
    Note: If you are using the city bus pass, the first time you use it, you need to put the card into the card slot to get the date printed. After that, with the date stamp, you simply flash the card pass to the driver when you alight for subsequent rides throughout the day.

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