Kyoto Tourist bus – How to ride the Raku bus

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Have you heard of the Kyoto tourist bus? If you’re travelling to Kyoto as a tourist, you’ll want to quickly familiarize yourself with the Kyoto tourist bus which is known locally as the Raku bus. Despite the fact that Kyoto’s public transportation network is quite good, it pales in comparison to Tokyo and your SUICA / PASMO card will be of limited use in the city. Trust me, Kyoto should be on your must see list even if you’re in Japan for just one week

The Raku bus is aimed at tourists and has three lines that go in a loop (Rakus bus 100, 101, 102). The buses are easy to spot since they’re all coloured pink. Some people refer to the Raku bus as the Kyoto sightseeing bus since you’ll pass by all the major tourist destinations on one of the lines, but it shouldn’t be confused with the “hop on hop off” buses you see in other countries. Below is a quick guide on how to ride the Raku bus in Kyoto.

Raku Bus Kyoto

Kyoto travel guide: Raku bus cost

A single ride on the Kyoto city bus will cost you 230 yen for adults, and 120 yen for children under the age of 12. You board in the back with payments being made when you get off the bus at the front. Exact fare is always preferred, but there is a change machine available so you don’t need to worry too much.

Your rechargeable IC card (SUICA, ICOCA, PASMO, etc) will work on the bus, but if you’re taking more than 3 rides in a single day, you’re better off buying a one day Kyoto city bus pass for just 600 yen (300 yen children under the age of 12). The easiest place to buy your passes is at the “Kyoto Tourism Information Center” located inside Kyoto station, or the “bus ticket center” located outside Kyoto station (north side) where the buses depart. You can also purchase them from vending machines at major bus stops or directly from drivers on the bus, but they’re known to run out by the afternoon.

The Kyoto city bus pass is good for all buses (Kyoto tourist bus, and normal buses), but there’s an extra charge if you’re going outside the flat-fare zone. The pass does not include taking the subway. Check out the Kyoto city website for a detailed description and pictures on how to ride the bus in Kyoto.

Kyoto tourist bus

Image courtesy: Victor Lee, Flickr

Kyoto Travel Guide: Raku bus routes

When you purchase your Kyoto city bus pass, be sure to pay attention to the map that they hand you. You’ll notice that all the major tourist attractions are shown, so it’s pretty easy to figure out which Raku bus you need to take. All the attractions are announced, but there’s also English text displayed so you should know when you arrive at your destination. Remember, every bus loops. Generally speaking, you can just get on the bus on the opposite side of the street if you want to go back. See below to find out what attractions you’ll come across on each Raku bus route.

Raku bus 100: Sanjusangendo Temple, Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Yasaka-jinja Shrine, Heian-jingu Shrine, Eikan-do Temple, Nanzenji Temple, Honen-in Temple, Ginkakuji Temple.

Raku bus 101: Nijo Castle, Seimei-Jinja Shrine, Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine, Hirano Shrine, Kinkakuji Temple

Raku bus 102: Ginkakuji Temple, Shokokuji Temple, Kinkakuji Temple, Daitokuji Temple.

If you look at the map below, you’ll see that the Raku bus 102 line connects with the 100 and 101 lines. Despite the fact that the map looks relatively small, it’s not realistic to do all 3 of them in a day. I would separate the Kyoto tourist bus route 100 and 101 to two separate days.

You’ll also notice that none of the buses go to the bamboo forest of Arashiyama. The easiest way to get there is to take the JR Sagano Line (also known as JR Sanin Line) to Saga-Arashiyama Station and then walk. Nijo Castle is about a 7-minute walk from the JR Sagano Line, so you could connect there if you plan to go to Arashiyama. Your JR pass will work on this line since it’s a JR line.

raku bus map

Image courtesy:

How do tourists get around Kyoto?

The Raku Bus is easily the best option for tourists since it gets you to almost every major attraction in the city. That said, buses can be slow, so taking the subway can save you some time. Taxis in Japan aren’t that expensive, so don’t be afraid to jump in one. Just show the driver the location of where you want to go on your smart phone. Another fun way to get around the city is to rent a bike. There are plenty of places to rent a bike and the city is relatively flat. Finding bike parking is the tricky part.

Are buses in Kyoto covered by JR pass?

Not really. While your JR Pass can be used on the Takao Keihoku Line since it’s operated by the West JR Bus company, most tourists will never use this line. You can use your JR Pass for the JR Nara and Sagano lines which will get you to Nara, Fushimi Inari Taisha, and Arashiyama. The bus in Kyoto is inexpensive and reliable, so don’t focus on using just your JR Pass.

Can I use Suica on a Kyoto bus?

Yes, you can use any IC card in Kyoto busses which includes Suica and Passmo. However, IC cards are only good for individual rides. If you plan on using the Raku bus multiple times, you’re better off purchasing a pass. That said, if you’re not near at Raku bus line, it’s nice to know that you can jump on any bus and pay with your IC card.

Is the Kyoto tourist bus pass worth it?

It really comes down to simple math. A single adult fare is 230 yen, and 120 yen for children under the age of 12. That means if you take at least three trips in a single day, buying a pass is worth it. Three rides won’t be difficult since it’s just two stops and a return trip. Most people hop on and off the bus multiple times a day as they visit different attractions across the city.

Is there a hop on, hop off bus in Kyoto?

Like many other cities in the world, Kyoto has a true hop on, hop off bus called SKY HOP BUS KYOTO. It’s arguably more convenient than the Raku Bus since it only has a single line that operates in a loop. That said, the cost is significantly higher. A same-day, 12-hour pass will cost you 2,400 yen for adults and 1,250 for children. There is a 24-hour pass available that’s good for two days and costs 3,600 yen for adults and 1,800 for children. The KY HOP BUS KYOTO is more comfortable than the Raku bus and it has two levels, so you can see the city from the second level.

Is Nara line covered by JR pass?

Since you can’t take the Kyoto tourist bus to Nara, you’ll need to take the train. Fortunately, you can use your JR pass on the JR Nara line. The journey typically takes 70 minutes, but there are a few express trains that take only 40 minutes. Nara is the last stop on the line and just about everyone gets off there, so you can’t miss it. From there, the major Nara attractions are about a 30 minute walk. Nara also has their own tourist bus that you can use your IC card to pay for. They also have a bus pass available which can save you some money.

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi


  1. Valerie on January 6, 2018 at 11:39 AM

    Thank you so much. the informations you mentioned are very helpful especially to first timer visitor in Kyoto like me. Thank you again.

    • Barry Choi on January 6, 2018 at 7:29 PM


      I know you’ll have a great time in Kyoto!

  2. Windi Andriani on January 15, 2018 at 11:22 PM


    With the Kyoto Sightseeing Pass – is it only cover the 2 subway lines (Karasuma and Tozai line)?
    What about the Keihan and Hankyu line, can you use the pass?

    Thanks in advance

  3. Elizabeth on February 15, 2018 at 8:55 AM

    Thank you for the information. It is very useful. Is it possible to hail the Raku bus once it has left Kyoto Station or do I have to get on at the station in order to use the service?

    • Barry Choi on February 15, 2018 at 5:07 PM


      You can get on the Raku bus at any of its stops.

  4. Angie on March 6, 2018 at 5:17 PM

    Hi Barry

    Thank you for this informative piece. I’m going with my family of 8. Would like to know is it better to do Raku bus or the Kyoto sight seeing tour as we are going to Kyoto 12 april when it’s really crowded .

    • Barry Choi on March 6, 2018 at 7:35 PM

      Hi Angie,

      It’s really a personal choice. A sightseeing tour makes things a lot easier since it requires no planning, but the odds are things will be quite rushed. The Raku bus will get you to all the main attractions and you can spend as much or as little time at each spot.

      Kyoto has A LOT to see, you could easily spend 2-3 days there and not even come close to seeing all the major attractions.

  5. Pearl on April 14, 2018 at 7:59 PM

    What time the the Kyoto City Bus start and end their operations daily?

    • Barry Choi on April 14, 2018 at 9:42 PM


      The Raku bus starts at roughly 8am and ends at 4:30PM

  6. lei on June 2, 2018 at 1:21 AM

    my husband and I will be in Japan from Nov 12-19. we will arrive in Narita and planning to go nearby city of tokyo including Kyoto.Any recommendation for our itinerary?

    It is our first time in Japan,.

    Thank you in advance.

  7. Elizabeth on July 9, 2018 at 9:44 PM

    Thanks so much for this information. My mother and I will be in Kyoto for 6 hours before heading to an Onsen. Can you see the sites from the Raku bus or do you have to get off at each stop to see the sights? If you had to choose only one route which would you recommend?

    • Barry Choi on July 10, 2018 at 5:40 AM

      Hi Elizabeth,

      You sort of can, but not really as most of the sites are behind gates or trees. With 6 hours, I would advise picking 2-3 spots within the same area and then taking the bus or cab to get them.

      E.g. Golden temple and Arashiyama or going to East Kyoto

  8. Chan Huat Low on July 29, 2018 at 9:20 AM

    Thanks so much for painstaking work in preparing such valuable information. It really helps the first timer visitor like me in particular. May you be well and happy always.

  9. Kyoto 3 Day Itinerary - Money We Have on August 1, 2018 at 9:10 AM

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  10. Vivian on August 19, 2018 at 5:50 PM

    Hi Barry,
    Thanks for your post. Can I use Kyoto Bus One Day pass on Raku buses? If I go to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, how can I pay the extra fare since it is not located in the flat-fare zone?

    • Barry Choi on August 19, 2018 at 8:08 PM


      The Raku 101 connects to the Keifuku Railway which will get you to Arashiyama (extra fare is required). That being said, most people will take a taxi from the Golden Temple to Arashiyama because it’s much quicker. Alternatively, you can take the JR line to Saga Arashiyama and then walk to the main area. I personally took the JR line since it was the quickest and I had a JR pass.

  11. Vivian on August 19, 2018 at 9:09 PM

    Thanks for your reply, Barry. I am actually going to visit Arashiyama Bamboo Grove area first and going to Golden Temple from there. I see Google map states Kyoto city bus can get me from Arashiyama Bamboo Grove to Golden Temple with transfer. Does this mean I can use Kyoto Bus One Day pass without extra fare? Would appreciate your help.

    • Barry Choi on August 20, 2018 at 9:07 AM

      Hi Vivian,

      I believe you can use the regular bus pass on the Raku buses, but I’m going to double check and get back to you.

  12. Annabel Tan on September 10, 2018 at 8:53 AM

    Hi Barry

    I am visiting Osaka/Kyoto next month but staying at Osaka all the way. I planned to travel to Kyoto on 2 days to visit the Bamboo Grove, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kiyomizu-Dera Temple and Nara Deer Park, Tōdai-ji Temple. Any idea how to plan these? Since i am not staying at Kyoto so i try to not end too late to travel back to Osaka,

    • Barry Choi on September 10, 2018 at 9:14 AM

      Hi Annabel,

      What you want to see is kind of all over the place, so not easy to do.

      This is what I would consider. Take the train directly to Nara from Namba Station in Osaka. When you get to Nara, purchase an all day bus ticket for about 500 Yen which will take you right to Todai-ji. When you’re done, the deer are literally outside the entrance to the temple. Once you’re done, take the bus back to the train station, but this time, take the JR Nara line towards Kyoto and get off by Fushimi Inari Shrine. Explore the gates and then head back to Osaka by heading to Kyoto station first.

      On the second day, go to Kyoto station and then take the JR train to get to the Bamboo forest. Kiyomizu-Dera Temple is on the other side of town so you’ll have to either take a cab or train back to Kyoto station and then take the Raku bus.

      Note that there is A LOT to see in Kyoto so 1 day there is likely not enough.

  13. Annabel Tan on September 10, 2018 at 9:24 AM

    Hi Barry

    Thanks for taking time to provide me such detailed information. Certainly a great help for me to plan my Kyoto trip!

  14. Sarah on September 21, 2018 at 6:13 AM

    This is very helpful, thank you! How long does a loop on the 101 take altogether (or do you know where I can find that information)?

    • Barry Choi on September 21, 2018 at 8:20 AM

      Hi Sarah,

      I don’t know how long it takes to do the entire loop, but I’m guessing 1.5 hours?

  15. Pam on September 22, 2018 at 12:01 PM

    1. Is the 2 day bus-subway pass good for the Raku Bus?
    2. How should I link: Kinkakuji / Arashiyama / Gion / Kyoto Handicraft Center / Nijo Castle using the bus subway pass?

    • Barry Choi on September 23, 2018 at 8:19 PM

      Hi Pam,

      I believe the 2day bus-subway pass is good for the taku bus but I’m not 100% sure.

      As for your route. It depends on how much time you have. Let’s assume you only have one day. I would take the Raku 102 bus to Kinkauji. Once you’re done there, take a cab to Arashiyama. After that take the JR Sagano Line from Saga Arashiyama to Nijo station then walk to the castle. Once you’re done at the castle, go back to Nijo station (different entrance) but this time take the Tozai line to Higashiyama station and then walk to the Koto Handicraft Center. You can then walk to Gion. I personally would consider taking a cab between Nijo castle and the Handicraft center to save time. Cabs in Kyoto are not that expensive

  16. Cleo on September 30, 2018 at 1:56 AM

    Hi Barry,

    I plan to split the Kyoto trip into 3 sessions. Day 1 from Kinkakuji to Daitokuji. Day 2 from Arashiyama, Fushimi, Kiyomizudera, Gion District and Ginkakuji (may I confirm is Ginkakuji is in Higashiyama District?). And Day 3 is Nishiki, Daigokuji and Nijo Castle. Please advise if the arrangement is good to proceed.

    • Barry Choi on September 30, 2018 at 9:48 AM

      Kinkakuji to Daitokuji are relatively close to each other and won’t take more than an hour each. You could go to Arashiyama after and spend the rest of your day there. Alternatively, you could add Nijo to this day save Arishayma for another day

      Ginkakuji, Kiyomizudera, are both in Higashiyama, Gion and Nishiki are between the two, but are better done in the afternoon / evening.

      Daigoji is somewhat close to Fushimi so those two might be better done together.

  17. Eva on October 2, 2018 at 9:53 AM

    Hi barry,

    I want to explore kyoto and nara in 1 day please help how to get there from namba station or nippinbashi it helpful if I will buy a kansai pass? I want visit kinkakuji and ginkakuji temple,kiyomizudera,fushimira inari shrine,bamboo groove and narra park.Is it possible the we can make it in 1 day? we family of 5 the youngest is 7 yrs old.please help me the etirenary.thank you very much in advance.God bless you!!

    • Barry Choi on October 2, 2018 at 12:08 PM

      Hi Eva,

      We spoke briefly on FAcebook, but I’m answering here anyways. What you’ve currently listed is too much. You either need to drop things or spend more time in Kyoto / Nara.

      I would advise choosing which site is on your MUST SEE list and then build a realistic itinerary around that.

  18. Michelle on November 11, 2018 at 1:32 AM

    Hello, Barry!
    May i ask for your advice. I will just have a quick half day visit. I am planning to visit Arashiyama Bamboo Forest early in the morning then go to Kinkakuji Temple.
    – from Arashiyama, is it ok to go back to Kyoto Station and take the Raku Bus 101?
    – will riding the bus going to Kinkuji temple cost me 230yen flat rate, then another 230yen in going back to Kyoto Station?
    – lastly, approximately how much time will it take to reach Kinkakuji temple from Kyoto station via Raku Bus 101?
    Thank you very much, in advance for your help. May you be blessed more!

    • Barry Choi on November 11, 2018 at 8:37 AM

      Hi Michelle,

      If it’s just a quick day visit I would advise taking a taxi between the two which should cost you just under 3,000 Yen. You can take the JR Sagano line to saga-arashiyama from Kyoto station and then walk to the forest. Once you’re done, take a taxi to Kinkakuji to save time. Once you’re done there, you could take the 101 bus back to Kyoto station. It takes roughly 40mins to get to Kinkakuji to Kyoto station by bus. The JR train from Kyoto station to Saga-arashiymama is about 20-25 mins and then it’s a 8-10 min walk to the forest.

      Alternatively you could take the Randen tram between the two.

  19. Japan Rail Pass - Is it Worth it? - Money We Have on December 18, 2018 at 9:38 AM

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  20. Sue on December 26, 2018 at 12:38 AM

    Hi Berry:

    Two questions:

    – Is there a website (hopefully in English) where I can learn if the 1 or 2 day tourist pass is valid for the Raku buses and maybe also see their schedule for each stop?

    – What’s the easiest way to get from the Imperial palace gardens to the Kamishichiken Kaburenjo Theatre (for the Kitano Odori show)?

    Thanks in advance for your help. I wish there was an easy to use help to provide all of this info….

    • Barry Choi on December 26, 2018 at 8:03 AM

      Hi Sue,

      The tourist pass does apply to the Raku bus since it’s considered a city bus. I believe there is a schedule somewhere online, but it’s in Japanese only. From what I recall, all the raku buses depart every 15mins so you should be good.

      I’m not familiar with the Kamishichiken Kaburenjo Theatre, but according to Google Maps, it’s a 10 min drive so you’re likely better off taking a taxi for convenience. Taxis are pretty reasonable in Japan and drivers don’t expect tips (just round up)

      I strongly recommend having a data plan when you’re in Japan since it’ll help you with directions.

  21. Sue on December 26, 2018 at 11:17 AM

    Thanks for you help. Happy New Year!

  22. Sue on December 26, 2018 at 11:21 AM

    How about this website that I just found:

    • Barry Choi on December 26, 2018 at 1:04 PM


      Yup, that’s the route of the Raku bus.

  23. Janice Pietralunga on January 21, 2019 at 3:49 AM

    HI Barry,
    You are amazing with your information… Thank Yo so much for your time.
    My lovely and I are taking a return trip to Kyoto and we will spend only 1 night. I was thinking we would see Arashiyama, Fushimi Inari and Todaiji. Does this sound reasonable to you? We will get a JRP 7 day pass as well as using the Raku Buses.

    Thank You in advance Barry for sharing your knowledge!

    Kind Regards
    Jan from Australia

    • Barry Choi on January 21, 2019 at 6:31 AM

      Hi Jan,

      It’s doable, but things might be tricky. Todaji is in Nara, so you’re looking at a 1 hour train ride plus a 10min bus ride or 30min walk to get to Todaji. Most people go to Nara for the day. That being said, the JR Train that takes you to Nara is on the same line as Fushimi Inari.

      Arashiyama is easily accessible from Kyoto station since there is a direct train to get there. You can take the JR Arashiyama line and then get off at Saga Arashiyama. It’s only a 10 min walk from the train station to the bamboo forest.

      If I were you, I would drop Todaiji and spend time is eastern Kyoto –

      Fushimi Inari is open 24 hours in case you want to go at night.

  24. Jeff on February 19, 2019 at 10:22 AM

    Hi Barry,
    I have just one day to visit Kyoto next month (I’ll stay in Kobe and go for a quick visit to Kyoto). Could you recommend me a route/main spots to see having only one day? I would love hearing your proposal.

  25. Tania on February 28, 2019 at 12:06 AM

    Thank you for the information and as a first time visitor this has been very helpful. We have a full day in Kyoto and I would like to go to the Bamboo Forest and also Kiyomizu-deta Temple while also exploring the parks and Gion area. As Bamboo Forest is on opposite sides of the city will it be difficult and too big of a day for my two children 6yrs and 7yrs? Will the traffic be gridlock if we took a taxi across town and at what cost/time?

    Kind regards
    Tania from Australia

    • Barry Choi on February 28, 2019 at 8:10 AM

      Hey Tania,

      The Bamboo forest is on the other side of the city so getting to Kiyomizu-dera by taxi will likely cost you about 4,000 yen. That may seem expensive, but’s honestly likely worth it since it’ll save you A LOT of time since you only have one day in Kyoto. Note that you don’t tip taxis, they just keep the small change.

      The forest won’t take long (an hour at max). Kiyomizu will also take about an hour but the streets around it are worth wandering so budget another hour.

      Note that Gion is pretty boring during the day. That being said you can walk there from Kiyomizu and as mentioned, there will be some interesting things to see along the way. From Gion, you could go to Nishiki Market which might interest the kids?

  26. Tami Lam on March 13, 2019 at 1:58 PM

    Hi Barry,
    A lot of good information. Thank so much.
    I will visit Kyoto/Osaka and Hiroshima from April 4 through April 10 and use JR Pass to go back to Tokyo.
    Please help me with the itinerary for 5.5 days to see all of places plus savings on the transportation for bus, metro and subway.
    Appreciate very much for your advice.

    • Barry Choi on March 13, 2019 at 2:53 PM

      Hi Tami,

      with 5.5 days, I’d do 1 day in Hiroshima/Miyajima, 3 days in Kyoto (or 2 days in Kyoto and 1 day trip to Nara), One day in Osaka. The half day remaining would be best used to explore whatever city you’re departing from.

      I personally favour Kyoto as a “base” especially if you stay near Kyoto station since you’ll have easy access to everything.

  27. TAMI LAM on March 13, 2019 at 3:50 PM

    Hi Barry,
    Thanks for getting back to me promptly, appreciate very much. I’ll stay in Osaka the entire time. Please advise me with the local transportation like the Raku bus and Regional Pass in addition to my JR Pass that I have.
    Thanks again. It’s a big help.
    Tami Lam

    • Barry Choi on March 13, 2019 at 3:57 PM


      Nothing wrong with stayin in Osaka, there’s just more to see and do in Kyoto so you’ll spend a lot of time going there for 2-3 days. Osaka is good for food and shopping so maybe that appeals to you more.

      You don’t need a regional pass, just use the Raku bus in Kyoto if it fits your schedule and an IC card for all other transportation.

  28. Chong on May 3, 2019 at 9:00 AM

    Hi Barry,

    Just wanna confirm for those Raku busses, I dont have to board them only at Kyoto Station right.
    I can ride on them on any of the bus stops that the busses stop?

    Ex. There is a bus stop at Nijo Castle. So can I start my bus ride from Nijo Castle and I dont have to purposely go to Kyoto Station just to board the bus.

    • Barry Choi on May 3, 2019 at 2:14 PM


      You can get on the Raku bus and purchase a pass anywhere it stops.

  29. Mervyn on July 17, 2019 at 3:39 AM

    Hi Barry

    We are 4 planning to visit Kyoto on 16 October. (arriving the day before) We want to visit the following places
    Arashiyama – visit bamboo forest
    Kinkaku-ji temple
    Fushimi Inari Taisha
    whisky yamazaki distillery in Kyoto
    Can you recommend how we should go about it.


    • Barry Choi on July 17, 2019 at 7:57 AM


      Are you in Kyoto for just one full day?

      Arashiyama is about 30mins by train from Kyoto station. If you’re going there for just the forrest, you won’t need that much time there, but there’s A LOT of other things to see in the area. Kinkaku-ji is about a 20min taxi ride from Arashiyama and will take about an hour to see. Fushimi Inari Taisha is in the opposite direction and will take an hour by train from Kinkaku-ji or 30mins by taxi. As for the distillery, it’s outside of Kyoto and will take some time.

      To be honest, you won’t have to see all 4 things so you’ll need to drop at least one thing. You also need to check if the Yamazaki distillery has set times for tours/entry (I’ve never been). You may want to consider adding another full day to Kyoto as you’re missing all the sites on the eastern side.

      • Rachel on August 29, 2019 at 7:51 AM

        Hi Barry,
        I will be spending 3 days in Kyoto with my partner and 8 yrs old son.

        I am planning the following:
        Day 1
        Toji Temple
        Nijo Castle
        Kyoto Imperial Palace
        Nishiki Market

        Day 2
        Kinkaku-ji Temple
        Kyoto Tower

        Day 3
        Ginkakuji Temple
        Kiyomizu-dera Temple
        Yasaka Shrine
        Fushimi Inari Temple

        Would like to know if the planned coverage by areas do-able?

        • Barry Choi on August 29, 2019 at 9:24 AM


          It’s doable, there’s just a lot of travel. A few things to note. I wouldn’t go out of my way for Toji Temple, you’ll see similar things all over Tokyo. The Kyoto Imperial Palace and Nijo Castle are similar, you won’t be upset if you need to skip one. Nishiki Market is really just shops and will take you no more than an hour to go through. Nearby is pontocho and Gion but those are best seen at night.

          Your day 2 is good. There are lots of things to see around Arashiyama so you could spend more time there.

          Day 3 will be long, but doable. But note that Ginkakuji Temple is a ways furhter north. Nothing crazy, but you’ll need to factor in travel time.

          • Rachel on August 29, 2019 at 9:50 AM

            Thank you Barry for the pointers

  30. mervyn on July 17, 2019 at 9:59 AM

    we arriving the afternoon of 15 Oct in Kyoto
    spend two nights there and leave again the afternoon of 17 Oct for Tokyo

  31. Mervyn on July 17, 2019 at 10:04 AM

    we coming from Osaka on the 15 Oct – so maybe we can fit in the distillery enroute to Kyoto ? What to you think

    • Barry Choi on July 17, 2019 at 4:51 PM

      I’m not familiar with the distillery at all so I really can’t give you any advice there.

  32. Paul Tamura on September 1, 2019 at 2:45 PM

    Hi Barry, Thank you SO MUCH for all of the amazing information! Is the Raku bus 230 yen each time you board?

    • Barry Choi on September 1, 2019 at 2:46 PM


      It was when I was last there 4 years ago. Most people just get a bus pass for the day which was 500 Yen at the time.

  33. Louis on October 18, 2019 at 9:23 AM

    Hi Barry,
    Thanks for all the information.
    I’m going to Kiyomizudera Temple from Kyoto Station, taking the Raky bus 100.
    For the journey back to Kyoto Station, do i assume to use the bus stop opposite of where i alighted when i arrived?

    • Barry Choi on October 18, 2019 at 9:30 AM


      Pretty much, but note that to get to Kiyomizudera Temple from the bus stop, it’s a little bit of a hike.

  34. Reginald Suriasubrata on November 28, 2019 at 4:05 AM

    Hi Barry,

    I deeply appreciate the info you provided, very useful indeed. I am going to be in Kyoto for 4 days & I have calculated to buy 4 x 1 day pass bus tickets (based on the link you provided, I could get lower 1 day pass if I have JR pass instead of 2 days pass), but by any chance you know if I could buy the pass for the whole 4 of them at once or I only could 1 day at the time?

    Thank you in advance.

  35. KW on November 29, 2019 at 10:43 AM

    hi Barry,

    My family shall be in kyoto for 2 nights on 26/12 and 27/12. we shall be travelling form osaka on 26th. since its winter season, can u please provide information on which place is nice to visit in Dec given the 2 days?

    At this point, i am still searching on how to travel in kyoto and this raku bus seems good but does not include Fushimi Inari in its route?

    To summarise, , i hope to cover Arashiyama, Gion, Fushimi, Kinkakuji and Golden pavilion but have no idea how these places are in winter, whether it closes early and what mode of transport ? appreciate your advise if i need to buy any passes for ease of travel in kyoto. Thank you

    • Barry Choi on November 29, 2019 at 2:50 PM


      All of those sites are outdoors so not much you can do about that if you know what I mean.

      From Kyoto station, Arashiyama and Fushimi are on JR lines. Kinkakuji is sort of near Arashiyama so do that on the same day (probably easiest to take a cab there) or bus to Kinkakuji first, then cab to Arashiyma. Gion is about a 15min bus ride from Kyoto station.

      You’d probably need a bus pass and use your IC card or JR pass for the trains.

  36. KW on December 3, 2019 at 10:35 AM

    thank you very much Barry. will look into these passes.

  37. […] passes such as Kyoto where you can get to all major tourist attractions by using just the Raku bus. From time to time, you may want to take a taxi which isn’t cheap, nor do I consider them […]

  38. Wenfy on November 19, 2022 at 4:03 PM

    Hi Barry, we have full 14 days arriving Osaka, not counting the flight in/out days from/back to Canada.

    We like to do Osaka, Nara, ghibli park near Nagoya, Kyoto, Kobe and a few days driving in the kyushu island. Young family of 5. Age 10 to 15. If time allow, the island off Hiroshima or Fukuoka.

    Must visit universal studio, ryankon stay, onsen, fish market, cup noodle museum, Kobe beef, Like to try as many yummy Japanese local good and sashimi as possible.

    Any suggestion on itinerary and which train pass I should get? I am think Kansas pass through. Hello kitty train is still running next June/July?

    My nephew in Osaka and he might be able to help us get ghibli ticket when they become open for lottery next spring.

    Second time there first only in Tokyo and surrounding as kids were younger then.

    Thanks so much.

    • Barry Choi on November 20, 2022 at 7:44 AM


      Your itinerary is very busy. It would be very rushed and tiring.

      A Kansai Thru Pass won’t get you to all your locations and does NOT work on JR trains –
      A JR West Pass gets you to most places you want, but not to Nagoya if you do the Ghibli Park. It can also only be bought for 7 days –
      Depending on what you end up deciding on, you may need a JR Pass.
      I personally found Kobe beef to be a bit boring. They cook it teppanyaki and I much prefer the North American style where they grill it.
      Think about what are the most important things you want to do and then build a realistic itinerary.

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