Kyoto City has two different subway lines, the Karasuma and the Tozai line. The Karasuma mainly runs along Karasuma street north to south. The Tozai line, on the other hand, runs from west to east.
When it comes to traveling in Kyoto, most people think about the bus (especially city bus) as the main transportation style. Mainly because of the famous ONE DAY PASS which you can use as many times as you want for a day with a fixed price (500 yen/day).
It is a good discount taking the fact that it costs 220 yen/ride, but there are a couple of reasons why the subways outperforms the city bus, even though it costs more (210 – 280 yen).
- Time saver: The subways can significantly save time because there is no traffic.
- Comfortable travel: Unlike a bus which tends to be crowded with many other tourists, the subway has more seats available. Even if the seats are full, standing on the subway is much more comfortable compared to the same situation on the bus, simply because you have more room.
- Bathroom: As long as you buy a subway ticket you are free to use bathrooms inside the subway stations (The clean ones tend to be inside the ticketing gate).
The price is similar to a bus (230 yen). If you pay 280 yen, you can reach most of the sightseeing spots in Kyoto city. The best solution is to combine both. You can save time using the subway and then use the bus to places which are too far from the subway stations to walk. For that reason, I recommend you get a ONE DAY PASS for the City Bus and Subways (1200 yen/600 yen (Child)).
I have a subway map and a some advice on using the subway efficiently in the Kyoto Guidebook which I’ve been writing. For example; how to get a ticket, which can be very annoying if you don’t know how. Click here to buy the Kyoto Guidebook (ebook) on Amazon.com (You can find the Kyoto Guidebook on your local Amazon site).