A previous post How to Use Subway Wisely explained how convenient the subways can be. In a similar vein, this article covers how to use the Kyoto bus system wisely.
Kyoto has several bus companies. The City-run bus, called the Kyoto City Bus, covers the most of sightseeing spots in Kyoto and is recommended for most destinations. The Kyoto City bus has a light green body with a dark green line. That’s the easiest way to distinguish it from other bus companies.
So what are the best benefits to using the bus in Kyoto? Firstly and most importantly, as mentioned before it covers most of the popular spots in Kyoto. And with a ONE/TWO DAY PASS card, the transportation cost will be lower. For example, you can use the bus as many times as you need or want (500 yen for adult, 250 yen for a child). And thanks to the City Bus’s continuous effort, the bus comes very often, every 15 – 20 minutes on average.
However, there are some potential problems as well. Kyoto City is famous for having frequent traffic jams. Which means it takes a long time to get to the destination. For example, during the busiest period, it might take longer than 1 hour to get to Kiyomizudera temple from Kyoto station. This includes the time spent waiting in line. Also all the seats could be full. This is something Kyoto city has been trying to solve for a long time. Maybe they will have a solution someday, but until then travelers are responsible for coming up with ideas.
The best way is to combine the City Bus, the subways (trains) and walking. It is advised to use the subways/trains as much as possible. This way it is possible to reduce the traveling time and frustration. If a more simple strategy is preferred, the Hop On/Off Bus might be a great alternative.
For more information consider buying the Kyoto Guidebook.