Many people coming to Kyoto are familiar with this useful and beneficial card, which can be obtained for 500 yen/adult and 250 yen/child. The main purpose of this pass is, of course, to save money when using the bus. The One Day Pass holders can get on and off the City Bus and Kyoto Bus as many times as they want for a day. The current bus flat rate for the main area in Kyoto is 220 yen (it may be 230 yen from April 2014). So if someone uses the bus three times, they can save 160 yen. For those who use the bus 5 times, that’s a savings of 600 yen.
However, there are things to be considered when buying this pass.
Can It Actually Save Money?
It is easy to think that this card will save money. However, it is not that simple in reality. As mentioned before, the One Day Bus Pass holder must use the City Bus at least three times in one day. If they end up using the bus just once or twice that means it was a waste of money. Thus, it requires some planning before jumping to the conclusion.
If it is in the middle of the sightseeing season, it might not be a good idea to buy this pass, since there will be lots of traffic, which surely will delay the bus. Sometimes, it takes one hour to get to Gion from Kyoto Station. And depending on how busy it is, it could be difficult to get seats. In this case, walking and taking a subway/train is much easier, faster and less stressful. It is still possible to save some money, but it is highly likely to waste time on traveling. Usually, the first week of April, Golden Week (from the end of April to beginning of May), Obon (August 13th – 16th), Autumn Leaves Season, and weekends with national holidays are the busiest time of the year.
Flat Fare Range
Also as mentioned before, this One Day Buss Pass applies to a certain area. Most sightseeing spots are covered, however, some areas, for example
Arashiyama Kifune is not included. To get to the area outside the flat rate range, the card holder has to pay the difference. This will make it difficult to save money.
After considering all these points above, if it still makes sense, then go for it. The ticket center outside JR Kyoto Station building sells this card. There are a few other places that sell this card, but the ticket center outside Kyoto Station is the easiest to find. Find the Karasuma side, where Kyoto Tower is in sight, then look for a building between the bus terminal and the taxi terminal.
For more useful and fun information, please check Kyoto e-Guidebook (6.41 USD) which is available on Amazon.