Kyoto Illumination : Night Cruise Bus Tour

Kyoto is very a convenient city in terms of the transportation, with several different trains, buses & taxis always available. They are all very handy for sightseeing, but none of these travel methods takes you everywhere you want to go.

However, Kyoto World Heritage Sites Bus Tour, also known as the hop on-off bus, started operation in March 2013. For more information on this service, please read “Hop On-Off Bus in Kyoto” . In addition, there will be a more detailed report on this service soon.

In Japanese, this bus is called Kyoto Hiru Bus. Hiru means day (more like noon). So it only runs during the day, which makes sense since most of the spots this bus visits close at 5PM.

There is an opposite service in Kyoto. It’s the Kyoto Night Cruise Bus Tour. This bus literally runs only at night time, visiting Kyoto’s illuminated landmarks.

Nijo castle in darkness
Nijo castle in darkness

The best thing about this bus tour is that it visits some of Kyoto’s great spots that are less popular but still valuable, such as Kyoto University, Seimei Shrine and Gojo Bridge.

In addition, Heian Jingu Shrine and Chionin Temple will light up their magnificent gates just for the passengers of Kyoto Night Cruise Bus Tour.

Note that this is a tour bus, not a hop on-off bus, so passengers have to get on the bus at the bus stop they specified in advance without delay. It will take about 90 minutes. Note that whichever bus stop is chosen, passengers can see all of the spots.

Here’s the overview of this bus tour:
Price – 2100 yen/adult, 1300 yen/child. This includes foreign narration.
Time – Depends on which bus stop a passenger boards. Note that there are no signs designating the stops. Please check out the map below for those who are not sure about a specific spot.
A. Shijo Karasuma Intersection In front of COCON Karasuma – 19:50
B. Karasuma Oike Intersection Near Exit No. 1 of Karasuma Oike Station – 19:55
C. In front of Hotel Okura – 20:00
D. Kyoto Station Hachijo-exit (Not Kyoto Tower side) in front of Hotel Ibis Styles Kyoto Station – 20:15
E. Shin-Miyako Hotel – 20:17
Days of operation – Mainly on Thursday nights, Friday nights and Saturday nights

Kyoto Night Cruise Bus Tour Bus Stops Map
Kyoto Night Cruise Bus Tour Bus Stops Map

For more information, check their official website. Reservation can be made here. Keep in mind that reservations can only be made within two weeks of the chosen date.

Looking for the best resource for your travel to Kyoto? Everything you need to know is in our Kyoto e-Guidebook.

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