Travellers in Kyoto should not experience much difficulty getting around, as the city boasts a highly developed public transportation system that is fairly accommodating to foreigners.
Kyoto's bus and tram networks encompass the entire city, with many of the services announcing each destination in English as well as Japanese. The green-and-white Kyoto City buses are the most useful for visitors, as they travel extensively within the city limits, whereas the red-and-white buses travel between the city and its suburbs and are more geared towards commuters. There are also three bus routes specifically designated for tourists, the 100, 101, and 102 Raku buses, which focus exclusively on popular attractions and can be more efficient for the time-conscious sightseer.
Kyoto has two subway lines, Karasuma and Tozai, which travel north-to-south and east-to-west-to-south, respectively. Travelling by subway in Kyoto can be the quickest option, especially between the north and south parts of the city; the subway usually operates between 5:30am and 11:30pm.
Taxis are another transport option for visitors in Kyoto, with many throughout the city. Taxis can be waved down from the side of the road and taking a taxi is usually considerably faster than travel by bus. Because of their expense, however, taxis may be best suited for those travelling in groups of three to five people.
The more adventurous visitors to Kyoto can take to the streets by bicycle. The city is, for the most part, flat and bicycle-friendly, with many affordable places to rent a bike for the day. Prospective cyclists should take note that bicycles can only be parked in designated areas, which may be incredibly crowded. Failure to do so can result in the bicycle being impounded.
Become our Kyoto Travel Expert
We are looking for contributors for our Kyoto travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Kyoto or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.