Does Kyoto Need a Tram System?

November 24, 2019

November 22, 2018

by Fumiya TAMAOKI  and Masahiro KOMATSU

About Transportation in Kyoto

Because Kyoto is an urban city, it is rare for people to be inconvenienced by transportation. The bus system which runs in the city covers all the main streets so making connections is also not complicated. In addition to that, the subway and the train also go through the city and it is very convenient when going a distance from the center city.  Unlike buses, trains are not going to be late because of traffic jams, so you can get to the destination station on time.

The problem that comes up is that buses often are delayed due to traffic congestion. If you live in Kyoto, you may be able to predict when the buses will be delayed and act. However, Kyoto, one of the world’s leading tourist cities, has many tourists from Japan and abroad. There are many disadvantages that tourists cannot act on schedule. For example, they cannot go to some sightseeing spots and have time for a return trip they are one a tight schedule.

In this way, transportation in tourist cities should be as timely as possible. Therefore, we would like to recommend running trams. There used to be a tramway operation plan in Kyoto, but the plan has disappeared. How would a tram system benefit Kyoto residents and visitors?

Merits of a Tram System

There are some merits of having a tram as an example of a successful city. For example, in Hokkaido which is located in the northernmost part of Japan, and in Sapporo city in Hokkaido there is a tram and it is very successful. The streetcar in Sapporo is circulating in the city and stops at major tourist spots. Connecting with trains and buses is complicated because the sightseeing spots of Sapporo city are scattered in a wide range in the east, west, north and south. However, the circulation of the tram has made it easy to go to various sightseeing spots. Not only that, because it is operated on time, it is convenient for commuting and going to school, so it seems that there are many customers on the streetcar in Sapporo. Next, the streetcar of Toyama, prefecture located in the center of the Japanese archipelago, is also a successful example. Toyama prefecture made various efforts to increase the number of customers using trams. For example, the plan is to improve convenience by maintaining the bicycle parking lot around the station, and also to improve the understanding of the residents because it operates firmly with the administration. Many customers have gained easy access to large shopping malls and public facilities. As you can see from examples of these successful cities, many people can easily access each sightseeing spot on time, easily by using trams in Kyoto.

Problems of a Tram System

However, in order to utilize a tram, it is necessary to clear many problems. First of all, Kyoto is a city that has existed for over 1000 years, and its remnants are a lot left behind. As a result, the road width is very narrow compared to cities of the same size. The road in Kyoto has no space for a tram. If the Kyoto tram planner goes over the rail of the tram without taking any measures at all, traffic congestion and traffic accidents will occur frequently. In order to clear this problem, it is necessary to regulate traffic to protect the streetcar by taking a firm link with the administration. For example, on roads where traffic congestion is likely to occur, there will be traffic regulation of general vehicles. Therefore, in order to solve the problem, understanding from residents is necessary. A sufficient explanation will be necessary for residents to understand the convenience of trams. However, the use of trams in Kyoto, a tourist city, leads to improvement of traffic congestion and improvement of convenience. By connecting the tram cars, it is possible to increase the number of people who can be transported. Buses have an upper limit on the number of people who can be transported at one time, but trams do not have an upper limit. Utilizing trams in Kyoto can reduce the amount of cars that customers ride, which leads to improved traffic congestion. In addition, the convenience for tourists would be improved by the creation of new transportation with transporting power.

Future of Trams in Kyoto

Next, consider the other merits of having a tram in Kyoto. If a tram can work to connect tourist attractions, tourists can plan stamp rallies etc. If you do such a project, it will be more fun to tourist attractions. Tourists are visiting Kyoto sightseeing spots, Kiyomizu Temple, Yasaka Shrine and Heian Shrine are on the straight main street called Higashi Oji Street so that it is easy to access. However, these places are a bit far to walk, but the same time is required to walk and use the bus, as buses are used to get caught up in traffic or the number of buses is small. Therefore, if tourists can utilize a tram without a traffic jam, it will be less stressful and accessible. Furthermore, if cooperation with other transportation facilities is established, it becomes easier to access various places.

The subway in Kyoto is inconvenient because it has only two lines. However, if you add a tram to those existing method of transportation, the range of access will be several times wider. Since the tram is a circulation line, even at the terminal station, the number does not decrease, so do not worry about the time. However, there is a possibility of a decrease in the number of people going to sightseeing spots away from the streetcar. To solve the problem, change the bus diamond according to the situation, set a rental bicycle at the station, and so on. Such efforts lead to departure from the car society. Utilization of trams will also be a solution to problems of exhaust gas and traffic congestion

Kyoto Needs a Tram

The operation of trams has all kinds of problems, and it will take a considerable amount of time and money to solve them. However, as trams become available, access in Kyoto will be very convenient. And the tram is good not only for people but also for the environment. We are hoping for a streetcar to be born in Kyoto for people and the Earth.

One Day Crazy Curry Bus Tour

by Manaka Tsuneyama, Mayu Nishikawa & Natsumi Nishimura

There are a lot of delicious food and beautiful places in Kyoto. We recommend that you take a Kyoto city bus to visit many places in one day. You can take the bus for 600 yen a day. What do you imagine when you think about delicious food in Kyoto? Of course, you might think about traditional Japanese food, like sushi, tempura, or grilled fish. But did you know there are many traditional curry shops in Kyoto? In this article, we will introduce you to three delicious curry shops and three good places to visit along the way. Then, you can get the most out of your one-day bus pass by eating tasty food and seeing some amazing places.

Asipai & The Kyoto Nishiki Food Market

If you want to experience Japanese style, you have to go to a curry shop called Asipai. This curry shop is in an old house, so you can feel like you are at a Japanese grandmother’s house. It has a relaxed atmosphere, where you can enjoy a leisurely meal. When you enter this shop, you have to take off your shoes. It’s traditional Japanese style.

Asipai Curry

Once you are seated and ready to order, you can choose chicken curry, pork curry, the special curry plate, or a seasonally limited curry. The special curry plate comes with either chicken curry or pork curry. If you like cheese, you have to add optional cheese. We recommend the cheese topping. For example, one of us chose the seasonally limited curry named Mushroom and Eggplant Chicken Curry with Cheese. It had lots of vegetables and big chunks of meat. It was perfectly spicy and so delicious. Because cheese was added, it became so creamy. The seasonally limited curry is made with Kyoto food, so please give it a try.

After your lunch, you can go to the famous Kyoto Nishiki Food Market. It’s only about ten minutes on foot from Asipai. This market has 400 years of history, with about 130 shops on each side of the street. There are many seasonal ingredients of Kyoto available there. For example, you can buy Kyoto vegetables, yuba, tofu, dried fish and Kyoto pickles. Also, there are many foods you can taste, while you are looking around. We recommend three foods you should try:

Octopus Egg

The first is called an octopus egg. It is an octopus head that contains quail eggs. It’s so small, like a golf ball, which makes it very cute. The taste is little sour, but it goes well with beer.


Tamagoyaki is basically a rolled Japanese omelet. It is made with broth from bonito flakes, cooking sake, soy sauce. It goes well with rice and miso soup. It is included much Japanese seasoning. So, you can feel Japanese food. 

Nishiki Food Market


Wagashi is the word for Japanese-style sweets. There are many varieties in Nishiki Food Market. For example, you can find Mitarashi dango and yokan. Mitarashi dango is rice dumpling in a sweet soy sauce. It is like a golf ball. Yokan is made with plant based gelatin and small red bean. It is a bar of galled sweet bean paste. The taste is so sweet, like maple syrup.

Besides these, you can find good stores in Nishiki Food Market such as KAI, which sells octopus balls, Miki Keiran, which sells tamagoyaki, and Ko-fukudo, which sells Wagashi. You can also find new Japanese foods in Nishiki Food Marcket.

Kyoto Curry Works – Karil & The Imperial Palace

The next curry shop is called Kyoto Curry Works – Karil. The shop is off the main street, so it is quiet there. You will be able to find this shop easily, because all you have to do is follow the smell of good spicy curry. This shop has eight counter seats, so it is no problem to go there alone.

Karil Curry

The curry there is made by two curry chefs. On the regular menu are dishes like chicken curry, pork curry, and beans and vegetables curry. If you like spicy curry, you should choose the chicken curry rather than the pork curry. In addition, they offer a special curry each month attract repeat visitors.

You can choose to have two kinds of curry from the four types on the menu. One of us chose to have the chicken curry and the shrimp butter curry, the latter being the special curry for the month of November. It had juicy shrimp with a creamy taste. Also, the chicken curry was very spicy and delicious.

The Imperial Palace

After you enjoy eating curry at Karil, you can visit the Kyoto Imperial Palace. You can get there in about 15 minutes on foot. The Kyoto Imperial Palace is the place where successive emperors lived. Passing through the gate, you will see a large site. The ground is covered with gravel. The Imperial Palace is surrounded by the Tsuiji wall. There are six gates in the wall: the Kenrei-mon, Sakuhei-mon, Gisyuu-mon, Seisyo-mon, Kougou-mon and Kensyu-mon. Once you are inside the palace, I recommend that you see the Shishinden, where the emperor holds important ceremonies. This is the main building of the Imperial Palace. The enthronement ceremony was held here until Emperor Showa. This was built in 1855. You can go to see close it twice a year in spring and autumn. This is the most remarkable place in the Imperial Palace. You should take a lot of pictures here. You will come to have a peace of mind after visiting it.

Songbird Coffee & Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle is one of the most famous castles in Japan. At Nijo Castle, you can experience Japanese tradition and history, such as floorboards that creak when walked on and Japanese style garden that express a fountain of got and Mount Penglai. Mount Penglai is mythical island where immortals lived in china. No matter what time of the year you visit, you will be able to enjoy all seasons. In the spring, three hundred cherry trees bloom all at the same time. In the summer, you can enjoy stargazing and illumination at night. In the fall, you can see the colorful autumn leaves. And in the winter, you can enjoy the beauty of goldfish in a special art aquarium.

Songbird Coffee is near Nijo castle. This curry shop is good for people who like spicy curry. The shop has a relaxed atmosphere, where you can enjoy a leisurely meal. The curry is called Bird’s Nest Curry because the arrangement of curry and rice resembles the nest of a bird. The most popular attraction is the soft-boiled egg top on the rice. It makes the curry taste mild. The taste of onions is sweet, and the taste of the meat is very tender. In addition, there is an optional menu for making your order even more delicious, such as by adding cheese, cilantro, natto and/or broccoli super sprouts.

Songbird Coffee

Songbird Coffee not only serves curry, but also large egg sandwiches. Furthermore, they offer seasonally limited drinks. For example, you can order sweet potato shake in the fall, which is when sweet potatoes are in season in Kyoto. Just like with your visit to Nijo Castle, you can enjoy each of the four seasons at Songbird Coffee in different ways.


We recommended you three delicious curry shops and good tourist spots. Do you want to try going? There are many good places in Kyoto. You will know more about Kyoto than before.


Asipai & Kyoto Nishiki Food Market


The opening hours 11:30~14:00

Kyoto city bus stop Shijo Nishinotoin

・Kyoto Nishiki Food Market

The opening hours 9:30~18:00

Kyoto city bus stop Shijo Kawaramachi

  1. Caril ~Kyoto Curry Factory~ & The Imperial Palace


The opening hours 11:00~15:00, 17:00~21:00

Kyoto city bus stop Fuchomae

・The Imperial Palace

The opening hours 9:00~16:30

Kyoto city bus stop Karashuma Imadegawa



The opening hours 12:00~20:00

Kyoto city bus stop Horikawa Marutamachi

・Nijo Castle

The opening hours 8:45~17:00

Kyoto city bus stop Nijo-mae

A Guide to Transportation In Kyoto

by Misato Yamada and Yukiko Yoshizawa

We take public transportation, such as Kyoto city bus and Hankyu train every day to go to our university. Sometimes we see some foreign tourists who are confused about how to ride those transportation when we use it. So, we would like to show how to take Kyoto city bus and Hankyu-train. We’d appreciate for it if you could make use of this website during your visit in Kyoto.

Kyoto City Bus

Kyoto City Bus

Kyoto City Bus

This bus system runs around Kyoto city and we can take many bus routes for 230yen (child:120yen) despite the distance between a bus stop of departure and that of the destination within some areas. Some buses are crowded with a lot of passengers through the year or during the good seasons for travel like spring and fall, but you can watch great historical city views of Kyoto city while taking the bus. If you have questions such as whether the bus goes to your destination, please ask a bus driver or other passengers.

How to ride

Although in some countries, passengers might get on from front the entrance and pay fares soon after getting on a bus, there are different rules for the bus in Kyoto. At first, passengers get on the bus from the back or the middle entrance and they have to pay their fares before getting off from the front entrance in Kyoto City bus. When you don’t have exactly 230 yen, you can’t get change directly from the fare collection. However, you can exchange paper money or 500 yen coins into some 100 yen coins and 10 yen coins. Buses also accept prepaid cards, such as Lagare, Kyoto City Bus and Subway cards.


  1. Priority Seat

There are priority seats in the front space and they are mainly seats for elderly persons, pregnant women, injured persons or physically challenged persons, and persons accompanied by small children. If there are few passengers in the bus, anyone can sit down on the priority seats. But, when you notice those priority passengers, it is customary to give up your seat to them.

Priority Seat

Priority Seat

  1. Wheelchair space

Also, there are seats for a person in a wheelchair in the front space. Any persons usually can sit down on the seats. However, when a person in a wheelchair gets on the bus, this seat can be folded back by a bus driver and make wheelchair space. Also, it is fastened to the floor on a belt.


Hankyu train and Kyo-train

Hankyu train- Kyo train

Hankyu train- Kyo train

The Hankyu train runs between Osaka, Kobe, and Kyoto. You can go to a lot of tourist attractions by taking this train. In recent years, a wonderful train runs. It is called Kyo-train. The exterior of the train has painted pictures of fans. The moment you take it, you can feel like you are in Kyoto. It is Japanese style in the train. Each car has a different Japanese style.

In cars 1 and 2, there are reddish-colored seats on which there is a design of an orchid. You can feel Kyoto’s brightness.

In cars 3 and 4, the style is especially wonderful. I recommend that you take these cars. It’s because you can see Kyoto’s traditional house. In the entrance, there are lattice divider plates. It is like the entrance of Kyoto’s traditional houses.

These seats are really Japanese style. The backrest of the seats are tatami, and they are designed to look like floor cushions (zabuton). The design is a Japanese pattern.


The seats in cars 3 and 4

The seats in cars 3 and 4


Although you are in the train, you would feel like being in Kyoto’s house.

In cars 5 and 6, there are green seats which have a design of hemp leaves. You can feel that this is a comfortable space.

In cars 5 and 6

In cars 5 and 6


In addition, there are Kyoto guide maps in each car. They are written in Japanese, English, Korean, and Chinese. They introduce the recommended spots in Gion, Kiyomizu, and Arashiyama. They also include information about festivals, food in Kyoto and so on.

Traditional patterns are also on the floor, doors, and walls. The dark-brown floor is designed to look like an earthen floor in Kyoto’s traditional house. The design of the doors is the bamboo-patterned, and the wall is designed to look like a wave.

Information about Arashiyama is announced in Japanese, English, Korean, and Chinese.


If you take the Kyo-train, you would have a chance to experience a taste of Japan, and be excited.


Train Information

・Areas served: Umeda to Kawaramachi

・Days of service: Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays

・Number of trains: 4 round trips per day

・Stations served: Umeda, Juso, Awaji, Katsura, Karasuma, Kawaramachi


We introduced Kyoto City Bus and Hankyu Kyoto line Kyo-train. Please visit tourist attractions by taking them. We will be very happy that this web page is useful to you. We hope that your travel is satisfactory.



・“Hankyu train”

・”KYOTO Guide Map”

Kyoto Bus

by Nodoka Furubayashi and Takanori Asano

When people get off at Kyoto station, they will see a lot of buses outside. People may want to take a bus, but they don’t know which bus to get on. There are several kind of buses in Kyoto, but it is the green buses, called ‘Kyoto City Buses’, that are used the most. If tourists visit Kyoto, they will certainly see them.


Kyoto city bus No.205

We did an informal survey of foreigners in the popular Shijo-Kawaramachi shopping area of downtown Kyoto city. Most of the foreigners we spoke with had the following questions:

*Are there any valuable tickets?

*Where is the nearest bus stop?

*When will the bus come here?

*Is there any Wi-Fi spot around here?

Valuable tickets


Commutation ticket

Four 230 yen tickets and one 180 yen ticket are included in one commutation ticket. The price is 1,000 yen.


Daily time discount ticket

People can use this ticket within flat fare section. It’s available to use it from Monday to Saturday 10 to 16 (except Sunday and holiday).


Traffica Kyo card

This card is useful for the subway Karasuma Line and the Kyoto City bus. There is no date requirement. People can use this magnetic card in Kyoto City Bus and subway. If we pay 3,000 yen, we receive a 3,300 yen value for the bus and also the subway. In this way we can save 300 yen.

When passengers make a transfer, for example, from bus to subway with the trafica card, the fare of subway is discounted.


The card of exclusive Kyoto city bus

People can use this ticket for a whole day in Kyoto City. If passengers get off a bus outside of the designated area, they will have to pay the difference in fare.

Tourists can use this card for only Kyoto City buses. If they pay 2,000 yen, they get a 2,250 yen value.


Kansai thru pass

People can use this ticket for subway and bus throughout the Kansai area. This card has two types: 2 days or 3 days free. People can enjoy the period of value. They don’t have to buy another ticket for the train. It means passengers can go through the ticket gate without buying a new ticket.

It can also be used to go to and from the Kansai Airport station. This is most convenient for international visitors.


One day bus ticket

People can use this ticket for a whole day within a flat fare section. If passengers get off a bus outside of the different area, we will have to pay the difference in fare.

This ticket costs only 500 yen. Tourists can buy this ticket inside buses or from a ticket machine.

Kyoto Bus App for Smartphones



Information about bus locations, including bus stops where display units aren’t provided, is given through Poke-Roke (bus locations in a pocket) on the internet via cell phones.

In the system using Poke-Roke, a Poke-Roke code is assigned to each bus stop to enable finding a destination from among the many bus stops in the city.

People can get notifications about current bus locations or when the bus will arrive. All the information can be displayed on cell phones via this app.


Arukumachi Kyoto

Kyoto has so many of temples, shrines, and castles that it can be difficult to know where to begin exploring. It is important to choose an area that interests people the most and allow enough time to enjoy it without rushing. To help us with our planning, an app called ‘Arukumachi-Kyoto’ will guide Tourists through the maini locations of interest in Kyoto. With it we can not only get information about famous landmarks in Kyoto, but also about what to do in Kyoto, how to ride a bus, and how to ride a train. In this way, tourists can enjoy their time more in Kyoto with Arukumachi-Kyoto.

The Special Raku Bus


The bus stop of Raku Bus

The Raku bus is used by many tourists as a sightseeing route of city buses. It was started in January 2005. There are three types of buses, 100, 101, 102.

100 (the color is pink) departs from Kyoto railway station (D1). This bus take you to Kiyomizu-temple and Gion and more places around Gion.

101 (the color is green) departs from Kyoto railway station (B2). This bus take you to Nijo-jo and Kinkakuji and more places around Sijyo.

102 (the color is yellow) departs from Kitaoji bus terminal. This bus take you to Kinkakuji and Ginkakuji and more places around Imadegawa.

Using a Raku Bus, tourists can get some valuable information about Kyoto and see some nice places easily. Moreover, the price is only 220 yen.



KYOTO Wi-Fi mark

The biggest problem for foreigners is how to connect to internet and local networks with their phone in Japan. For these people, there is a free Wi-Fi in Kyoto. It is called KYOTO Wi-Fi and it is a service provided by Kyoto City and its partners.

Using it is easy. First, tourists simply select the wireless network (KYOTO Wi-Fi) on their Wi-Fi setting screen. On the terms of service screen, they then select the preferred login method, either “Log-in with SNS account authentication” or “Log-in with email address authentication”.

It is possible to connect to KYOTO Wi-Fi in some cafés, fast food restaurants, and at the bus stops. Tourists can connect to KYOTO Wi-Fi at the bus stop and check the time schedule about the Kyoto city bus.

As you can see, riding the bus in Kyoto is a helpful way to get around and learn more about the city. We hope that you will ride the bus comfortably in Kyoto and enjoy this great city.

Bus Transportation in Kyoto City

by Sachiko Nakagawa

Bus Transportation in Kyoto City

Kyoto city buses run throughout the city every day and are very convenient for Kyoto citizens and tourists. Bus fares for most routes are 220 yen. Extended routes charge extra and these fares are shown on an electronic signboard at the front of the bus.

Bus Map

Before taking a bus you should get a bus map. Free bus information and Kyoto bus route maps in English for foreign tourists are available at Kyoto Station. They show which buses you need take to easily reach your destination.

Bus Stops

Some bus stops have two convenient systems for monitoring the bus on your route.One system uses a barcode. Cell phones in Japan have recently added a function that reads barcodes, and so you can find out where a bus will take you by reading its code with your cell phone. This is convenient only for people with cell phones though.The other system at the bus stop shows you where a bus currently is on its route. It announces by voice how long it will take before the bus arrives at your bus stop.These systems are good for Kansai people, because it is often said that they are always in a hurry.

Kyoto City Bus CARD

If you take a bus more than three times a day, it will be more economical for you to buy a “one-day card.” You can buy this card on any bus for 500 yen. You can ask the bus driver in Japanese, “ichinichi zyosyaken o kudasai (“Give me a one day card, please”). You can take buses again and again all day long. However, extended routes are not included in this system.
When you get off the bus, insert your card into the card reader. After this has been done, you can just show the card to the bus driver on the following rides.


When you stand on the bus, please use the straps or poles. Buses sway and you can easily lose your balance!
This is a “bar code” system at a Kyoto bus stop.