JR bus in Kyoto with JR pass: JR bus on route. Backpacking Japan travel blog


So, you’re going from Tokyo to Kyoto with a JR pass.

Or maybe Hiroshima to Kyoto.


Can you use your JR pass for buses in Kyoto?!


Yes, there ARE some top Kyoto attractions that you can visit using your JR pass.


There are a number of different types of buses in Kyoto, with the regular buses being the “city bus” and “Kyoto bus.”

There’s also the “Raku bus” which is basically a tourist bus with bus routes going near main tourist attractions.


And then there’s the “JR bus” which is the ONLY bus you’ll be able to use your JR pass.


The JR bus route is a bit more limiting, but if you want to get around to some of Kyoto’s top spots ONLY using your JR pass, you can make it work!

There is also a JR train in Kyoto and it does go near some top spots too.

Another option might be to go for a one day bus pass (you’d pay extra for this – it’s like US$5).



And if you haven’t yet bought your JR pass, see the current price of a JR pass from an official JR pass vendor (and partner website). There are 7-day, 14-day, and 21-day passes available.




First, the quick list of the best places to visit by taking a JR bus.

Then, the more complete list of places you can go by bus in Kyoto with a JR pass.



3 best places to visit by bus in Kyoto with a JR pass


1. Nijo Castle (+ teahouse)

JR bus in Kyoto with JR pass: Route - Nijo castle. Backpacking Japan


2. Kinkakuji Temple

JR bus in Kyoto with JR pass: Route - Kinkakuji Temple. Backpacking Japan


3. Ryoanji Temple

One day in Kyoto itinerary: Ryoanji Zen Temple with rock garden. Best places to visit in Kyoto in one day Kyoto bus pass. Backpacking Kyoto Japan travel guide with DIY self-guided tour


These 3 places are among the top UNESCO world heritage sites in Kyoto.



Also be sure to see how to spend 1 day, 2 days, and 5 days in Kyoto.

You can also go to the popular Kyoto neighborhood called Arashiyama with a JR pass (there’s a JR train), and here’s a one day Arashiyama itinerary for that.

And if you’ll be in Kyoto for cherry blossom season, here’s a one-day cherry blossom photo walk.




List of where you can go by taking the JR bus

  • Kyoto Station
  • Kyoto Aquarium
  • Kyoto Railway Museum
  • Nijo Castle
  • Kitano Tenmangu Shrine
  • Kinkakuji Temple
  • Ryoanji Temple
  • Ninnaji Temple
  • Jingoji Temple
  • Kozanji Temple


JR bus route for Kyoto with JR pass. Backpacking Japan



JR bus route map


JR bus route map for Kyoto with JR pass. Backpacking Japan

Photo was taken summer 2018.



And if you’re not committed to the JR bus, also consider…

Kyoto with a 600 yen (US$5) one day bus pass!

It’ll get you to a few more of the top spots in Kyoto!



JR train in Kyoto

There are also a few trains in Kyoto that are on the JR line.

Once again, this may be a bit more limiting compared to if you allow yourself to ride on any subway or train in Kyoto.

But still, a JR train can get you near a few top spots too, including to Arashiyama, to Fushimi Inari shrine with 1,000 torii gates, and to Nijo Castle.



ICOCA card

If you do end up deciding to get around Kyoto NOT exclusively with the JR pass, consider getting an ICOCA card for convenience! (If you are in Tokyo first, a SUICA card will work too.)



JR bus in Kyoto with JR pass: JR bus timings timetable. Backpacking Japan




Use this Kyoto tourist map to plan out your 5 days in Kyoto!


More quick tips for planning your trip to Japan

There are affiliate links on this page that take you to partner websites.

For more on planning your trip to Kyoto, see the 1-day, 2-day, and 5-day Kyoto itineraries. If you'll be in Kyoto in the spring, also see the 1-day cherry blossom photo walk.

Hotels in Kyoto
Search for deals on Kyoto hotels here.

For hostels across Japan, try this top backpacker's hostel chain.

Kyoto can also be a good place to stay at a Japanese-style ryokan, like this one. Or if you're on more of a budget, try this one.

Also use the map below to see more hotels in Kyoto!


The super fast train in Japan
In general, 2 long-distance shinkansen train trips will likely end up making it so the JR pass will be worth it.

See the current price of a JR pass from an official vendor.

See an example of traveling by the fast train from Tokyo to Kyoto.

Natural disasters in Japan
Unfortunately, Japan can be prone to natural disasters which means risk for travel delays. So be sure to look at travel insurance for natural disasters.

My travel insurance took care of my accommodation and food costs when I was forced to stay extra days in Japan because of a typhoon.

See how much insurance costs for your trip.

Create your Japan itinerary

That's it for now!

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