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 attractions in Kyoto 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!

It’s also possible to get around Kyoto by JR train and it does go near some top spots too. But again, it’s a bit limiting.

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




Side note! See quick Kyoto travel tips if it's your first trip to Japan. Also see ideas for how to spend time in Kyoto with the Kyoto travel planning map and 5 day Kyoto itinerary. For Kyoto in spring, see this one day cherry blossom photo walk. Also see ideas for how to spend winter in Japan - 10 day itinerary with Japan Alps and 7 day itinerary in Hokkaido! And finally, see the cost of a JR pass and how to figure out if it will be worth it for you!




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.

See more about where you can go on the JR train in Kyoto.



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



How to spend winter in Japan

Backpacking Japan travel blog: Japan winter itinerary. Japan itinerary travel planning tips. Backpacking Japan travel blog: Hokkaido winter itinerary. Japan itinerary travel planning tips.

More quick tips for planning your trip to Japan

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

Among the top 3 things people get specific for a trip to Japan

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

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.

Food in Japan
If you are in Japan for FOOD, then be sure to see where to try different types of Japanese food! (Sometimes for cheaper!)

And also have a look at some of these cooking classes in Japan too.

When the JR pass is worth it
In general, 2 long-distance shinkansen train trips will likely end up making it so the JR pass will be worth it. But here's how to calculate it to be sure. See the current price of a JR pass from an official vendor.

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. There have been a few typhoons that have hit Japan in the past couple of years and they can cause real travel disruptions!

See how much insurance costs for your trip.

Create your Japan itinerary

That's it for now!

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