So if you want to go to the top tourist sightseeing spots in Kyoto, getting around by bus can be a good option!
The “Raku bus” is basically a Kyoto tourist bus.
The main purpose of this bus is to provide bus routes that pass by tourist attractions.
The Raku bus isn’t the only way to get to these places, as the regular buses – notably the “city bus” and “Kyoto bus” – also can be good ways to get around Kyoto.
Although, the Raku bus is a type of city bus. It looks different from a regular “city bus” and this makes it easier to be spotted by tourists too.
Regular city bus…
How to know which bus to take?!
You can basically just take any bus that arrives to the bus stop closest to where you are, and pocket wifi and Google Maps can make your life much easier when trying to get around Kyoto by bus!
How much does a Raku bus cost?
A single ride bus fare is 230 yen (US$2).
If you’re planning on hitting up a bunch of places in a single day, be sure to have a look at the one day bus pass. The pass will cover bus rides on the Raku bus, regular city bus, and Kyoto bus.
Information from Kyoto tourism office from summer 2018.
If you have a JR pass, the JR bus does also go to some of the top tourist attractions.
First, the quick list of the top tourist attractions you can get to by taking the Raku bus.
Then, the more complete list of places the Raku bus goes.
Best tourist places to visit in Kyoto on a Raku bus
1. Nijo Castle (+ teahouse)
2. Kinkakuji Temple
4. Kiyomizu-dera Temple
5. Ginkakuji Temple (+ tea garden)
6. Heian Shrine
Some of these attractions are among the top UNESCO world heritage sites in Kyoto!
List of where you can go by taking the Raku bus
- Kyoto Station
- Kyoto National Museum
- Sanjusangen-do Temple
- Kiyomizu-dera Temple
- Yasaka Shrine
- Heian Shrine
- Ginkakuji Temple
- Nijo Castle
- Kitano-Tenmangu Shrine
- Kinkakuji Temple
- Daitokuji Temple
- Kitaoji bus station – Kitaoji subway station
- Kyoto Imperial Palace
Raku bus route map
Have a look at the Kyoto bus information guide!
Kyoto with a 600 yen (US$5) one day bus pass!
The Kyoto bus pass will allow you unlimited rides on the Raku bus, city bus, and Kyoto bus.
See what you think about this one day in Kyoto:
- Kyoto Station to Nijo Castle bus
- Nijo Castle (+ teahouse)
- Nijo Castle to Kinkakuji bus
- Kinkakuji Temple
- Kinkakuji to Ryoanji bus
- Ryoanji Zen Temple
- Ryoanji to Yasaka Shrine bus
- Gion to Kiyomizu-dera walk
- Kiyomizu-dera to Kyoto station bus
HAPPY RAKU BUS RIDE IN KYOTO!
Use this Kyoto tourist map to plan out your 5 days in Kyoto!
- Day 1: Top tourist spots with one day bus pass
- Day 2: Fushimi Inari Shrine hike through 1,000 torii gates
- Day 3: Philosopher’s Path walk
- Day 4: Arashiyama and Sagano
- Day 5: Kurama Kibune Ohara with one day pass
More quick tips for planning your trip to JapanThere 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 KyotoSearch 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 JapanIn 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.
NEW way of buying individual shinkansen train tickets online!I will start by saying I have NOT bought train tickets online this way (yet!) to verify this! (But it's on my list for my next trip to Japan!)
There's an online train ticket booking method that's popular for other parts of Asia, and they are just now branching out to Japan.
You can now buy train tickets online here for popular shinkansen train routes. (And some bus routes too.)
I've used this booking site for taking the train from Thailand to Malaysia, and it worked out well, so I would expect it to work out well in Japan too!
The thing is, though, that you need to pick up the physical train tickets in person.
So it won't be enough to just buy the tickets online. I had to do this in Bangkok for my train ticket - and it was easy! So again, I would think it'd be easy for Japan train tickets too.
Search for popular routes in Japan here. For example, Tokyo to Kyoto.
If you end up buying train tickets online this way, I would love to hear how it goes! Whether that's good, or if it came with some challenges!
Natural disasters in JapanUnfortunately, 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.
Best travel guides for JapanIf you're at step 1 in your planning process, have a look at this Discover Japan book.
For "books" that won't take up space in your suitcase, see the best PDF guides.
See more of the best books for Japan trip planning.
Create your Japan itinerary
- 5 days in Kyoto
- Cost of climbing Mt Fuji from Tokyo
- Where to go for famous Mt Fuji views as seen in pictures
- Know before you go to Hiroshima
- One day in Miyajima with famous floating torii views
- 3 days in Okinawa, Japan's tropical islands
- Cherry blossom photo walk
- When is the JR pass worth it for train travel?
- Tokyo to Kyoto train
- Hostels in Japan