Everything you need to know about Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan.
1. How to get to Kyoto
The train is the most common way to get to Kyoto, since it does not have its own airport.
We will arrive at Kyoto station, a modern (and gigantic) building inaugurated in 1997 to commemorate the 1,200th anniversary of the founding of the city. The station has 15 conventional tracks and 4 high-speed tracks, as well as 33 platforms.
The station is located in the center of the city and a multitude of bus taxi lines depart from the entrance and includes a metro station.
At the station we can also find the tourist information office.
Kyoto station website: https://www.jr-odekake.net
The nearest airport is Kansai International Airport. The easiest way to get to Kyoto from the airport is by train.
The direct train is the Haruka Express. It takes around 1:15 a.m. and the price is 3,430 yen (€26.30) but it is included in the JRPass.
You can purchase the JR Pass and receive it comfortably at home clicking here:
The frequency is every 30 minutes, leaving from Kansai to Kyoto between 6:30 and 22:16; and from Kyoto to Kansai between 6:37 and 22:50.
More information at: https://www.westjr.co.jp/global/en/travel/shopping/access/train.html
For more comfort you can hire a transfer service to the door of your hotel:
How to get around Kyoto
It is the most convenient way to travel around Kyoto. They arrive at any point in the city. The price is always fixed: ¥230 (€1.76) for adults and ¥120 (€0.92) for children.
There are certain lines that operate on weekends at dawn, such as lines 204 and 205 (which run through the most touristic area) and their price is just double: ¥460 for adults and ¥240 for children.
There is also a day pass. The price is ¥600 (€4.60) for adults and ¥300 (€2.30) for children. You can buy it on the bus from the driver or in vending machines at the train station stops.
The pass is valid only for the day it is validated, not for 24 hours. That is, if you buy it and validate it on July 20 at 2 p.m., it is valid until 11:59 p.m. on July 20.
The bus is accessed through the back door and exits through the front. When you arrive at your stop, you insert the bill and the exact money in coins into a machine next to the driver. If you don’t have change, don’t worry, you can change money in another machine that is in the same place. If you have the 1 day pass, just show it to the driver.
Kyoto City Bus website: https://www2.city.kyoto.lg.jp/kotsu/webguide/en/bus/index_bus.html
The Kyoto subway consists of only 2 lines, the Tozai (東西線) in green and the Karasuma (烏丸線) in red. The Tozai line runs through the city from north to south and the karasuma from east to west.
The metro runs between 5:00 and 23:00. The price of the ticket depends on the length of the journey you are going to make. These range from 220 to 360 yen (€1.69 – €2.76) for adults, and between 110 and 180 yen for children. There is also a day pass, which costs the same as the bus pass and works the same.
The truth is that the Kyoto subway is going to be very impractical for us and, surely, we will not use it.
Kyoto City Subway website: https://www2.city.kyoto.lg.jp/kotsu/webguide/en/tika/index_tika.html
We won’t be able to use the JR trains for long, but it is very convenient to go from the train station to Arashiyama with the JR San-In line in about 15-20 minutes, much less than by bus.
The taxi in Kyoto is extremely expensive and, unless it is necessary because it is very late at night and there is no bus service, it will be very strange that we take it.