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Kyoto: Sight seeing via public transportation.

Phoenix, Arizona
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Kyoto: Sight seeing via public transportation.


I'm planning a trip to Japan for May of 2014. Ideally, I'd like to rent a place for 5-7 days and do sight seeing trips one area at a time. I'm looking for recomendations as to the best area to set up "base camp" that is accessible to public transportation lines and centrally located. Also, if I purchase a Japan Rail pass, can I use that pass to get around Kyoto? Frankly, Japan seems to have many different train lines and I'm unclear on what is what. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated!

Perth, Australia
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1. Re: Kyoto: Sight seeing via public transportation.

Yes, you can use your JR Pass in Kyoto but it will be of very very limited use. Kyoto is a very old city with a relatively poor public transportation network. Hence not much trains nor subways. A lot of buses. That doesn't mean that it is hard to go somewhere in Kyoto, though.


Base camp = Near Kyoto Station where both the bus terminal and main station of Kyoto is. But choice is endless once you factor in price.

Note: JR Pass will not be a worthwhile purchase if its sole use is to travel around Kyoto.

Edited: 31 August 2013, 05:58
Tokyo, Japan
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2. Re: Kyoto: Sight seeing via public transportation.

JR Nara Line in the direction for Fushimi Inari and Nara

JR Sagano Line in the direction for Arashiyama

are the useful JR Lines for tourists. japan-guide.com/g3/2363_map_kyoto_rail_netwo…

As you see, many tourist destinations are still unaccessible by JR.

Tokyo, Japan
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3. Re: Kyoto: Sight seeing via public transportation.

Some train lines useful for Kyoto sightseeing (some are already mentioned above):

1) JR Sagano / San-in Line : Nijo Castle, Myoshinji Temple, Arashiyama

2) JR Nara Line: Tofukuji Temple, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Uji

3) Keihan Mainline: Fushimi Inari Shrine, Tofukuji, Kiyomizu Temple (10-15 min walk from Kiyomizu Gojo), Gion (Gion Shijo), Kawaramachi, Heian Shrine & Okazaki area attractions, Chion-in (10-15 min walk from Keihan Sanjo), Ginkakuji (20 minutes walk from Demachiyanagi, frequent buses), Shimogamo Shrine (10-15 min walk from Demachiyanagi), Kurama Temple and Hieizan Enryakuji Temple (Eiden railway via Demachiyanagi)

4) Hankyu Kyoto Line: Kawaramachi, Nishiki Market and Karasuma area, Nijo Castle (15-20min walk from Shijo Omiya), Arashiyama

5) Kyoto Metro Karasuma Line: Kyoto Station, Nishiki Market and Karasuma area (Shijo [Karasuma]), Nijo Castle (10 min walk from Karasuma-Oike), Kyoto Imperial Palace (Imadegawa), Kinkakuji and Ginkakuji (frequent buses from Kitaoji)

6) Kyoto Metro Tozai Line: Arashiyama (Randen tram via Uzumasa-Tenjingawa), Nijo Castle, Heian Shrine (10 min walk from Higashiyama), Nanzenji and Philosopher's Path (10 min walk from Keage)

Combine these railway options with bus (Kitaoji BT is extremely useful for attractions in north-west like Kinkakuji, Ryoanji, and Ninnaji).

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4. Re: Kyoto: Sight seeing via public transportation.

If you plan to do frequent travels outside of the Kyoto, then staying near Kyoto station is a good idea. If you plan to stay mostly within the city then stay near a subway station closer to the center of town and you can go anywhere you want to from there.

In Kyoto, I find it most practical to take the subway as close to a site as possible, then either walk or take a taxi to my destination. The bus routes are great, but I get frustrated when the bus gets stuck in traffic and I could have been much closer if I'd taken the subway and walked.

If you follow the Karasuma subway line (for example, on Google maps or Google Earth) from Kyoto Station into the center of Kyoto, you will find lots of accommodation choices along the way. For example, look at Citidines, Karasuma Kyoto Hotel, and the Mitsui Garden.

Destination Expert
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5. Re: Kyoto: Sight seeing via public transportation.


New Zealand
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6. Re: Kyoto: Sight seeing via public transportation.

I stayed in the centre of Kyoto, near the Teramachi Arcade and Nishiki market, and found that very convenient for public transport.. It was close to a subway station on the Tozai line, and also close to buses. The other benefit was a variety of places to eat nearby.

Phoenix, Arizona
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7. Re: Kyoto: Sight seeing via public transportation.

Hello from Phoenix, Arizona! I want to thank you all so much for the excellent tips, advice and helpful information from people in the know. I am truely impressed!!! I will be exploring many of the links and am looking forward to my trip! I really appreciate the time you took to respond to my inquiry. This was my first visit to this forum. Thank you again!

8. Re: Kyoto: Sight seeing via public transportation.

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