New Kyoto Tourism Bus Services to Fight Overtourism; Express Service from Kyoto Station to Tourism Spots

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A Sightseeing Limited Express Bus departs from Kyoto Station in Kyoto on Saturday morning.

KYOTO — The Kyoto city government on Saturday began operating bus services that only stop at major sightseeing spots as a measure against overtourism and to help ease overcrowding on bus lines used by local residents.

The new “Sightseeing Limited Express Bus” services have two routes. One goes from Kyoto Station to Ginkakuji temple via Gojozaka near Kiyomizudera temple, the Gion district and Heian Jingu Shrine. The other goes from Kyoto Station to Gojozaka directly. The Ginkakuji line operates 24 times a day, while the Gojozaka line runs 16 times a day. Both operate on weekends and holidays, including the New Year’s holidays.

The fare is ¥500 for adults, more than double the normal flat fare of ¥230. To shorten the stopping time of the buses, users are asked to pay the fare in advance. The Subway & Bus 1-Day Pass can be also used. Both tourists and local residents can use the services, but commuter passes and passes for senior citizens cannot be used on the buses.

A departure ceremony was held on Saturday morning in front of Kyoto Station.

“We want more people to enjoy sightseeing [in the city] while also ensuring that local residents can comfortably go about their everyday life,” said Kyoto Mayor Koji Matsui, who took a test ride on the new bus line. “We will verify the results.”