• Easy Living in Kyoto - Necessary Information for Daily Life - Transportation

Easy Living in Kyoto

III Necessary Information for Daily Life


3-1 Bicycle Rules

(1) Rules about riding bicycles

 ・As a general rule, ride bicycles on the left side of the road. Riding on sidewalks is allowed if there is a sign posted permitting it:「自転車歩道通行可」When riding on sidewalks, ride slowly on the side closer to a street. In addition, always stop when it would interfere with pedestrians (The violation of the rules is punishable by law.)

 ・Do not make a right turn at intersections like cars do. Instead, you have to ride on a “Bicycle Crossing”「自転車横断帯」when there is such a sign.

 ・Push your bicycle, rather than ride it on sidewalks, especially when there is a large number of people.

・When riding at intersections with no traffic lights, ride on the left end of the road as much as possible to the other side of the intersection. After confirming the safety, sufficiently slow down and make a turn. (The violation of the rule is punishable by law.)

・Always turn on your bicycle headlamp when riding at night. (The violation of the rule is punishable by law.)

・Riding while under the influence of alcohol

or riding with two people are prohibited. (These actions are punishable by law.)

・Do not use your portable phone or wear a headset or headphones while riding.

・Be sure to lock your bicycle when you are finished riding it.

Regional Development Promotion Department  222-3049

(2)Points to be aware of when parking bicycles.

Parking your bicycle on sidewalks causes a great inconvenience to many people. Please park in the designated areas.

◆Removal of bicycles

*Bicycles parked in congested areas, such as in front of stations etc., will be removed in accordance with Kyoto City regulations (jorei).

*Bicycles parked at places with these signs (see left figure) are removed.


◆If your bicycle is removed:

*Removed bicycles are kept at the bike pound for 4 weeks.

*Remember that if the removed bicycle is not claimed within 4 weeks, the bicycle will be disposed of.

*If your bicycle is missing, first check for any notices or bicycle removal signs nearby. These will indicate where your bicycle has been taken.

“Bicycle Removal Enforcement Area”


◆To reclaim a removed bicycle

Look at the notice or bicycle removal sign near where you parked your bicycle to find out which pound it has been taken to. To reclaim your bicycle you need the following items: the key to your bicycle lock, identification and ¥2,300 (handling fee)

Kyoto City Bicycle Policy Division (Jitensha Seisaku-ka) 222-3565

(3) Crime prevention registration (Bouhan Touroku)

*Registration of bicycles (Bohan toroku) is a requirement of Japanese law. If your bicycle is stolen, the police can identify whose it is when found.

*When you purchase a new bicycle, it can be registered at the place of purchase for ¥500 (valid for 5 years)

*If you receive a bicycle with a registration certificate from a friend, you must change the registration to your name.

 Kyoto Prefectural Police Headquarters, Parking section

(Kyoto-fu Keisatsu Honbu, Chusha Taisaku-ka)  451-9111

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3-2 Cars and Motorcycles

*In Japan cars and motorcycles are driven on the left side of the street. You are required to wear seat belts in cars and to wear helmets on motorcycles.

*Children under the age of 6 are required to ride in a child car safety seat.

*Driving under the influence of alcohol, talking on a mobile phone and sending text messages while driving are prohibited. (The violation is punishable by law.)

*If you own a car, you must have it inspected every one to three years. All vehicles must be insured to be prepared for a possible accident. A certain amount of cost is needed.

◆International Driving Permits

If you have obtained an International Driving Permit, you are entitled to use it with no further action. It is good for one year from the date of arrival in Japan even if it showed a later date of validity.

◆If you come from a country which has not joined “the Convention on Road Use (Geneva Convention)”, you are not allowed to use the International Driving Permit.

◆Transfer of foreign driver’s license to Japanese driver license

If you have a valid driver’s license from your own country and come to Japan without having obtained an International Driving Permit, you may apply for a Japanese driver license at the Driver License Examination Center (Untenmenkyo-Shikenjo).

*Driver’s licenses issued in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium and Taiwan are good for one year from the date of arrival in Japan or until the indicated date of validity whichever the shorter period if a Japanese translation is affixed.

For details, inquire at Kyoto Prefectural Police Headquarters Driver License Examination Center (Kyoto-fu Keisatsu Honbu Unten Menkyo Shikenka) 631-5181, Ext. 414 (on a subscription basis)

M-F 4 PM-5 PM


①You have a valid driver license from another country.

②You can prove that you lived in the country where you obtained that license for more than 3 months after it was issued.

〈Necessary documents for application〉

①A valid driver’s license from another country.

*You must have your foreign license translated into Japanese by an embassy, consulate or JAF (682-6000).


③Certificate of Foreign Resident Registration

④1 Photograph (3×2.4cm)

⑤Application fee

◆Japanese driver license

*The expiry date of your license is written on the license itself.

*Renewal is possible during the two month, i.e. one month before and after your birthday. The required items for renewal include one photograph and your current driver’s license. The fee is 3,150 Yen. (The fee varies depending on the record of violations.)

◆Obtaining a Japanese driver’s license (Kyoto Prefecture)

*While the practical test is only conducted in Japanese, the written test may be taken in English.

*In order to pass the test, you must study Japanese traffic rules and regulations.

*You have to be at least 18 years old to drive a car and 16 years old to drive a motorcycle in Japan. If you have not reached the age, a driver’s license will not be issued.

*If you wish to sit for the examinations in English, please tell the instructor when you apply.

Kyoto Prefectural Police Headquarters Driver License Examination Center (Kyoto-fu Keisatsu Honbu Unten Menkyo Shikenjo)

647 Furukawa-cho, Hazukashi, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto    631-5181 Monday through Friday 8:30-9:15 (exam application period)

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3-3 Access to Kansai International Airport

◆Getting to Kansai International Airport

Type of Transportation


Time Duration

JR Special Rapid Express

JR Kyoto station

75 min.

JR Airport Express

JR Osaka and Kyobashi Stations

2 hrs.+

Airport Limousine Bus

Kansai Airport Limousine Bus Reservation Center


Kyoto Station Hachijo-guchi,

Nijo-ekimae, Keihan-Sanjo

Shijo-Oomiya, Demachiyanagi

105 min.

Limousine Taxi

MK Skygate Shuttle TEL:778-5489

Yasaka Airport Shuttle TEL:803-4800

◆To find out about flight times

Limousine Bus Center
 TEL:072-461-1374 (8:00 to 20:00)

Kansai Airport Information Center
 TEL:072-455-2500 (24 hrs.)

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3-4 Public Transportation (Subways, Trains, Buses)


Subways are operated by Kyoto City. Part of the subway interoperates with a private railway. When you have traveled past the amount you have paid for on your ticket, adjust your fare in the fare adjustment machine or have it adjusted by a station employee before passing through the ticket gate. Smoking is not allowed on trains or in stations.

JR (Japan Railways)

JR is the largest railroad company in Japan, with lines extending to most locations around the country. Special fees are charged for riding the Special Express, the Green Car, sleeping cars, or the Shinkansen. People averse to cigarette smoke can choose no-smoking seats at no extra cost.

JR West Telephone Center (8:00 to 22:00)   TEL:0088-24-5489

Other Trains





Hankyu Railway (Kyoto Line)

46 min. by Special Express from

Kawaramachi Station to Umeda Station. (No extra charge for Special Express)

Kawaramachi Station 211-1052

Keihan Electric Railway

54 min. by Special Express from Demachi-Yanagi Station to Yodoyabashi Station

(No extra charge for Special Express)

Sanjo Station


Kintetsu (Kinki Nippon Tetsudo)

Kintetsu Kyoto Station is located to the south of JR Kyoto Station premises. (Extra charge for Special Express)

Kyoto Station


Keifuku Electric Railroad


Hankyu Railway (Arashiyama Line)



Eizan Railway



(1) City Buses

The city bus system is operated by Kyoto City. When boarding a bus, enter from the entrance at the rear. To indicate your intention to get off the bus, push the button near the seat before you reach your stop. Insert your fare or ticket into the box located next to the driver’s seat and then get off at the front of the bus.


*When you use a bus with a fixed-fare, wherever you get off, the bus fare is ¥220.

*When you ride a bus whose fee is based on the distance traveled: Take a ticket from the machine at the rear entrance. Before getting off, insert your fare and the ticket in the fare box. Fares are indicated on the chart located at the front of the bus.

*Children under 12 years old pay half the adult price. Up to two children under the age of 6 can travel free when accompanied by an adult.

*When you have no change, you can exchange your bills for coins at the front of the bus.

◆ Route maps, etc.

*City buses run until about 10:00 pm. The last city bus to a destination has red lights on the signboard

*English-language route maps are available at the city bus information office and the Kyoto International Community House.

Kyoto Municipal Transportation Bureau 801-2561 http://www.city.kyoto.jp/kotsu/

(2)Other buses

Kyoto Bus (northern Kyoto, Sagano, Arashiyama areas)

Keihan Bus (eastern Kyoto, southern Kyoto, Shiga)

Kyoto Kotsu Bus (northern Kyoto)

JR Bus (northern Kyoto)

Kintetsu Bus (southern Kyoto)

Hankyu Bus (Muko-shi)

◆Discount Tickets

Various types of discount tickets (Waribiki-ken) are available for public trains and buses. For further information, inquire at the respective train or bus stations.

Ticket Type


Coupon tickets

An economical purchase in small book form. You can buy discount coupon tickets for fixed routes.

Commuter pass

Unlimited use within a fixed period and route.

Special discount for students
(Gakusei waribiki)

Students can purchase a student pass at a discounted fare with a certificate available from school or university. Furthermore, if you travel a distance of more than 100 km on the JR Railway, you can receive a discount with the certificate.

One-day pass
(Ichinichi joshaken)

Unlimited rides for one day.

Two-day pass
(Futsuka Joshaken)

Unlimited rides for two days.

Traffica Kyo Card

Can be used both on subways and city buses. You can purchase from subway ticket vending machines and bus offices. You can use it on all bus and subway routes and it can be inserted directly into ticket gates.

Surutto Kansai Card

Can be used on city buses and subways, and also most private railways and buses in the Kansai Region.

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3-5 Taxis

Fares vary depending on the size of the taxi, such as small-size, mid-size and large-size taxis. A lamp displaying the taxi company’s name is attached to the roof of the taxi. Taxis in Japan have automatic rear doors. The driver will open and close the doors for you.

◆How to catch a taxi

*Raise your hand and stop a taxi along the street. A taxi with a sign for vacancy will stop for you.

*You can also catch a taxi at designated taxi stands around stations and major roads.

*You can also call a taxi company to have a taxi sent to pick you up.

◆Taxi Fare

*Taxi fare is shown on the meter on the left bottom side of the driver’s seat. Check when you get in.

*Taxi fare is higher between 11:00 PM and 5:00 AM because of a late night surcharge. The fare system may vary depending on each taxi.

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