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Kyoto City Tourism Associaion

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What's on in Kyoto 4

Multilingual Guide System Introduced to Seasonal Sightseeing Tour Bus

Kyoto's seasonal sightseeing tour bus has offered interesting bus tours for visitors for almost 90 years.

As people are likely to prefer personal travel rather than group travel recently, the number of participant of these us tour has gradually decreased but there are always about 20 different tour courses available every day.

One of the most attractive points of these bus tours is that you don't have to worry about schedule of the day, thinking about where to go and how to get there. Just pay for the tour fee and jump on the bus. Many tours include lunch or dinner in the course too. In the bus you can enjoy the sight of the city from higher view while a professional bus guide gives instruction; very easy and relaxed.


However instructions were provided only Japanese language until recently, though some foreigners participated in some of the tours including world famous tourist spots like Kinkaku-ji Temple and Kiyomizu Temple.

This autumn a new multilingual guide system for foreign tourists has been introduced to two buses. As the system incorporates GPS, images will be shown on screen at the front and voice instruction starts through special receiver when the bus comes closer to certain points. Instructions are available in English, Chinese and Korean.

We tried this new system. A bus guide continues to give explanations in Japanese as always.
Meanwhile, a tone is heard and multilingual guide starts. Languages can be chosen by pressing the button on the receiver. Choose your language and focus on what you hear while the bus guide keeps talking in Japanese.

Earphone may not fit to your ear, so some improvement must be considered. However it is understandable considering the cost as the earphone will not be collected at the end of the tour for hygiene reasons.

As the earphone guide proceeds, images of related places are shown. It depends on which seat you take in the bus but some seats may have a little difficulty to clearly see the screen.

However it is really helpful that we can see the images of things we don't see through window (for example, Nishijin Textile and Mt. Hiei) while we listen to the guide.

The bus stops at some points (temples, etc.) and participants can enjoy their time freely. It's perfect if multilingual guide is available at each point but how to enjoy and spend time is up to each person. Same system will be available next year. Online reservation from overseas is accepted. We hope the system will help foreign visitors enjoy Kyoto deeper and this tour will become more popular.

Multilingual pamphlet in English, Korean and Chinese (applicable for tour between Oct. 1, 2011 and Mar. 16, 2012)

For detailed information about each course and how to make a reservation, click the link below (English, Korean and Chinese):