Though it has many charms, Kochi City cannot count pleasant driving among them. Navigating the narrow roads and minimal English signage in a small car is not something I have ever had the desire to do. Luckily for tourists, the My Yu (MY遊) bus covers a wide array of great sites around the outskirts of the city (Katsurahama, Mt. Godaisan, etc.) that would otherwise only be accessible by taxi or rental car. Plus, your My Yu bus pass gets you discounted admission to many attractions on the route and unlimited tram rides in the 190 yen zone in Kochi City!
I have used this tourist bus on two different occasions and found it to be convenient and a great value, especially since showing a foreign passport will get you a 50% discount! Basically this is a hop on, hop off bus with eleven different stops. Depending on whether you ride on a weekday or a weekend/public holiday, the bus will come by a given stop every hour or two. Make sure you get on the bus going the right direction, however, as this is not just a single loop bus.
The drivers are usually friendly and helpful if you have questions (in Japanese). The drivers move a key across the timetable sign each time they come around so you are able to tell if you missed the bus for a certain time or when the next one will be coming. There are benches at most stops for you to wait. The insides of the buses have nice seats, and TV screens show each stop with pictures and a short description in Japanese and English. Simply press the button above you or next to you to get off at the next stop.
The paper copy of the schedule is available at Kochi Station. Though it is all in Japanese, the illustrated map on the back with a suggested itinerary can be useful. If you plan to go all the way to Katsurahama or the surrounding stops, make sure you buy the Katsurahama ticket (the more expensive option). It takes about 50 minutes to get all the way to Katsurahama because the bus has to make so many stops. Unfortunately, the bus will stop at each stop on the way back as well. The lack of an “express” return ride is the only downside I see to this method of transportation. The Godaisan option only gets you unlimited rides back and forth between Kochi Station and that halfway point about 30 minutes away.
When my parents visited Kochi and we took the My Yu bus they said it would have been worth the money just for the bus ride! When you combine the scenery out the window with a couple of Kochi’s sightseeing spots you have a great day and a great value.
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