Two subway lines bisect Kyoto: the Karasuma line running north to south and the Tozai line running east to west. The Karasuma line is the fastest way to travel from north to south. Tickets can be purchased from the vending machines located inside the stations. Instructions for the machines are available in English. Like the city buses, the subway cars feature announcements in English. Similarly, there are electronic signs displaying the names of the next stop in English above the doors.
Few of the train lines have stops near the major tourist attractions in Kyoto, but the train system may be useful nonetheless, particularly if you are taking a side trip to Osaka or a neighboring city. Purchase of ticket is essentially the same as on the subway. Keihan, Kintetsu, and Hankyu are the major private lines. Private line fares are priced less than JR (Japan Railway). The Keihan Main Line runs from Sanjo Avenue in Kyoto to Yodoyabashi in Osaka. Part of this line runs parallel to the Kamogawa River. The Kintetsu network of trains covers a wide area from Kyoto to Nara, Osaka and beyond. Hankyu's Kyoto Line runs between the downtown Kawaramachi in Kyoto and Umeda in Osaka.