2. Buses

Most larger cities in Japan will have an accompanying bus system in addition to the available train lines.  Generally speaking, these buses are more expensive than the local trains but can be very handy in getting around in a city that doesn’t have a complex train network (like Hirakata).

From my experience, I tried to limit my bus usage due to the fact that most bus rides are about 220-250 yen each way (this can go up depending on how far you take the bus).  If you live in Hirakata/are going to Kansai Gaidai, there’s a rather extensive bus network that goes around the city and for the most part the bus fare will not exceed 250 yen; however, I tried to walk (and bike when I bought my bike, which was reallllly useful and a huge timesaver) everywhere I could because buses add up fast.  It’s about a 15-20 minute walk from Kansai Gaidai’s main campus to the Hirakata-shi train station.

Generally speaking, if you want to use a bus system in a city that you have yet to go to, I would highly recommend doing research about the routes before you go to the bus station.  Most cities have their buses centralized at the train station, as this makes the most sense.  So, for the most part, it’s a safe bet that you can figure out which bus you’ll need once you get off the train and take a look at all the bus routes, but as someone who likes to know how to get where’s he’s going before setting out, I rarely did this.  Also, most train route are in Kanji.

Google Maps does NOT have bus routes, so you will have to be able to find this information elsewhere.  For Keihan buses (which are usually serving cities along the Keihan Lines), you can find all the bus routes and times here: http://www.keihanbus.jp/
You need to click the timetable button 時刻表 and then choose the first option.  Then you will need to click the hiragana that is the first character in the city you wish to check.  Hirakata starts with ひ, so if you click ひ you will get a list that includes 枚方市 (north and south).  Buses that go to Kansai Gaidai leave from the north side of the station. (for the most part)

For Hirakata specifically, use this one: http://www.keihanbus.jp/local/timetable.php?stop_cd=5100 AND http://www.keihanbus.jp/local/timetable.php?stop_cd=5600
There’s different timetables for buses that leave from the north side of the station and from the south side of the station.

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