I am not a resident of Kyoto, but I had been there 5 times as a tourist. I know Kyoto very well on the view point of a solo tourist.
In Kyoto, the public transportation systems are below.
(Randen in Arashiyama)
Bus, subway, trains (JR, Hankyu, Kintetsu (leaving/ to Kyoto), Keihan, Keihan-Randen.
Guess buses are the most useful to visiting temples and shrines.
I strongly recommend to categorize the area in Kyoto, from Kyoto Station/ your hotel to these area by bus or something, and walk.
Why I strongly recommend to categorize the area in Kyoto?
Kyoto is one of the most famous city for tourists inside of Japan and abroad. I also love their beautiful and historical architectures. Maybe it is the very you want to see. There are lots of World Heritage Sites, and Japanese National Treasures.
In this decade, the number of international tourists are increasing, the city is pretty welcoming, and if you read Chinese Characters or Alphabet, it is the easiest place to visit in Japan.
To be honest, it is already saturated that the public transportation system in Kyoto. Due to the millennium history, it is not easy to construct new subway lines, they MUST find something Archaeological. Buses are the most common public transportation in Kyoto.
There are some one-day or two-days tickets, but I did not bought those. I paid by IC transportation card (on my iPhone 8 Plus). I admit that I should have better to buy one Randen One Day Pass to save more, but I could save only ¥200 or less.
Rent Cars: No recommended
I never recommend to drive a car by yourself, because there are few parking spaces and its traffic jams in Kyoto.
Remember it is we tourist drivers who do not know the road very well that is the very cause of the traffic jam in Kyoto! There are many one-way roads, navigations works well. But I also ask you, are you familiar with Japanese driving rules and behaviours? Maybe no.
I suppose they should better to ban rent cars and drivers who are not residents or workers in Kyoto, like European some cities, like Salzburg, Austria.
Rent cars are glad to waste your time and money.
Rent bicycles: Nonsense
Rent bicycles are also not recommended in Kyoto, the roads are narrow, and the drivers are not always familiar with the roads in Kyoto. And also it can not easy to find bike parking too.
Also, I say, are you familiar with Japanese driving rules and behaviours? You may not.
Hire drivers and taxies: Good! But do not pay for Mafias
If you are enough rich to hire drivers, please pay attention if they are licensed or not. There are many unlicensed guide drivers (many are Chinese speakers), they are illegal.
Their income can be a resource for international Mafias. Hire them if you want to help these international mafias, illegally.
If you are enough rich to hire taxies, you can take taxies. They are waiting for you.
How to find out whether illegal service or not
I give you the easiest way to find out whether it is illegal or not.
When the licensed drivers/guides/ are driving cars with dark green plates.
I did not take taxies while I was in Kyoto, I checked my photos I took, I found only one shot of a vehicle, the picture above. It is a bus, but Taxies and limousines MUST have the same dark green plates. You do not read Chinese/ Japanese Characters. See the color.
I found Wikipedia is a good chart.
When the driver is driving a car with white plate or yellow plate, it means they are illegal drivers. Take a photo of the car and call 110 to the police.
Do not pay for Mafias.
Best way for budget solo tourists
The best way for we young solo tourists, who are not backpackers but want to save money is categorize the area, and go to the area by public transportations (bus, subway, trains, and Randen (tram)), and walk.
You will also be able to see the city of Kyoto, and some small shrines too. It can be interesting.
I rarely take photos of the narrow streets, because they are also residential area of Kyoto, I do not want to break their privacy. Please respect people’s life in Kyoto.