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Kyoto Station

Kyoto city has more than 1200 years of history, and it survived fires, wars, and natural disasters over the years. Many temples have been rebuilt, but some parts of the city keep its traditional look, especially in the area such as Ninenzaka,and Sannenzaka lanes, Gion and Pontocho districts, Nishiki food market. Shinto shrines and temples’ grounds mark the historical sites of the city. Machiya, Kyoto traditional townhouse, can be seen here and there, giving us an image of the original Kyoto’s architecture. Some machiya became elegant restaurants, cafes’, and people enjoy their traditional aspect. When you arrive at Kyoto by train, the station might surprise you. Nowadays Kyoto Station, (Kyoto Eki), is a modern construction. It was designed by the Japanese architect Hiroshi Hara. It was built in 1997 to commemorate Kyoto’s 1200th anniversary. The design has futurism features and an irregular facade of plate glass over a steel frame. The building has 15 floors and it is 60m tall and 500m.wide.

Kyoto people at first were reluctant to accept such a modern building, however later it became part of their daily life because of its utilities. Kyoto station houses Porta and The Cube shopping malls, (both on the underground floor) a hotel, a movie theatre, Isetan department store, the local government offices, and more. “Shinkansen”, bullet train platform and “Kintetsu Line” are in the southern part of the station. Today station is not only a place to depart from or to arrive at, but also a place where Kyoto people, (and not), enjoy shopping and eating. Some parts of Kyoto station building are used as a stage for events, such as student’s concerts. On the top floor, there is a terrace from which you can see Kyoto’s 360°view. The main entrance of Kyoto Station is underneath a very high ceiling made of steel poles. A suspend corridor connecting two parts of the building ‘s structure, escalators moving up and down…I always feel like Pinocchio in the whale’s stomach!

Sign with bus information

In front of Kyoto Station you can see Kyoto Tower. It is an observation tower shaped like a candle, and known as a symbol of modern Kyoto. There is a bus terminal. Bus routes cover main part of the city. It is easy to use it because of its English information signs. Every bus stop has an alphabet letter according to the destinations and the bus number. There is a sign at each bus stop showing the main destinations of the bus route. There are English announcements inside the bus heading for the most famous touristic places.

Bus stops

On the right side of the main exit of the station, there is a taxi terminal too. Taxis are not so expensive in Japan. Some taxi drivers speak English. Kyoto city subway “Karasuma Line(烏丸線)” is also very useful. It connects Kyoto Station, downtown and Northern Kyoto. It is a pretty short ride. On the West side of Kyoto station building there is a big Post Office. Following the street along the Isetan Department, you will find BicCamera, a paradise for electronic goods. Another one, Yodobashi Camera, is a little North of Kyoto Station main entrance, on Karasuma dori St. If you continue a little further, cross Shichijo dori St., on your left side there is Higashi Hongan-ji Temple, which is a spiritual paradise.

Higashi Hongan-ji Temple, a few minutes from Kyoto Station

At “Hachijo-guchi”, Hachijo exit, there are buses bounding for Kansai International Airport and Itami Airport. Nearby there is also Aeon(イオン), a big shopping centre, where you might spend some time here looking for a good deal. You can walk to West for about 15 minutes, and visit To-ji Temple. Here there is the tallest Pagoda of Japan, (56.1 m.), the present one was built in 1644. It can be seen from trains approaching Kyoto Station, welcoming visitors with its magnificent shape.

Toji Pagoda

Kyoto Station was first built in 1877. Since then it has been rebuilt other three times. Today’s one is the fourth. Kyoto is the cultural and historical centre of Japan. Kyoto Station is the first welcome to visitors from the city that knows how to be adaptable to the era’s change. The first impact might be astounding, but you will learn soon its convenient, useful aspects. Even though you are here just for the time to change a train or to arrive at one of the most special cities in the world.