OWL Magazine Korea

Kyoto “Kyoto Station” (2023)

After riding the JR Haruka Train for about 80 minutes, I arrived at Kyoto Station from Kansai International Airport. Although I had been to Kyoto Station before the COVID-19 era, my first visit to Kyoto involved arriving at Fushimi Inari Station in Kyoto using the Keihan Line from Osaka, not through Kyoto Station. Therefore, this visit to Kyoto felt more special, as it gave me a sense of arriving in Kyoto in a more traditional way. It felt like entering through the main gate rather than the back door.

Upon disembarking from the Haruka Train, I noticed many people taking photos with the signboards of Kyoto Station in the background. Thinking that this could be a memorable moment of the trip, I decided to take a photo as well.

“Central Location of Kyoto Station”

Kyoto Station is situated at the heart of Kyoto. Not only is it centrally located in Kyoto, but from across Kyoto Station, you can also see the “Kyoto Tower.” In terms of daily passenger numbers, JR West Japan boasts over 190,000 passengers, securing the second spot after Osaka Station. JR Tokai records around 35,000 passengers, ranking seventh, and the subway, with approximately 50,000 passengers, is the busiest among all Kyoto City Subway stations. Kintetsu, including boarding and alighting passengers, handles around 100,000 passengers, making it the most used station in the Kyoto area. Combined, around 750,000 people use Kyoto Station daily.

Moreover, Kyoto Station serves as a transportation hub not only for trains and subways but also for buses heading to various locations around Kyoto.

“Considerable Scale of Kyoto Station”

Given its high passenger volume, Kyoto Station naturally has a considerable scale. The architect of JR West Japan is Hiroshi Hara, famous for Umeda Sky Building in Osaka and the Sapporo Dome in Sapporo. Kyoto Station is characterized by its impressive scale, comparable to Osaka Station, newly constructed in the 2010s, and even surpassing Tokyo Station, located in the center of Japan’s capital.

Despite its large size, Kyoto Station doesn’t feel cramped. It offers a sense of openness and provides refreshing views.

“Exploring Around Kyoto Station”

On the first day, I passed through Kyoto Station without exploring much, but on the next morning, planning to go to Arashiyama via Kyoto Station, I arrived early to have some time to explore various areas of Kyoto Station.

There are hidden gems within Kyoto Station. First, there is the Namyu Boardwalk, which you can find by going west from the ticket gate, then ascending the stairs to the third floor. From here, you can enjoy views of the Shinkansen departing.

Second, the Glass Mugoji Square on the fourth floor near Hotel Granvia offers a vantage point to appreciate Kyoto Tower.

Third, by taking the escalator on the east side of Granvia Plaza, you can access the 10th floor, which is connected to the opposite JR Kyoto Isetan.

“Kyoto Station Rooftop Garden”

Although I only had time to explore a few of Kyoto Station’s hidden spots, I found the rooftop garden where you could enjoy the morning scenery. Riding the escalator and continuing upward, I discovered the rooftop garden. There, I observed students in school uniforms spending time in the park instead of heading to school. Whether it was a day off or a deliberate decision to skip school, I couldn’t discern, but it added a unique touch to the Kyoto Station experience.

In any case, arriving early at Kyoto Station allowed me to appreciate the landscapes of various areas and capture them in photographs.

“Close-Up View of Kyoto Tower from Kyoto Station”

Directly across from Kyoto Station is Kyoto Tower. Its proximity allows you to instantly feel that you have arrived in Kyoto. You can admire Kyoto Tower up close, and looking in the direction of Kyoto Station, you’ll see the reflection of Kyoto Tower on the glass facade of Kyoto Station.

Now that I’ve arrived in Kyoto, taking a leisurely stroll around Kyoto Station, the gateway to Kyoto, while enjoying the journey might be a great idea.

“Japan Kyoto, Kyoto Station”

  • Address: Higashishiokoji Kamadonocho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
  • Website: Kyoto Station