Kyoto Station is a big, central hub in the middle of downtown Kyoto and will be a key fixture for your trip no matter if you are looking for a hotel, restaurant, or more importantly, the trains that operate out of the station. Here are some quick things to know about the massive station.
Built in 1997, the 15 story train station is home to more than just trains including a movie theater, hotel, restaurants, and much more. With that, these are quick things to know about the station that can give you some key information before navigating the massive station and surrounding area.
1) Kyoto Station is located in the center of Kyoto and can’t be missed due to its modern design (in contrast to the traditional buildings in the city). It is the home of the domestic lines as well as the Shinkansen lines. You will most likely pass through this station, whether it’s using the Shinkansen or the local lines to get around Kyoto. Take a few minutes to study the layout of the station to know where you are headed before you even arrive.
2) Kyoto Station is busy. Over a hundred thousand people a day pass through the station (probably less these days now due to Covid restrictions), so be prepared for that as you either prepare to get off of the Shinkansen or if you are heading to your platform. Make sure you have your bags and tickets ready so not to cause any delays.
3) As noted, Kyoto Station is home to multiple domestic lines (I believe the number is 7 for domestic lines, not including the Shinkansen). The biggest two are the Karasuma Line that runs east to west and the Tozai Line that runs north and south. Chances are you will either start or pass through the station as you explore through the city.
4) The station is home to tons of restaurants throughout its multiple stories, from quick Bento box places on the go to well known ramen or izakaya restaurants. Around the station are also more restaurants, so it’s a central hub to get to if you are looking for a nice restaurant that may have English menus. So if you are looking for a good place to eat at, don’t forget the station area.
5) There are tons of hotels around the station that offer fairly cheap and nice accommodations if you are looking for a simple place to stay at and be near the station. I stayed at the APA Ekimae Hotel in 2019 and it was a nice hotel right next to the station. Just be prepared to the constant low hum of train noise throughout the day as the domestic lines come and go.
Just make sure to do your homework before you head to the station. It is huge, very busy, and has tons of spots that could be a great place for either a meal or a photo opportunity.