Day 9 – Kyoto Station

Kyoto Station (京都駅, Kyōto-eki?) is the most important transportation hub in Kyoto, Japan. It has Japan’s second-largest train station building (after Nagoya Station) and is one of the country’s largest buildings, incorporating a shopping mall, hotel, movie theater, Isetan department store, and several local government facilities under one 15-story roof. It also housed the Kyoto City Air Terminal until August 31, 2002.

Via Wikipedia.

It was fitting that I didn’t get to Kyoto Station until the end because it really is the most magnificent of all the stations I visited.  Prominently situated in the very center of the city, the station is a sprawling complex containg the station, a bus terminal, subway access, a hotel, a movie theater, several retail malls…I could go on.

The great central space is a large atrium covered with a structural frame and glass curtain wall reminiscent of a long barrell vault.  Each end of the atrium are open to the exterior and have successive tiers of escalators providing access to various level.  At the west end, the escalators provide access to a roof-top terrace, while the east end deposit people into several terraced courtyard surrounded by the hotel.  While I was there, a high school band was giving a concert in one of the public areas, the movie theater was preparing for an opening show, the hotel had an art gallery in their lobby, and everywhere people were bustling through their daily commute.

As with the other massive stations, restaurants, retail and grocery stores about with just about anything you could want (I rounded out my souvenir shopping in about an hour).  In the end, it was almost literally overwhelming the scale of everything.


10 2009