Kyoto Station is the main train station in Kyoto, and is the gateway into the ancient capital for most visitors.

With a long history, plenty of shopping and dining options, and all the transport connections you need, this station has a lot going for it — but it can get a little chaotic. Read on for our full Kyoto Station guide for an easier experience.

Kyoto Station: The basics

hustle and bustle at Kyoto Station
It can be confusing. | Photo by Maria Danuco

Kyoto Station is Kyoto’s main train station, and the current building was designed by the award-winning architect Hiroshi Hara. It’s the second largest train station in Japan (if you’re curious, the largest is Nagoya Station), and it’s also one of the largest buildings in the whole country.

It services one bullet train — the Tōkaidō Shinkansen that starts at Tokyo Station and runs through Kyoto to Osaka. There are also four JR West Lines that stop here, along with two through lines, two Kintetsu Railway lines, and one subway line. Numerous buses stop here too.

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Pro tip: Check out our guide to getting around Kyoto for more information.

What train lines stop here?

The following train lines stop at Kyoto Station:

  • Shinkansen Line: Tōkaidō Shinkansen. There are tentative plans to extend the Hokuriku Shinkansen to Kyoto and Osaka, but construction wouldn’t start until at least 2030.
  • JR West Lines: Tōkaidō Main Line (Biwako and JR Kyoto Lines), San’in Main Line (Sagano Line), and the Nara Line. There are also through services to the Kosei and Kusatsu Lines.
  • Kintetsu Railway: Kyoto/Kashihara Line and Kyoto Line.
  • Kyoto Municipal Subway: Karasuma Line.

What bus services stop here?

A bus information board at Kyoto Station.
A bus information board at Kyoto Station. | Photo by Maria Danuco

There are lots of bus services that stop at Kyoto Station. Some of the main ones include:

  • Express buses: Also known as highway buses, these intercity buses are operated by several different companies. They can take you to various cities including Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Tottori.
  • Kyoto City buses: These buses are usually green and operate mainly within Kyoto City. They stop at lots of tourist spots, but in recent years overcrowding on these buses has caused issues for locals.
  • Kyoto buses: These red buses travel further than Kyoto City Buses, to places in broader Kyoto Prefecture.
  • Sightseeing buses: The Kyoto Sky Hop Bus and the K’Loop sightseeing bus both have routes that depart from Kyoto Station.
  • Airport Limousine buses: These buses are a great way to travel between Kyoto and Kansai International Airport.

Pro tip: Don’t miss our guide to Kyoto discount travel for all the best money-saving passes in Kyoto.

View of Kyoto Station at night.
View of Kyoto Station at night. | Photo by Maria Danuco


Kyoto Station has a good range of facilities — there are toilets (including accessible toilets and baby-changing rooms), ATMs, currency-exchange machines, and coin lockers throughout the station.

Near the JR Central Entrance, there’s a JR West Ticket Office. If you want to activate your JR Pass, reserve Shinkansen seats, or need help buying Shinkansen tickets, this is where you’ll want to go.

The city of Kyoto was built on a grid system, and the station conveniently fits into that same system. The main entrance is on the north side of the station, where you’ll also find Kyoto Tower and the main bus stop area.

At the southern end of the station is the Shinkansen entrance, and just across the road there’s an Avanti shopping mall. On the western side of Kyoto Station is an Isetan Department Store, and finally on the eastern side you’ll find Hotel Granvia Kyoto.

Shinkansen gate at Kyoto Station. | Photo by Maria Danuco

Things to do in and around Kyoto Station

Given its size, there’s plenty to do in and around Kyoto Station. To keep things simple, we’ll break our top picks down into two categories: shopping and entertainment. What about dining options? We’ll get to those too.

Shopping at Kyoto Station

There are numerous shops dotted throughout the station. Keep an eye out for Porta, Asty Square, Asty Road, and Miyako Michi — these are small shopping malls where you can find souvenir stores, drug stores, and stores selling clothing and accessories.

Isetan Department Store is on the western side of Kyoto Station. It offers a more upscale shopping experience than the smaller malls. If you’re in the market for electronics, there’s both a Bic Camera and a Yodobashi Camera within walking distance of the northern side of the station.

Entertainment at Kyoto Station

If you’ve got some time to kill, there are a few entertainment options to choose from. If you’re into theater shows and musicals, Kyoto Theater is on the eastern side of the station — just note that most performances are in Japanese.

Those who enjoy art can go to Museum Eki Kyoto on the 7th floor of Isetan Department Store. The museum has temporary exhibitions of modern art, ranging from paintings to photography, and even glasswork.

If you don’t mind leaving the station, Kyoto Tower is hard to miss. It’s the tallest building in Kyoto, and offers great views of the city. Entry is ¥900 for adults, and you can buy Kyoto Tower tickets online.

And of course, train lovers should check out the Kyoto Railway Museum. Note, though, that it is a little further from the station than the other options — either 5 minutes on the JR San-In Line or a 20-minute walk. The Kyoto Railway Museum has retired trains and lots of interactive displays. Entry is ¥1,500 for adults and you can buy Kyoto Railway Museum tickets online.

Where to eat at Kyoto Station

Kyoto Ramen Street. | Photo by Maria Danuco

Hungry and wondering where to eat in Kyoto Station? Don’t worry, we’ve got you. Kyoto Station has lots of places to eat, ranging from fast food and convenience store snacks to nicer, sit-down restaurants.

One of our favorite spots is Kyoto Ramen Street on the 10th floor of the station building. Here, you’ll find 10 different ramen shops to choose from, each with their own twist. If you’re not in the mood for ramen, head one floor up to the Cube Gourmet Street, where there are nine more restaurants.

And of course, there are many more cafés and restaurants around. There’s lots of options at Eat Paradise on the 11th floor of Isetan Department Store, as well as inside Hotel Granvia, and the Asty Square, Asty Road, Miyako Michi, and Porta shopping malls.


The very first iteration of Kyoto Station was opened by the decree of Emperor Meiji in 1877. Originally, there was just one train line, and it connected Kyoto with Kōbe. In 1889, Kyoto Station was also connected to a train line to Tokyo.

In 1914, the original station building was replaced by a Renaissance-inspired one. Unfortunately though, that burned down in 1950 and was in turn replaced by a concrete building in 1952. The station building as we know it today opened in 1997.

Kyoto Station: Frequently asked questions

How do you get to Kyoto Station from Kansai Airport?

The most direct way to get to Kyoto Station from Kansai International Airport is to either take the Haruka Express train, or a Limousine Bus. The Haruka Express takes 80 minutes and costs ¥2,900. A Limousine Bus is slightly slower at 90 minutes (depending on traffic) and costs ¥2,600.

Read our full guide on getting from Kansai International Airport to Kyoto for more information.

Why is Kyoto Station famous?

Kyoto Station has lots of claims to fame. It’s the second largest train station in Japan, one of the largest buildings in Japan, and was built by the award-winning architect Hiroshi Hara.

Can you walk through Kyoto Station?

Yes, it is possible to walk through Kyoto Station from north to south without passing through the ticket gates. There’s a walkway on the second floor of the western side of the station, or an underground walkway on the eastern side.

Can I use Suica in Kyoto?

Yes, you can use a Suica IC card — or pretty much any other Japan-issued IC card — on Kyoto trains and buses.

While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change.

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