The Kyoto Station reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Apr-2004
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Kyoto Station

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Kyoto Station
Christmas tree in Kyoto Station, as viewed from outside the main JR gate, looking west.

Kyoto Station (Kyoto-eki) is the most important transportation hub in Kyoto, Japan. It is Japan's second-largest train station (after Nagoya Station) and one of the country's largest buildings, incorporating a shopping mall, hotel, movie theater, Isetan department store, and several local government facilities under one fifteen-story roof. It also houses the Kyoto City Air Terminal.


The first Kyoto Station opened for service by decree of Emperor Meiji in 1878. It was replaced by a newer, Renaissance-inspired facility in 1914, which featured a broad square leading from the station to Shichijo Avenue. Before and during World War II, the square was often used by imperial motorcades when Hirohito traveled between Kyoto and Tokyo: the image of Kyoto Station with its giant Rising Sun flags became a well-known image of the imperial era. This station burned to the ground in 1952 and was replaced by a more utilitarian concrete facility by the following March.

The current Kyoto Station opened in 1997, commemorating Kyoto's 1,200-year anniversary. It is 70 meters high and 470 meters from east to west, with a total floor area of 238,000 square meters. Architecturally, it exhibits many characteristics of futurism, with a slightly irregular cubic facade of plate glass over a steel frame. Kyoto, one of the least modern cities in Japan by virtue of its many cultural heritages, was largely reluctant to accept such an ambitious structure in the mid-1990s: the station's completion began a wave of new high-rise developments in the city that culminated with the 20-story Kyocera Building.