English address: 721-1 Higashishiokoji-cho, Karasuma-dori Shichijo-sagaru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8216 Japan
Japanese address: 下京区烏丸通七条下ルGetting there
Access: T5min walk from Kyoto Station Karasuma central gate.
City Bus to "Kyoto".JR Line, Subway Karasuma Line or Kintetsu Line to "Kyoto"Telephone
https://www.kyoto-tower.co.jp/, https://facebook.com/kyototower/, https://twitter.com/kyototower_1228, https://www.youtube.com/channel/kyoto-tower, https://www.instagram.com/tawawachan_official/, https://foursquare.com/v/kyoto-tower/Prices
Adults: 770 yen
High school students: 620 yen
Elementary and junior high school students: 520 yen
Children: (over 3 years old): 150 yen
HOURS 9:00 to 21:00 (entry until 20:40)
CLOSED No closing days
HOURS 7:00 to 22:00 (entry until 21:30)
CLOSED No closing days
Kyoto Tower is the tallest construction in the city of Kyoto and features the Observation Deck located 100 meters above the ground, commanding a panoramic view of the city. Kyoto shows different townscapes depending on the hour and season. The 131-meter Kyoto Tower is a significant landmark in the city. Visitors enjoy the panorama view of the city from the top of the tower. There is an 'onsen' public bath in the underground. A tacky rocket poised for liftoff on the doorstep of Kyoto Station, this pinnacle of bad taste affords a great view of the city. The tower symbolizes a lighthouse illuminating the landlocked city of Kyoto.
Kyoto Tower (京都タワー) is Kyoto's tallest building and a rare modern iconic landmark in the city famous for its ancient temples and shrines. The tower was completed in 1964, the same year as the opening of the shinkansen and the Tokyo Olympics.
A viewing platform is located 100 meters above ground and affords a 360 degree view of Kyoto and as far as Osaka on clear days. Kyoto Tower stands on top of a typical commercial building, which contains souvenir shops, restaurants and a hotel, as well as a public bath in the basement.
The History of Kyoto Tower
It is a pity that among Kyoto Tower’s many facilities, it does not have a museum dedicated to its own history. At the very least it would answer the question: who built this lofty space age steeple, and why? In fact the tower’s completion in 1964 marked a turning point in Kyoto’s history, and one that for better or worse ushered in a wave of modernization. Significantly the same year saw Tokyo host the Olympic Games, and the Tokaido Shinkansen Line was completed, bringing Kyoto’s first high speed train link with Tokyo.
The land on which Kyoto Tower now stands was formally the site of Kyoto Central Post Office which moved to its current location, just north-west of Kyoto Station, in 1961. The decision to move the Post Office was made back in 1953 however, and at that time talk began among civic and business leaders about how best to utilize this newly opened space at the entrance to the city. Under the sponsorship of Kyoto’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry it was decided to set up a company to oversee the construction of a building appropriate to the area that would act as center of culture and industry and encourage tourism. To begin with there were no plans for a tower.
Initial plans for the new “Center Building” were drawn up by modernist architect, Mamoru Yamada, who also designed Tokyo’s famous Nippon Budokan arena. At that time, strict municipal construction regulations limited the height of all buildings to 31 meters, so Yamada designed a 9 story building to stand at exactly 31 meters high. On top of this he originally planned to build a relatively modest viewing platform or radio tower. However, one of the business leaders directing the project was inspired by a view of the Yokohama Marine Tower, and he encouraged Yamada to think big. The architect then theorized that a tower could be built on top of the Center Building which he envisioned as a lighthouse casting its light upon the waves of tile roofed machiya townhouses below. To get around the height regulations, the tower could be labelled as a separate “rooftop structure” rather than as part of the building itself. This crafty loophole made construction of the tower legally possible, but was it technically possible? Could the base building carry the weight of a 100 meter high 800 ton tower? Yamada called on Kyoto University’s professor of engineering, Makoto Tanahashi to find out, and Tanahashi said “yes”. It was Tanahashi that worked on the structural engineering that made Yamada’s dreams a reality. Because a simple steel frame lattice structure, like that of many other towers, was deemed too unrefined for Kyoto, a white painted cylindrical design was adopted. Tanahashi’s tower consists of lightweight stacked steel rings with steel cladding on the outside, and is designed to withstand typhoons and earthquakes of the highest magnitude. Though, to many onlookers the tower may resemble a futuristic rocketship, it is said that Tanahashi actually shaped it to resemble a traditional Japanese Buddhist candle, which in fact it very much does.
When plans for the tower were made public, they immediately met with fierce opposition. Local academics and cultural experts objected that the new tower would destroy the city’s historic scenic harmony. The design team’s efforts to create an elegant modern structure were widely derided as a vulgar and out of keeping with Kyoto’s past. Political and business leaders on the other hand, saw only economic opportunity in the new plans and countered that though Kyoto was Japan’s ancient cultural capital, it was not a Heian era graveyard. For the city to grow and flourish, such projects were necessary. Public opinion was sharply divided between these two opposing views, and to some extent it still is. The final decision lay with the city’s political elite however, and they pressed on regardless. On December 28th 1964, one year and ten months after building began, Kyoto Tower was opened to the public and within the space of year it had received over a million visitors. In the half century that has passed since the tower was built, most people have become accustomed to its rather brash and cheeky presence on the skyline. It has also been pointed out that the Eiffel Tower, when first built, also met with similar Parisian opposition, and who remembers that now? However, Mamoru Yamada and Makoto Tanahashi could never have imagined back in the 1960s, how their bold creation would initiate a wave of modernization that would see much of the city’s traditional wooden townhouses replaced by concrete blocks. Though their lighthouse still stands proud over the skyline, the waves of tiled rooftops have almost disappeared.
The Observation Deck
This is the major draw for the tower and is definitely worth a visit. The Observation Deck stands 100 meters high and on a clear day gives you a fantastic panoramic view over the entire city. Tickets for the observation deck can be bought at a booth on the 1st floor. You can then take an elevator to the 11th floor and there transfer to another elevator which takes you up to the Observation Deck. The deck is spacious and has telescopes dotted around from which you can view most of the major sites in Kyoto. Previously there were many games machines here which created a rather noisy and tacky atmosphere for visitors, but the deck has been renovated in recent years and happily the games machines have vanished. The deck now has a far more elegant interior with tranquil music playing in the background and even a mini-shrine at which visitors can make a special tower top wish.
Kansai Tourist Information Center (KTIC)
KTIC opened in 2015 and is staffed by multilingual staff who can help foreign travelers with their enquiries. The center has free maps and sightseeing information for not only Kyoto but all across Japan. Staff here can make reservations for tours, hotels, chartered taxis and even kabuki theater shows. Various discount transit passes are also available.
Close by the center is a kimono rental shop, and close to that is a photo studio, so you can have a professional photograph taken after getting dressed up in traditional Japanese finery. On the same floor you can find an ATM cash dispenser which works for most major credit cards and a currency exchange machine. Free Wi-Fi is also available on this floor.
- Location: Kyoto Tower Building 3rd Floor
- Open: 10:00 – 18:00 (Closed from December 30th to January 3rd)
- Tel: 075-341-0280
The spa, “Kyoto Tower Daiyokujo Yuu”, is located in the third basement level of the Kyoto Tower Building. This is a typical Japanese sento style public bath. A ticket vending machine is located outside the spa entrance. Buy your ticket here and then hand it over to the staff inside. You can then leave your clothes in a locker, and enter the bathing area. Remember to follow Japanese bathing etiquette by rinsing off first, then taking a soak in the bath, and after that washing yourself with soap outside of the bath. This spa is a little pricey as tickets for adults are priced at 700 yen on weekdays and 750 yen at the weekend. If you are staying in the Kyoto Tower Hotel however, you can pay a special fee of just 400 yen. Rental towels are also available for 100 yen. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash and hair dryers are all supplied for free.
- Location: Kyoto Tower Building B3
- Opening Hours: 7:00 – 22:00 (Last entry: 21:30)
- Tel: 075-361-3215
In addition to the city's historic places, you may be able to see as far as Osaka on a clear day.
There are three restaurants in the first basement level (B1) and two on the 3rd floor of the Kyoto Tower Building. On Tower Observation Level 3 is the Sky Lounge Café and Bar. The Kyoto Tower Hotel occupies floors 5 – 9 with its reception on the 8th floor. See our articles Dining in Kyoto Tower and Kyoto Tower Hotel for more details.
You can also stay at the hotel inside Kyoto Tower too.
There are many shops selling fancy goods and Japanese-style confectionery that make perfect souvenirs. Business hours: 9:00~21:00
There are various styles of restaurants, including TOWER TERRACE that serves dishes featuring fresh vegetables and seasonal ingredients, as well as Chinese restaurant TOH-EN and Japanese restaurant FUSHIMI. We will be waiting for you at Kyoto Tower restaurants.
A soothing atmosphere that lets you forget that you are in the heart of the city right next to Kyoto Station.
Hospitality provided with various Japanese and foreign flavors through freshly picked seasonal ingredients.
Elaborate steamed dishes bursting with flavor and a salad bar stocked with organic and local Kyoto vegetables.
A new style of buffet restaurant designed to satisfy and soothe your mind and body.
Public Bathhouse "YUU"
Kyoto Tower Building has a large public bath on B3F. The opening hours are 7:00-22:00 (last entry 21:30). Items offered are free soap, shampoo, rinse, cosmetics and hair dryers. Bath towel rental is available for 100 yen each. Discount tickets are offered to guests staying at the hotel.
Sky Lounge "KUU" -Bar-
A glass-paneled lounge at the base of the tower. Enjoy your time with a night view of Kyoto. Sky lounge "KUU" is a cafe and bar where guests can enjoy a wonderful view from 45 meters above the ground.
During daytime, enjoy relaxing cafe time while observing the passing scene in front of Kyoto Station.
In the evening, we offer a sophisticated space for adults with stylish lighting and a wonderful night view.
There are seats at counter (two types), seats for couples, box seats, and seats at tables to serve various purposes.
Reservation for private use is also available, so this is the perfect venue for banquets or wedding parties.
* After 18:00, charge fees will be added (300 yen per person).
Business hours 15:00-23:00 (LO/22:30)
*It's open from 12:00 only weekends and holidays.
How to get there
- From Tokyo Station: Approx. 135 min. from Tokyo Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen
- From Nagoya Station: Approx. 35 min. from Nagoya Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen
- From Osaka Station: Approx. 30 min. from Osaka Station by JR Special Rapid Service
- From Kyoto-minami Interchange: Head for Kyoto/Otsu on Route 1. After passing through JR's elevated tracks, turn right at the crossing "Horikawa Shiokoji."
- From Kamitoba Interchange: Turn right at Jujo-dori street, then turn left at the crossing "Kawaramachi Jujo." After passing through JR's elevated tracks, turn left at the crossing "Kawaramachi Shiokoji."
- From Kansai International Airport: Approx. 1 hour and 15 min. by JR Limited Express "Haruka" / Approx. 1 hour and 25 min. by Airport Limousine Bus
- From Osaka International (Itami) Airport: Approx. 60 min. by Airport Limousine Bus
Reviews by visitors
I think the ticket into kyoto tower is rather expensive. But the ticket includes deals for lunch and dinner, with a lucky draw at LG in the tower. I did not try the lunch and dinner deals, however I won a very small doll for the lucky draw.
I really like the scenic view on the kyoto tower, looking at the mountains, buildings and streets.
There are telescopes in the kyoto tower which I can see clearly on the buildings below, even the person sitting in the building..
I like Kyoto tower, which is just walking distance from the Kyoto Station!
The tower is an easy walk from Kyoto station. I think we paid ~$7.00 to get to the top (per person). There are a few elevator transfers before you get to the ticket station, but it's easy to figure out. The views of the nearby shrines are fantastic. Oddly enough, at least for the American travelers, the telescopes at the observation deck are free to use.
This is a great place to view Kyoto city. On a clear day one sees more. Thru the binocular or a nice camera you can see all the temples gardens and monuments in a birds eye view. right across Kyoto station so easy to get to
We had some time to kill while in Kyoto so decided to have a look from the Kyoto Tower, this was actually far better than we expected. Buy your tickets from the Kansai Tourist Information centre on the 3rd floor of the Kyoto Tower Building, as here you'll get the best price here. The two lookout platforms are small but not overly busy, heaps of information on what your looking at and the binoculars are free. The tower while not overly tall It offers a great 360 view of Kyoto and you can even see Osaka off into the distance. Well worth a look if you have some time to spare while near.
While traveling in and around Japan, we had some time in Kyoto, so to get a perspective of the surrounding area, we thought the Tower would be a good place to start.
As another reviewer stated, it was pretty much a bomb.
While it provides great views, taking into account the wait and the price, I've seen better. The opinions of locals about the tower remains divided. Many foreigners who come to Kyoto seeking a sense of the old Japan are surprised to see both the modern, glass and steel Kyoto Station and the imposing steel tower directly across the street. Within its first year of opening, 1 million people visited the tower's observation deck but in recent years the tower's draw as a tourist attraction has diminished
Your time would be better spent walking around the general area where there are shops and restaurants. You get a better feel for the culture being on the sidewalks with the locals then you do spending time in a tower with other tourists.
Great place to have a panoramic view of the city, and to know that the binoculars are really powerful enough to deter me from staying at neighboring hotels hahs
This is one of the smallest tower that I ever been too. but still best place to see the Kyoto Skyline near Kyoto station. And there location is perfect in the are with tons of shops, restaurants, major transportation hub and there also a hotel on site
The view from the Kyoto tower is quite the sight. You can see a lot from it and you have free access to binoculars around the tower to see a closer view of sights. It is a great starting place as it has alot of local sights listed. Worth a visit but it does cost some yen and the tower doesn't rotate sadly.
What can you say? If you're near the train station and have some time to kill, it's right across the street so go check it out. The views are not bad, but it's not to high up there, either. If you're thinking World Trade in NYC or even Sears Tower (sorry it will always be Sears), forget it. Still fun, and if you have kids, they would appreciate it all the more.
On a recent trip to Kyoto we visited the Kyoto Tower. The tower is located directly across the road from Kyoto railway station and offers great views of the city. We chose to visit at dusk and watched as all the lights of the city slowly illuminated. Worth a visit.
The elevator is also an attraction and when you are on top you can see the whole city with a great view. Some hotels give a free pass to the tower. Ask yours!
The tower has excellent vistas of the city area. You can see a number of the closer shrines and temples from the "air" - gives a better appreciation of their size and layout. The tower is a reasonable cost and very close to the station area and buses. There is a good souvenir shop at the base - one of the best we found in Kyoto for some small presents. Advise you go early before the crowds and while there is little haze.
The Kyoto Tower is a 100m high observation deck just across from Kyoto station.
We arrived late afternoon and there were no queues - no sooner had we arrived, than we paid our entry fee and were in the lift and heading up.
We found that the observation deck was a fair bit smaller than we thought once we arrived at the top, but still with a good amount of room to move around and view the city in 360 degrees. There are lots of free telescopes to use but (a) we don’t as it’s a bit unhygienic really, and (b) they’re almost 100% occupied by rampaging Japanese school children looking at each other through them! There are also several interactive video screens that help you identify landmarks and provide useful information.
Kyoto Tower is easily the highest structure in Kyoto, which is otherwise a pretty low rise city so there isn’t much competition to it, and accordingly you can easily see across the whole city and the wide valley in which it resides. One thing we had begun to feel, and that was confirmed by the eagle-eye view, was that Kyoto is a bigger and more sprawling city than we had initially expected.
This is a great way to get to see the city from above though a little expensive for what you actually get.
The tower provides some of the best views of Kyoto and provides a good orientation of the city - especially the whereabouts of the various temples and shrines. We visited the tower on a fine sunny afternoon and could see for miles. It also enabled us to determine the close temples/shrines that we could visit within walking distance.
We stayed at Hotel of Kyoto Towel and received a coupon. It is the tallest building in Kyoto (the height is related to the population at that time). None of buildings in Kyoto is allowed to be higher that 60 feet (or six stories). There is a special elevator would take to the Observatory level of the Towel.
The evening view is gorgeous. You can see Kyoto with 360. I strongly recommend everyone to come here to enjoy the view of you tour Kyoto.
The twin room has no matching quality to the Kyoto Tower photo. Very bare and expensive. Enough room space for a couple to move around. Well strategically located next to the Kyoto Station West Gate. Very convenient to move around Kyoto.
The bus terminal for day tour to various tourists attractions are located opposite this hotel. Day pass is Yen500. You can also visit Arashiyama, and its bamboo garden from this bus terminal, and other shrines.
This tower had the best view of Kyoto that we found. It wasn't too much to gt in but we decided to have a drink at the bar. Service was impeccable but prices a little dear but I suppose you're paying for the view too. We would've like to have visited the baths but as we have tattoos we would be have been allowed in.
The Kyoto tower is right opposite the station. We went there for sunset and could see the colors change and all the lights coming up in the city. If you are short on time you can skip this. It is definitely not a must do place. But it's not absolutely worthless. We spent a good 45 minutes trying to figure out the spots at the observatory and catching the city views .
It may not be the thing people come to visit Kyoto, but is next to train station and it's a good point to start your Kyoto experience. It has some good views from the top, free binoculars and no queues.
The tower is a good place to visit for the view, but it is a small area and there could be a lot of people about, the view is very good, and the information panels show you what is in the direction you are looking, and points out points of interest, like shrines and temples. You get a very view of the station building and surrounds.
As you walk out from Kyoto Station, you can notice Kyoto Tower standing tall in the middle of the busy city. However, the only reason I visited the tower was for the kimono dressing experience in the tower. There is an observatory with a fee. There are also some shops in the building, including a Daiso. Worth a visit to take photos if you have the spare time.
Great view you get a discount if you stay at the hotel . You can have dinner and drinks up top. JR railway station is right across the road and the cube shopping mall which is fantastic . Bigger than a airport and is all joined to the station .
Just opposite the train station and 5 minutes walk, it's worthwhile taking the time to see panoramic views of Kyoto for just ¥600-760. There are gift stands on the 1st floor with local treats and souvenirs and also a Daiso [¥100 + tax] to pick up bargains ranging from fans, chopsticks and a wide range of goods.
Located at the center of Kyoto, this iconic tower is also another must-to-see stop in this city. Kyoto Station is just a few meters away. It's not too tall but you can see all Kyoto from up there, view is quite nice if its not too foggy. Recommended for first-time travelers and if passing by Kyoto only.
Lovely views and you can use telescopes to look closer at things, but for the price, I wouldn't say make it a top priority. Spend your money and time getting to the places around Kyoto and then if you have an hour to spare at some point and the day is clear, the views can be wonderful and you'll know what you're looking at.
In a city full of shrines and temples, where you can breathe Japanese culture and history just walking everywhere, why would you go to the Kyoto Tower?
Indeed, no reason.
And by the way, you can have more or less the same view from the top of the central train station in front of the tower. For free.
So, no reason really to visit the Kyoto Tower.
On the contrary, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Tokyo, it's really worth a visit!
Located just outside Kyoto train station this tower looks like a rocket. Sitting just over 100 metres to the top it gives you great views of the whole of Kyoto and even down to Osaka. It is wonderful to put the perspective of how big the city is and see some attractions from the top. The floor under the observation deck is a littlw better and it is not as crowded and there are seats to sit on and view the city
This place was amazing..if you found a pamphlet at the kansai airport about kyoto tower you should pick it up because there's a coupon for that..since the price was quite pricey for cheapskate people...hehe...overall the view and at night this tower was bright! also this tower was close to kyoto station...so don't have to pay much for transport!!
This is right next to the train station so is a good first/last stop in Kyoto.
Underneath the tower, there is a sizeable shopping area for souvenirs etc which is nice for a little walk around.
The thing I liked here is that there are free to use binoculars fixed at different points with a map of what you can see out of them and little bits of info. For those who don't have good cameras. Trick tip: use your camera with the binoculars ;)
Visited Kyoto Tower on a beautiful sunny day - a bit pointless if you go on a cloudy day, so make sure the weather is good. Was not full at all & got lovely photos & a 360 degree view of the city. Overall a good experience. Keep in mind that Japan is an expensive place & you will have to pay an admission fee between 500 to 1000 yen at most places.
It's cool to see up close and get pictures. You can get pretty good pictures of you go to the top as well. Looks pretty cool at night. Definitely a handy landmark if you get lost
Staying just 10 minutes away, it was an easy walk to the tower. The staff were very polite and welcoming and the views are excellent and well worth the visit. The picture guides and also the staff are there to help you spot any of the main local landmarks.
It is very interesting to find your way to the tower. The entrance is at a grocery store. Tickets could be expensive. Views are nice. You may see many of the Kyoto temples that are located distantly (Kyoto's periphery). We visited in the evening. It was nice and not very crowded. At night, the tower is stunning. It has a nice yellow-orange colour. It was also nice to see it from our hotel's room (Gran Via). The hotel is just in front of the tower.
The tower itself is impossible to miss while in Kyoto, as it is a landmark in the skyline. I'd say that it's not worth paying to see the views from the tower. Instead head over to the Kyoto Station where the views are equally as spectacular and free. The tower looks best at night when it is lit up.
We left this for something to do on our last day. Of all the things we paid for in Kyoto, this was, in comparison, the most expensive. It was not really value for money considering the other things Kyoto has to offer that are cheaper and more time consuming! My boys had fun in this tower but quickly lost interest. The staff were friendly and the view would have been better had it been a sunny clear day. It was good to visit here at the end of our trip as we could find the place we visited and so it was more meaningful. All trip we had seen the tower so it was a nice enough ending to the Kyoto experience.
Why i said a landmark tht 'welcomes' u is bcos the moment u step out fr kyoto stn on arrival fr Osaka u will see tis grand Tower. Without hesitation we decided to visit the tower even before we chk into hotel to view Kyoto city n beyond for the first time fr its observation deck.
Its nowhere whn compare to Tokyo Sky Tree tht i also visited. Its only abt 100m high fr view deck. Its quite unusual for a tower to stand atop a building which houses a shopping centre, many eateries n even a hotel.
The entrance to the observation deck is not free.
Its quite outstanding as i can even see the tower from my hotel belcony.
Worth a visit.
I post a pic taken fr my hotel room.
The night view of Kyoto Tower from Kyoto station is beautiful and colorful. We took a few minutes to enjoy mid-range view which gave towering feel from the busy Kyoto station. Colorful lighting at night made it look outstanding in the surrounding area. We skipped a visit for panoramic view due to time constraints and long que.
The Kyoto Tower was since built at 1964 and being the landmark of Kyoto for a long period. It was near to Kyoto JR Station and the nearby bus terminus and thus convenient to all visitors to the area. The tower was about 100M high and entry fee to the Observation Deck was necessary. Nonetheless you could look around the city on all sides. At the lower storeys of the tower, there were hotels, restaurants, departmental stores, cinemas etc and you could well spend one full night here.
Similar to any other towers, it looked much better at night. It would be more enjoyable for those who wants to enjoy the panoramic view from up there, I didn't have it on my list and skipped it. Anyway, the tower does look really good from Kyoto station.
it was fantastic to be on the observation deck. We saw an arial view of Kyoto city. The plus point is that all fixed binoculars are free and this was my first time to have found free binoculars in an observation deck. Using those you can see up to Osaka.
Just in front of the Kyoto station and ticket price is 770 yen
Kyoto Tower is literally staring you in the face as soon as you leave Kyoto station through the central exit.
I've not been up it yet as I'd like to do that with my husband. (I study here every day so by time I'm finished I just want to go to sleep) haha.
It has started to get dark early recently and lights have been put on the trees for christmas time. The tower lights up at night time and looks beautiful!
According to the brochure Kyoto Tower was built in 1964. It xoes not have a steel skeleton like other towers instead it is constructed of steel playes which form a cylindrical shape for strength. The basement houses a public bath. Various floors contain restaurant's, haberdashery, a whole floor of souvenirs at not so bad prices, skylounge and of course, the observation deck which is 100m above ground level. It is great to get an overview of the city and surrounding landscape. There are free binoculars available. At ¥750 for an adult its not cheap. Discount vouchers are available from the Tourist Information Office inside Kyoto Station.
Went there at night. Really enjoyed the night view of kyoto. Free to use binoculars to see the 360 view. Visited during the school excursions thus slightly noisy when i was there.
Having been to many other observation towers across the world, out group was very pleasantly surprised with kyoto tower. Not too pricey, good view, lots of additional extras (e.g. mascot for photos and the most amazing binoculars any of us have ever used!!!! ). Tourist information, located on a lower floor of the same building, sells tickets at a discounted price and offers excellent information about Kyoto and Japan and English speaking staff.
You can see more Kyoto travel guide at here.