Kyoto Tower


Almost no relation with the history or culture of city, it is little funny to know that Kyoto people love sitting inside Kyoto tower and admiring the panoramic view of the city cause they will not see the tower itself. However, there is a true which can not be denied that the tower rising up to the height of 131 meters through the heart of city has dominated the horizon, becoming the tallest structure in Kyoto. Growing up as a joyful beacon, Kyoto tower has turned into a lighthouse illuminating the city ocean and can be seen easily from different sightseeing spots around this ocean.


In is quite usual in Japan that any construction has its own museum or library telling its story of birth. However, because of some reason, Kyoto tower is a rare exception. It is only recorded that the tower was completed in 1964, in coincidence with the changing time of Kyoto city remarked by the very first first high speed train connecting Kyoto with Tokyo. The former site of the tower used to be the location of Kyoto Central Post Office which was moved to an other place in 1961 later. Starting from no plan, Kyoto tower’s birth is really a long and thrilling story. Initially, they planed to build a Center Building and the construction was assigned to be taken by modernist architect, Mamoru Yamada, the fathher of Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan arena. At that time, they had to have all the city's constructions under the height of 31 meters then Yamada designed a 9 storied building of exactly that height with a modest viewing platform or radio tower.


Source: Kyoto Tower

However, things changed after Yamada was encouraged by a businessman to create some sort of more reckless thing. He began to dream about a dazzling lighthouse on the top of the building then he called help from Makoto Tanahashi, an professor of engineering from Kyoto university. In an ancient capital like Kyoto, this kind of regulation's breaking was unacceptable at that time however, two great men decisively overcame all the obstacles to create a part of 100 meter high and 800 ton weigh, looking like a rocket but also like a Buddhist candle. Although Kyoto people nowadays some way remain uncomfortable with the cheeky existence of the tower, during the process in which Tanahashi actualized the dream of Yamada, they would never imaged that their construction would break all the limits to create a wave of modernization in Kyoto.


Kyoto Tower has two main parts including the Kyoto tower building at its base and the upper tower. Kyoto tower building is home for some shops, restaurants, a hotel, a public spa and the Kansai Tourist Information Center. The tower part features different observation levels with the Sky Lounge bar on the third level and an observation deck on the fifth level. The deck offers several telescopes dotting around to get the panoramic view of the city while immersing in gentle music.

Open time: 
From 9:00 am to 9:00 pm
Last admission at 8:40 pm
Adult: 770 yen
High School Student: 620 yen
Elementary and Junior High School Student: 520 yen
Kindergarten Student and under: 150 yen
How to access: 
Take Kyoto City Bus to Kyoto station and take a short walk
Take train on JR Line, Subway Karasuma Line or Kintetsu Line to Kyoto station then take a short walk.