JR Kyoto Station Guide: Kyoto Station Hotels, Restaurants & Things to Do

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The JR Kyoto Station is a hub for the entire Kyoto area and an essential stop for anyone using a JR Rail Pass. The station itself is a little overwhelming, but there’s good news. There are loads of Kyoto Station hotels to choose from and the building itself is one of the most interesting in the country. This guide will help you find what to do, where to stay and where to eat in Kyoto Station (or nearby)

The Ultimate JR Kyoto Station Guide

JR Kyoto Station Hotels & Guide

Kyoto is one of the most popular Japanese destinations for travelers, and so most of you will pass through JR Kyoto Station at some point during your visit. If you’re looking for places to stay near Kyoto Station, we have you covered, but there’s more. We also cover Kyoto Station restaurants and activities for those who may be in the area for a few hours or more. 

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Table of Contents

Getting Around Kyoto Station

Kyoto Station is one of the Kansai Region’s main transportation hubs, connecting Kyoto to Osaka, Tokyo, Nara, Hiroshima, and other major cities. This is sometimes called the JR Kyoto Station, and people using the JR Rail Pass with probably arrive in town here. However, there are many train and subway lines that run through JR Kyoto Station. You can find just about everything you’ll need either in the station or within a few blocks. Kyoto Station hotels surround the building, as do restaurants, cafes, and luggage storage spots. 

Kyoto Station Luggage Storage & Delivery

JR Kyoto Station Luggage Storage lockers

There are coin lockers all over JR Kyoto Station and other parts of the station. Look for signs. Instructions are available in English, Chinese and Korean. This Kyoto Station luggage storage comes in three main sizes with prices to match. The 300 yen size holds a daypack or two. The 500 yen size holds a mid-sized backpack. The 700 yen size holds a carry-on suitcase. There are fewer of the 700-yen sized lockers.

All Kyoto Station luggage storage lockers take cash (bills and/or coins) as well as IC card payment. Just remember which part of the station your locker is in and what time it closes. Some Kyoto Station Luggage storage locker areas close at 2 am, while others close at midnight. Personally, I prefer the coin lockers on the outside of the North Side of Kyoto Station near the theater and Kyoto Tower, but it’s more of a habit than a strategic decision.

Kyoto Station Luggage Delivery

luggage delivery - jyoto station hotels & guide

There are two spots in Kyoto Station where you can drop off your luggage and have it delivered directly to your accommodation. They can also hold your luggage for the day. These are GREAT services, and for 750 yen, it’s totally worth it. If you give them your bags before 2 pm they should be delivered within a few hours. 

Make sure to have the name and address of your accommodation on hand. There are some restrictions. For example, the accommodation must be in the Kyoto area and there must be someone there to pick it up, but most Kyoto hotels and ryokan are accustomed to this and do it all the time. 

English-Language Help in Kyoto Station

information center - JR Kyoto station hotels & guide

There are several places where you can get a Kyoto Station Map in English or ask questions to English-speaking staff.

Tourist Information Center

Come here for general Kyoto and Kansai-area travel information. You’ll also find loads of pamphlets and English-speaking staff to help you find tours, restaurants, and hotels in Kyoto, Nara and beyond. Kyoto maps and Kyoto Station maps are available as well. Located on the second floor, on the pedestrian walkway that cuts through the station.

Kyoto Station Information Center

This information booth is specifically for info on the station and immediately surrounding areas. They can provide a Kyoto Station map as well as advice on Kyoto Station hotels, restaurants, train lines, and luggage storage. From the central exit, take the escalator to the second floor and you’ll see the booth on the right. Open 10 am to 7 pm.

Things To Do in Kyoto Station (and Nearby)

things to do in kyoto station restaurants, hotels & more

So you have a few hours to kill and you’re looking for things to do near Kyoto Station? I’m happy to say that there’s enough to keep you occupied for quite a while. I’ll reserve Kyoto Station restaurants for their own section, but here are a few activities I’d recommend in and around the JT Kyoto Station area.

Admire the Architecture

Grand Stairway - attractions, restaurants and hotels near Kyoto station

Kyoto may be the gateway to Japan’s history, but the JR Kyoto Station building itself is remarkably modern…futuristic, even. Take at least a few minutes to walk through the area near the Central Exit and admire the giant LED screens and latticework of gleaming glass and metal. It’s the work of Hiroshi Hara, the same architect who designed the Sapporo Dome and Osaka’s Umeda Sky Building. Its sleek modern look caused controversy when first built because critics felt it didn’t reflect the city’s heritage.

Go to the Observation Platform

Observation deck things to do at JR Kyoto Station

This green space on top of the station building is on the 15th floor of the west wing. Views of the city below aren’t jaw-dropping but it’s still a very nice spot for some sun and fresh air. It’s connected to the Grand Stairway: multiple levels of stone steps that fan out from the lower floors, with doors into restaurants and other places. You can walk up/down the steps or simply take elevators from inside.

The Eki Museum

This exhibition space is located inside the Kyoto Station building complex inside the Isetan Department Store (“eki” means “station” in Japanese). Exhibits vary from western painting to Japanese anime.

Kyoto Station Shopping

kyoto station shopping - attractions, restaurants and hotels near Kyoto station

The area near JR Kyoto Station as loads of places to buy clothes, electronics, traditional goods, and other souvenirs. Isetan is a high-end shopping mall connected to the station. The Kintetsu/Aeon Mall also has direct access from Kyoto Station and has 34 restaurants to choose from. The Porta and Cube underground shopping centers cater more to clothing, shoes, and hip reimaginings of traditional items. Both areas are worth a look. Anyone interested in electronics should seek out Bic Camera (to the west) or Yodobashi Camera (just north of Kyoto Station). These electronic superstores carry everything from the latest gadgets to pre-boxed bottles of sake. 

Other Things to Do 

There are great people-watching in Kyoto Station, as this is where traditional and youth culture collide (lots of colleges and art schools in the area). You can also look for live piano performances on the 2nd floor. 

Things to Do Near Kyoto Station JR

The city is not that large, so if you have half a day you can cover a lot of ground — especially if you’re willing to fork out the cash for a taxi. But what if you only have a few hours? For that, here are several options I recommend.

Temples Near Kyoto Station JR

Higashi Honganji Temple - attractions, restaurants and hotels near Kyoto station

There are several stunning and historically significant temples and shrines that are a short walk from Kyoto Station JR.

Higashi Honganji Temple

This is a major Kyoto Buddhist temple in Japan and it’s an easy 10-minute stroll directly north from the station.

Nishi Honganji Temple

Despite being older, this Kyoto temple is less visited than it’s eastern brother a few blocks away. It’s a relatively easy walk, but if you have time for only one then visit Higashi (“East”) mentioned above as it’s a straight shot north of the station.

The Kyoto Railway Museum

This is the best train museum in Japan, and one of the most impressive in the world. Only a few years old, the Kyoto Railway Museum is a great place to spend a few hours. Technically you can walk there in 20-30 minutes from JR Kyoto Station, but I recommend taking a taxi (7 min) or a train (10 min). Take the San-in Line one stop to Umekōji-Kyōtonishi Station. Make sure it’s a local line or it might not stop.

Where To Eat in Kyoto Station

Kyoto station restaurants and cafes

There are plenty of restaurants in Kyoto Station and even more just a few steps away. Whether you’re looking for ramen, sushi or doughnuts, you’ll find it here.

Kyoto Station Ramen

Just like with any restaurant doing the right thing, the best ramen near Kyoto Station has massive lines. For example, a lot of people say the best Kyoto Station ramen is at Shimpuku Saikan and Honke Daiichi Asahi, two shops that sit next to each other just a block east of the station. But you know what? I’ve never eaten at either of them. There’s always been a long line — even at 10:30 or 11 am. And I’m hungry now. Besides, they’re also in a kind-of inconvenient spot. So now instead I just head straight to Kyoto Station Ramen Street (see below).

Kyoto Ramen Street

Kyoto station ramen street - where to eat in Kyoto station

No, it’s not an actual street. Kyoto Station Ramen Street (Kyoto Ramen Koji) occupies a large part of the 10th floor of the Kyoto Station Building. There’s an entrance/exit onto the grand stairway near the Observation Deck as well if you want to walk off your lunch.

Kyoto Ramen Street has branches of many famous ramen shops with ramen styles from around the country. My favorites are the Hokkaido-style Tonkotsu (pork bone) style and the Nagoya-style “mazesoba,” which is garlic-heavy and borrows from Taiwanese noodle traditions.

You order at Kyoto Station Ramen Street via video vending machine (see above). Menus are in Japanese but all have a button in the top-right to change to English, Chinese or Korean. Machines take bills, coins, and IC Cards.

Other Kyoto Station Restaurants and Food Options

Even if you don’t want to leave the building, you’ll find plenty to eat in Kyoto Station. There are even more options if you’re willing to walk a few blocks. Here are a few Kyoto Station restaurants and food courts that we recommend.

Kyoto Station Restaurant Districts/Food Courts

There are at least four more Kyoto Station restaurant-heavy areas in shopping centers to consider. The Cube and Porta Shopping Centers have a wide array of restaurants to choose from, as does the Kintetsu underground mall. You’ll see signs to all of them throughout the station. Then there are the basement floors of the Isetan Department store. This is more of a supermarket, but there are plenty of bento (boxed meals) available for purchase that are just as delicious as restaurant fare. 

Kyoto Station Sushi

I’ve counted at least ten Kyoto Station sushi places within a block or two of the tracks. They may all be good, but I usually recommend Sushi no Musashi since it’s a good value and conveyor belt-style sushi place that my kids like. 

Coffee and Cafes at Kyoto Station

There are plenty of places to get your fix in JR Kyoto Station. Of course, there is a Starbucks and  Dotour. If you want the old-school Japanese cafe experience, go to Inoda. For something more hip and modern go to Magazine Coffee Kyoto. Both are in Kyoto Station. My favorite, however, is Kurasu Coffee, but it’s a few minute’s walk to the west of the station (past Bic Camera, near the Rihga Royal Hotel) and there are only a few chairs.

Hotels in Kyoto Station Area

Looking for hotels near Kyoto Station? For many travelers, Kyoto is just one stop on the journey. And if you’re traveling on a Japan Rail Pass, then you’re likely to make your entrance and exit via some JR Kyoto Train line, such as the Shinkansen. If you’re looking for hotels in Kyoto near Kyoto station, then you’re in luck, as there are many. Here are a few we recommend.

Luxury Hotels Near Kyoto Station

luxury hotels in kyoto station area - the Thousand

If you’re looking for decadent Kyoto Station hotels, then you have plenty of options: some old and some very new. 

The Thousand Kyoto

One of the newest Kyoto Station hotels, The Thousand certainly is one of the most luxurious. Step out of the monolithic lobby and you’re less than 5 minutes to the platforms. Modern, minimalist design and 5-star amenities. 

Check Availability: The Thousand Kyoto at Booking.com

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Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto

As for Kyoto Station hotels, this is a good value for a business hotel at this location. Lots of bilingual staff and cultural programs like dinner and a maiko show are available. Approx. 8-9 minutes on foot to the JR Kyoto Station platforms.

Check Availability: Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto at Booking.com

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Hotel Granvia Kyoto

If you want a Kyoto Station hotel near the JR, then it’s hard to get closer than the Granvia, which sits in essentially the same building. Rooms run smaller than many other high-end luxury hotels near Kyoto Station but you also get a pool, which some others can’t claim.

Check Availability: Hotel Granvia Kyoto at Booking.com

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Midrange Hotels Near Kyoto Station

midrange hotels near kyoto station - mimaru kyoto station hotel

There are a vast number of business hotels and midrange hotels near Kyoto station. These are a few we recommend. 

Mimaru Kyoto Station Hotel 

Opened in 2019, this is one of the newest additions to the Kyoto Station hotel lineup. Great family room options for large groups. Minutes on foot from the tracks. 

Check Availability: Mimaru Kyoto Station Hotel at Booking.com

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The Rihga Royal Hotel Kyoto Station

Old-school but not outdated, the Rihga Royal is a well-loved Japan hotel chain with a nice mix of traditional and modern design. Great culinary options too (We’ve eaten New Year’s meals at Rihga Royal hotels for over a decade). The Rihga Royal Hotel Kyoto has great family/group room options and a heated indoor pool for guests’ use (with some stipulations). 

Check Availability: The Rihga Royal Hotel Kyoto Station at Booking.com

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Hotel Anteroom Kyoto

This is a 15-minute walk/10-minute drive to the JR Lines, but we still consider it one of the best hotels near Kyoto Station for the price and design factors. Rooms are larger than most at this price point and certainly unique (some feel like sleeping in a contemporary art gallery). The only issue is being located in a residential (but quiet) neighborhood. 

Check Availability: Hotel Anteroom Kyoto at Booking.com

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Richmond Hotel Premier Kyoto Ekimae

Another great midrange Kyoto Station hotel just two blocks from the JR entrance and bus stations. Multiple room arrangements are available with a minimalist aesthetic. Complimentary tea time and snacks in the afternoon. 

Check Availability: Richmond Hotel Premier Kyoto Ekimae at Booking.com

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Via Inn Kyotoeki Hachijoguchi

Another fairly new addition to the Kyoto Station hotels game, Via Inn Kyotoeki Hachijoguchi sits just outside the Hachijo Exit. Varied buffet breakfast/lunch and decent sized rooms for location/price.

Check Availability: Via Inn Kyotoeki Hachijoguchi at Booking.com

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Miyako Hotel Kyoto Station Hachijo

For those looking for a mid-range hotel near JT Kyoto Shinkansen lines, the Miyako is less than 5 minutes on foot from the ticket counter. Rooms run small (20-30m2) but are clean and modern. Mattresses run firm. 

Check Availability: Miyako Hotel Kyoto Station Hachijo at Booking.com

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Budget Hotels Near Kyoto Station

Budget hotels in Kyoto station area - Piece Hostel Kyoto Station

Want to save some money? Here are some of the best budget hotels near Kyoto Shinkansen tracks. 

Piece Hostel Kyoto

One of the best places to stay near Kyoto Station on a budget. Piece Hotel caters to solo backpackers and groups/families alike. And it’s only 5 minutes from the station entrance.

Check Availability: Piece Hostel Kyoto at Booking.com

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K’s House Kyoto – Backpackers Hostel

About a 10-minute walk from the trains, K’s House is a good hostel budget hotel option near Kyoto Station. They have a variety of room arrangements: from single bunks to Japanese tatami rooms that can sleep up to six. 

Check Availability: K’s House Kyoto – Backpackers Hostel  at Booking.com

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Ryokans Near Kyoto Station

Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura Hongan-G ryokan near kyoto station

For more traditional Japanese accommodation, consider a ryokan near Kyoto Station. They provide a more authentic experience and often cost a lot less than hotels. Just remember that at ryokan rules are a little different from regular hotels: For example, you take your shoes off at the door and will likely sleep on a futon that’s placed on a tatami-mat floor. The times for meals, check-in, check-out are often quite strict, as well, so keep these under consideration. 

Matsubaya Ryokan

One of the more family-friendly traditional Japanese ryokan near Kyoto Station, Matsubaya is about 10-15 minutes on foot from the tracks and shorter in a taxi. Rooms range from singles with Western beds to tatami rooms that sleep six.

Check Availability: Matsubaya Ryokan at Booking.com

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Ebisu Ryokan

Rooms are quite small at the Ebisu (less than 20m2). That said, they’re clean, reasonably priced and close to the JR Line.

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Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura Hongan-G

Fantastic ryokan experience in a typical Kyoto neighborhood. The staff speaks English and is accustomed to foreign travelers. Also very close to Higashi-Honganji Temple (mentioned earlier), one of the biggest temples in Kyoto and a nice attraction near Kyoto Station. 

Check Availability: Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura Hongan-G at Booking.com

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Ryokan Shimizu

Small and charming family-run ryokan near Kyoto Station. It feels more like staying at someone’s house. This is not a ryokan for families as kids are not allowed. Best for couples. 

Check Availability: Ryokan Shimizu at Booking.com

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Apartment Rentals Near Kyoto Station

kyoto station apartment rental - best kyoto station accommodation

For some families and groups, it makes more sense to look into apartment rentals near Kyoto Station. They’re more economical since they sleep more people comfortably and have a kitchen where you can self-cater. 

22 Pieces

Super clever and innovative apartment-rental-style hotel near Kyoto Station. Rooms mix modern urban design with traditional fixtures. The results are creative spaces that feel larger than they really are. The name comes from the 22 items you can rent from the front desk: from Dyson hair dryers to projector screens. 

Check Availability: 22 Pieces at Booking.com

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Apartment Hotel Kamo Riverside Kyonoya

Despite a 15-minute walk, I still recommend these Kyoto Station apartment rentals to families and groups who want to save money. Apartments are cozy, cute, and clean. 

Check Availability: Apartment Hotel Kamo Riverside Kyonoya at Booking.com

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Train & Subway Lines at Kyoto Station:

shinkansen where to buy a Japan Rail pass

There are a variety of rail lines that converge on JR Kyoto Station. Of course, there are the shinkansen (bullet trains), but also more local trains and subways to get around the city or into the countryside. 

JR Lines

  • JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line
  • JR Kyoto Line
  • JR Arashiyama Line
  • JR Nara Line
  • JR Kinokuni Line
  • JR Biwako Line
  • JR Kosei Line

Train Lines

  • Kintetsu Kyoto Line
  • Keihan Line
  • Hankyu Kyoto Line
  • Keifuku Randen Line
  • Hokuriku Line
  • Tokaido Line
  • Chuo Line
  • Keihan Uji Line
  • Eizan Line
  • Chizukyo Line
  • Sagano Romance Line

Subway Lines

  • Karasuma Subway
  • Tozai Subway

Getting to Kyoto Station / From Kyoto Station

JR Kyoto Station sign San-in Line

Planning out your Japanese trip and wondering about the time it takes to get from one place to another? Here are a few approximate times to consider. Remember: these are approximate. It all depends on what time you leave and what train/shinkansen you take. 

Within Kyoto

Kyoto Station to Arashiyama to Kyoto Station

There are multiple ways to get to Arashiyama from Kyoto Station and back, but for anyone using a JR Rail Pass, the best way is to take the JR San-in line to Saga-Arashiyama Station and then walk a few minutes to the center of town. The total journey takes around 20 minutes. 

Kyoto Station to Fushimi Inari to Kyoto Station

Take the JR Nara line two stations south to Inari Station and you’re there. Total trip Kyoto Station to Fushimi Inari takes about 5-10 minutes. 

Kyoto Station to Gion to Kyoto Station

Most people take buses from Kyoto Station to Gion, but I prefer by train even though it can take longer. Take the Karasuma Line three stations north and then walk 15-20 minutes east. Once you cross the river, you’re in Gion. You can also take the subway two stations east from Karasuma Oike if you prefer.  

Kyoto Station to Nishiki Market to Kyoto Station

Similar to Gion above. Take the Karasuma Line two stations north to Shijo and walk 10 minutes east. The Nishiki Market District is before the river. Total time Kyoto Station to Nishiki Market is around 15 minutes. 

Other Cities

Kyoto Station to Tokyo Station to Kyoto Station

Total time Tokyo Station to Kyoto Station (and vice versa) is between 2.5 and 3 hours depending on the shinkansen you ride. 

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Kyoto Station to Osaka Station to Kyoto Station

The total time between Kyoto Station and Osaka Station (Umeda) or Shin Osaka Station is anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes

Book Now: Buy Shinkansen Tickets – Shin-Osaka Station to Kyoto Station

Kyoto Station to Nara Station to Kyoto Station

Take the JR Nara Line from Kyoto Station and Nara Station. Approx time is 45 minutes. You can also take the Kintetsu Kyoto line in under an hour, but it’s not covered by the JR Rail Pass.

Kyoto Station to Hiroshima Station to Kyoto Station

The total time from Kyoto Station and Hiroshima Station (and vice versa) is between 1 hr 45 min and just over 2 hours, depending on the train or shinkansen. 

Book Now: Buy Shinkansen Tickets – Kyoto Station to Hiroshima Station

Kyoto Station to Kansai Airport to Kyoto Station

Trains from Kyoto Station to Kansai Airport (KIX) take between 1 hour 15 min and 2 hours. Airport Limo Buses are another good option. 

Kyoto Station to Narita Airport to Kyoto Station

It’s best to take a shinkansen from Kyoto Station to Tokyo Station or Shinagawa Station and then take the Narita Express. If you can take any shinkansen, then this journey may take less than 4 hours. But if you’re using the JR Rail Pass, please remember that some of the fastest Shinkansen aren’t covered. IN this case, the trip will take more than 4 hours. 

Kyoto Station to Haneda Airport to Kyoto Station

Haneda Airport is actually in Tokyo proper so it’s faster to reach than Narita: around 3 to 3.5 hours. Just take a shinkansen to Shinagawa Station and then the Keikyu Line to the International Terminal. Another option is to go from Shinagawa to Hamamatsucho Station and take the monorail to Haneda. 

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