【Kyoto Tower】 The Beacon of Tradition and Modernity


  • Opening Hours / Busy Hours: 10:00-21:00 / Busy days: Weekends and Holidays, Busy hours: 14:00-17:00
  • Entry Fee: Adults: ¥900, High school students: ¥700, Junior High school and elementary school students: ¥600, Infants (Over 3): ¥200
  • Address: 721-1 Higashishiokoji Karasuma-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8216, Japan
  • Access from Kyoto Station: Approximately 3 minutes walk from Kyoto Station

Introduction: A Sky-High Perspective of Kyoto

Standing tall at an impressive 131 meters, Kyoto Tower is an iconic and striking landmark that offers a stunning panoramic view of the entire Kyoto cityscape. Located directly opposite Kyoto Station, this modern marvel juxtaposes beautifully with the city’s ancient temples and historic shrines. Whether you’re visiting to witness a breathtaking sunset, enjoy a night-time cityscape, or learn more about Kyoto’s rich history and vibrant culture, Kyoto Tower provides a unique vantage point from which to experience the harmonious blend of tradition and modernity. With its expansive observation deck, numerous souvenir shops, and diverse dining options, it promises an unforgettable experience for all visitors, ensuring everyone can find something special to enjoy.

History of Kyoto Tower

The Genesis of Kyoto’s Skyward Icon

Inaugurated on December 28, 1964, Kyoto Tower was constructed to serve as a symbol of the city's modernization and progress in anticipation of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Designed by the architect Mamoru Yamada, the tower's futuristic and innovative design marked a significant departure from Kyoto’s traditional and historical architecture, symbolizing a new era and direction for the city. It also served as a guiding lighthouse for both local residents and tourists, highlighting Kyoto's blend of modernity with its rich cultural heritage.

A Controversial Beginning

Despite its now-iconic status, Kyoto Tower faced considerable opposition during its construction. Many locals were deeply concerned that its modern design would clash with and detract from Kyoto’s historical and traditional aesthetic. However, as time has passed, the tower has gradually become a beloved and integral part of the city’s skyline, symbolizing Kyoto’s remarkable ability to harmonize and integrate the old with the new, merging historical significance with contemporary innovation.


Did you know that Kyoto Tower is the tallest structure in Kyoto, and it’s designed to resemble a Japanese candle?

Evolution Through the Decades

Over the years, Kyoto Tower has undergone numerous renovations aimed at enhancing the overall visitor experience. Significant improvements such as the addition of LED lighting, a completely revamped observation deck, and various engaging interactive exhibits have played crucial roles in keeping the tower relevant and appealing to new generations. Today, it proudly stands as a testament to Kyoto’s ongoing evolution and unwavering commitment to seamlessly blending rich tradition with modern innovation.

Picture Outlook

"Spring: Blossoms and Breathtaking Views"

In spring, Kyoto Tower offers a stunning vantage point to witness the city blanketed in cherry blossoms. The observation deck provides a panoramic view of Kyoto’s famous sakura spots like Maruyama Park and the Philosopher’s Path. As the city awakens from winter, the tower becomes a prime location for capturing the beauty of Kyoto’s springtime charm.

"Summer: Festivals and Fireworks"

Summer in Kyoto is vibrant with festivals and fireworks. From Kyoto Tower, you can see the city buzzing with activities such as the Gion Matsuri, one of Japan’s most famous festivals. The night view during this season is particularly spectacular, with the city illuminated by both traditional lanterns and fireworks, offering a magical experience for visitors.

"Autumn: A Canvas of Colors"

Autumn transforms Kyoto into a tapestry of reds, oranges, and yellows. The view from Kyoto Tower during this season is nothing short of breathtaking, as the city’s foliage changes color. Iconic spots like Tofuku-ji Temple and Arashiyama become visible from the tower, making it an excellent spot for leaf-peeping and photography enthusiasts.

"Winter: A Tranquil Wonderland"

Winter brings a serene beauty to Kyoto. From the tower, you can see the city covered in a light dusting of snow, creating a picturesque winter wonderland. The clear winter air provides the best visibility, allowing you to see as far as the surrounding mountains. The holiday lights and decorations add a festive touch to the cityscape.


  • Food: For an authentic taste of Kyoto, visit the tower’s restaurant, Sky Lounge KUU, which offers delicious local cuisine with a view. Don’t miss trying the Kyoto-style sushi and matcha desserts.
  • Experience: Head to the observation deck at sunset for a mesmerizing view of the city bathed in golden light. The interactive displays also provide fascinating insights into Kyoto’s history and landmarks.
  • Photo Spot: The observation deck is the perfect spot for panoramic shots of Kyoto. Capture the city’s skyline with iconic landmarks such as Kiyomizu-dera and the Kyoto Imperial Palace in the background.

Kyoto’s Craftsmanship: A Timeless Connection

Kyoto Tower is not just a modern marvel but also a beacon connecting visitors to the city’s rich cultural heritage. Within the tower, you’ll find various shops selling traditional crafts such as Kyo-Yuzen textiles and Kiyomizu pottery. These crafts represent Kyoto’s dedication to preserving its artistic traditions while embracing modernity.

Kyo-Yuzen, a traditional Japanese dyeing technique, is renowned for its intricate designs and vibrant colors. This craft has been a part of Kyoto’s culture for centuries, with artisans meticulously hand-painting each piece of fabric. Visitors to Kyoto Tower can explore this craft through exhibitions and purchase exquisite Kyo-Yuzen items as souvenirs, bringing a piece of Kyoto’s artistic legacy home with them.

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