Kyoto Station

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ja:京都駅

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Kyotoeki.jpg
Kyoto Station


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

Clock in Kyoto Station, designed by Tezuka Osamu
Clock in Kyoto Station, designed by Tezuka Osamu, the creator of Astroboy, who lived in Kyoto

Kyoto Station (Japanese: 京都駅, -eki) is the most important transportation hub in Kyoto, Japan. It has Japan's second-largest train station building (after Nagoya Station) and is 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.

History

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. The architect was Hiroshi Hara. 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. For this, there are opinions criticizing the station design for taking part in breaking down the traditional cityscape.

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