Kyoto Tower

The 'baby' of all observatory towers

By Xia Fei Chiew    - 2 min read

Tokyo has the Tokyo Tower and Sky Tree, Osaka has the Tsutenkaku and Abeno Harukas, well Kyoto has the Kyoto Tower. Probably the shortest, and hence the baby, among all the observatory towers in Japan, it still has a charm of its own.

As with most things in Kyoto, the Kyoto Tower has a few years on it, but it wears the slightly worn look very well and serves its purpose of being an outstanding observatory.

So it is not particularly tall, but the only reason why Sky Tree is its current height is mainly because most buildings in Tokyo are ridiculously tall in their own right. With most buildings in Kyoto being not more than a few floors, you can get a great view of the whole to Kyoto and even see Osaka in the distance though the tower stands only at 131 meters.

The view from the tower is self-explanatory through the photos, however there are other parts of Kyoto Tower worth writing home about.

For starters, the first floor is a large souvenir shop that spans the entire storey, selling Kyoto goods from food to clothes to trinkets. For the lazy shopper, instead of hunting souvenirs down shop by shop, you can just visit this one-stop-shop and get all the shopping over and done with.

Another worthy note in the Kyoto Tower is the bathhouse located on B3 of the place. Purchasing the ticket for the observatory grants you a discount voucher for the bathhouse, which is an essential part of experiencing Japanese culture.

As with all observatory towers, Kyoto Tower is home to its own bars, restaurants and cafes. For the beer-lovers, there is a beer garden within the tower that has free flow beer for a fixed price. The flyers for the promotion are available on at the entrance, though it is in Japanese. It does not hurt to ask the friendly service staff at the information counter about this though.

All in all, while there are no huge bells and whistles to make Kyoto Tower a must-go, seeing as it is a stone-throw away (quite literally just across the street) from the Kyoto Station, there is no reason why you should not make a quick stop there.

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Xia Fei Chiew

Xia Fei Chiew @xia.fei.chiew

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Justin Velgus 6 years ago
Great article. I didn't know about the bath house or beer hall. From the top of Kyoto Station you can get a decent free view, but nothing like this tower offers.

The tower was completed in 1964 to coincide with the Olympics. Along with the bullet train that opened the same year, this tower showed a recovered and modern Japan that had risen from nothing after WWII to a global powerhouse. However, it came with a sacrifice of Kyoto's traditional charm. Still, it brings in revenue and tourists. I suppose it a little hard to make a traditional looking tower, but one that blends in better with the surroundings would be easier on the eyes.