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Kyoto Tower | Hours & Admission Price, Plus Activities & Things to Do

Featured photo-Kyoto Tower at night-Japan

Kyoto Tower is the most striking feature of the Kyoto skyline. Reaching a height of 430 feet, the red and white structure rises far above the rest of the city and offers panoramic views from a 328-foot high observation deck. It is a very popular and easily accessible tourist landmark, located right next to Kyoto Station. The tower itself sits atop a nine-story building, known as Kyoto Tower Building, which consists of the Kyoto Tower Sando shopping mall, the Kyoto Tower Hotel, a spa, a tourist information center, and much more. It’s easy to spend several hours taking in the sights and exploring everything Kyoto Tower has to offer.

Kyoto Tower-Japan-Kyoto Tower-daytime

A brief history of Kyoto Tower

Plans for the construction of Kyoto Tower were initially proposed in 1960. The tower was designed by a modernist architect named Mamoru Yamada, and construction commenced in 1963 on the site formerly occupied by the Kyoto Central Post Office (which now stands only a block away). The overall shape and color of the tower was intended to resemble a traditional Japanese candle. It was also made to withstand the forces of large earthquakes and typhoons. Construction was finished near the end of the following year, and the tower was officially opened on December 28, 1964. Though there was public opposition to the construction of such a large, modern building in the heart of historic Kyoto, the tower received more than one million visitors over its first year.

How to get to Kyoto Tower

Kyoto Tower sits directly north of Kyoto Station, the main transportation hub of the city. One of the largest buildings in all of Japan, Kyoto Station is also an important landmark. To get to Kyoto Tower, simply exit out of the Karasuma Central Gate and cross the street, or take the underground passage directly into the tower.

You can reach Kyoto Station via train or bus from just about anywhere in Kyoto. The station also has direct, high-speed train links to Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, making it easy to take a quick trip out to see Kyoto Tower even if you aren’t staying in the city.

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Kyoto Tower observation deck

The main draw of Kyoto Tower is, of course, the lofty observation deck. Located on the 4th and 5th floors of the tower, the deck wraps around the center of the building, allowing you to enjoy sweeping, 360-degree views of the entire city. Top sites include Kyoto Station directly below, Toji Temple and its five-storied pagoda to the southwest, and even Osaka in the far distance on a clear day! The views can radically change depending on the season and even the hour you go. Sunset is a particularly beautiful time to visit Kyoto Tower, and you can get some stunning shots of the orange sky from all the way up there. Visitors are also welcome to use the telescopes on the 5th floor, free of charge, and there are tourist information monitors available to provide more information on sightseeing spots.

To access the observation deck, you must first purchase a ticket at the first-floor ticket office. Hop on the elevators to the 11th floor, and then transfer to the elevators heading up the tower.

Kyoto Tower admission & hours

Kyoto Tower is open every day from 9 a.m. to 9:20 p.m., with final admission to the tower at 9 p.m.

Admission fees are 800 yen for adults, 650 yen for high school students, 550 yen for elementary and junior high school students, and 150 yen for children under 6. Cheaper rates are available for groups of 10 or more.

Kyoto Tower accepts most major credit cards, as well as several mobile payment apps, including PayPay, WeChat Pay, and Alipay.

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Kyoto Tower restaurants

Kyoto Tower has some great dining options, including four different restaurants located throughout the complex where you can get a taste of the excellent Kyoto food scene. Take your pick of different cuisines and dining styles and enjoy fantastic views while you eat.

Beer Garden & BBQ Garden

Beer Garden & BBQ Garden is an open-air restaurant on the 10th floor of Kyoto Tower Building. Because of its rooftop location, it is open only during the summer months. The BBQ Garden is fully stocked with all of your BBQ favorites while the Beer Garden offers all-you-can-eat food and drink. The rooftop views are also spectacular.

When the restaurant is open, the hours of operation for the BBQ Garden are from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., and the hours of operation for the Beer Garden are from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Restaurant TOWER TERRACE

Restaurant TOWER TERRACE is an elegant, buffet-style restaurant on the third floor of Kyoto Tower Building. It has a relaxing atmosphere that will make you forget you are in the middle of a city. Enjoy seasonal ingredients, traditional Japanese dishes bursting with flavor, and a salad bar stocked with fresh Kyoto vegetables.

Restaurant TOWER TERRACE is open daily and serves breakfast from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Note that lunch dining time is restricted to 90 minutes.

VENISIRO

VENISIRO is the fine dining option at Kyoto Tower, though it maintains a relaxed atmosphere. Also located on the third floor of Kyoto Tower Building, it offers a full-course dining experience focused on a fusion of traditional Japanese kaiseki and French haute cuisine.

VENISIRO serves a daily lunch menu from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and a daily dinner menu from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Sky Lounge KUU

Located on the 3rd floor of Kyoto Tower, Sky Lounge KUU functions as a cafe in the daytime and a sophisticated lounge area in the evening. Enjoy the second-best views in the tower and choose from a variety of seating options, including seats at the counter or more private seats for couples. The bar offers an extensive selection of whiskeys and cocktails.

The Sky Lounge KUU cafe is open daily from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., while the bar is open daily from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

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Kyoto Tower Hotel

The 5th through the 9th floors of Kyoto Tower Building are taken up by Kyoto Tower Hotel. If you are staying in Kyoto, this is one of the most convenient accommodation options available. You’ll get to enjoy easy access to Kyoto Tower and everything that Kyoto Tower Building has to offer. A two-minute walk to Kyoto Station also means easy access to numerous other city landmarks. With so many restaurants inside the hotel to choose from, you won’t even need to leave the building to enjoy a delicious meal. The hotel also offers many rooms that can comfortably accommodate four to six people, making it a perfect choice for families and groups traveling together. Single and double rooms are available for solo travelers as well. Amenities include laundry services, baggage holding, massage services, free WiFi, and more. Guests can even take advantage of discounts on their Kyoto Tower observation deck tickets!

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Kansai Tourist Information Center Kyoto

Located on the 3rd floor of Kyoto Tower Building, the Kansai Tourist Information Center Kyoto is a must-visit facility for any travelers to Japan. It opened in 2015 to help foreign tourists with any inquiries they might have, not only about Kyoto but about the entire country. There are free maps and plenty of sightseeing information available. The multilingual staff can also help you make reservations for hotels, tours, taxis, and activities. It’s a good place to find discount passes for all sorts of attractions as well. Make your visit to Japan even more pleasant and memorable with a stop by the Kansai Tourist Information Center Kyoto.

Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except from December 30th to January 3rd

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Kyoto Tower Sando

Kyoto Tower Sando occupies the 1st, 2nd, and 1st basement floor of Kyoto Tower Building. It is a commercial facility that offers numerous dining options, souvenir shops, and cultural workshops. As it is located so close to Kyoto Station, many locals stop by this shopping complex along their daily commute. While you are visiting the tower, you shouldn’t pass up an opportunity to visit Kyoto Tower Sando.

Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Food Hall), 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Market and Workshops)

Kyoto Tower Sando Food Hall

The Kyoto Tower Sando Food Hall is located on the basement floor of the building. It gives you the opportunity to experience all of the different tastes of Kyoto in one place. There are 19 different restaurants to sample, many of them with a long history and a solid reputation among locals. Simply place your order, pick up your dish, and find a free spot among the open seating available. It’s a fantastic place to grab lunch or dinner before or after your trip up the tower.

Best restaurants in Kyoto Tower Sando

  • Gottie’s BEEF – Specialty dry-aged beef with enhanced flavor served as a steak or in a hamburger
  • KYOTOSENMARU Syakariki murasaki – Ramen restaurant where you are free to choose your toppings and side dishes
  • KYOTO TOWER SANDO BAR – Sake shop with centuries of history offering old favorites and trendy drinks
  • GIHAN HAJIMEDO – Casual Chinese restaurant serving noodles, dim sum, and the owner’s childhood favorites
  • Kyoto Yakiniku HIRO – High-quality Kuroge Wagyu beef skewers at an affordable price
  • PORK CUTLET Katsukura – Tender pork cutlets and deep-fried skewers with homemade breadcrumbs
  • ROLLY’S ROLL ICE CREAM KYOTO – One-of-a-kind rolled ice cream in fun and colorful designs
  • Daiki Suisan Kaiten Sushi – Sushi-go-round restaurant where you take your favorites off a conveyor belt

Kyoto Tower Sando Souvenir Market

Found on the first floor of the building, the Souvenir Market is a great place to pick up gifts to take back home and souvenirs for yourself. You’ll find a variety of shops selling all manner of goods, including sweets, cosmetics, clothing and accessories. Many of the products are hand-made using traditional techniques.

Unique shops in Kyoto Tower Sando

  • Hashiya-mansaku – Specialty chopsticks and chopstick rests
  • Kitekite – T-shirts featuring the symbols and colors of Kyoto
  • Kyoto Shabonya – Organic bath and beauty products
  • KYOTO UJICHA NISHIKIICHIHA – Specialty green tea popcorn
  • IWAI – Incense and other classic Kyoto souvenirs
  • Zarame – Gourmet Kyoto-style cotton candy

Kyoto Tower Sando Workshops

When you’re done eating and shopping, head to the second floor to experience the culture of Kyoto through a range of different workshops. Learn from master artisans and make your very own crafts and confections to bring home. The fun workshops are a wonderful activity for all types of travelers, particularly for families with children.

Workshops in Kyoto Tower Sando

  • 7jyo-kansyundo WAGASHI TAIKEN KYOSHITSU – Try your hand at Japanese confectionary making
  • Daiki Suisan Sushi SEMINAR – Learn how to make fresh sushi at home
  • AKANEYA – Create your own traditional historic crafts
  • Design Pocket – Make mouthwatering fake food replicas
  • shichijyokansyundo HIGASHI TAIKEN KYOSHITU – Make real Japanese sweets

Kyoto Tower-Japan-Kyoto Tower Bath House YUU

Kyoto Tower Bath House YUU

If the numerous facilities described above weren’t enough, Kyoto Tower Building is also home to a public bathhouse. Located on the third basement level, Kyoto Tower Bath House YUU is a classic Japanese bath with one large pool where you can relax and pamper yourself a bit. Items like face towels, soap, shampoo, conditioner, and skincare products are supplied free of charge, while bath towels, razors, and toothbrushes are available for a small fee. You will also be provided with a locker outside of the bathing area where you can leave your clothes. Make sure to rinse off before entering the bath. It is also customary to step outside of the pool to soap yourself, then to step back in and enjoy a good soak.

Admission fee: 770 yen for adults on weekdays, 910 yen for adults on weekends and holidays, and 450 yen for children every day. Note that Kyoto Tower Hotel guests can take advantage of discounted tickets.
Opening hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., with final admission at 9:30 p.m.

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