What to do at Kyoto station

Previously, I had written a long blog post about what there is to do at Narita airport when you have a lot of time to spare and I thought that it would be nice to write one about Kyoto station too. This blog post is mainly targeted to women, as I will be focusing on shopping, eating, taking pretty pictures (of ourselves), and - let's not forget - something cultural.

Kintetsu mall miyakomichi kyoto station Japan

Kintetsu mall Miyakomichi (website)

This mall is located in the Kintetsu Kyoto station building (I mentioned it before over here) and opposite to the New Miyako hotel that I was staying in. It has:
  • 16 restaurants. You can go enjoy unagi (eel), sushi, sashimi, tempura, Kyoto cuisine, Izakaya food, fried skewers, charcoal grill dishes, soba noodles, udon noodles, rice bowls, Sichuan cuisine, Tonkatsu (fried pork cutlets), pasta, Teppanyaki (Iron plate grill) food, Kyoto beers, hamburger steak, and Chinese food. And there is even an Irish pub!
  •  5 cafes, where you can have cakes, Japanese sweets, donuts from Mister Donut, breakfast, light meals, or a cup of Italian coffee. 
  • 14 souvenir and food shops. 

Opening hours:
cafe 9:00-20:00
restaurant 11:00-22:00
shop 9:00-20:00

Porta mall (website)

This is a large underground shopping hall under Kyoto station. It has 33 Women's fashion stores, 5 shoes stores, 15 accessories and small items stores, 9 medicine and cosmetics stores, and some service shops. Most notable shops for me are 3 coins, Misch Masch (I bought a fukubukuro of this fashion brand before), Earth, Music & Ecology (casual fashion brand), and the Pure Nail nail salon for beautiful nail art. Besides that, there are also 31 cafe and restaurants and 21 souvenir and food shops.   

 Opening hours:
restaurant 11:00-22:00 (some serve breakfast from 7:30)
fashion shops 10:00-21:00
souvenir & food shops 10:00-20:00

The cube mall (website)

Shopping mall The cube is located above the underground Porta mall and the two floors are on B1F and B2F of Kyoto station (I am not sure, but I think it means Basement 1st Floor and 2nd Floor. It has 15 women's fashion stores (note: INGNI and Olive des Olive), 14 accessories stores (note: Samantha vega (bags) and Gelato pique (cute home wear)), and 9 cosmetics stores (note: Shop in (beauty products from various brands) and Skinfood (Korean beauty brand)). There are also 91 souvenir and food stores at the Kyo-miyage department (Kyo from Kyoto and omiyage is the Japanese word for souvenir). Mainly, selling traditional Japanese sweets.     

Shopping mall The cube Gourmet (a floor filled with 9 restaurants) can be found on 11th floor of Kyoto station. Four restaurants can also be found on B1F and B2F (2 on each floor).

Opening hours:
Kyoto souvenirs shops 8:30-20:00
Fashion stores 10:00-20:00(Fri, Sat -21:00)
Restaurants 11F 11:00-22:00

 JR Kyoto Isetan department store

What I love the most about Japanese department stores, is that you can find the food department at the basement floors. I am always amazed by the abundance of fresh food, confectionery, snacks, bread, the ready made food, and bento boxes. This department store mainly carries high end brands, which I am not that interested in, as I can also find those in my country. But the promotion hall at 10F can be a nice surprise. On that floor, they will often have special market stalls, selling kitchen ware deals or food flown in from Hokkaido for example.

The tax free counter is on 3F and you can already apply for a return, when you spend more than 5,000 yen on one day.

Suvaco JR Isetan is a small annex of this department store located at the JR Kyoto station West gate 2F and it houses some restaurants, food shops, and several cosmetics and accessories shops. Suvaco is short for Pretty. Fast. & Food. and it means that you can quickly get cosmetics or a beauty treatment to make yourself pretty (like when you forgot to take your lipstick in the hurry to office?) and get food such as sandwiches, salads, ready-made food, instant food, take-out food, and bento boxes to go. At atelier Haruka, you can get your hair, nails (60 minutes for a gel nail treatment, from 5,400 yen), and makeup done. You can also get a relaxing back massage (15 minutes, 2,700 yen) at Body Retreat.

Opening hours:
Department store 10:00-20:00
Restaurant floor 11F 11:00-22:00 
Open view restaurants 7-8-9-10F 11:00-23:00

Kyoto Ramen Koji (website)

Kyoto Ramen Koji is located on the 10th floor of Kyoto station and it has 9 ramen shops, where you can get specialty ramen (Japanese noodle) from different cities across Japan. If you want a dessert after your ramen meal, you can find the Japanese dessert shop Chasen on the same floor, where you can order a matcha green tea parfait.

Opening hours:

Kyoto station illuminated giant staircase (website)

On the outside of the Kyoto station and exiting from the Central gate, you will find two staircases on both sides. The largest one, is the Daikaikan (Great Staircase), which is multiple building floors high. When I last went there, it wasn't there yet, as you could only see it from November 2012 (Kyoto station's 15th anniversary). The lights create beautiful patterns on the staircase, such as sakura trees during the Spring season and a giant Christmas tree during Christmas time. Check the website to see which pattern will be showing when you go there. It changes pretty regularly, so it is good to come back every once in a while to have a different background for your selfies. At the top of the staircase (12F), there is also a Sky Garden and Happy Terrace, where you can enjoy the view and unwind, while you are surrounded by greenery. 

Kyoto Eki museum

It is located at the outer corner of the 7th floor of the JR Isetan department store, but you can also reach it by walking on the giant staircase. You probably cannot enjoy much without understanding Japanese at the Kyoto theater, which can also be found inside of the Kyoto station, but art is without boundaries and paintings and pictures tell you more than words can. The entrance fee vary as they have regularly changing exhibitions, but you can think of a price around 800-1000 yen.

Opening hours: 10:00-20:00

If you have trouble finding your way in this huge Kyoto station, you can visit the Kyoto station building information center (10:00-19:00) at the pedestrian walkway 2F. There, you can also find the Kyoto Tourist Information Center (8:30-19:00).

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