More than a transportation hub, you'll find shops and eateries here too.
Upon your return to Kyoto, take an hour or so to explore Kyoto station, a building so modern it will dispel any notions of this city living only in the past. Built in 1997 (to commemorate the 1,200th anniversary of Heian-kyo’s becoming the national capital), this high-rise shopping, entertainment and hotel complex builds on motifs of black and gray granite squares, punctuated with shapes that seem to have fallen from another world.
Eleven stories worth of outdoor escalators take you up to the top two floors of the Isetan/the Cube department store, which are wall-to-wall with restaurants including Kyoto Ramen Alley on the 10th floor, a half-dozen top-flight ramen shops. Use the plastic food models out front to decide where to have lunch.