Kyoto Eki is the train station in the Japanese city of Kyoto. It is one of the major stops along Shinkansen. Its also one of the biggest train stations in the world, and most magnificent. Its massive glass structure can be seen refecting the sun from miles away. Locals were appalled when it was first built.

Yes, eclip5e, locals were indeed appalled.

Kyoto is a city of wonderous treasures. Originally established as Heiankyo in 794, it was the political capital of the nation until the Edo era but has always been its cultural centre. Its unique kansai dialect, distinctive cuisine, and innumerable Buddhist temples make Kyoto a city that should be designated a National Living Treasure.

As a living city, it has of course changed.

Throughout its history it has been stricken by fires, occupied by warring forces, been desolated, overpopulated, and rebuilt.

Now buildings tower over and the old sections of the city, casting them into shadows. Old houses are torn down to make way for love hotels. The fields around Kyoto have vanished. Parts of it are indistinguishable from commercial and industrial cities like Osaka and Fukuoka.

My father came to visit me in Japan for a few days, and even though he saw many marvels of Japanese engineering (Kansai International Airport, Osaka Castle, etc), he still claims that Kyoto Station was the coolest thing he saw in Japan.

To put it into perspective, the station has a line of outdoor escalators set in a huge stairway that runs ten stories in a single flight. At Christmastime, they put up an enormous Christmas tree at the bottom of the stairway, and it looks tiny from the top. Actually, when I first reached the top of the stairs, the first words out of my mouth were "Man, they should have a rock concert here."

And it's all glass and steel truss. Every freaking inch of it. Stepping off the JR train and going through the exit turnstile is like going through the looking glass. Come to think of it, when you see the Nozomi Shinkansen run past, with Kyoto Station in the background, it feels like being in Blade Runner. Swear to God. You'll begin wondering where the Replicants are hiding.

Seeing as virtually every visitor to Kyoto has to pass through Kyoto Station, it goes without saying that you must see this place when you come to Kyoto. This is what the twenty-first century should look like. Amen.

Kyoto Station first opened in 1877. It is located on the Tokaido Shinkansen, Kyoto Line, Biwako Line, Nara Line, Kosei Line, and Sagano Line, and also has underground connections to the Kyoto subway and to the Kintetsu Railway.

May the gods save us from this version of the 21st century.

To me Kyoto Station represents everything that is wrong with modern Japanese architecture. Its design is totally divorced from Kyoto culture and tradition, from the site it was built on, from the lives of the people who pass through its soulless hulk. From the fact that this is freakin' Kyoto for goodness sake. Clearly no thought was given to the way this edifice would mesh with the ancient temples a few blocks away - the graceful five story wooden spire of Toji, or the elegant roofs of the Honganji. Indeed, Kyoto Station seems almost deliberately designed to deny everything that Kyoto typically represents - antiquity, tradition, elegance, and culture.

No, Japan is a modern country. And to prove it they must have steel and glass and concrete to blot out the sun for several blocks in every direction.

It is a monument to the ego and hubris of its designer and any who supported him.

For those of you who haven't seen it, I can only compare the appearance of Kyoto Station, both literally and figuratively, to a giant glass and steel tumor.

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