Explore Kyoto’s Newest Attraction: A Guide to “Kyoto Tower Sand”!

Kyoto stands out as a highly popular destination, both domestically and internationally.
One of Kyoto’s landmarks is the Kyoto Tower, a 131-meter tall tower located just a short walk from Kyoto Station. It boasts attractions like an observation deck and restaurants.

Kyoto Tower Sand, a commercial facility on the B1F to 2F levels of Kyoto Tower, opened in 2017 after a 50-year renewal. It offers enjoyment under three themes on different floors: “Gather & Relax,” “Shop & Explore,” and “Learn & Play.”

Combine your visit to Kyoto Tower Sand with nearby sightseeing and gourmet spots for a complete Kyoto experience.

What’s Kyoto Tower Sand all about?


Kyoto Tower Sand is a commercial facility located within Kyoto Tower, right in front of JR Kyoto Station.
After undergoing its most significant renovation in 50 years since Kyoto Tower’s establishment, Kyoto Tower Sand opened its doors in April 2017.
With the concept of “A third option following the city and the station. Unprecedented, future Kyoto,” this tourist spot is brimming with attractions.

The facility’s name, Kyoto Tower Sand, is inspired by the concept of a “sando” (approach) that connects Kyoto Station, the city, locals, and tourists.
Deliberately bringing together popular local businesses, the facility attracts a diverse range of visitors, from tourists to locals.
Spanning from the underground 1st floor to the 2nd floor of Kyoto Tower, Kyoto Tower Sand offers different concepts on each floor for everyone to enjoy.

The concept of the underground 1st floor is a “market where unique Kyoto products gather.”
You can enjoy shopping at various stores offering a range of items, from traditional Kyoto sweets to cosmetics.

The concept on the 2nd floor revolves around “workshops that turn into memorable experiences.” Here, you’ll find shops where you can participate in activities like sushi making and traditional crafts.
Located close to the central Kyoto Station, Kyoto Tower Sand serves as a hub connecting “city and station” and bridging the gap between “tourists and locals.”

Access Information for Kyoto Tower Sand

Kyoto Tower Sand is a commercial facility right in front of JR Kyoto Station.
For those traveling from other prefectures to Kyoto Station, consider using Itami Airport or taking a bus or Shinkansen.
While many people typically opt for the Shinkansen, those who plan well in advance can find cost-effective options by using discounted air tickets.
If you choose to take a bus, opting for an overnight bus can help keep costs relatively low.

You can reach Kyoto Tower Sand in about a 3-minute walk from JR Kyoto Station.

Access from Kyoto Station

  • JR Kyoto Station, Shinkansen Central Exit: 4-minute walk
  • JR Kyoto Station, Central Exit: 3-minute walk
  • Kyoto Municipal Subway Kyoto Station, North Ticket Gate: 2-minute walk
  • Kintetsu Kyoto Station, Kintetsu Exit: 8-minute walk

Parking and Bicycle Parking Information

Kyoto Tower does not have its own parking or bicycle parking facilities.
If you plan to visit by car, bicycle, or motorcycle, consider using nearby paid parking or bicycle parking facilities.
Due to heavy traffic and limited parking availability around Kyoto Station, using public transportation is convenient when accessing the area.

Tourist Information for Kyoto Tower Sand

Kyoto Tower Sand is a commercial facility that you can enter for free.
The venue, popular among both tourists and locals, is vibrant and lively throughout the week, including weekends.
On the B1 floor, you’ll find a variety of dining options, making it a convenient choice when you’re in need of places to eat around Kyoto Station.

Please note that certain workshops, such as wagashi (Japanese sweets) making and sushi seminars, may require a fee.
If you plan to participate in any workshops, it’s advisable to access their respective websites and make a reservation in advance.

Kyoto Tower Sand

  • Address: 721-1 Higashi Shichijo, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto City
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access: 1 minute walk from JR Kyoto Station
  • Phone Number: 075-746-5830
  • Closed: Varies by store
  • Business Hours:
    • [B1F] 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM
    • [1F] 10:30 AM – 8:30 PM
    • [2F] 10:30 AM – 7:00 PM
    • Some stores may have different hours
  • Fee: Free (some facilities may have admission fees)
  • Official Website: Kyoto Tower Sand

Highlights of Kyoto Tower Sand

Discover the Charm of Kyoto Tower Sand, where each floor offers a unique concept.
Explore shops, gourmet delights, and workshops that capture the essence of Kyoto, and enjoy a delightful tour of the city.

Highlights of Kyoto Tower Sand
  • Gather and Relax at B1F’s Expansive Food Hall!
  • “Shop and Explore!” Get Kyoto-style Items at the Market.
  • Learn and have fun! Experience the exciting world of making traditional Japanese sweets at the “Workshop.”
  • Take in the view of Kyoto’s city from a landmark! Visit the “Kyoto Tower Observatory.”

Gather and Relax at B1F’s Expansive Food Hall!


The B1F of Kyoto Tower Sand is a food hall with the theme of gathering and relaxing.
The seating inside the food hall is mostly free, similar to a food court.
Once you place an order at the shop, you’ll receive a bell. When it rings, it’s time to go and pick up your order.


The B1F, designed as a “Food Hall for Enjoyable Kyoto Tasting Adventures,” features local establishments like “Kyoto Tower Sand Bar” and Kyoto’s ramen shops.
The seating has a fast turnover rate, allowing you to enjoy your meals relatively quickly even during busy lunch or dinner times without much waiting.

The charm of the food hall lies in its intricate interior design.
When you look at the walls, you’ll find a map of Kyoto city, highlighting the locations of sake breweries.
There’s also a temporary exhibition space, and during my visit, it turned into a photo-worthy spot where you could capture memorable moments.

In the food court, you’ll find “Kyoto Senmaru Shakariki Murasaki,” a shop affiliated with the popular “Kyoto Senmaru Shakariki” series known for their dipping noodles.
You can casually enjoy a bowl from this renowned establishment right in the food hall.
Whether you’re looking for a quick lunch, dinner, or a place to wrap up a drinking party, this shop with counter seating has something for everyone.

Shakariki Ramen (on the left)

The classic “Za” ramen, priced at 780 yen, is a flavorful soy sauce ramen with a rich broth made from a blend of seafood and chicken.
With a perfect balance of saltiness and the fragrant aroma of soy sauce, each mouthful unfolds a delicate and satisfying taste.
Indulge in a bowl filled with juicy and tender Chashu, along with the aromatic notes of plenty of green onions and other toppings.

Located in Fushimi, Kyoto, “Torisei” stands amidst historic sake breweries.
They offer a variety of sake, including “genshu” directly sourced from the traditional breweries in Fushimi.
During the day, you can enjoy rice bowls and set meals featuring chicken, while in the evening, indulge in an izakaya menu centered around grilled chicken skewers.

Torisei

The “Torimeshi Gozen” for 880 yen (including tax), available until 2:00 PM, is a popular dish with a crispy assortment of freshly fried items, from tempura to grilled chicken over rice, a favorite since the restaurant’s founding.

Featuring large pieces of fried chicken, the set includes a rice bowl, small side dishes, salad, and miso soup, providing a satisfying and hearty meal.

“Shop and Explore!” Get Kyoto-style Items at the Market.


The 1st floor of Kyoto Tower Sand is an area themed around a “Market of Kyoto-style Specialties.”
With 31 shops lined up, you’ll find not only classic items like Yatsuhashi and pickles but also sandwiches made with Kyoto vegetables and a Western-style cosmetics store from Kyoto.
If you drop by after sightseeing, you’re likely to discover perfect souvenirs to take home.

On the 1st floor of Kyoto Tower Sand, you’ll find a diverse range of shops, from gourmet options to cosmetics.


Discover a market area in Kyoto where you can find products available exclusively in Kyoto all on one floor.
At the pastry shop “Kyoto Kitayama Maure Blanche,” you can buy ice candies made with rich, Kyoto-exclusive matcha.

Kyoto Candy Croissant

In the market area, alongside Kyoto Tower Sand that opened in 2017, you’ll find several shops with a fresh and modern vibe.
One such brand is “Kyoto Candy Croissant,” produced by the longstanding candy maker “Imanishi Seika,” which has a history of over 140 years.
Here, you can purchase candies that blend the traditional craftsmanship of this longstanding confectionery with coloration techniques inspired by Europe.

Candies crafted with inspiration from paintings, fashion, and traditional crafts are not only delicious but also visually appealing.
They feature flavors typical of Kyoto, such as matcha and kinako, and offer innovative options like raspberry and champagne-infused strawberry.

Sangria (left) and Champagne (right).

These portable candies are perfect for Kyoto sightseeing souvenirs—convenient to carry and enjoy on the go.

Learn and have fun! Experience the exciting world of making traditional Japanese sweets at the “Workshop.”

The 3rd floor of Kyoto Tower Sand is themed around “Workshops that become memorable experiences.”
This floor offers unique experiences, including making traditional Japanese sweets, allowing you to delve into Kyoto’s distinctive culture in a way not usually encountered.
If you plan to participate in a workshop at one of the shops on this floor, advance reservations are required for each.


Experience a unique Kyoto workshop at “Nanajo Kanshundo Wagashi Studio.”
In this workshop, you can create “Josen-gashi,” a type of Japanese confectionery crafted with seasonal designs and ingredients.
The instructors provide detailed guidance on the meticulous steps and creative techniques to make your wagashi look as professional as those in the store.

The wagashi-making workshop takes about 90 minutes.
After enjoying the freshly made treats on the spot, you can take home any leftovers as souvenirs.
Make sure to seize this unique and valuable experience on the workshop floor.

Additionally, at “Akane-ya,” where you can delve into traditional crafts, you can participate in Kyoto-style workshops.
Sponsored by a kiln with over 350 years of history in Kyoto, you can try your hand at painting on Yunomi or teacups, as well as crafting bracelets with natural stones.

The estimated time for these experiences is around 60 minutes.
You can bring home your finished pieces (only pottery and folding fans will be shipped later), creating your own special memories.

Take in the view of Kyoto’s city from a landmark! Visit the “Kyoto Tower Observatory.”

When you stop by Kyoto Tower Sand, it’s a good idea to also explore the sights inside Kyoto Tower.
One of the popular attractions within Kyoto Tower is the “Kyoto Tower Observatory,” frequently visited by many tourists.

You can purchase tickets on the 11th floor of Kyoto Tower Building.
The prices are 800 yen for adults, 650 yen for high school students, 550 yen for elementary and middle school students, 150 yen for children (3 years and older), and 350 yen for people with disabilities.

Let’s enjoy the view of Kyoto from the observation deck, which is located at a height of 100 meters.
You can use the telescopes placed on the observation deck for free.
On clear days, you can even see not only the city but also as far as Osaka with the naked eye.

Let’s appreciate the view that blends the natural beauty and culture of Kyoto, featuring tall buildings in the city center and distant mountains.
From the observation deck, you can also enjoy the sight of tourist spots like Nishi-Honganji and Higashi-Honganji around the station.
During my visit, the weather was cloudy, but I could still see plenty of city landmarks.
As Kyoto Tower Sand is entirely indoors, it’s a perfect choice for rainy-day sightseeing.

Tourist Attractions around Kyoto Tower Sand

Let’s explore the tourist attractions around Kyoto Tower Sand.
This area, conveniently close to Kyoto Station and located in the heart of the city, is a hub for various sightseeing spots, including temples and shrines.
From expansive Japanese gardens to serene temples and even an aquarium, there are plenty of popular places to visit in this central part of the city.

Tourist Attractions around Kyoto Tower Sand
  • Shosei-en
  • Nishi Hongan-ji
  • Kyoto Aquarium

Shosei-en

Located approximately 8 minutes on foot from Kyoto Station and about 6 minutes from Kyoto Tower Sand, Shosei-en is a vast Japanese garden.

Situated within the precincts of Higashi-Honganji Temple, this garden was designed by the poet and calligrapher Jozan Ishikawa.
The focal point of the garden is the pond-based “strolling-style garden,” offering picturesque views throughout the seasons.

During my visit in the rainy season, the pond was covered with leaves, creating a lush green landscape.
Take a stroll through this strolling garden, and you’ll witness different faces depending on your viewpoint and location within the garden.

Shosei-en

  • Address: East Tamamizu-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto, 600-8498, Japan
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access: 10 minutes on foot from JR Kyoto Station
  • Phone: 075-371-9210
  • Closed: Open daily
  • Hours:
    • [March to October] 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
    • [November to February] 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
  • Admission: Adults 500 yen, High school students and below 250 yen
  • Official Website: Shosei-en

Nishi Hongan-ji

Nishi Hongan-ji is a renowned temple, located a 10-minute walk from Kyoto Station, established by the revered Saint Shinran, founder of the Jodo Shinshu (Pure Land) school of Buddhism.
The temple, considered the head temple of the Jodo Shinshu Hongan-ji school, boasts a vast compound with over 10 national treasures and numerous other important cultural assets.

Within this serene setting, you can appreciate the rich cultural heritage of Kyoto while exploring precious architectural structures and treasures.
One standout feature on the grounds is the grand “Mieidō” hall, designated a national treasure, where the sacred image of Saint Shinran is enshrined.

Right in front of the Goeidō hall, you’ll find a magnificent natural monument—the “Oichō” or “Upside-Down Ginkgo Tree.”
Its branches, resembling roots reaching towards the sky, earn it the nickname “Upside-Down Ginkgo.”
In autumn, this ancient ginkgo tree transforms into a stunning golden spectacle, adding to the picturesque charm of Nishi Hongan-ji.

From 2017 to 2018, extensive restoration work took place within the precincts of Nishi Hongan-ji, a prominent temple in Kyoto.

As of January 2022, the renovation projects for the Hifun-kaku Pavilion and Karmon Gate have been completed, while the restoration of the Amidado Hall’s interior is scheduled for completion in March 2022.

Among the main attractions within the compound, the Goei-do Hall allows visitors to explore its interior.
This expansive hall, measuring 62 meters north to south and 48 meters east to west, houses sacred images of Shinran Shonin and successive head priests of Hongan-ji.

As you make your way from the Goei-do Hall to the Amidado Hall, the straight corridor exudes a serene and charming atmosphere that contrasts with the urban surroundings, providing a unique and tranquil temple experience.

Nishi Hongan-ji

  • Address: 60 Monzen-cho, Higashinotoin-dori Teramachi-agaru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access: 10 minutes on foot from JR Kyoto Station, 11 minutes on foot from Nishi Hongan-ji bus stop
  • Phone: 075-371-5181
  • Closed: Open every day
  • Visiting Hours: 5:30 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Admission: Free
  • Official Website: Nishi Hongan-ji

Kyoto Aquarium

The aquarium is located about a 20-minute walk from JR Kyoto Station or a 2-minute walk from the “Nanajo-Omiya/Kyoto Aquarium” bus stop, served by bus routes 205, 208, 103, 104, and 110.

Opened in 2012 with the concept of “Life connected with water,” the aquarium features around 250 species of marine life.
It showcases a variety of aquatic creatures, with a focus on those found along the rivers in Kyoto, such as the Kamogawa and Katsuragawa rivers.


Kyoto Aquarium, renowned as Japan’s first inland aquarium using 100% artificial seawater, is a must-visit.
One of its highlights is the exhibition featuring the Japanese giant salamander, a natural monument found in the Kamo River.

Explore various themed zones, such as the “Marine Life Zone” where you can meet seals and the “Coral Reef Creatures Zone” where the beloved garden eel, Chin’anago, resides.
Don’t miss the chance to experience the charm of each distinct area!

Kyoto Aquarium

  • Address: 35-1 Kankijicho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, 600-8835, Kyoto Prefecture (Located in Umekoji Park)
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access:
    • From Kyoto Station: Approximately 20 minutes on foot
    • By City Bus: Lines 205, 208, 103, 104, 110 – Get off at “Nanajo-Omiya-Kyoto Suizokukan-mae” and walk for 3 minutes
  • Phone: 075-354-3130
  • Closed: None (Temporary closures for facility inspections or due to weather conditions)
  • Opening Hours:
    • Please check the annual calendar on the official website for operating hours.
    • Special extended hours may be available on certain occasions.
    • Ticket purchase and processing for entry and annual passes are accepted until 1 hour before closing.
    • Operating hours subject to change based on weather conditions, etc.
  • Regular Admission:
    • Adults (including university students): ¥2,200
    • High school students: ¥1,700
    • Elementary and middle school students: ¥1,100
    • Toddlers (3 years and above): ¥700
  • Official Website: Kyoto Aquarium

Conclusion

Kyoto Tower Sand is a commercial facility located inside Kyoto Tower, which stands as a landmark in Kyoto.
Conveniently close to the station and entirely indoors, it’s perfect for exploring on rainy days.
Enjoy the full Kyoto experience with gourmet options, souvenirs, workshops, and more at Kyoto Tower Sand. Have a delightful time exploring the offerings at this Kyoto landmark.

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