Japan 2012 - Kyoto Central Station
Kyoto Central Station is located in the Southern part of Kyoto City. If you travel to Kyoto by train, chances are you will end up here. It is a huge complex made up of many levels, and when I first arrived I was a bit disoriented as there are so many exits it gets really confusing. What's worse is there is no convenient connection to the subway system, and you need to get out of the Main Station Building to get into the subway. With luggage in tow, it can be a real nightmare.
The station building is an impressive feat of futuristic architecture. Many of the central train stations in Japan are designed not just as transport hubs but are really cultural and communal hubs. The Kyoto Station is no exception, and the main hall is a multi-storey atrium space filled with stepped terraces that goes up to sky gardens and plazas at both ends of the building. The architect is Hiroshi Hara who also designed the Umeda Sky Building in Osaka.
The huge complex also houses 3 shopping malls, a hotel, food halls, theatres and event venues. It is really a city within a city and if you don't feel like wondering outside you could literally live in the building.