Kyoto Station

Kyoto train station is huge. It gives the impression of being on the same scale as a large international airport. Like an airport, the different sections are well signposted in Japanese and English, so it did not take long to walk to the subway system.

Under the station is a large shopping centre with corridors full of restaurants. Looking around the station shops carefully, you can find an import shop which carries a range of food and drink that is not common in Japan, such as breakfast cereal and shortcake.

Kyoto subway

The Subway station area seemed very confusing and did not appear to have English information.

Despite my fatigue and extremely limited Japanese, I determined that JR passes are not valid on the Kyoto underground and that a fare of 230円 was applicable to get us from Kyoto Station to Imadegawa. Imadegawa is the nearest underground station to the Kyoto Brighton Hotel where we were staying for the majority of our holiday.

We struggled for a few minutes with the ticket machines until Carolyn spotted a button offering English guidance. The instructions to purchase a ticket appeared in English. Unfortunately as soon as we started the first step, the display reverted back to Japanese. After as few minutes more minutes, we purchased our first Kyoto underground tickets.

The journey was uneventful, but we did notice that as well as station names written in Kanji, Hiragana and Roman scripts on the platforms, there were also simple consecutive numbers for stations. Yui, a Japanese friend, told us that these "K" numbers were specifically to help foreign tourists.

Imadegawa 今出川(いまでがわ)

Imadegawa underground station looks similar to any subway station that you might find anywhere in the world.

A brief conversation in Japanese with an official told me that we had just missed our hotel bus (or possibly, by the time we got to the stop we would have missed it). He did suggest that it was not a long walk from a different underground exit. I decided that we might as well walk from Imadegawa to the Kyoto Brighton hotel, so we headed towards the exit that had been indicated. Something the official did not tell me, or I had failed to understand, is that there are a very large number of steps up from any exit in Imadegawa, except exit 3, which has a tiny elevator. We hauled our cases up Imadegawa's numerous stairs and started to follow the directions that I had been given.

First Impressions of Japan Kyoto Brighton Hotel