Train stations in Japan are real hubs within the city. They are often full of not only daily commuters or people travelling but also shops and restaurants. Some larger stations double as shopping malls. They are the real heart of the city. Kyoto Station is one of the few stations I went through several times on every single trip to Japan because it is so centrally located in the middle of the country. It has Japan's second-largest station building (after Nagoya Station). It is one of the country's most prominent buildings, incorporating a shopping mall, hotel, movie theatre, Isetan department store, and several local government facilities under one 15-story roof.
It was absolutely stunning to see it in person. The roof is imposing, very high up, creating an airy and spacious central hall. Part of the roof also doubles as an observation deck where you can see Kyoto. The current Kyoto Station opened in 1997, commemorating Kyoto's 1,200th anniversary. Architecturally, it exhibits many characteristics of futurism, with a slightly irregular cubic façade of plate glass over a steel frame. The architect was Hiroshi Hara. The last time when I was there, I took a few photographs in black and white have; look below: