Image by UniversalImagesGroup / UIG Getty Images
Located opposite Kyoto Station, this retro tower (1964) looks like a rocket perched atop the Kyoto Tower Hotel. The observation deck provides excellent views in all directions and you can really get a sense for the Kyoto bonchi (flat basin). It's a great place to get oriented to the city upon arrival. There are free mounted binoculars to use and a cool touch screen information panel showing what the view looks like both day and night.