Kyoto was capital of Japan for about a millenium before moving to Edo (which was renamed Tokyo).
Back then, one travelled by foot, horse or carriage, but today, one can arrive at the elgant steel & glass structure of Kyoto Station on the JR rail line.
Here, in perhaps the most modern building in the city, one can trace backwards into the depths of Japanese history.
Kyoto is so much more relaxed and quaint than Tokyo. Getting there isn't too difficult albeit a bit pricey.
It takes about 2.5 to 3.5 hours via the JR Shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto for $220-260 round trip depending on the seating...whether reserved or not.
The bus takes about 8 hours but at half the cost. Nara is 1 hour away by train from Kyoto. Kyoto Station is ultra modern and impressive in scale and offers wireless web connectivity for those traveling with laptops.
Besides being the main train hub, Kyoto station is a sight all of itself. its built as a large open V.
Kyoto Train Station is new and modern and looks awsome. It has a megga shopping area compiled around it is a really cool place.
Kyoto Station is the main station from Kyoto and the place where you arrive and leave by JR. The station itself is also worth a visit. The architectur is quite nice.
Kyoto is a great place to base yourself to explore Japan. If you have a JR pass you have access to the majority of the sights in the country no more than 3 hours away by Shinkansen (Bullet Train).
A quick glance at this map of the Kyoto JR Station and you'll think for a moment you must be on board the starship Enterprise.