While many international visitors to Japan arrive at Narita International Airport near Tokyo, Kansai International Airport (KIX) is another good option, especially if you plan to visit the western part of Japan including the cities of Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, and Hiroshima.
Kansai is located on a man-made island about 40 kilometers south of Osaka and 75 kilometers southwest of Kyoto. It was the world’s first offshore airport constructed on a completely man-made island. In this article, we will show you how to get to Osaka and Kyoto from Kansai Airport.
- About Kansai International Airport (KIX)
- How to Get to Osaka by Train
About Kansai International Airport (KIX)
Kansai International Airport was opened in 1994 when it took over all international and some domestic flights from Osaka International Airport (“ITAMI”). KIX has two terminals; Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. Terminal 1 is the main terminal and has direct access to the train station. There is a wide selection of restaurants and shops, especially on the 2F (domestic departure) and 3F (shopping and dining floor). You will also find a few small cafes on 1F (international arrival) and 4F (international departure). If you want to eat or buy something before your departure, we recommend doing so before you pass through security and custom since the number of restaurants and shops in Terminal 1 after the security and custom is limited.
Terminal 2 was built more recently and mainly serves Low-Cost Carriers that run international flights from nearby countries and domestic flights. If you arrive at the airport by train, you need to take a (free) shuttle bus to go to Terminal 2. The limousine buses arrive at and depart from Terminal 2. There are several places for eating and shopping, but the selection is much smaller than Terminal 1.
How to Get to Osaka by Train
This is the fastest way to make the journey between KIX and central Osaka. The Haruka Express directly connects KIX and Shin-Osaka Station for about 50 minutes. The train leaves every 30 minutes, and costs ¥2,380 for non-reserved seat and ¥2,910 for reserved seat. You can use your JR Pass.
Kansai Airport Rapid Train
The Kansai Airport Rapid Train directly connects KIX and Osaka (Umeda) Station for about 70 minutes and costs ¥1,210. It takes 15 to 20 minutes longer than the Haruka Express as it makes more stops. You can use your JR Pass.
The Nankai trains connect KIX and Namba Station in about 35 minutes. There are the Rapi:t Alpha and Rapi:t Beta trains, and the only difference between them is that Beta trains make two more stops and therefore is slightly slower than Alpha. They run every 30 minutes and costs ¥1,450 (all reserved) to Namba Station. The Nankai trains are not covered by the JR Pass.
How to Get to Osaka by Bus
Direct limousine bus services run between KIX and various stops in central Osaka including Osaka (Umeda) Station (60 min, ¥1,600), Namba Station (45 min, ¥1,100), Universal Studio (70 min, ¥1,600), and several hotels. The limousine buses are operated by Kansai Airport Transportation Enterprise, Osaka Airport Transport, and Hanshin Bus, and both transportation fees and the travel time are exact the same among all companies.
How to Get to Kyoto by Train
The Haruka Express connects KIX and Kyoto Station for about 80 minutes. The train leaves every 30 minutes, and costs ¥2,900 for a non-reserved seat and ¥3,430 for a reserved seat. You can use your JR Pass.
How to Get to Kyoto by Bus
Direct limousine bus services run between KIX and Kyoto Station (100 min, ¥2,600). The limousine buses run almost hourly between 4.30am and 9.10pm from Kyoto Station to KIX, and between 7am and 11am from KIX to Kyoto Station. These limousine buses are also operated by Kansai Airport Transportation Enterprise, Osaka Airport Transport, and Keihan Bus, and again the transportation fees and travel time is the same for all companies.
Take a taxi to Kansai International Airport
A taxi ride from KIX to central Osaka takes about 50 minutes, and costs about ¥15,000 during the day and ¥18,000 at night. The journey to Kyoto takes around 2h30m, which is much slower compared to the train services and also much more expensive. Because it is very expensive and slower and the trains and buses are very easy to use, we do recommend you to use the public transportation
If You Have an Early Morning Flight
The first train bound for central Osaka leaves KIX around 6am, and the first bus at 5.15am. The first train that goes to Kyoto Station leaves KIX around 6.30am, and limousine bus around 7am.
When you have an early departure flight (before 8am), your best option is to spend the night at one of the hotels near the airport. Alternatively you can take a taxi to the airport, but as there is a night fee added to the price, this is the more expensive option.
If You Have a Late Night Flight
The last train from KIX to Namba Station departs just before midnight, and the last trains with a connection to Osaka (Umeda) Station and Kyoto Station depart around 11.30pm. The last limousine buses from KIX to central Osaka and Kyoto Station leaves around 11.00pm, but there is an hourly night bus to Osaka Station that continues to runs throughout the night.
Overview of Fares and Travel Time
From/To Osaka (Umeda) Station
|Time / Fare||JR Pass valid|
|Kansai Airport Rapid Train||70 min / ¥1,210||Yes|
|Nankai Rapi:t||65 min / ¥1,160 (transfer at Namba Sta.)||No|
|Limousine Bus||65 min / ¥1,600||No|
From/To Shin-Osaka Station
|Time / Fare||JR Pass valid|
|Haruka Express||50 min / ¥2,380 (non-reserved seat), ¥2,910 (reserved seat)||Yes|
|Kansai Airport Rapid Train||80 min / ¥1,390||Yes|
|Nankai Rapi:t||70 min / ¥1,210||No|
From/To Kyoto Station
|Time / Fare||JR Pass valid|
|Haruka Express||80 min / ¥2,900 (non-reserved seat), ¥3,430 (reserved seat)||Yes|
|Limousine Bus||100 min / ¥2,600||No|
Recommended hotels near Kansai International Airport
- Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport – Directly accessible within Kansai International Airport
- Hatago Inn Kansai Airport – Small hotel located within a 10-minute drive from the airport
- Henn na Hotel Kansai Airport – Located nearby the airport and free shuttle services
Kansai International Airport is a convenient airport to enter Japan, especially when you are travelling to the cities of Osaka, Hiroshima, Kyoto and other nearby places. Generally speaking, the easiest way to get to and from the airport is by train, with frequent connections to both Osaka and Kyoto. For some trains you can also use your JR Pass and travel for ‘free’. There are alternatives which may be cheaper and/or convenient depending on your destination and time of traveling. We hope you have a nice trip in Japan!
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