When you go to Japan you have the option of using the airport in Osaka besides the airport in Tokyo. Osaka has "Kansai International Airport" which operates 24 hours. On this page, I will introduce the outline of this airport and how to get to Kyoto, Osaka etc. from this airport.
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Outline of Kansai International Airport (KIX)
Kansai International Airport is one of Japan's leading airports located on the artificial island, 5 km offshore in the southern part of Osaka Prefecture. It is connected to the other side by a bridge of 3.75 km in length. Roads and railroads pass through this bridge. It is about 40 kilometers away from Osaka station. Between Kansai Airport and the city center of Osaka, JR and the Nankai train are operated.
There are two terminal buildings in Kansai Airport. From Terminal 1 you can board international flights and domestic flights of regular airlines. From Terminal 2 you can board LCC international flights and domestic flights. However, some LCCs also arrive and depart from Terminal 1.
Terminal 2 is much more inconvenient than terminal 1, so if you use LCC, I recommend you to choose an LCC that leaves from Terminal 1.
Kansai Airport or Itami Airport ?
There are Kansai airport and Itami airport in Osaka. Which of these should be used better?
Kansai Airport > Itami Airport
If you are planning a trip like the following, please use Kansai Airport.
Use international flights...
At Itami airport, basically only domestic flights are operated.
LCC is operated only in Kansai Airport.
Travel in the southern part of the Kansai region...
It takes time to go from Itami Airport located in the northern part of Osaka to the south of Osaka etc. It would be better to use Kansai Airport in the south of Osaka. It is faster to take the Nankai Express from Kansai Airport when going to Namba and Dotonbori in the southern part of Osaka.
Kansai Airport <Itami Airport
If you are considering the following trips, you may use Itami Airport.
Travel north of Osaka and northern part of Kansai region...
Itami airport is more convenient to go to these areas.
Go to Universal Studios Japan (USJ)...
It is a 40-minute bus ride from Itami Airport to USJ. On the other hand, it takes 1 hour and 20 minutes by bus from Kansai Airport.
Terminal 1 is the main terminal of Kansai Airport. Airplanes other than LCC use Terminal 1 for both international and domestic flights. Terminal 1 is a four-story building with North Wing and South Wing. Terminal 1 is connected with JR and the Nankai train's Kansai airport station, and Aero Plaza which has hotels etc. with pedestrian deck. On the first floor of Aero Plaza there is a free bus bus station to Terminal 2. Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 are about 4 kilometers apart.
1F International Arrival Lobby
There is an international arrival lobby. When you arrive in Japan, you will come to this floor. There is a bus stop and a taxi stand outside. If you use the train please go upstairs.
2F Domestic Arrival / Departure Gate
There are domestic arrival gates and departure gates. Besides restaurants, banks, clinics and so on. Outside there are pedestrian decks leading to Kansai Airport Station (JR, Nankai) and Aero Plaza. If you go to Terminal 2, please take a free bus from Aero Plaza 1 floor.
There is also a 24-hour lounge "KIX Airport Lounge" that anyone can use. Even a shower (extra charge) can be used here. If you spend a long time at Kansai Airport, I recommend you use this lounge.
3F store and restaurants
There are many shops and restaurants on the third floor.
4th floor departure lobby
When you return to your home country, please check in at the 4th floor and enter the departure gate. Outside the 4th floor there are bus and taxi drop-offs.
International flights (North Wing)
International flights (South Wing)
Terminal 2 is for LCC only. It is located about 10 minutes by free bus from the first floor of Aero Plaza next to Terminal 1. The bus is operated 24 hours a day. Please be careful because it is quite far away. Terminal 2 does not have a train station. If you use train, please go to Aeroplaza by free bus and use JR or Nankai Kansai Airport station.
Terminal 2 is a very simple one-storey building. It is divided into a space for international flights and a space for domestic flights. Inside the building there are convenience stores, restaurants, cafés, foreign currency exchange offices, ATM, tourist information center, etc. There are also duty free shops in the departure gate area of international flights.
Aero Plaza is a large building next to Terminal 1 and Kansai Airport Station (JR, Nankai). It functionally supplements Terminal 1. In Aero Plaza, in addition to the shops and restaurants, the following facilities are included.
Free bus stops to Terminal 2
The bus going to Terminal 2 is operated 24 hours a day. In other words, there is no free direct bus between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. Please note that the free bus leaves from here.
Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport
Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport is a luxury hotel which occupies the majority of Aero Plaza. The grade is about 4 stars. The entrance is on the second floor.
This hotel is located in the best place in Kansai Airport. You will be able to spend very comfortably. However, when I actually stayed, I feel that the price is high and the cost performance is not good.
This hotel is most convenient if you use an early morning flight. However, if not, I would recommend staying at hotels in Namba or Umeda.
First Cabin Kansai Airport
First Cabin Kansai Airport is a small capsule type hotel on the 3rd floor of Aero Plaza. Because it is a capsule hotel, there is no key in the room by law. The rooms are divided between men and women. There is also a public bath and lounge. Check-in time is from 19 o'clock, and accommodation fee is 7,200 yen (including tax) per person. It is also possible to short stay in the daytime.
How to activate the JR Rail Pass at Kansai Airport
In Japan, JR offers "Japan Rail Pass" for foreign tourists. If you use this pass, you can use Shinkansen, JR express, ordinary car etc pretty reasonably. If you use the Japan Rail Pass, after you arrive at Kansai Airport you have to exchange the voucher you purchased in advance to the Japan Rail Pass.
If you want to get a Japan Rail Pass at Kansai Airport, let's go to the JR Ticket Office (called this "Midori no Madoguchi" in Japanese) next to the ticket vending machines at JR Kansai Airport Station. If you get a Japan Rail Pass at the JR Ticket Office, you can also get the designated tickets of JR at that office without any additional fee.
However, the ticket office at Kansai Airport Station is sometimes very crowded with foreign tourists. In such a case, you should wait a little, or exchange at a different station.
Kansai Airport to Osaka, Kyoto, etc.
To Kyoto, Hiroshima etc.
From Kansai Airport to Osaka or Kyoto, you should take a train or bus. If you go to Kyoto, I recommend JR Limited Express Haruka. And if you take a Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka Station, JR Limited Express Haruka is also recommended.
To Namba, Dotonbori etc.
And if you stay at a hotel around Namba in Osaka, I recommend the Nankai train to Namba station.
Basically, buses are recommended
However, basically it is best to use the bus. Especially if you use Terminal 2, I do recommend that you use the bus because there is no station there.
If you go from Kansai Airport to Nara station, you can go to Namba by Nankai train and then go to Nara station by Kintetsu train. However, I think it is more convenient to go to Nara by direct bus.
Please allow me to use blue for the heading of JR and red for the heading of the Nankai. At Kansai Airport these two train stations are next to each other. The signboard of JR is blue! The sign of Nankai is red! Please be careful not to make a mistake!
JR express "Haruka": convenient when rushing to Kyoto and Shin Osaka
JR operates Limited express "Haruka" from Kansai Airport Station. After leaving Kansai Airport, Haruka will go to Tennoji Station, Shin - Osaka Station, Kyoto Station, Otsu Station etc. It is about 30 minutes to Tennoji, 50 minutes to Shin-Osaka station and 75 minutes to Kyoto station.
If you go to Osaka station (Umeda station), please change to JR Osaka-loop-line at Tennoji station. It is approximately 20 minutes from Tennoji Station to Osaka station.
If you want to go to Osaka station without changing trains by JR train, it would be nice to use Rapid train to Kyobashi Station. This train departs from Kansai Airport and stops at Tennoji Station and Osaka Station. It is approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes from Kansai Airport station to Osaka station.
Nankai Limited Express "Rap: t": convenient if going to Namba
The Nankai train is a major private railway in southern Osaka. Limited express "Rap: t" connects Kansai Airport Station and Namba Station in 34 minutes. Namba Station is the central station in southern Osaka. From Namba Station you can walk to Dotombori which is the most popular tourist attraction in Osaka.
Besides this, Rapid Train connects Kansai Airport Station and Namba Station in 43 minutes. Limited express "Rap: t" will be charged with express charge (720 yen per adult), so if you want to keep costs down, it is a good idea to use Rapid Train.
At Kansai Airport a large number of buses arrive and depart. These buses go to various cities in Kansai. So you can go straight to your destination if you take a bus.
For example, it takes 1 hour and 10 minutes from Terminal 1 by bus to Herbis Osaka near Osaka Station. It is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to JR Nara station.
The bus leaves from Terminal 2 and heads to the destination via Terminal 1. However, some buses leave Terminal 1 without going through Terminal 2
At Kansai Airport, the bus leaves from the first floor of each terminal. There are bus ticket vending machines outside the first floor, so please get on board after purchasing a ticket. The following page is useful for checking each bus stop.
Unfortunately it is too expensive for many people to use a taxi to go from Kansai Airport to the city center of Osaka. For example, from Kansai Airport to Osaka Station is about 15,000 yen for a medium size car. I can not recommend you to take a taxi.
At Kansai Airport, taxi stands are located on the first floor of each terminal. If you go to the city center of Osaka you can use a flat-rate taxi.
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Bon KUROSAWA I have long worked as a senior editor for Nihon Keizai Shimbun (NIKKEI) and currently work as an independent web writer. At NIKKEI, I was the editor-in-chief of the media on Japanese culture. Let me introduce a lot of fun and interesting things about Japan. Please refer to this article for more details.