Kansai International Airport

Kansai Airport, International Departures Hall

Kansai International Airport (KIX; 関西国際空港 Kansai-kokusai-kūkō) is the main international airport of Japan's Kansai region, including the cities of Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe.

Understand

Kansai International Airport was built at exorbitant cost on an artificial island in Osaka Bay, some 40 kilometers to the south of the city of Osaka. Unlike Tokyo's Narita, Kansai has fairly good domestic connections throughout Japan, making it a good choice for transiting onward. However, if you're flying domestically and your final destination is in Kansai, it probably makes more sense to fly to the more centrally-located Osaka (Itami) or Kobe airports instead.

The main terminal, Terminal 1, is designed by star Italian architect Renzo Piano. It is reputedly the longest building in the world at 1.7 kilometers, over one mile, from end to end. For international flights, arrivals are on the 1st floor while departures are from the 4th floor. Domestic flights are handled on the 2nd floor.

Terminal 2 is a terminal designed for low cost airlines (LCCs). Currently, it is only served by Peach Aviation.

Ground transportation

Recommendations
Fast Cheap
Osaka Nankai rapi:t Nankai Rapid Service
Kyoto JR Haruka JR Rapid Service
Kobe Limousine bus Limousine bus
Kobe Airport Ferry Limousine bus
Itami Airport Limousine bus Limousine bus

By train

The most practical means of getting to Osaka and Kyoto is by train. All trains leave from the Kansai Airport station across the road from the arrivals hall; there is a clearly marked walkway on the 2nd floor. ICOCA/PiTaPa smart cards are valid for travel to/from the airport, and can be purchased from and returned to its ticket offices; see Kansai for more details. You have a choice of two companies operating a total of four services:

West Japan Railway's Haruka.

JR Haruka

The JR West Haruka limited expresses run from the airport to Tennoji (29 min, ¥1,760), Shin-Osaka (45 min, ¥2,470) and Kyoto (73 min, ¥2,980). The fares listed are for non-reserved ordinary seats. Trains run every 30-60 minutes, some services make additional stops and/or continue onward to Maibara.

The Haruka is the easiest and fastest way to reach Kyoto, and you can connect to the Shinkansen (bullet train) at Shin-Osaka.

The Japan Rail Pass can be used for the Haruka. You can exchange your rail pass voucher for the pass itself at the JR ticket counter.

A special deal for foreign tourists is the ICOCA & HARUKA discount ticket, which includes unreserved travel on the Haruka (as far as Kyoto) and to any JR station within a "Free Zone" encompassing the Kobe, Osaka and Kyoto areas, a ¥1500 ICOCA fare card and a ¥500 deposit. The cost is ¥3000 one way or ¥4000 round-trip; reserved seats on the Haruka are available for an additional fee. Eligible arrival and departure points include any station on the JR Osaka Loop Line, JR Yumesaki Line (including Universal City), JR Tozai Line between Kyobashi and Amagasaki, and the JR Tokaido Main Line between Kobe and Kyoto.

JR Rapid Service

The JR Rapid Service runs along the same tracks to Tennoji (43 min, ¥1,030), but then diverge along the Osaka Loop Line to Osaka station (63 min) and terminus Kyobashi (72 min, ¥1,160). All seats are non-reserved and trains depart every 20 minutes; the trains can get crowded at rush hour.

The Rapid Service is convenient for connections onward towards Kobe or Kyoto; change trains at Osaka station. Note that the Rapid Service does not go to any Shinkansen stations; to get to Shin-Osaka, you must transfer at Osaka to a local or rapid train bound for Kyoto.

Some trains from Osaka split with only some carriages proceeding to Kansai, and the others proceeding on the main line.

Nankai Railway's rapi:t.

Nankai rapi:t

The Nankai rapi:t trains run to Namba station in Osaka. rapi:t α, taking 29 minutes from Kansai to Namba, stops at Shin-Imamiya, Tengachaya, Izumisano, and Rinku Town, while rapi:t β takes 34 minutes with stops at Sakai and Kishiwada. Both trains cost ¥1,390 to Namba, including a ¥500 reservation surcharge, and one or the other runs every 30 minutes.

The rapi:t and Rapid Service are the recommended means of going to central Osaka.

Nankai Rapid Service

Nankai Rapid Service trains run along the same tracks to the same destination, but like their JR counterparts stop more often and may get crowded. The trip to Namba takes 42 min and costs ¥890, making this the cheapest of the four options, unless your final destination is a JR station in Osaka (e.g. Universal City). If you are considering a multi-day Kansai rail pass, consider this before buying your ticket, as it includes transport on the Nankai Rapid Service (not rapi:t). You can buy multi-day Kansai rail passes at the information desk at the airport.

Nankai offers discounted tickets traveling between Kansai Airport and the Kansai region's major cities.

By bus

Airport Limousine buses leave for various destinations throughout Kansai from the 1st floor directly outside the arrivals hall. The cost is comparable to or slightly higher than the train, but the buses go directly to some major hotels (service to Umeda-area hotels is approximately 60 minutes; ¥1,300) and can be faster than the train for some destinations such as Kobe (60 minutes, ¥1,800) in good traffic.

The bus is also the only practical option for connecting to domestic flights from Osaka's Itami Airport (70 minutes, ¥1,700).

By ferry

After a prolonged hiatus, Kaijo Access restarted their high-speed ferry service in 2006 and now run directly to Kobe's airport. Ferries run roughly every 45 minutes and take 29 minutes one way (¥1500). Via the ferry, shuttle bus and the Port Liner AGT line, Sannomiya (central Kobe) can be reached in one hour.

By taxi

Taxis are very expensive except shuttle vans. Going to Osaka will cost you a minimum of ¥16,000, while reaching Kyoto will rack up closer to ¥32,000.

By shuttle van

Shared shuttle van services are provided by taxi companies at much more reasonable rates than private taxis. (MK Taxi) , (KIX HP - Shared shuttle van services) charges only ¥2,300 per person to Kobe or ¥3,000 to Kyoto, including one suitcase and carry-on luggage (there's a 1,000 yen additional charge if you have more than one large item). Convenient as it's a door-to-door service, but since the driver has 9 people to deliver, it may not be a fast arrival. Reservation at least two days beforehand is necessary, either online or by phone (tel. +81-75-702-5489, open 8 AM to 9 PM).

Get around

Shuttle buses (outside security) connect Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 at regular intervals.

Wait

Eat and Drink

There are two convenience stores at the north end of the Passenger Terminal building (2F) and the Aeroplaza (1F).

The Aeroplaza (3F) is filled with eateries and shops for passengers who wish to do some last minute shopping. Although not as atrocious as some other international airports, prices may be slightly higher than on the mainland. At the arrival hall and on the departure floor, there are a few Starbucks coffee shops (open until 10pm).

Buy

Connect

Small internet kiosks are available throughout the airport. In the arrivals building, they cost ¥100 for 15 minutes, but once you're through the gates in the international departures area, access is free - look for the e symbol "information" computers .

There is also free wireless internet access in many parts of the terminal building. As of end of 2013 the speed of the connection is quite slow and on some gates the connection to the internet times out.

Cope

Sleep

Budget

The airport terminal is open 24/7, so you can sleep in there. Blankets are also available from the information centers for free (until 11pm).

If you're willing to pay a bit extra, the Kanku Lounge offers a 9-hour package for ¥3800.

Mid-range

There are several hotels across the bridge near Rinku-Town Station, 6 minutes away by JR or Nankai. For most tourists it hardly seems worth using them, since once you have boarded the train, you might as well go to your final destination, but they can come in handy for early morning departures or overnight connections.

Splurge

Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport

There is only one hotel on the artificial island itself:

Across the bridge in Rinku Town:

Nearby


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, January 05, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.