Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Kansai Airport (KIX)—How to Get Around?

If you will visit Kansai region (関西)and arrive at Kansai International Airport (KIX) the first time, this is the article for you.  Note that KIX is different from Osaka International Airport which handles only domestic flights now.


Before we start, get an orientation of where Osaka International Airport (symbol: KIX) is relative to Osaka (大阪; middle), Kyoto (京都; upper right), and Nara (奈良; middle right) on the map above.

As shown, KIX is located SW to the Central Osaka.  If you will use trains for your transportation, you also want to avoid rush hours if you need to make connections at Central Osaka.

Reaching Kansai Destinations via Osaka

There are multiple ways to reach various destinations in the Kansai region (however, all routes go through Central Osaka first):[12]

  • Bus
    • Direct airport limousine buses from Kansai Airport to various places and hotels in Osaka
      • Osaka Station (60 minutes) and Namba Station (45 minutes)
    • Connects KIX and Kobe directly (there is no direct train service)[15]
    • Connects KIX and Nara directly (there is no direct train service)[16]
  • JR airport rapid train
    • Connects the airport with Tennoji Station (50 minutes) and Osaka Station (70 minutes).
  • Hakura limited express (JR)
    • Connects Kansai Airport with Tennoji (30 minutes) and Shin-Osaka Station (50 minutes)
    • With the Icoca & Haruka ticket, available to foreign tourists only, you can travel by non-reserved seat on the Haruka between the airport and Osaka for only 1100 yen (to Tennoji) or 1300 yen (to Shin-Osaka) 
  • Limited Express from KIX to Namba (なんば ) Station
    • Run by Nankai Electric Railway
      • "Rap:t" limited express trains (35 mins)
      • Express trains (45 mins)
    • Nankai Namba Station 
      • Is different from JR Namba station (see [13] for disambiguation)
    • Also read more information from here
Note that above fees and schedules are subject to change.


ICOCA (イコカ / Ikoka) is a smart card issued by JR West and sold/used mainly in Kansai region.  However, there are other stored-value cards such as Pasmo, Suica, etc. Since March 2013, major 10 different IC cards were standardized and become inter-operable.  For more information, read this article.

Rail Pass

As a foreigner holding Temporary Visitor visa, you are entitled to purchase some rail passes at discounts.  To get familiar with all choices, read [1] or JPRail.com.[2]

If you will travel in Kansai area (say, from KIX to OsakaKyoto and Nara) only and not throughout Japan, you may want to consider:
  • ICOCA and Haruka
    • Is a set containing an "ICOCA" card and a discounted ticket for the Kansai-Airport Express "HARUKA" (operated by JR West)
      • Haruka is a limited express train which directly links KIX with stations in the major cities in Kansai such as Tennoji, Shin-Osaka and Kyoto
      • Check the map here to see where is covered by the HARUKA service
    • If you already have an ICOCA card, you can purchase "HARUKA discount ticket" without buying new ICOCA card
    • You can change ICOCA card of ICOCA & HARUKA to Kansai One Pass which has more benefits
    • See more information here.
  • KANSAI THRU PASS  (or Surutto Kansai Pass) — not a JR offering and has the following characteristics:
      • Benefits
        • Unlimited rides on subway, private railway and bus in Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, Wakayama and Shiga. (excludes JR Line)
        • In case you use limited express of Nankai Railway and Kintetsu Railway, you need to purchase a reserved-seat ticket
        • No additional purchase needed for limited express run by other railways
        • Includes discount coupon for 350 major tourist facilities along the railway lines
        • The Pass can be used on unconsecutive days during its period of validity
          • One day is counted as the duration from the first train to the last train in a day. (Not for 24 hours from the time first used)
      • Nankai Kansai-Airport Station Tichet Office
        • You book the ticket online and get a voucher in advance
        • When you arrive at KIX, you then go to the above exchange counter to get the real ticket using the voucher and passport.
      • Valid periods
        • Spring / Summer Edition
          • Sale period 
            • April 1 - September 30 of each year
          • Valid period
            • April 1 - October 31 of each year
        • Autumn / Winter Edition
          • Sale period 
            • October 1 of each year - March 31 of the following year
          • Valid period
            • October 1 of each year -April 30 of the following year
      • See more information here and available area map

    Search Site

    HyperDia is a service offering both route and timetable information for either train or flight travels in Japan. With simple search, HyperDia can provide you the optimal route and fare from one point to another.

    In the diagram above, the following information were entered:
    • From
      • Osaka Airport (note that this is not KANSAI AIRPORT)
    • To
      • Kawachnagano
    • Date / Time
    • Type
      • Departure / Arrival / Average
    Note that it's important to select the "Corp." category.  For example, in the Kansai region, you can get by without using Japan Railway (JR) which normally is faster and more expensive.  However, traveling in Kansai region is mostly covered by a myriad of train services from private railways (not JR) and buses.

    Photo Credits

    • theguardian.com


    1. Rail Passes for the Kansai Region
    2. ICOCA and Haruka and Haruka discount ticket
    3. How to use Kansai Thru Pass. Compare pass and single fare.
    4. What's ICOCA and Hakura?
    5. Osaka: Which Namba Station? (Travel for a Purpose)
    6. Kansai Thru Pass (Surutto Kansai)
      • Also known as Surutto Kansai Pass
    7. Kansai Thru Pass (Official site:  Surutto.com
    8. Kansai Thru Pass (Ticket can be purchased via Internet at Nankai Railways)
    9. Pass Tickets (available for purchased on the Internet here)
    10. 9 Things You Should Never Buy at the Airport
      • Duty-free merchandise, foreign currency, bottled water, souvenirs,  neck pillows, wi-fi, restaurant meals, magazines, a parking spot
      • Buy these online before your trip
    11. JR West Official ICOCA user guide (PDF)
    12. Kansai International Airport
    13. Osaka: Which Namba Station?  (Travel for a Purpose)
    14. Taking the train (important)
      • All types of Japanese trains,are typically classified into the following categories:
        • Local (kakueki-teisha or futsu-densha) 
        • Rapid (kaisoku) 
        • Express (kyuko) 
        • Limited Express (tokkyu) 
        • Super Express (shinkansen) 
    15. Kansai airport limousine bus between Kansai airport and Kobe
    16. Kansai airport limousine bus between Kansai airport and Nara
    17. Nankai Kansai-Airport Station Ticket Office (Exchange Counter)
    18. Living in: The world's safest cities
      • Osaka, Amsterdam, Sydney,  Singapore, Stockholm
    19. How to Get a Suica Card (video)
    20. Best Things to do in Osaka - Overnight City Guide (video)
    21. Weather forecast (Japan Meteorological Agency)
    22. Travel: How to Ride a Train in Japan (Travel for a Purpose)
    23. Japan Travel — How to Ride a Bus in Kyoto Area (Travel for a Purpose)
    24. A Solo Trip Can Be A Disaster If You Forget These 7 Rules

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