If it is your first time landing at or departing from Kansai International Airport, it might be confusing how to travel from the airport to the city center of Kyoto or Osaka because there seem to be so many ways that you can choose from. So read on for a better understanding of the different ways to travel between Kyoto or Osaka and Kansai International Airport. We have also included the analysis of which way suits what type of tourist!
Table of Contents
- A Summary of Different Ways to Travel Between Kansai International Airport to Kyoto/Osaka
- How to Get to JR and Nankai’s Kansai Airport Station
- A Summary of How to Travel Between Kansai International Airport and the Main Cities in the Kansai Region
- JR HARUKA Express
- JR Kansai Airport Rapid
- Nankai Rapi:t
- Airport Limousine Bus
- Bay Shuttle
A Summary of Different Ways to Travel Between Kansai International Airport to Kyoto/Osaka
|The Pros and Cons||Suitable for||Service Frequency||Required Time||Cost|
|JR HARUKA Express||Pro: You can get to Kyoto without changing trains.|
Con: The 2nd most expensive option
|☛ If your hotel is close to Tennoji Station, Osaka Station, Shin-Osaka Station, and Kyoto Station.||One service every 30 to 60 minutes||☛ Kansai Airport ⇔ Kyoto Station: 120 minutes|
☛ Kansai Airport ⇔ Shin-Osaka Station: 52 minutes
|☛ 2,590 yen to Shin-Osaka Station (3,110 yen to Kyoto Station) if you aren’t a temporary visitor|
☛ 1,800 yen to Shin-Osaka (2,200 yen to Kyoto Station) if you purchase your ticket through Klook (You have to be a temporary visitor)
|JR Kansai Airport Rapid||Pro: Cheaper than HARUKA Express|
Con: Slower than HARUKA Express
|☛ If your hotel is near the stations on the Osaka Loop Line or USJ.|
☛ If you are on a budget.
|One service every 20 during peak hours||☛ Kansai Airport ⇔ Osaka Station: 65 minutes||☛ 1,210 yen to Osaka|
☛ 1,910 yen to Kyoto
|Nankai Rapi:t||Pro: Cheaper than HARUKA Express|
Con: It terminates at Namba Station.
|☛ If your hotel is close to Namba Station.||One service every 35 to 55 minutes||Kansai Airport ⇔ Namba Station: Around 40 minutes||1,450 yen (1,350 yen if purchased through Klook)|
|Airport Limousine Bus||Pro: You don’t need to worry about your luggage size.|
Con: The potential of running into a traffic jams.
|☛ If you have large luggage or many pieces of luggage.|
☛ If your hotel is close to Airport Limousine’s bus stop.
|One service every 30 to 45 minutes||☛ Kansai Airport ⇔ Kyoto: Around 90 minutes|
☛ Kansai Airport ⇔ Osaka: Around 60 minutes
|☛ 2,600 yen to Kyoto Station|
☛ 1,600 yen to Osaka
|Flat-Rate Airport Transfer||Pro: |
☛ Available 24 hours a day
☛ It can drop you off or pick you up from anywhere
☛ The most expensive option.
The potential of running into traffic jams.
☛ The potential of running into traffic jams.
|☛ If you arrive late at night or early in the morning.|
☛ If you carry very large and/or multiple pieces of luggage.
☛ If you travel with larger groups or someone less mobile.
|☛ Kansai Airport ⇔ Kyoto: Around 90 minutes|
☛ Kansai Airport ⇔ Osaka: Around 60 minutes
|☛ From around 12,500 yen: Kansai Airport ⇔ Osaka City|
☛ From 23,000 yen: Kansai Airport ⇔ Kyoto City
|Bay Shuttle||Pro: A direct ferry ride to Kobe|
Con: Service isn’t as frequent as trains.
|If you want to visit Kobe straight after landing.||One service per 60 to 90 minutes.||Around 30 minutes.||☛ 3,060 yen for a return ticket.|
☛ 1,880 yen for a one-way ticket
How to Get to JR and Nankai’s Kansai Airport Station
After passing the immigration to the arrivals hall, follow the directory sign and take the escalator of the lift to the 2nd floor. The train stations are in the building across the sky bridge. The JR train station has a blue background, and the Nankai train station has a red background.
If your flight arrives at Terminal 2, you must take the free airport shuttle bus to Terminal 1 to board the train or Limousine Bus to Kyoto or Osaka. To get to the train station, take the escalator close to the bus stop to the 2nd floor to cross the sky bridge.
A Summary of How to Travel Between Kansai International Airport and the Main Cities in the Kansai Region
|City||Recommended Transport Mode||Ticket Price||Time Required|
|Namba/Dontonbori/Shinsaibashi||Nankai’s Rapi:t or Airport Rapid||Between 930 and 1,450 yen||35 to 45 minutes|
|Umeda/Osaka||JR’s HARUKA Express or Airport Rapid||Between 1,210 and 2,590 yen||50 to 65 minutes|
|Kyoto||JR HARUKA Express||1,800 yen||80 minutes|
|Nara||☛ JR HARUKA Express to Tennoji Station, then change for the Nara Line|
☛ Nankai Airport Line to Namba, then change for Kintetsu Nara Line
|2,500 yen for JR|
1,610 yen for Nankai + Kintetsu
|☛ JR HARUKA Express to Tennoji Station, then change for the Nara Line|
☛ Nankai Airport Line to Namba, then change to Kintetsu Nara Line
|Wakayama||Airport Limousine||1,200 yen||40 minutes|
|Kobe||Ferry: Bay Shuttle||Normally 1,880 yen, now 500 yen until March 2024 for foreign visitors||30 minutes|
JR HARUKA Express
JR HARUKA Express is the most convenient and fastest way to travel between Kansai Airport and Osaka/Kyoto Station. If your hotel is close to JR Nara Station, you can also take the HARUKA Express and make a transfer at JR Tennoji Station.
If you love Hello Kitty, you will love the train because the exterior is painted with the character’s images.
The service is frequent. There is a service every 30 minutes from:
- 5:45 am to 8:30 pm from Kyoto Station
- 6:16 am to 8:58 pm from Shin-Osaka Airport
Refer to JR West’s Official Website for HARUKA Express’s timetable.
Important: Check the indicator carefully at the platform to ensure the train you are going to board is HARUKA Express, not Kansai Airport Rapid.
☛ You can pay extra to reserve a seat on HARUKA Express. This is usually not necessary as the non-reserve carriages usually have enough seats.
☛ Purchase your ticket through Klook to save!
Using Your JR Pass to Board HARUKA Express
If you have one of the below JR Passes, you can reserve a seat on HARUKA Express for free.
- Nationwide Japan Rail Pass
- Hokuriku Arch Pass
- Kansai-Hokuriku Area Pass
- Kansai Area Pass
- Kansai Wide Area Pass
- Kansai-Hiroshima Area Pass
- Sanyo-San’in Area Pass
- JR-West All Area Pass
- Sanyo-San’in-Northern Kyushu Area Pass
- Setouchi Area Pass
Do I Need a JR Pass & Is the JR Pass Worth It?
Once you have a rough idea of which prefectures and cities you want to visit during your next Japan trip, it is time to figure out if you need a JR Pass because not all itinerary needs one.
Our Guide to Do I Need a JR Pass & Is the JR Pass Worth It article has everything you need to know about the nationwide and regional JR Passes. It also covers other factors that can help you decide if a JR Pass is or is not worth your upcoming trip!
ICOCA & HARUKA Ticket Deal
If you don’t have a Japan transportation IC card, the ICOCA & HARUKA ticket deal might be worthwhile. It comes with one or two HARUKA Express exchange vouchers and an ICOCA card topped with 1,500 yen credit + 500 yen deposit. The deal is good for you if your hotel is close to a JR train station in Osaka, between Kyoto and Saga-Arashiyama Station, JR Osaka and JR Kobe Station, and JR Tennoji and JR Nara Station. Although HARUKA Express only stops at Osaka, Tennoji, and Kyoto Station, the transfer to the final destination is included in the ticket deal.
Refer to JR West’s Website for more information.
Tip: If you choose the ICOCA & HARUKA ticket deal with one HARUKA Express exchange voucher, you can choose to use it on the way to Osaka or back to the Kansai Airport.
☛ You must have a temporary visitor sticker or stamp on your passport to purchase this deal at the JR West ticket office at Kansai International Airport.
☛ Stopovers aren’t permitted.
☛ You can’t use the ticket to board bullet trains or other limited express.
☛ The HARUKA Express exchange voucher is only valid for 14 days.
JR Kansai Airport Rapid
Kansai Airport Rapid is a cheaper version of HARUKA Express. The service enters the Osaka Loop Line at JR Tennoji Station. So if your hotel is near the stations on the loop line, taking JR’s Kansai Airport Rapid will be more convenient for you.
The main stations on the Osaka Loop Line are Osaka Station (Umeda), Tennoji Station, Shin-Imanomiya Station, Bentenjo Station, Nishikujō Station, Fukushima Station, Sakuranomiya Station, and Kyobashi Station.
In addition, if you want to visit Universal Studio Japan, taking JR’s Kansai Airport Rapid is better because you only need to change trains once at JR Nishikujō Station.
Tip: Purchase your ticket through Klook to save!
Important: If you plan to take JR Kansai Airport Rapid back to Kansai International Airport from Osaka, ensure the carriage you board is bound for the airport. Half of the train will be disconnected to head to Wakayama at Hineno Station (日根野駅).
Tip: Pre-purchase your Nankai Rapi:t ticket through klook to save!
☛ Check the indicator carefully at the platform to ensure the train you are going to board is Rapi:t, not Kansai Airport Rapid.
☛ Rapi:t is a reserve-only train. Ensure you have reserved a seat before boarding.
Airport Limousine Bus
When traveling as a family, you inevitably have many more things to carry. Dragging your suitcases around can be a challenging task. If you want to save money but also want to get to your hotel comfortably, the Airport Limousine Bus can be a good choice.
The Airport Limousine Bus is especially convenient for those arriving at Kansai International Airport Terminal One. Refer to the below for the service’s timetable and price table.
- Purchase your Kansai Airport Limousine Bus ticket to Kyoto or Osaka online through klook
- Purchase your Kansai Airport Limousine Bus ticket to Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, and Nagoya online through kkday
Taxi is the best option to travel between Kyoto/Osaka and Kansai Airport if you travel with a larger group of people, especially if there are children and elderly. If you take a taxi, you also don’t need to worry about the limitation of the number of pieces of luggage that you can bring.
Recommended Kansai International Airport Transfers Providers
Besides the JR train or Airport Limousine Bus, you can also take a ferry to Kobe. In fact, this is the fastest way to travel between Kobe and Kansai International Airport, which only takes 30 minutes!
Free shuttle buses depart from Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 for the ferry pier. Please ensure you have either purchased a ticket online or at the ticket counter behind the shuttle bus stop. Tickets aren’t sold at the pier. You can refer to the map on the official website HERE.
- The first ferry departs Kobe for Kansai Airport at 5:30 am, and the last ferry departs at 10:45 pm.
- The first ferry departs Kansai Airport for Kobe at 6:20 am, and the last ferry departs at 11:50 pm.
Refer to Bay Shuttle’s Official Website for more information and to reserve your ferry ticket.
The Most Useful Transportation Passes in the Kansai Region
Besides ICOCA, many transportation passes covering the Kansai region (including Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, and Kobe) are available to save money on transportation. But because there are so many of them, it might be confusing which one to get.
So refer to our article on Most Useful Transportation Passes in the Kansai Region to determine which one is the best for your itinerary!
SIM Card, eSIM, or Pocket WiFi: Which One to Use in Japan?
If you haven’t already, get your internet connection in Japan sorted out as soon as possible. The last thing you would want to do after landing in Japan is spend time deciding what product and from which company you should rent a pocket WiFi or purchase a SIM Card. Another common question is whether to rent a pocket Wi-Fi or purchase a SIM Card.
So refer to our SIM Card, eSIM, or Pocket WiFi: Which One to Use in Japan article that answers all your questions about how to stay connected to the internet when you are in Japan!