How to access to Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe from late arrival flight at Kansai Airport-KIX

Kansai airport is a manmade island.  Ltd/©JNTO
Kansai airport is a manmade island. Ltd/©JNTO

I have received many inquiries about access to Osaka from the flight that arrive after 21:00 at Kansai airport (KIX). Some of you cannot have any idea how long you will spend after arrival to get the station. And you may not know what time the last train departs from Kansai airport.

You must know these information before you touch down at Kansai airport. In this post, I will tell you about it.

*The information in this article is current at the time of writing.

Immigration, baggage pick up and custom

Shuttle train connects the gates and terminal building. (C)Kansai International Airport (KIX/RJBB) / Hyougushi
Shuttle train connects the gates and terminal building. (C)Kansai International Airport (KIX/RJBB) / Hyougushi

Before we talk about train schedule and route, we have to make sure how long to get the station from the flight arrival. It is very hard to say how long it will take from flight arrival to get train. Because it depends on how busy immigration and custom are. My estimation is the following:

5 minutes – getting off the airplane
10 minutes – from the gate to immigration
20 minutes – clear immigration
20 minutes – baggage pick up and clear custom
5 minutes – arrival lobby to the station

So total estimated time is one hour. However if you have a plan to purchase the pass or deal, such as ICOCA and Haruka, Kansai Thru Pass, Kanku Chikatoku ticket, you will spend another 5 to 10 minutes at the station.

*If you have a plan to purchase ICOCA and Haruka, the last Haruka express departs from KIX at 22:16. If you intend to take Nankai Railway’s express “Rapi:t”, the last Rapi:t departs from KIX at 22:35. So it may not be a good idea to purchase the deals for these express trains on arrival day.

If you purchase a single ticket, it takes a couple of minutes. But be prepare to pay by Japanese yen. You may not have a time to exchange the money at the airport. I recommend you to have some cash by Japanese yen. The vending machine can accept even 10,000 yen bill. As long as you have cash, it will be fine. Mostly the vending machine does not accept credit care. You must prepare some cash.

Access to Namba

Nankai Railway's rapid service is a sort of commute train.
Nankai Railway’s rapid service is a sort of commute train.

You can use both Nankai and JR. But there is no direct JR train from KIX to Namba, but Nankai has. So let’s see the timetable of Nankai Railway. Please see the following link:
http://www.kansai-airport.or.jp/en/access/train/index.html
You can find “Nankai timetable” at the menu on the left side of this page. Click it and you will find the updated departure time of Nankai’s trains.

As of March 2015, the last Nankai’s train to Namba departs at 23:29. JR has a train at 23:32 to Tennoji. You can find JR timetable at the menu on the above link too. If you take 23:32 train, you can transfer to the train to JR-Namba at Tennoji. JR has a train at 23:42 too. But this train goes to Hineno where is located between KIX and Tennoji. This train does not work for you.

Anyway you have to be the station by 23:32 if you want to get Namba by train.

If you miss both trains, you still have one more option. Night bus to Nankai Namba station departs at 00:15 and 01:15. Please see the following link:
http://www.kate.co.jp/pc/e_time_table/e_namba.html

If you miss this bus as well, you have no direct transfer to Namba. You can go to Umeda by midnight bus and take taxi to get Namba from Umeda. Taxi fare is around 2500 yen and takes 15 minutes. Please see next chapter about bus to Umeda.

Access to Umeda/JR Osaka

Typical Rapid Service trains (JR West 223 and 225 series)
Kansai Airport Rapid Service trains (JR West 223 and 225 series)

If you want to take trains, you can use both JR and Nankai.

JR has a direct train, Kansai Airport Rapid Service to Osaka station from Kansai Airport. However the last rapid train is 22:31 departure. You have to transfer the trains at Tennoji if you use JR. As of December 2013, the last train route is the following:

Kansai Airport 23:32 – 00:16 Tennoji
Tennoji 00:19 – 00:40 Osaka

You can’t find the above route at Hyperdia because there is only 3 minutes connection time at Tennoji station. Is it feasible? You have to move from track #5 to #11. It’s not impossible. But you may have a big luggage. It will be stressful for you on arrival day.

On the other hand, you can take Nankai Railway’s train to Namba and transfer to subway Midousuji line to Umeda. However the last train of Nankai Railway (23:29 departure) does not connect to any subway trains on arrival day. So if you want to take a train, only JR trains will be your choice.

If you are okay with limousine bus, it will be much easier. Please see the following link:
http://www.kate.co.jp/pc/e_time_table/e_osaka_sta_tt.html

Midnight bus runs almost 24 hours. If you stay in Umeda, you can get there anytime.

Access to Kyoto

If you can take the last departure of express “Haruka”, it will be easy. This is the last direct train. The last train connection is the following:

Kansai Airport 23:09 -(Kansai Airport Rapid Service)- 23:53 Tennoji (track #6)
Tennoji (track #11) 23:58 -(Osaka loop local)- 00:19 Osaka (track #1)
Osaka (track #9) 00:25 -(Special Rapid Service)- 00:55 Kyoto

After this train departs, there is still one more direct bus service to Kyoto. It departs at 23:40 and arrive Kyoto station at 01:20.

Limousine bus site for KIX to Kyoto station

If you will not stay in the hotel within walking distance from Kyoto station, you have to take a taxi. Either way can take you to Kyoto station only. There is no train and bus service after midnight in Kyoto. If you have not decided your hotel, try to get a room around Kyoto station.

If you intend to use Kansai Thru Pass, JR trains are not covered. But I don’t recommend you to take other than JR trains. If you use Kansai Thru Pass on arrival day, you have to take Nankai Railways, Osaka subways and Hankyu Railways. Even if you take JR trains, you have to transfer twice at Tennoji and Osaka. But it will be in same station. But if you transfer from Nankai to Subway, you have to exit and enter the stations. It may be complicated and stressful.

In case that you will go to Kyoto on arrival day, the bus service is easier for you. Please see the following link:
http://www.kate.co.jp/pc/e_time_table/e_kyoto_tt.html
You found 23:40 departure to Kyoto from KIX. This departure time is much easier than above JR trains connection.

Even this bus service may be tight for your arrival time. Especially if you arrive at KIX by Air Asia from Kuala Lumpur at 22:25 or Seoul at 22:30, it may be tight. Actually there are five flights arrive between 22:00 and 22:30. Immigration may be busy. If you arrive after 22:00, I don’t recommend to go to Kyoto on arrival day because it is risky.

Access to Kobe (Sannomiya)

There is no direct train service from KIX to Sannomiya in even daytime. The last train connection is almost same as Kyoto.

If you can take the last departure of express “Haruka”, it will be easy. This is the last direct train. The last train connection is the following:

Kansai Airport 23:09 -(Kansai Airport Rapid Service)- 23:53 Tennoji (track #6)
Tennoji (track #11) 23:59 -(Osaka loop local)- 00:20 Osaka (track #1)
Osaka (track #4) 00:25 -(Special Rapid Service)- 00:46 Sannomiya

There is High Speed Ferry service between Kansai Airport and Kobe Airport. Please see the following link:
http://www.kobe-access.jp/en/timetable.html

The last ferry service departs at 23:50. (But it is limited time operation as of December 2014.) And also free shuttle is available between Kobe Airport and Sannomiya. This is much faster than train and late departure. This is the best route to get Kobe from KIX.

156 thoughts on “How to access to Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe from late arrival flight at Kansai Airport-KIX”

  1. Hi Takeshi, I need your advice as I am travelling as a group of 9 coming September. I am arriving at KIX airport at 9.25pm by Airasia. I am planning to travel to Kyoto on arrival day. Kindly advise me the best way. Thank You

    1. Hi Skyan,

      I don’t think you can catch the last direct train to Kyoto because of late arrival. But you can catch the bus to Kyoto and this is the best way.
      http://www.kate.co.jp/en/timetable/detail/KY

      But you will arrive at Kyoto station after midnight. Most of trains and buses do not run after midnight. I recommend you to book your accommodation near Kyoto station. Otherwise you may spend extra cost for taking a taxi.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hi Takeshi,

        Thank You for the prompt reply. I found this option at HyperDia:
        22:28 – KANSAI AIRPORT
        JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service for KYOBASHI

        23:34 – 23:40 – OSAKA
        JR Special Rapid Service for YASU

        00:09 – KYOTO

        Can i use my SUICA card for all trains in Osaka & Kyoto.

        Thank You

        1. Hi Skyan,

          Yes, you can use Suica for this train connection.

          But Special rapid may be crowded. Is this okay to take commute trains after arrival? Japanese works very hard and they work until late. Even 23:00 train is very busy usually.

          You have to change trains at Osaka and train will be busy. That was why I recommended bus to Kyoto. But if you arrive in weekend, train will be quieter.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi

    My friend & i will be arriving at KIX on 9.40pm (MALAYSIA clock). It is possible to get any midnight bus to tokyo from KIX? As far as i know, there is no bus to Tokyo from KIX. Would you suggest best option for us?
    One more thing, do it necessary for us to buy JR Wide Pass as we are going to cover around Kansai .

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Juliana,

      I don’t think so. You will be KIX at 22:40. You will spend one hour to clear custom and immigration. And you will spend another one hour to get Osaka. It’s impossible. You have to say in Osaka on arrival day.

      Regarding Kansai wide area pass, I cannot say anything. I recommend you to make the detailed itinerary before you choose the deal.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi Takeshi san,

    I will arive KIX at 10:22pm & as per your note, you do not recomment to go straight to kyoto as it is too risky. Would you recommend any hotel that are easily assessible from airport with reasonable price.

    Thanks so much!
    Joanne

    1. Hi Joanne san,

      You can get Namba or Umeda by midnight bus. There are many more hotel at more affordable price.
      But there are too many hotels to find. I cannot recommend any hotels because too many hotels and rate is varied by date.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Hi Takeshi,
    Can you please kindly advise on the most feasible route from Kansai Airport to Shin-Osaka if I missed the last Haruka Train at 22:16 ? We are travelling in group of 9 pax including kids and toddler and our flight arrival is 21:20. So I am afraid I might miss the Haruka Train.
    Thank you in advance

    1. Hi Anita,

      If you miss Haruka, there is no direct train or bus service to Shin-Osaka. The easiest one is taking Kansai airport rapid train to Osaka and change other trains to Shin-Osaka. Shin-Osaka is only one station away from Osaka. You can take local train, rapid train or special rapid train from Osaka to Shin-Osaka.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. One more question please.

    How do we get to Tokyo Narita (NRT) airport from Tokyo Inn Akiba Asakusabashi-eki Higashi-guchi
    ADDRESS: 111-0052 2-14-4, Yanagi-bashi, Taito-ku, Tokyo

    Thank you and regards
    JP

  6. We are clueless, 1st time to Japan and need your help. We plan to get JR rail pass. Is this enough for us to travel everywhere in Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima and to Tokyo

    If I may ask..how do we go to these places from
    Tokyo Inn Umeda Kanatsu 2
    531-0072 4-12-13, Toyosaki Kita-ku Osaka
    1. Osaka (places to visit)
    2. Kyoto (best station to get off to visit temples)
    3. Hiroshima (best station to get off to visit A-bomb location)

    4. Tokyo (best station to get off to go to Tokyo Inn Akiba Asakusabashi-eki Higashi-guchi
    ADDRESS: 111-0052 2-14-4, Yanagi-bashi, Taito-ku, Tokyo

    Thank you so much
    JP

    1. Hi JP,

      1. Osaka
      Your hotel is located near Nakatsu station of subway between Umeda and Shin-Osaka.
      Please see the links below:
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/guide-to-take-trains-in-osaka-how-to-choose-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html
      http://www.kotsu.city.osaka.lg.jp/library/english/img/guide_english2.pdf

      2. Kyoto
      There are so many temples in all part of Kyoto city. You can access to most of places from JR Kyoto station.
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/tips-for-japan-rail-pass/guide-to-take-trains-in-kyoto-how-to-choose-the-best-route-by-train-to-get-the-major-spots.html

      3. Hiroshima
      You can take bus from Hiroshima station.
      https://www.chugoku-jrbus.co.jp/teikan/meipurupu/en/

      4. Take Shinkansen (bullet train) from Shin-Osaka to Tokyo and take local train to Asakusabashi.

      5. To Narita
      Take local train to Tokyo and take Narita Express.
      http://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-type/limited-express/narita-express.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Hello Takeshi,

    I’m not sure if you have already answered this question. I will be arriving at KIX Airport at 9:30pm, followed by a 3 night stay in Osaka area (Kujo), and a 3 night stay in Kyoto (Higashiyama). I would like to know which pass fits my itinerary. My two concerns are: 1) How do I travel to Kyoto Station from Kujo Station
    2) How do I travel back to KIX airport from Kyoto

    Thank you

    1. Hi Faiz,

      You can use the following deals:

      1. Kansai one pass
      http://kansaionepass.com/en/about.html?info=1
      It covers arrival day and travel to Kyoto from Kujo.

      2. Osaka city deals
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-osaka.html
      You can pick one of the deals for sightseeing in Osaka. Don’t use Kansai one pass for sightseeing in Osaka.

      3. Kyoto city deals
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-residents/how-to-choose-the-best-train-pass-for-sightseeing-in-kyoto.html
      All day bus pass or Kyoto city sightseeing card is your choice. But these do not cover JR trains and Non JR trains. When you need to take these train, you can use Kansai one pass.

      4. Haruka discount ticket
      http://jprail.com/travel-informations/other-rail-passes/rail-pass-for-visitors/icoca-and-haruka-ticket-very-flexible-and-good-deal-for-tourist-who-stay-in-kansai.html
      You can take limited express Haruka from Kyoto to Kansai airport directly.

      When you go to Hgashiyama area from Kujo station, your route is the following:
      Subway chuo line from Kujo to Honmachi
      Subway midousuji line from Honmachi to Yodoyabashi
      http://www.kotsu.city.osaka.lg.jp/library/english/img/guide_english2.pdf
      Keihan railway from Yodoyabashi to Gion-Shijo, Sanjo or Kiyomizu-Gojo (I don’t know which station is the nearest to your accommodation. Please check it by yourself.)
      You can take subway and Keihan by Kansai one pass.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Hello Takeshi,

        Thank you for the comprehensive response. I’m sorry if I left out one detail. I will be staying at place which is a walking distance from Kyoto Station. Do you have any suggestion an alternative route from Osaka (Kujo) to Kyoto Station. Thank you again.

        Faiz

          1. Hi Takeshi, Thank you again. I’ll think I stick to your suggestion by travelling on the Keihan Railway and using the Kansai One Pass to travel to Kyoto.

            As I realise my accommodation is in between Kyoto Station and Shichijo Station. I read that I could buy the Kansai One Pass at KIX airport. Can I use the Kansai One pass to travel to Osaka(Kujo) from the airport?

            Faiz

      2. Hi Takeshi,

        If I decide to buy the Kansai One Pass, will I be able to take the bus around Kyoto, especially the Kyoto City Bus?

        Thanks
        Faiz

  8. HI,
    I will be arriving at 9.30pm in KIX airport. I know its impossible for me to take the Haruka train. May i know what is the options to go to Shin Osaka Station?
    thanks.

    1. Hi Sunny,

      You may use same route as trip to Kyoto. I think you can take Kansai airport rapid that takes you to Osaka. You don’t need to change trains at Tennoji. And then you can take local, rapid or Special rapid. Shin-Osaka is only one station away from Osaka.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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