Kansai airport is the international airport in Osaka. It is the closest international airport to Kyoto, Nara and Kobe too. There are many ways to get downtown Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. In this post, I give you basic information about the route to major spots in Osaka. I also have another links below to tell you about Kansai airport.
- 1 Limited Express Haruka
- 2 Kansai Airport Rapid Service
- 3 Nankai Railway Limited Express rapi:t
- 4 Airport Limousine
- 5 How to find the best way
- 6 Possibility of transfer to overnight trains and buses service on arrival day
If you want to start to use your Japan Rail Pass right after you arrive at Kansai airport, most of you take this express train “Haruka”. It is fast, convenient and no extra charge with using Japan Rail Pass, JR West Kansai Area Pass (non reserved seat only), JR West Kansai WIDE Area Pass, JR West Sanyo Area Pass and JR West Sanyo-Shikoku-Kyushu Area Pass. This train takes you to Tennoji, Shin-Osaka and Kyoto directly. But this train do not stop at Osaka station because this train go through bypass line to Shin-Osaka and skip Osaka station. Therefore you need to transfer to a local train to Osaka at Shin-Osaka station. It takes only 3 minutes to get Osaka from Shin-Osaka. But it is no doubt of inconvenience. If you go to Kobe, Himeji and other cities to west from Osaka, you need to transfer to a local train at Shin-Osaka station too. So I recommend you to take other way if you go to Kobe and other cities to west from Osaka. And also if you go to Osaka, you may consider to use Limousine bus or local train. Please read next chapter and some more below.
If you want to use Haruka but you want to save your days of Japan Rail Pass, you can pay a single fare (basic fare + express surcharge) 2,980 yen to Shin-Osaka or use some discount tickets. You can get more information on the post, Kansai Airport Limited Express “Haruka”.
If you want to use a train, but you want to save a fare, Rapid train “Kansai Airport Rapid Service” may be considerable. This is a sort of a local train. You don’t need to pay any limited express surcharge. And also this train takes you to Osaka station directly. This is different from Haruka. It takes about 65 minutes to get Osaka. The fare is 1330 yen to Osaka. You can get more informations on the post, Kansai Airport Rapid Service and Kishuji Rapid Service.
Nankai Railway Limited Express rapi:t
“rapi:t” is the express train that is operated by Nankai Railway. You cannot use Japan Rail Pass to take this train. But this express train takes you to Nanba directly. Nanba is one of the biggest downtown core in Osaka. JR has station in Nanba. It is a bit away from the centre of Nanba area. And also you need to change train at Tennoji station by both Haruka and Kansai Airport Rapid Service. The fastest “rapi:t” takes you to Nanba in 35 minutes. This is the fastest in all trains of JR and Nankai Railway.
This train is not covered by Japan Rail Pass and any other JR passes. The basic fare is 890 yen. And you need to pay another 500 yen for limited express surcharge. If you want to take Super seat, limited express charge is 200 yen higher (700 yen).
There are some discount ticket is available. Rapi:t Tokudane Round Trip ticket includes basic fare and surcharge. If you have a plant to use Rapi:t for round trip between Namba or other Nankai stations and Kansai airport, this ticket gives you about 500 yen save. And Kanku Chikatoku ticket includes basic fare and Osaka subway one way ticket. If you go to Namba and change to subway, this ticket is the best value. And Kansai Thru Pass can be used for the trip to/from Kansai airport by Nankai Railway trains. But Kansai Thru Pass does not include surcharge. If you take Rapi:t, you need to pay surcharge.
Nankai “rapi:t” images
*Sonic Rail Garden has copyright for all images of accommodations below.
Super seat (surcharge 700 yen / seat configuration 2+1, seat pitch 1200mm)
Nankai Railway local train
Nankai operates many local trains between Kansai airport and Nanba. Airport Express is a sort of local train. You don’t need to pay any surcharge. It takes 45 to 50 minutes to get Nanba. If you want to save your money, this train might be your choice.
If you will stay at the major hotel in downtown Osaka, Limousine may take you to the door of the hotel. They have a lot of the route to many places in Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and many places in Kansai area. Especially if you go to Kobe, Limousine is the best way. And also the buses stop at the most of major hotel in downtown Osaka. The fare is from 1500 yen to Osaka. The travel time is 70 minutes. It is fast and cheap. But I am sure that it is most convenient way when you have several big luggages. Osaka station is huge and there are a lot of passengers. Sometimes only 5 minutes walk around Osaka station may make you headache! If you need more informations about the schedule and the fare, please refer Kansai Airport Limousine website.
How to find the best way
First of all, check your location of your hotel or the place where you want to go. If you stay in hotel, you can find the nearest station of your hotel on your hotel website.
Take Limited Express Haruka or Kansai Airport Rapid Service. As I think this is the easiest. If you have Japan Rail Pass, JR West Kansai Area Pass or other JR West rail passes, you can take Haruka. But as I mentioned above, Haruka do not stop at Osaka. You need to transfer to local train to Osaka at Shin-Osaka. Please get the details about Shin-Osaka station at the post, Shin Osaka station guide. How to change Shinkansen, Haruka, Thunderbird and local train access to Osaka, Umeda and Namba.
Namba and other areas in downtown Osaka
Nankai Railway is the best. You can access to Namba by JR trains. If you have Japan Rail Pass or other JR West Rail passes, you can choose JR trains. But you need to transfer trains at Tennoji or Shin-Imamiya. And Nankai Namba station is better location. It is located in the heart of Namba.
If you go to other locations in downtown Osaka, such as Uehonmachi (Tanimachi-Kyuchome), Nihonbashi, Tenmabashi, Yodoyabashi, Shinsaibashi, Honmachi, Sakuragawa, you can transfer Osaka subway at Namba. You can transfer to three Osaka subway lines, Midousuji line, Yotsubashi line and Sennichimae line. You can use Kanku Chikatoku Ticket for Nankai and Subway combination transfer.
Tsuruhashi, Morinomiya, Osakajo-Kouen (Osaka Castle), Kyobashi (Osaka Kanjo line east side)
JR lines is easier to get these locations. Use Kansai Airport Rapid Service or Limited Express Haruka to get Tennoji. And then transfer to Osaka Kanjo line Uchimawari line (trains go to counter clockwise direction).
Limited Express Haruka is only direct service and the fastest. If you want to save cost, use Kanku Chikatoku Ticket. Take Nankai railway to get Namba and transfer to subway Midousuji line. Shin-Osaka is located on Midousuji line too. If you want to use Kansai Thru Pass, you can use this Nankai-Subway route too.
Use Kansai Airport Rapid Service to Nishi-Kujo on Osaka Kanjo line. And change a train for JR Hanasaki line at Nishi-Kujo. Universal-City station is two stations away from Nishi-kujo. You may take limousine bus to Universal-City. This is only direct service to get there.
Limited Express Haruka is the only direct service by rail. Limousine bus connects Kansai airport with Kyoto station as well. But bus timetable is always affected by traffic. Train service is more punctual.
After arrival at Kyoto, you may take subway, bus or taxi to get your place.
If you use Kansai Thru Pass or want to use other than JR trains, you can take Nankai-Osaka subway-Hankyu route. Hankyu takes you to Shijo-Kawaramachi. But it is too many transfer and long trip. Please see the details at the post, How to use Kansai Thru Pass. Compare pass and single fare.
If you get Kobe by rail, take Limited Express Haruka to Shin-Osaka and transfer to Special Rapid Service. This is the fastest and easiest.
If you use Kansai Thru Pass, you can take Nankai and Hanshin to get Sannomiya (Kobe). Please see the details at the post, How to use Kansai Thru Pass. Compare pass and single fare.
There is high speed ferry service between Kansai airport and Kobe. Actually this ferry service takes the shortest route and the fastest. Please see the Kansai Airport website to get the details.
There is no direct train service. Take Haruka or Kansai Airport Rapid Service to get Tennoji. And then transfer to Yamatoji Rapid Service to get Nara.
If you use Kansai Thru Pass, you can take Nankai and Kintetsu to get Nara. Please see the details at the post, How to use Kansai Thru Pass. Compare pass and single fare.
Possibility of transfer to overnight trains and buses service on arrival day
I have received the question about transfer to Overnight service from Osaka to Tokyo, such as Sunrise Izumo/Seto, Highway Bus Dream, on arrival day. I don’t recommend you to do it
Because all seats are reserved. There is no Non Reserved Seat. And also basically you cannot reserve it before you arrive in Japan.
*Please see the details about reservation issue at “How to reserve the train seat of Japan Railway. Is Online reservation available for Japan Rail Pass user?“.
If you cannot reserve your seat on arrival day, you have to find your accommodation on the spot. Both Sunrise and Dream are popular. If you cannot make it, it is no surprise.
If you want to avoid any risk, don’t think about overnight train/bus services. Book your hotel in Osaka or surrounding area for arrival day.