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.

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.

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

  1. Hi Takeshi,

    I will arrive in KIX at 2140 (940pm) local time. I’m not sure how long does it takes usually to clear the customs and etc during Saturday night flights. But in case I missed the last train, I would need to take the midnight bus to Namba.

    I see from http://www.kate.co.jp/en/kix_busstop/ that the bus platform is in Terminal 1, is this the same terminal for International arrival?

    How the payment method to buy the ticket? And is there any ticket machine selling ICOCA card around that area?

    Regards,
    Hidzwan

    1. Hi Hidzwan,

      The bus stop is same place as other limousine bus. There are signage and you can find it easily.
      You will purchase a bus ticket at the vending machine. You should prepare some cash.

      You cannot purchase ICOCA card at the vending machine. You have to purchase it at the window. If you cannot purchase it on arrival day, you can purchase it at other JR stations in Osaka, such as JR-Namba.

      cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Hi Takeshi san,

    Me and family will reach KIX at 935pm on April 2018.
    May I ask is 935pm is the time in Japan or 1035 pm is the time in Japan as I know Japan is 1 hour earlier than the time in malaysia.

    I need to plan my schedule so I won’t miss the time to reach Kyoto station. I stay in gion area.

    Kindly help to advise

    1. Hi Joey san,

      I think if your flight schedule shows that the arrival time is 09:35, it’s 09:35. But I’m not 100% sure that. Please ask your travel agent or flight company if you really want to make sure it.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  3. Hi Takeshi-san,

    I am arriving late at 9.30pm KIX. What’s the best way to get to Nishi-Ohashi Station?

    Many thanks
    Roger

  4. Hi Takeshi,

    My family of 7 (with children) should arrive at Osaka Kansai Intl Terminal 1. around 9:30pm. We plan to stay near Namba station. what is the best way to travel from airport to Namba.

    Thank you
    Alv

  5. Hi I have a couple of questions if you don’t mind?
    We arrive at 7:30pm Friday to Osaka international airport and we want to get to Dotobori hotel – we will both have luggage and have never been to Japan before. What is the easiest way to get there?

    We are planning to also stay in Kyoto, Tokyo for a few nights each. should we buy a JR rail pass if we plan to travel by train every 2 days? We are staying 10 days in total.

    Final questions where can we see Pandas, sumo wrestling and can we participate in a tea ceremony with geiko or maiko.

    1. Hi Kyl,

      Nankai railway runs from KIX to Namba. And then you will walk to access to Dotonbori.

      If you come back to Osaka after you stay in TOkyo, you can use JR pass 7 day. Otherwise JR pass is not required if you leave from Tokyo. Please see the link below:
      https://jprail.com/sample-itineraries/7days/basic-itinerary-of-osaka-kyoto-and-tokyo-in-7-days.html

      The easiest place to see Panda is Ueno zoo in Tokyo.
      http://www.tokyo-zoo.net/english/ueno/index.html

      I have no idea about tea ceremony with Geiko or Maiko. Please see the link below about Sumo wrestling:
      http://www.sumo.or.jp/En/

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. Hi Takeshi,

    I will be arriving at KIX airport at 9.25pm and i’m planning to go Kyoto by bus on arrival day. I would like to know whether i need to make reservation for bus ticket before arrive.

    Thanks.

  7. Hi Takeshi,
    My family of five arrive at KIX on December 13th at 9.30pm. We have booked accommodation at Hotel Keihan Universal City for 2 nights. What is the cheapest and quickest way to travel from KIX to our hotel at that time of night please. Also what is the best way to travel from Universal studios to Kyoto after a day at the park.
    Thanks,
    Sharyn

    1. Hi Sharyn,

      Actually you don’t have many choices to get your hotel because your arrival time is late. You may take JR Kansai airport rapid train from Kansai airport to Nishikujo.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/how-to-get-kansai-airport-and-wakayama-kansai-airport-rapid-service-and-kishuji-rapid-service.html

      And then take local train to Universal city. You can get the fare and timetable at hyperdia:
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/basic-informations/timetable-and-reservation/hyperdia-perfect-guide-train-timetable-and-route-search-engine.html

      When you go to Kyoto, you can take local train from Universal city to Osaka and then take Special rapid train from Osaka to Kyoto.
      https://jprail.com/trains/sort-by-type/rapid-service/special-rapid-service.html

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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