Kansai airport terminal, station, train pass and access guide

JR Limited Express Haruka is one of the popular way from KIX to get Osaka.
Limited Express Haruka is one of the popular way from Kansai airport to Osaka and Kyoto.

Kansai airport is the international airport in Osaka. It is the gateway to Kyoto, Nara, Kobe and Wakayama too. There are many ways to get downtown Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. In this post, I will explain about the terminal of Kansai airport, the access route to major places in Kansai region, and how to choose the deal which suits your trip plan.

Expected time to clear immigration, custom and baggage pick up

It is very important to know how long you will spend the time to clear custom, immigration and baggage pick up. Especially if you will arrive in Kansai airport after 22:00, you must make the detailed travel plan.

My estimated time required 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, bus ticket window, or high speed ferry ticket window

It takes one hour to get the train station, the bus ticket window or the ferry ticket window. Of course this time schedule is varied. It depends on how busy immigration and custom are. And also if you exchange the train pass, you spend the time more. If the train station ticket window is busy, you might have to spend 30 minutes. Please do not plan very tight schedule.

Kansai airport terminal arrival level

Kansai Airport terminal building is large atrium style.
Kansai Airport terminal building is large atrium style.

At first, I would like to explain about the arrival level of Kansai airport. This is the first place to see after you complete the immigration, the baggage pick up and the custom. You may refer the map of Kansai Airport.

The arrival level is located at the ground floor of the terminal building. At this floor, there are Tourist Information Center, Travel Desk, Airport bus ticket window and High speed ferry service counter.

In the middle of this floor, there is Kansai Tourist Information Center.

Information center
Information center

Information Center is for general inquiries and sells many passes and deals for sightseeing in Kansai Area. It is open from 7:00 to 22:00.

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There are many kinds of train pass available at Information Center.

But if you have an exchange order or book online for Kansai Area Pass, Kansai Wide Area Pass, Nankai Railway train passes, you have to proceed JR or Nankai railway ticket office. These are located at the station. I will tell you later.

Access route by train

There are two railways from Kansai airport. Those are JR and Nankai Railway. The train network in Kansai area is very complicated. But you have to make sure which route the best way to your destination is.

Kansai train network. Only major stations are shown in this map (Click to enlarge)

Kansai airport station

You have to get Kansai airport station to take the train. I will show you how to get there from the terminal.

Escalator to second level. You will see the sign easily.
Escalator to second level. You will see the sign easily.

If you take a train, proceed to the second level and exit the terminal building. You will see Kansai airport station right away.

Kansai Airport station can be seen from the entrance of terminal building.
Kansai Airport station can be seen from the entrance of the terminal building.
Entrance of Kansai Airport station
Entrance of Kansai Airport station

It is located just in front of airport terminal building. Overpass connects the terminal building and the station.

The view from the station to the terminal building
The view from the station to the terminal building

There are two railways, JR and Nankai Railway. These two railways have Kansai Airport station at exactly same location. Both ticket offices are located side by side.

Kansai airport station ticket counter. Left side (Orange) is Nankai Railway's counter and other side is JR.
Left side (Orange) is Nankai Railway’s ticket counter and the vending machine. Other side is JR vending machine.

If you intend to purchase or exchange JR deals, such as Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass), ICOCA and Haruka, Kansai Area Pass, Kansai Wide Area Pass, Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass, Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass, Kansai Hokuriku Area Pass or other JR West deals, you can purchase or exchange it at JR’s ticket office. The ticket office is located at the left side of the vending machines. It was not in the photo above. It is open from 5:30 to 23:00. You may get the map of the station in the link below:

Kansai Airport station map (JR West official site)

JR ticket office is located beside vending machines.
JR ticket office is located beside the vending machines.

If you would like to purchase or exchange Nankai Railway’s deal, such as Kanku Tokuwari Rapi:t Ticket or other Nankai Railway’s deals, you may purchase it at Nankai Railway’s ticket counter. It is open from 5:00 to 23:00. (first train to last train)

Nankai Railway's ticket counter and vending machines.
Nankai Railway’s ticket counter and vending machines.
Instruction to purchase Kansai Chikatoku Ticket at the vending machine.
Instruction to purchase Kansai Chikatoku Ticket (Nankai Railway – Osaka Metro connection ticket) at the vending machine.
Kanku Tokuwari Rapi:t Ticket can be purchased at the ticket counter.
Kanku Tokuwari Rapi:t Ticket can be purchased at the ticket counter.

Ticket gates are located side by side.

Kansai Airport station ticket gates, JR (blue/left) and Nankai Railway (red/left)

And the platforms are located side by side too. But those two stations are not connected inside ticket gates. Please make sure which railway you will take, JR or Nankai railway.

Limited Express Haruka connects Kansai airport and Kyoto via Tennoji and Shin-Osaka.
Limited Express Haruka connects Kansai airport and Kyoto via Tennoji and Shin-Osaka.
JR's platform
JR’s platform
Nankai Railway's platform
Nankai Railway’s platform

Both railways has one platform each. It is very simple and find the track where you have to go easily.

Access to Osaka and Kyoto by JR

If you use JR deals, such as JR Pass, Kansai Area Pass, Kansai Wide Area Pass, Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass, Takayama Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass, ICOCA and Haruka, and other JR deal, you should take JR train from Kansai airport station. There are two trains running between Kansai airport and Osaka, Kyoto. Those are the limited express Haruka and Kansai airport rapid train.

Even if you do not use JR deals, JR train may be your choice. Please see the map below:

JR train network (Click to view large)

If you go to Tennoji, Nishikujo, Osaka (Umeda), Shin-Osaka, Kyoto, JR train is the best choice. And the you can choose the limited express Haruka or Kansai airport rapid train.

The limited express Haruka

All JR deals cover this train. Haruka takes you to Tennoji, Shin-Osaka and Kyoto directly. But this train does not stop at Osaka station (Umeda) because this train go through bypass line to Shin-Osaka and skip Osaka station. Therefore you have to change to a local train to Osaka at Shin-Osaka or Tennoji if you take Haruka from Kansai airport. It takes only 3 minutes to get Osaka from Shin-Osaka.

If you go to Kobe, Himeji and other cities to west from Osaka, you have to change to a local train at Shin-Osaka station too. If you go to Kobe and other cities to west from Osaka, Airport bus is better choice. I will explain you later in the post about Airport bus.

You can get some more information about the limited express Haruka in the link below:

Recommended deal – ICOCA / Kansai One Pass and Haruka

If you do not use JR Pass or any other JR train passes, this deal is recommended. This deal offers the discount ticket to take the limited express Haruka and IC card (ICOCA or Kansai One Pass). Please see the link below to get more information about this deal:

Recommended deal – Kansai Area Pass

This deal offers unlimited ride of Haruka and other JR local trains in Kansai area. If you arrive in Kansai airport early and make a day trip somewhere in Kansai area, Kansai Area Pass is better choice than ICOCA/Kansai One Pass and Haruka. Please see the link below to find more information:

Kansai Airport Rapid Service

If you want to use a train, but you want to save a fare, Rapid train “Kansai Airport Rapid Service” is your choice. The trip time to Osaka is around 70 minutes and the fare is around 1,200 yen. And Haruka does not go to Osaka directly but this train does. Please see the link below to find more information about this train:

This train is covered by any JR deals. You can take this train by ICOCA/Kansai One Pass and Haruka too.

Access to Osaka by Nankai Railway

Nankai Railway is shown by navy line in this map. (Click to view large.)

Nankai Railway is one of major private railways. JR Pass and any other JR deals do not cover Nankai Railway trains.

Nankai Railway trains connects Kansai airport, Tengachaya, Shin-Imamiya and Namba. You can change to many Osaka Metro lines at Namba and Tengachaya. Especially if you change Nankai Railway trains and Osaka Metro at Namba, there is a combo ticket deal. I will tell you later.

Nankai Railway Limited Express Rapi:t

Nankai Railway's Rapi:t has very unique exterior.
Nankai Railway’s Rapi:t looks very unique .

“Rapi:t” is the limited express train and the fastest way to get Tengachaya, Shin-Imamiya and Namba.

Namba is one of the biggest downtown cores in Osaka. You can get Namba by JR trains. However JR-Namba station is a bit away from the centre of Nanba area. You can find all Namba station locations in the post below:

And also you have to change trains at Tennoji, Shin-Imamiya or Imamiya by JR trains. On the other hand, Nankai Railway takes you to Namba directly and the fastest “Rapi:t” takes you to Namba in 35 minutes. This is the fastest way in all trains of both JR and Nankai Railway.

Rapi:t has two types of seats. These are Regular seat and Super seat.

Super seat layout is 2+1 and the leg space is 1,200 mm. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Regular seat layout is 2+2 and the leg space is 1,030 mm. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Luggage space is available near the entrance door. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
Washroom is available. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

If you use Kansai Thru Pass, only base fare portion (920 yen) is covered. You have to add the limited express seat fee 510 yen (720 yen for Super seat) on top of Kansai Thru Pass. But there are some deals available to take the limited express Rapi:t.

RECOMMENDED DEAL – Kanku Webtoku Ticket, Yokoso! Osaka Ticket

Kanku Webtoku Ticket is a discount deal to take one way trip by Rapi:t. You may use either way from KIX or to KIX. The price is starting from 1,130 yen.

Yokoso! Osaka Ticket is the combo deal which includes one way trip from KIX by Rapi:t and one day Osaka Metro unlimited ride pass. It is sold at 1,500 yen.

I picked two deals here but there are more. Please see the link below to find more information:

Nankai Railway official site – Discount Train Ticket

Nankai Railway Airport Express

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Airport Express is a sort of local train. You can take this train by a base fare ticket only. The fare is 920 yen for Kansai airport to Namba, Shin-Imamiya or Tengachaya. The travel time is 45 to 50 minutes to get Namba. Kansai Thru Pass also covers this train fully.

The interior of Airport Express. The train is almost empty in the photo above but the train is much more crowded. (C) Hineno [CC BY-SA 4.0]
Recommended deal – Nankai Railway and subway combo

There is no deals available to cover only Kansai airport to/from Namba. But if you take subway before/after taking Nankai Railway, you may use this deal. You can change Nankai Railway and Osaka Metro at Namba station. This deal covers whole part of Osaka Metro network. You can get any Osaka Metro station at 1,000 yen. You may use this deal to KIX too. Please find more information in the link below:

Nankai Railway official site – Discount Train Ticket

Access route by Kansai Airport Limousine

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Kansai Airport Limousine bus is the best way if you go to Nara or Kobe. Because there is no direct train accesses. I will show you High Speed Ferry service to Kobe later. But you have to take a train to get downtown Kobe after ferry arrive in the port. There are many routes from Kansai airport. Please see the official site to find all available routes:

Kansai Airport Limousine Bus

Reservation is not required to take Airport Limousine from Kansai airport. But when you take the bus to Kansai airport, reservation is required on some lines. You may find the information in the official site as well.

How to ride Airport Limousine

All bus stops are located at the ground floor. You can simply exit the terminal building and find the bus stop. You can purchase a ticket at the counter in the terminal building or at the vending machine or the ticket window outside building. There are lots of signages. You can find the bus stop, map, timetable and fare easily.

Ticket counter and vending machine.
Ticket window and vending machine at outside the building
Vending machine
Ticket vending machine
Bus stops map
Bus stops map
Limousine bus route map
Limousine bus route map

Access route by Kobe-Kansai Airport Bay Shuttle

high speed ferry to kix
Exterior of high speed ferry

Kobe Bay Shuttle is the high speed ferry service between Kansai airport and Kobe airport.

Trip time is 30 minutes from Kansai airport to Kobe airport. But you have to take the bus for 10 minutes to get the pier in Kansai airport. At Kobe airport, it takes 5 minutes between Kobe airport terminal and the pier by walk. You may take the train, “Kobe Portliner” to get Sannomiya which is the downtown Kobe. Total trip time between Kansai airport and Sannomiya is 1 hour 10 minutes. It is slightly faster than Airport Limousine bus.

How to ride Kobe-Kansai Airport Bay Shuttle

High Speed Ferry ticket counter
High Speed Ferry ticket window in Kansai airport

The ticket counter is located at north end of the terminal building. When you exit from custom, turn right and walk to the end of the building.

The bus to the ferry pier departs at the bus stop #12. It is located just outside of the ticket window. The bus ride is included in the ferry fare.

You may find the timetable and the fare in the official site:

Kobe-Kansai Airport Bay Shuttle official site

How to find the best way

There are many ways from Kansai airport. I will show you the best way to major destinations.

Osaka (Umeda)

You may take JR Kansai Airport Rapid train. It takes you to JR Osaka station directly. If you intend to buy ICOCA or Kansai One Pass, you may use ICOCA/Kansai One Pass and Haruka to Tennoji.

You can get Osaka by “Tennoji” version of ICOCA/Kansai One Pass and Haruka. This deal covers Haruka ride from Kansai airport to Tennoji. As long as you do not exit the station, you can go to any JR stations in downtown Osaka. You also can take Kansai Airport Rapid train from Kansai airport to Osaka or other JR stations in downtown Osaka. This deal is slightly cheaper than the base fare for Kansai airport to Osaka.

If you have lots of luggages, Airport Limousine bus is better choice. It is more expensive than the train. However you can store your luggage in the luggage room of the bus. And it takes you to Umeda directly.

If you want to save the cost, you may take Nankai railway to Namba and Osaka Metro from Namba to Umeda by Nankai Railway and Osaka Metro combo deal at 1,000 yen. This is most affordable way.

Namba, Shin-Imamiya, Tengachaya

Nankai Railway is the best way. You can take either Rapi:t or Kansai Airport Express. If you take Airport Express, the regular fare is the best choice.

Namba (OCAT / JR-Namba)

OCAT and JR Namba are not located in the center of Namba. Airport Limousine bus takes you there directly. If you take Nankai Railway to Namba, you have to walk for 15 minutes. You can take JR train to get there but there is no direct trains. You have to change the train at Tennoji. Airport Limousine bus is better way.

Tennoji

You can take either Haruka or Kansai Airport Rapid. It is direct way to get there.

Shinsaibashi, Hommachi, Yodoyabashi

You can take Nankai Railway to Namba and change to Osaka Metro Midosuji line. You can use Nankai Railway and Osaka Metro deal.

Nippombashi, Nagahoribashi, Ebisucho

You can take Nankai Railway to Tengachaya and change to Osaka Metro Sakaisuji line. You cannot use Nankai Railway and Osaka Metro deal because this deal allows you to change trains at only Namba. You can get these places via Namba. But Tengachaya station is much smaller and much easier to change trains. Even though you have to pay the regular fare separately, Tengachaya is much better choice. Please see the link below to find the information about Tengachaya station:

Tanimachi 9-chome (Uehommachi), Tanimachi 6-chome, Tanimachi 4-chome

You can take Haruka or Kansai Airport Rapid to Tennoji and change to Osaka Metro Tanimachi line. Please find Tennoji station information in the link below:

You can get Tanimachi 9-chome (Uehommachi) by Nankai railway to Namba and Osaka Metro Sennichimae line to Tanimachi 9-chome. In this case, you can use Nankai Railway and Osaka Metro combo deal.

Tsuruhashi, Morinomiya, Osakajo-Kouen (Osaka Castle), Kyobashi (Osaka Kanjo line east side)

JR lines is easier to get these locations. You can take Kansai Airport Rapid or Haruka to get Tennoji. And then transfer to Osaka Kanjo line Uchimawari line (train which go to counter clockwise direction).

Shin-Osaka

The Limited Express Haruka takes you there directly. If you want to save cost, you may use Nankai Railway and Osaka Metro combo deal. Take Nankai railway to get Namba and transfer to Osaka Metro Midosuji line. Shin-Osaka is located on Midousuji line too. But the trip time is much longer and must change trains at Namba.

Universal Studio Japan (Universal-City station)

Airport Limousine bus is the best way. It is only direct way to get there.

You also may Kansai Airport Rapid to Nishikujo on Osaka Kanjo line. And you have to change a train for JR Hanasaki line at Nishikujo. Universal-City station is two stations away from Nishikujo.

Kyoto

You may take the limited express Haruka or Airport Limousine bus. Both ways take you to Kyoto directly.

Nankai Railway offers Kyoto Access Pass at more affordable rate:

Nankai Railway official site – Discount Train Ticket

This is much cheaper than Airport Limousine and ICOCA/Kansai One Pass and Haruka deal. However if you use this deal, you have to change the trains at least twice.

Nankai railway for Kansai airport to Tengachaya
Osaka Metro Sakaisuji line for Tengachaya to Awaji
Hankyu Railway for Awaji to Hankyu Railway stations in Kyoto, such as Kyoto-Kawaramachi (near Gion Shijo), Karasuma, Omiya

All trains are commute trains and may be crowded. You cannot reserve your seat.

Kobe

Airport Limousine is the easiest way and this is only way to get Kobe Sannomiya directly.

If you get Kobe by a train, you have two routes:

Option 1 (JR trains)
The limited express Haruka to Shin-Osaka and transfer to Special Rapid Service

Option 2 (Nankai and Hanshin Railways)
Nankai Railway train to Namba and transfer to Hanshin Railway to Kobe-Sannomiya

Option 1 is covered by ICOCA/Kansai One Pass and Haruka, JR Pass, JR Kansai Area Pass and any other JR deals.

Option 2 is covered by Kansai Thru Pass and Kobe Access Ticket. You can find the information about Kobe Access Ticket in Nankai Railway official site:

Nankai Railway official site – Discount Train Ticket

High Speed Ferry service is also available.

Nara

Airport Limousine is the easiest way and this is only way to get Nara directly. The following link gives you some more information about the access to Nara:

If you get Nara by a train, you have two routes:

Option 1 (JR trains)
The limited express Haruka to Tennoji and transfer to Yamatoji Rapid Service

Option 2 (Nankai and Kintetsu Railways)
Nankai Railway train to Namba and transfer to Kintetsu Railway to Kintetsu Nara

Option 1 is covered by ICOCA/Kansai One Pass and Haruka, JR Pass, JR Kansai Area Pass and any other JR deals.

Option 2 is covered by Kansai Thru Pass and Nara Access Ticket. You can find the information about Nara Access Ticket in Nankai Railway official site:

Nankai Railway official site – Discount Train Ticket

Late night arrival and early departure

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, you spend one hour to get out the custom and immigration. And then, you have to manage the ticket to get Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe or other places to stay.

If you arrive in Kansai airport after 22:00, you may not be able to get the last train. The train schedule is varied by the day. But mostly, the last train to Osaka departs from Kansai airport before midnight. Please find the major train route for the late arrival in the link below:

JPRail.com PDF timetable (valid until mid March, 2020)

If you cannot catch the train, your choice is Airport Limousine bus. There are some buses running to Umeda or Namba after midnight. Please see the official site of Airport Limousine bus to find the timetable and the fare:

Kansai Airport Limousine Bus

For the early morning departure, you may not be able to get on the train. You can find the early morning train schedule in the link above, JPRail.com PDF timetable. In this case, the limousine bus is your choice.

For either late arrival and early departure, you can catch the bus to/from Kansai airport. But the bus depart/arrive at Umeda and/or Namba only. You may have to take a taxi to/from Umeda or Namba. If you stay in other than Namba or Umeda, please expect the extra cost to take a taxi.

I gave you tons of information. I hope that you have found all information which you need for the arrival and the departure in Kansai airport.

226 thoughts on “Kansai airport terminal, station, train pass and access guide”

  1. Hi Takeshi,
    Am planning for Osaka-Kyoto trip with elderly parents.
    Day 1- reach KIX nite 9.30pm so will stay near airport
    Day 2 – back to airport take bus limousine to Kyoto, reach Kyoto probably 1pm. stay near Karasuma oike
    Day 3 & Day 4 – sight seeing Kyoto
    Day 5- back to Osaka. Stay near Shinsaibashi area.
    Day 6 – Day 7 – sight seeing osaka
    Day 8 – evening travel to KIX via limousine bus . stay hotel nearby as early flight
    Day 9 – morning flight out.
    Questions – what transport card should I get for my trip?
    Thank you.
    May

  2. Hi, I am a little confused with the train line. How to go to Omiya station from Namba station.
    I have checked on Hyperdia, I will need to board on Midosuji line from Namba station to Umeda station, then change to Hankyu Kyoto Line Ltd. Exp to Katsura, and from Katsura
    take Hankyu Kyoto Line Semi-Exp to Omiya station.

    Is the Hankyu Kyoto Line Ltd. Exp and Hankyu Kyoto Line Semi-Exp the same train? Is it a direct train from Umeda station to Omiya station?

    Thanks

  3. Hi Takeshi, a little confused over Nankai Rapit Kanku-Webtoku ticket:- this is a direct non-stop line btw KIX and Nankai-Namba?

    Unlike JR’s Haruka which stops at tennoji and shin-osaka?

    1. Hi Kevin,

      ICOCA card covers only base fare. You have to add limited express seat fee, 510 yen which is not covered by ICOCA. You have to add this sort of fee on any train lines, Nankai railway, JR, whatever train lines by ICOCA.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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