A Convenient Guide to Getting From Kansai International Airport to Central Osaka
Many visitors enter Japan through Kansai International Airport. There are various ways of getting to Osaka City from this airport. This article talks about a couple of these options, noting facts like when they’re most appropriate, expected travel times, and costs.
What is Kansai International Airport?
Kansai International Airport is the world's first airport built on a completely man-made island. That island is situated off the coast of Senshu in southern Osaka Prefecture. It is open all day long and has flights to 82 cities in 23 countries (as of the end of 2017).
Its main terminal is Terminal 1, which is directly connected to Kansai Airport Station. Terminal 2, which is for low-cost carriers, is 4 km away and can be accessed using a free shuttle bus from Aeroplaza (a multi-purpose complex consisting of hotels and restaurants), which is connected to Terminal 1 and Kansai Airport Station.
Transport Options From the Airport to Central Osaka
The three main modes of transportation from the airport to central Osaka are train (JR and Nankai Electric Railway), bus, and taxi. You can catch both the JR and Nankai trains at the station that’s directly connected to the second floor of Terminal 1. Limited express trains like the HARUKA and Rapi:t have storage spaces for large luggage, ensuring a comfortable ride. If you have a Japan Rail Pass, you can use the pass to board JR trains for free.
There are boarding spots for airport buses (called "limousine bus") and taxis at both terminals. If you wish to take the bus, purchase a ticket in advance at the ticket counter near the boarding spot. They do not run as frequently to Terminal 2.
How to Get to Shin-Osaka
By Train (JR)
The Kansai Airport Rapid Service is recommended for those looking to travel cheap. It will require changing to the JR Kyoto Line at Osaka Station, but since they are both JR lines, there is no need to exit the ticket gate. It will take about 70 minutes to Osaka Station and another 5 minutes to Shin-Osaka Station. The total fare it’ll cost is 1,360 JPY.
The fastest way to get to Shin-Osaka Station without changing trains is the Airport Express HARUKA. The fare is 1,360 JPY plus the price of an express ticket (starts from 970 JPY). You can choose unassigned regular seating (in which case the express ticket is 970 JPY), assigned seating (1,490 JPY for an express ticket), or premium Green Car seating (2,250 JPY for an express ticket).
Compared to the other two options, this is the most expensive one. The travel time and fare depends on what time it is and the traffic situation, but on average, it takes about 60 minutes and costs 18,220 JPY (including expressway tolls).
How to Get to Osaka Station and Umeda Station
By Train (JR)
JR trains are also recommended for getting to Osaka Station or Umeda Station. The fastest way to get there is the Airport Express HARUKA. It does not go directly to these stations, so you must change to the Osaka Loop Line at Tennoji Station. The fare is 1,190 JPY plus a limited express ticket (650 JPY for regular unassigned seating, 1,170 JPY for assigned seating, and 1,930 JPY for Green Car seating). It takes about 30 minutes to reach Tennoji Station and about 20 minutes from there to Osaka Station.
It will take about 70 minutes on the JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service. While it may take a little more time than the HARUKA, there is no need to change trains and the fare is cheaper at 1,190 JPY.
At its most frequent, four airport buses depart for Osaka Station each hour. You can disembark at Hotel New Hankyu Osaka, which is near the station, or the bus terminal in the commercial facility, HERBIS PLAZA ENT. The buses run all day, so they are convenient for people taking flights that arrive late at night. The fare is 1,550 JPY. It takes about 60 minutes from Terminal 1 and 75 minutes from Terminal 2.
There is a flat fare for taxis. It costs 13,000 JPY in a compact car (15,500 JPY for late at night and early in the morning) and 14,500 JPY in a medium-sized car (17,000 JPY for late at night and early in the morning). The travel time is roughly 50 minutes.
How to Get to Namba
By Train (JR, Nankai Electric Railway)
Nankai Electric Railway is the cheaper and faster option for getting to Namba. However, it is not included in the Japan Rail Pass, so if you're using the pass, take the JR. Nankai Namba Station in the center of the city, but JR Namba Station is a bit far away, so make sure to double-check the distance from your final destination.
If you are taking the JR, ride the Airport Express HARUKA for approximately 30 minutes and change to the JR Yamatoji Line at Tennoji Station. It is about 5 minutes from Tennoji Station to JR Namba Station. If you are not using the Japan Rail Pass, the fare is 1,060 plus the price of a limited express ticket (650 JPY for a regular unreserved seat, 1,170 JPY for a reserved seat, and 1,930 JPY for a Green Car seat).
The Rapi:t on the Nankai Electric Railway goes directly to Nankai Namba Station. It takes about 35 minutes, making it the fastest transport option. The fare is 920 JPY plus 510 JPY for an express ticket. It only has reserved seating. There are regular seats, which consist of four seats in a row, as well as roomy Super Seats that have three seats in a row (the express ticket for a Super Seat is 720 JPY).
If cutting costs if more important than saving time, the Airport Express on the Nankai Electric Railway is recommended. It takes you directly to Namba for 920 JPY in about 45 minutes.
There is a flat fare for taxis heading to Namba. It costs 13,000 JPY in a compact car (15,500 JPY for late at night and early in the morning) and 14,000 in a medium-sized car (16,500 JPY for late at night and early in the morning). The travel time is roughly 50 minutes.
There are airport buses that go directly to the OCAT bus terminal near JR Namba Station between 6:00 am and 11:00 pm. The fare is 1,050 JPY. It takes about 50 minutes from Terminal 1 and about 60 minutes from Terminal 2. This is an easy option for getting to the bus terminal, but the bus terminal may be far from your final destination, so be sure to double-check how far away it is in advance.
There are two late-night buses that go to Nankai Namba Station, which is in the center of Namba. The fare is 1,550 JPY. It takes about 60 minutes from Terminal 1 and about 75 minutes from Terminal 2.
How to Get to Universal Studios Japan (USJ)
By Train (JR)
There are JR trains that will take you to Universal City Station, which is the closest station to USJ. Take the Airport Rapid Service from Kansai International Airport, ride it for about 65 minutes, and change to the Sakurajima Line (Yumesaki Line) at Nishikujo Station. It is about 5 minutes from there to Universal City Station, and about 5 minutes on foot from the station to USJ. The fare is 1,190 JPY.
Between 8:40 am and 4:30 pm, you can utilize airport buses. The fare is 1,550 JPY. It takes about 70 minutes to USJ from Terminal 1 and about 80 minutes from Terminal 2.
There are two late-night buses that go to Universal Citywalk Osaka, which is a multi-purpose commercial complex next to USJ. Anyone planning to stay overnight at a nearby hotel will find these buses handy!
If you plan to travel from Kansai International Airport to Osaka City, make sure to take a look at this guide. It’ll help you pick out the best travel option for you, taking into account your destination, schedule, and amount of luggage!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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