Osaka is one of the cheaper alternative entry points in coming to Japan (instead of via Tokyo) through the Kansai International Airport (KIX) . There are direct flights here from Manila (about 4 hours) via Jetstar or Cebu Pacific. The airport has two terminals and the Kansai Airport Information Desk is located at the 2nd floor of Terminal 1.
The “ICOCA” IC Card
If you’re traveling to Japan, it is highly recommended to buy an IC card to conveniently ride trains, buses or taxi, as they are rechargeable prepaid cards so you can easily pay fares by just tapping the IC Card on the card readers. Plus, you can also use them in buying drinks at vending machines.
There are various types of IC Cards issued all over Japan. Most travellers will opt to buy the available IC card at the first city in Japan that they set foot on. So if you’re entering Japan via Osaka, you need to buy the ICOCA Card. The IC Cards in Japan are compatible so you can use the ICOCA Card in riding public transports not only within Osaka but also all over Japan.
From Kansai Airport to Central Osaka
There are several options to transfer from Kansai Airport to central Osaka, which you can initially check using Hyperdia. From the airport, you can take any of the following options depending on your budget for time and money, or depending on your hotel location. Here are my recommendations (by order of personal preference):
(1) Via the Limited Express Haruka
The Haruka provides direct travel from:
- Kansai Airport to Tennoji Station for 30 mins; or
- Kansai Airport to Shin-Osaka Station for 50 mins.
For foreign tourists (those issued with a temporary visa), you can buy the “ICOCA & HARUKA” ticket at the Kansai Airport, which already includes the ICOCA Card and discounted Haruka ticket that will cost:
- 3,100 Yen (Kansai Airport to Tennoji Station); or
- 3,300 Yen (Kansai Airport to Shin-Osaka Station).
But, wait, there is more! If you already have an ICOCA Card, you can buy the Haruka discounted ticket for only:
- 1,100 Yen bound for Tennoji;
- 2,200 Yen bound for Shin-Osaka.
If you’ve purchased a JR pass, you will be happy to note that this is valid on the Haruka.
(2) Via the JR Kansai Airport Rapid trains
The JR rapid trains provide direct travel from the Kansai Airport to:
- Tennoji Station: 1,060 Yen for 45 mins; or
- Osaka Station: 1,190 Yen for 65 mins.
The JR pass is also valid on the JR rapid trains
(3) Via the Nankai Electric Railways
The Nankai trains provide direct travel from Kansai Airport to Namba Station (with stops at Shin-Imamiya Station before Namba station) using either:
- Limited Express Rapid train: 1,430 Yen for about 34 mins (reserved seating only); or
- Airport Express: 920 Yen for about 45 mins.
(4) Via the Airport Limousine Bus
The Kansai Airport Limousine Bus tickets may be purchased from vending machines outside the ground floor of Terminal 1 building. From Kansai Airport, the limousine bus has various drop off points, including:
- near Osaka Station (Umeda): 1,550 Yen for about 60 mins*
- near JR Namba Station : 1,050 Yen for about 50 mins*
*depends on road traffic condition
If you’re entering Japan via Osaka, the best choice would be to buy the ICOCA & HARUKA ticket, otherwise, you can take the JR Airport Rapid Service trains.
Other Tips at the Kansai Airport
If you’re planning to visit the Universal Studios Japan (USJ) or the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (WWoHP), you can drop by the Kansai Tourist Information Center at the 1st floor of the Terminal 1 Building and so you can buy your tickets in advance.