Kansai International Airport
Kansai International Airport (KIX) is one of Japan’s busiest international airports, located 38km southwest of Osaka. For many international visitors, Kansai will be their port of entry and/or exit while in Japan. On this page you will find the following information:
The airport has two terminals: Terminal 1 services full-service carriers while Terminal 2 caters to low-cost carriers. Kansai is a very large airport with Terminal 1 laying claim to being one of the longest airport buildings in the world – 1.7km / 1.1 mi from end-to-end. So just make sure you give yourself adequate time to make it to your gate. Japan Airlines (JAL), All Nippon Airways (ANA) and many international carriers have a presence at the airport.
Kansai Airport has all of the facilities typical of a large international airport including hotels, restaurants and shopping areas. The following information only touches on everything available at Kansai and is intended for visitors heading to/from Nagano and Central Japan and the airport.
ENTERING & EXITING JAPAN
Kansai Airport is one of Japan’s four major international airports. As such, it is the entry and departure point for many international visitors. Our ‘Entering & Exiting Japan’ page has useful information including visa requirements, clearing immigration and customs and things to take care of while at the airport. For further essential travel information, see our ‘Plan Your Visit’ main page.
Given the continued impact of COVID-19 on global travel, it is important to stay up-to-date with the latest news and requirements. Our ‘Traveling to / from Japan During COVID-19’ page includes information about who can enter, whether you need to quarantine and vaccination passports. For other essential information including the latest COVID and vaccination numbers from Japan, see our ‘Clean Green & Healthy’ main page.
TRAIN SERVICES TO / FROM KANSAI AIRPORT
Several train lines run from Kansai Airport into central Osaka and onto Kyoto:
1 / Limited Express Haruka – to Shin-Osaka Station & Kyoto Station
2 / Kansai Airport Rapid – to Osaka Station
3 / Nankai rapi:t Airport Express– to Namba Station
Let’s start with the service which connects directly to shinkansen stations, allowing visitors to immediately start their exploration of Japan:
1 / LIMITED EXPRESS HARUKA
For visitors flying in or out of Kansai Airport, Shin-Osaka Station and Kyoto Station can be reached directly using the Limited Express Haruka. The line runs from the airport to those stations and other major stops before terminating at Maibara Station. The service includes both reserved and non-reserved seating. From the airport to Shin-Osaka Station takes around 50 minutes and costs JPY2710 for a reserved seat and JPY2380 for a non-reserved seat. The journey to Kyoto Station takes around 80 minutes and costs JPY3230/JPY2900. If you are headed to Nagano/Central Japan from the airport, this will be the most convenient airport service to use to reach Nagano via either Shin-Osaka Station or Kyoto Station – see below for details.
2 / KANSAI AIRPORT RAPID
The Kansai Airport Rapid service connects the airport to Osaka Station in around 70 minutes and JPY1210.
3 / NANKAI rapi:t AIRPORT EXPRESS
Finally, the rapi:t express service connects the airport to Namba Station, taking between 40 to 45 minutes and costs JPY930.
ACTIVATING & EXCHANGING A JR PASS
Holders of any Japan Rail pass will need to exchange/activate that pass before using it. You do so by exchanging the order/proof of purchase you received online. This can be done a numerous JR Pass Exchange Offices found at any major train station or airport including Kansai Airport. You can do so at:
— Ticket Office: 05:30 to 23:00
Passes can also be exchanged/activated at these offices in/around Shin-Osaka Station:
— Travel Service Center Shin-Osaka: 08:00 to 22:00
— Ticket Office JR West: 05:30 to 23:30
— Ticket Office JR Central: 05:30 to 23:00
— Nippon Travel Agency TiS Shin-Osaka Branch: 09:00 to 20:30
— JR Tokai Tours Shin-Osaka Office: 06:00 to 20:30
To exchange/activate your pass you will need your exchange order and passport. Make sure you allow adequate time to exchange and activate your pass if you are intending to use it on the same day or do so a day or two before you plan to start using it (you can always nominate a later activation date).
Once you have your activated pass you are free to ride however you can’t insert your pass into the ticket gates. Simply walk through the side booth (permanently attended by station staff) and show your pass. You will be waved through and you can make your way to the platform. For full details regarding each pass covering travel to and from Nagano, please refer to our relevant page: Japan Rail (JR) Pass / JR East Nagano & Niigata Pass / JR Hokuriku Arch Pass.
GETTING TO NAGANO FROM KANSAI AIRPORT
To reach Nagano and Central Japan from Kansai airport, firstly follow the directions above to reach Shin-Osaka Station or Kyoto Station. Once there, you have several options (all options take around 4 to 4.5 hours to reach Nagano):
The Limited Express Thunderbird connects the airport to Central Japan via Kanazawa. Frequent services run between the cities and Kanazawa and involve the following travel times and costs: 150 to 155 minutes / JPY7260 from Osaka and 125 minutes / JPY6490 from Kyoto. Once in Kanazawa, switch to the Hokuriku Shinkansen bound for Nagano. There are four services on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line – the Kagayaki, Hakutaka, Asama and Tsurugi – however only the Kagayaki and Hakuata services connect Kanazawa and Nagano. Using the Kagayaki, the journey from Kanazawa to Nagano takes 65 minutes / JPY8920 or 85 to 90 minutes / JPY8590 using the Hakutaka.
The Tokaido Shinkansen line connects Shin-Osaka, Kyoto and many other stops to Nagoya (and onto Tokyo). To access Nagano and Central Japan via Nagoya, take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Nagoya Station – 50 min / JPY5940 from Shin-Osaka and 35 min / JPY5170 from Kyoto. Once in Nagoya, switch to the Limited Express Shinano bound for Nagano – a journey of around 3 hours / JPY6930.
The final option is to take the Tokaido Shinkansen all the way to Tokyo Station from Shin-Osaka – 150 to 175 min / JPY13,870 – or from Kyoto – 130 to 160 min / JPY13,320 (time taken depends on which service you choose). Once in Tokyo, switch to the Hokuriku Shinkansen bound for Nagano – 90 to 110 minutes / JPY8000-9000 (depending on which service you choose). All listed services are covered by the Japan Rail (JR) Pass.
ACCOMMODATION IN & AROUND THE AIRPORT
Visitors flying in or out of Kansai International Airport, might want to consider staying in or nearby. As one of Japan’s four international airports, there are good options around the airport and inside the airport. For hotel bookings in and around the airport, see our ‘Kansai Airport Station’ hotel page.
WHERE TO STAY IN OSAKA & KANSAI AIRPORT
Osaka offers travellers a huge range of accommodation dotted throughout the city. To make your time there as easy as possible, we recommend choosing a hotel or guesthouse nearby a major train station, allowing you to move around the city and beyond with ease. Our ‘Where To Stay In Osaka & Kansai International Airport?’ page listed the best areas including accommodation listings.
40 THINGS TO DO IN KYOTO, NARA & OSAKA
One of Japan’s great metropolises, Osaka is a confident and thriving city known for its mercantile character, friendly locals, great food, shopping and nightlife. Our ’40 Things To Do In Kyoto, Nara & Osaka’ page lists some of the most enjoyable attractions and activities in the city along with the nearby cities of Kyoto and Nara. We hope we can entice you to visit!
PLAN YOUR VISIT TO JAPAN
For many international visitors, Kansai Airport will be their point of entry when arriving in Japan but as we all know, your trip begins long before your get here as you plan your adventure in this wonderful country. Our ‘Plan Your Visit’ page has everything you need to know about visiting Japan – from tips on the best time to travel, times to avoid, entering and exiting the country, money matters, staying connected, accommodation, staying safe and healthy and plenty more to ensure that you get the most out of your time here.
PRIVATE CHARTERS & TOURS IN CENTRAL JAPAN
Based in Nagano and operating all year round, we are a No.1-rated tour and charter operator, offering a range of services including group tours, private tours and charters. We can arrange transport including a private vehicle and driver, to transport you to, from and between any destination in Central Japan.
Our drivers and vehicles are fully certified, allowing us to transport you to and from your preferred destinations, in combination with any activity that suits your interests and schedule including transport to and from any destination in Central Japan. All vehicles are fitted with a protective screen – separating the driver from passenger and luggage area – and our drivers wear protective masks, allowing you to move between your destinations in comfort and safety.
We can arrange both private tours with an English-speaking guide or a private charter, including a private vehicle and driver but without a guide. We’d love to be part of that experience and help you discover even more!
Why choose us?
Awarded a 2022 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award for our 1-Day Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple & Sake Tour – recognised as one of the Top 10 Experiences in Japan – we have the local knowledge and experience to help you get the most out of your time in Nagano and Central Japan.
Got a question about arranging a charter or tour in Central Japan? Click the INQUIRY button below or contact us and let’s get planning together!