Japan is one of the world’s most visited countries, whether for leisure or business. When one thinks about Japan, Osaka will most of the time, if not always, pop into people’s thoughts. Osaka is one of the country’s key cities, peppered with numerous types of businesses. The metropolis is also a major transportation hub, connecting Osaka (and other places in the Kansai area) to the rest of the cities and regions in Japan and abroad.
Kansai International Airport is the main gateway to Osaka and the rest of the Kansai region. It is about an hour from Osaka’s city center, but this is not really a problem since there are transportation options aplenty that link the airport to downtown Osaka. Two railway operators offer this route: JR and Nankai.
Nankai has a direct line to Namba and Tennoji, so if you booked a hotel in either, take the Nankai train. On the other hand, the JR has a stop at Osaka Station, which is also near Umeda Subway Station, so if you are lodging in Umeda, take the JR train.
Airport buses are also available and can shuttle passenger from the airport straight to Namba and Umeda. Below are the details.
WHAT'S COVERED IN THIS GUIDE?
KANSAI AIRPORT TO NAMBA
Nankai trains connect Kansai Airport to Namba. To get to the train station, go to the building next to the Arrival Hall using the escalator and the bridge connecting the two buildings. You will find the station on the second floor.
Nankai has two main types of trains operating this route — Nankai Airport Express and Nankai Limites Express Rapi:t (Rapit).
- NANKAI AIRPORT EXPRESS. This is the cheaper option, also slower. It’s the regular train that looks like the usual subway train. Just board the train and find a seat. No seat fee required, but during busy hours, you might have to stand. The travel time is about 45 minutes. The fare is ¥920.
- NANKAI LIMITED EXPRESS RAPI:T (Rapit). The faster and more convenient option. It’s the premier train that is deep blue in color and looks like something we’ll only see in the future. Hehe. To secure a seat and have a comfortable journey, take this train. The travel time is about 35 minutes. The fare is ¥920, plus ¥510 for the seat fee.
If you opt to ride the Limited Express Rapi:t, you can secure your seat in advance via Klook. Here’s how:
- Book your ticket.
- You will receive an email right after the transaction. That will serve as your mobile voucher. You may print a hard copy or you can just save it on your phone.
- When you arrive at Kansai Airport, get your physical voucher from the staff at the HIS Counter at the Arrival Hall. Just present the staff your mobile or printed voucher.
- Then go to the train station on the second floor of the building next to the Arrival Hall. Head over to the Nankai Ticketing Counter and get your actual train ticket by presenting the physical voucher you got from the HIS Counter. Please be there 30 minutes before your schedule.
The Osaka City Air Terminal (OCAT) in Namba is a major bus terminal, so this is where many buses, including airport buses, drop passengers. It will usually take about an hour to reach Namba from the airport, depending on traffic condition. The bus starts operating from 6:10 am and ends at 10:40 pm.
- When you arrive, proceed to the counter for OCAT Airport bus located at the Arrival Hall of Terminal 1.
- Buy your ticket. The fare is ¥1050. Ready your passport because they will ask for it. They will hand you your ticket and your receipt.
- Go to the Departure Platform. Usually, you will board at Platform 11, but this may change sometimes. Check the platform number or ask the staff.
- Your luggage or large bags will be tagged by the staff and will be kept in the bus’ luggage compartment. Keep the claim stub. Don’t lose it. You need to present that to the staff to claim your luggage.
- When you board the bus, the driver will check your ticket. Go to your designated seat.
- Get off at OCAT and claim your bags.
Note: If arriving at Kansai Airport beyond 10:40 pm, the Nankai midnight bus leaves Terminal 1 at 2:54 am, 3:54 am, and 4:54 am.
KANSAI AIRPORT TO UMEDA (OSAKA STATION)
The JR Kansai Airport Express trains link Kansai Airport to Umeda via Osaka Station, which is a major station where many railway lines make a stop, shuttling passengers in and out of the city.
- Upon arriving at Kansai, proceed to the train terminals located on the second floor of the building next to the Arrival Hall. There’s a bridge connecting the two buildings.
- Note that the JR Station and Nankai Station are next to each other. Make sure you take JR gate.
- Board the train. Alight at Osaka Station and just walk to your hotel if it’s near the station. If you booked a hotel along a subway line, just walk to the Umeda Subway Station and take a subway. Research the nearest subway station near your hotel.
Note: This is a regular train, so no need to pay for your seat. However, you may find yourself standing during busy hours. No seat reservation. Travel time is about 65 minutes. The fare is ¥1190.
The Airport Limousine Bus has three stops around Osaka Station, connecting the airport to the city. These stops are hotels but it doesn’t mean that you have to book with them to be able to ride the bus. Find out which of these hotel stops is the nearest to where you are staying. These are the bus stops:
- Hotel New Hankyu Osaka
- Herbis Osaka
- Hilton Osaka
Note: All buses serve Hotel New Hankyu Osaka stop and Herbis Osaka stop. However, not all buses serve the Hilton Osaka stop, which only has four trips per day. The travel time is about an hour and 15 minutes, depending on the traffic condition. The fare is ¥1550.
- Find the Airport Bus counter at the Arrival Hall.
- Purchase the ticket to Osaka Station or Umeda. They will ask for your passport, so have it ready.
- Go to the Departure Platform. It’s usually Platform 5, but this can change. The staff will tell you the platform number for your boarding.
- While waiting for the bus or before boarding, the staff will tag your luggage or large bags and store them in the luggage compartment below. Keep the claim stub. You will need to present that to get your luggage when you disembark.
- When boarding, wait for your turn to get on the bus if there’s a queue. The driver will check your ticket. Find your designated seat and settle down. Remember to observe bus etiquette.
- Alight at either Hotel New Hankyu Osaka or Herbis Osaka, whichever is closest to your hotel.
KANSAI AIRPORT TO TENNOJI
Tennoji and Abeno are two other business and shopping district southeast of central Osaka. JR Tennoji Station, one of the largest transportation hubs in Osaka, connects Kansai Airport to the districts of Tennoji and Abeno. These districts boast the tallest building in Japan to date — the Abeno Harukas.
The JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service for Tennoji directly links the airport to the district. No need to transfer trains and no seat fee required. Another way is via Nankai and local trains, but this will require multiple train transfers. The Airport Rapid Service is your best option.
- Upon arriving at Kansai, travel on foot to the train terminals located on the second floor of the building next to the Arrival Hall. Take the escalator and cross the bridge connecting the two buildings.
- The JR Station gate is located beside the Nankai Station gate. Make sure you take the JR gate.
- Get on the train and alight at JR Tennoji Station and just walk to your hotel if it’s near the station.
Note: The travel time is about 50 minutes. The fare is ¥1060. Again, no seat fee and no need to transfer train.
From Kansai Airport, there are Kintetsu limousine buses that travel directly to Abeno Harukas, which is located in Tennoji.
- From the Arrival Hall of Terminal 1, the bus stop is located on the first floor, just outside the Arrival Hall building.
- Purchase the ticket from the ticket vending machine outside the Terminal 1 building where the bus stop is.
- Proceed to Platform 7. This is where the buses to Abeno Harukas usually stop and pick passengers. Large nags need to be kept in the luggage compartment. Keep the claim stub.
- Show the ticket to the driver and find your seat.
- Alight at Abeno Harukas, located just across JR Tennoji Station. Present your luggage claim stub and walk to your hotel if it’s near the bus stop.
Note: The travel time is about an hour and 15 minutes. The fare is ¥1200 for adults and ¥600 for children. First come, first served basis. No seat reservation required. The buses start operating at 7:35 am. The last trip is at 5:45 pm.