HOME Kansai Osaka Kansai Airport From Kansai Airport to Kyoto: Guide to the Easiest Options (With Discount Tickets)
From Kansai Airport to Kyoto: Guide to the Easiest Options (With Discount Tickets)

From Kansai Airport to Kyoto: Guide to the Easiest Options (With Discount Tickets)

Date published: 9 March 2020
Last updated: 2 July 2020

So you're looking to get from Kansai Airport to Kyoto. Transportation poses a challenge. There are too many options! What do you take? From where? To where? Kansai International Airport may be in Osaka, but it is easily accessible to and from various parts of Kansai via a range of different transportation networks.

Here's how you can use these networks to get from Kansai Airport to Kyoto City and around the Kyoto Suburbs as quickly, easily, and inexpensively as possible.

Table of Contents
  1. Kansai International Airport: The Gateway to Western Japan!
  2. Getting from Kansai Airport to Kyoto
  3. 1.Traveling by Train from Kansai Airport to Kyoto
  4. 2. Traveling by Bus from Kansai Airport to Kyoto
  5. 3. Traveling by Taxi from Kansai Airport to Kyoto
  6. 4. Traveling By Car from Kansai Airport to Kyoto
  7. Kyoto Points of Interest
  8. Kyoto City
  9. Kyoto Suburban Area
  10. Different modes of transportation for different purposes!
  11. Get Discount Train Tickets, Japan Rail Pass & More

Kansai International Airport: The Gateway to Western Japan!

Kansai International Airport: The Gateway to Western Japan!
EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

Originally opened on September 4, 1994, Kansai International Airport is Japan's first off-shore airport, built on an artificial island 5km off Senshu in Osaka Bay. It is commonly called by its nickname "Kankuu" (short for "Kansai Kuukou," Kansai Airport in Japanese), or by its Airport Code KIX. This airport is one gateway to Kansai, along with Osaka International Airport and Kobe Airport. It is also currently ranked the second-largest international hub airport in Japan after Narita International Airport, considering international passengers and flights. In 2018, approximately 23 million visitors used Kansai Airport to travel to Japan.

Getting from Kansai Airport to Kyoto

Kansai International Airport is serviced by the JR and Nankai Railway Lines, and directly connects to the expressway for ease of travel by taxi or rent-a-car. There is also a Limousine Bus service that you can use at major stations throughout Kansai.

1.Traveling by Train from Kansai Airport to Kyoto

To get from Kansai Airport to the Kyoto City Area, we recommend a train that is punctual and reasonable in travel time. Both JR and Nankai Electric Railway have Rapid, Express, and Limited Express services. Consider transfers, ride time, and fares your destination when selecting an option.

●JR Line: Approximately 5-6 departures per hour between 5:00AM and 11:00PM. Ride Rapid Line bound for Kyobashi, or Limited Express Haruka Line bound for Kyoto or Maibara (Limited Express train requires both regular passenger ticket and Limited Express ticket).
*Limited Express Haruka Round-Trip Discount Tickets and Ticket Sets for long-distance travelers using both Limited Express Haruka and Shinkansen are available.

●Nankai Line: Approximately 5-6 departures per hour between 5:00AM and 11:00PM. Ride all Express and Limited Express Rapi:t trains bound for Nankai-Namba (Rapi:t requires reserved-seating ticket, passenger ticket, and reserved-seating express ticket to ride).
*Discount sets available for passengers using Limited Express Rapi:t and transferring to a different line in Namba; varies by destination

Kansai International Terminal Arrival Entrance

Now we will cover how to get to Kansai Airport Station from the arrival gate. Begin at the 1st floor arrivals area of Terminal 1. Take the escalator or elevator to the 2nd floor, and head to the exit. Across the connecting passage you will see Kansai Airport Station.

Once you exit the arrivals area, follow the train signs in front of you to the 2nd floor.
Ride the escalator or elevator to the 2nd floor.
Follow the signs above the 2F exit. From Exit 2F/D, head to the connecting passage.
Cross the 2F connecting passages.
After crossing the passage you will see Kansai Airport Station.

This is Kansai Airport Station, where you can catch the JR and Nankai Electric Railway. It is attached to the connecting passages of Terminal 1, 2F.

JR Ticket Machines
Nankai Electric Railway Ticket Machines

This is Kansai Airport Station. The ticket offices for JR and Nankai Electric Railway look similar, so be careful not to mistake the two. The JR office has an all blue sign, and the Nankai Electric Railway is orange and blue. Rapid and express tickets can be purchased from both railway companies respectively.

The automatic ticket vending machines for both the JR and Nankai Electric Railway can also support four languages: English, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. Just toggle the language switching screen.

JR Ticket Office
NANKAI Ticket Information

If you need a Limited Express Ticket or a Reserved Seat Ticket (separate fare from your regular ticket), it is recommended that you purchase each at the ticket information counter.

There are English, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese speaking staff available at the JR ticket office.

At the Nankai Electric Railway ticket information center, there is a portable interpreter installed for customer use that supports 74 different languages.

JR Ticket Gates
Nankai Electric Railway Ticket Gates

The ticket gates to both the JR and Nankai Lines are right next to each other, so be careful not to get them mixed up when boarding.

JR Limited Express Haruka

From Kansai Airport to Kyoto Station
● JR Kansai Rapid Service
Time Required: Approx. 7 minutes to Osaka Station; then approx. 29 minutes via JR Kyoto Line Rapid (Passenger Ticket: 1,910 yen)
● JR Limited Express Haruka
Time Required: Approx. 80 minutes (Passenger Ticket: 1,910 yen + Unreserved Seating Limited Express Ticket: 990 yen or Reserved Seat Limited Express Ticket: 1,520 yen (regular season)/1,320 yen(off season)

Nankai Limited Express Rapi:t

From Kansai Airport to Kyoto via Namba
● Nankai Express
Time Required to Namba: Approx. 43 minutes (Passenger Ticket: 930 yen)
● Limited Express Rapi:t
Time Required to Namba: Rapi:t α approx. 34 minutes/Rapi:t β approx. 39 minutes (Passenger Ticket: 930 yen + Reserved Seating Express Ticket: 520 yen)

From Namba to Kyoto ride to Osaka Metro Yodoyabashi Station (180 yen, approx. 6 minutes), then Keihan Gion-Shijo Station (420 yen, approx. 48 minutes); alternatively, ride to Osaka Metro Umeda Station (230 yen, approx. 8 minutes), then Hankyu Kyoto Kawaramachi Station (400 yen, approx. 44 minutes).

2. Traveling by Bus from Kansai Airport to Kyoto

2. Traveling by Bus from Kansai Airport to Kyoto

Getting through the airport and traveling to your destination with large suitcases can be a challenge. For those times, let the staff take your luggage with and travel more easily via limousine bus. There are many bus departures from Kansai International Airport to major stations.

Keep in mind, travel time will vary depending on road conditions such as traffic, so this option is recommended only if you're not in too much of a rush.

Follow the information board to the 1F Arrival Floor Exit and go outside.

We will now explain how to get from the Arrival Gate to the Bus Stop.

If arriving at Terminal 1, use the 1F exit towards the front of the same floor. If arriving at Terminal 2, go through the front exit and use the pedestrian crossing to the other side. There you will find the bus stop.

The bus terminal is right in front of the exit.
Bus ticket vending machines are installed near bus terminal.

Tickets can be purchased at the ticket vending machines located right near the bus stop. Ticket vending machines are available in Japanese and English.

The Limousine Bus ticket counter is next to the 1F floor exit

There is also a Limousine Bus ticket counter on the same floor as Arrivals, so once you have decided to use the bus, you can buy your tickets right there. There are always Japanese and English speaking staff available at the ticket counter, and occasionally, Chinese and Korean speaking staff, as well.

Limousine Bus from Kansai Airport
Depart from Kansai Airport (Terminal 1, Platform 8) to Kyoto Station Hachijo Exit.
49 departures between 6:00AM to 11:00PM daily.
3 departures per hour between 9:00AM and 10:00PM.
Time Required: Approx. 85-90 minutes
(From Terminal 2, Platform 2: approx. 100-105 minutes)
Price: Adults 2,600 yen, Children 1,300 yen

3. Traveling by Taxi from Kansai Airport to Kyoto

If time and money are of no issue, and you just want to get to Osaka via the easiest route possible, then using a taxi is recommended. Airport taxis offer a flat fare to each destination. While this method is rather costly compared to other modes of transportation, because prices are per vehicle, you can split the cost between multiple passengers. The route to the taxi stand is as follows.

After crossing the passage you will see Kansai Airport Station.
Taxi Stand/Taxi Lane

To get to the taxi stand, exit Arrival Gate from the Terminal 1 entrance, and cross the Limousine Bus Lane. There you will see the taxi lanes, with stands numbered from 1-7.

Short Distance Taxi Stand
Long Distance Taxi Stand

No. 3 is for short distance travel, No. 4 is for people with disabilities, No. 5 is for long distance travel, No. 6 is for the jumbo taxi. Choose the appropriate taxi depending on your destination, number of people, and amount of luggage. The fare may be higher, but if you ride in groups of 3 or 4 people, you can split the fare.

Airport Taxi (*Separate fee for Express and for Pick-ups)
To Kyoto Station:
Regular Car (Capacity: 4): 15,300 yen
Minivan (Capacity: 5): 16,300 yen
Alphard (Capacity: 6)/BMW (Capacity: 4): 17,300 yen
Jumbo (Capacity: 9): 20,800 yen

4. Traveling By Car from Kansai Airport to Kyoto

To travel around the large Kansai Area with more freedom, it is recommended to use a rental car. The route to the rental car reception area is as follows.

From the 1F Arrival Gate, head to the 2F, and use the 2F/D Exit to the connecting passage.
Cross the walkway and pass through the Kansai Airport Station.
Go through the Aeroplaza Corridor, and head to Aeroplaza

Rental car shops are located on the first floor of the Aeroplaza, a complex connected to Terminal 1 Building and Kansai Airport Station via connecting passage.

The reception counter is a 3-minute walk from the passage on the second floor of the Terminal 1 Building. From Terminal 2 Building, it takes about 7 minutes via free shuttle bus.

Follow the Aeroplaza 1F information board to the rental car reception area

This is recommended for those traveling with small children or the elderly, or for those who prefer a more leisurely sightseeing trip.
[From Kansai Airport to Kyoto Station Area Travel Time: Approx. 1 hour 30 minutes]

Kyoto Points of Interest

Kyoto Points of Interest

Now that you know how to travel from the Kansai Airport, it's time to focus on sightseeing! Here are some recommended spots to see.

Kyoto City

Kyoto City

Kiyomizu-dera Temple Area
Kiyomizu-dera Temple is one of Kyoto's classic attractions. The Main Hall, Stage, and Niomon Gate are all must-see national treasures. Kiyomizu-dera is also home to the Jishu-Jinja Shrine, said to bring marriage and good luck. There are many sweets and souvenir shops, folk crafts, and more along Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka, the cobblestone paths leading to Kiyomizu-dera Temple. This is perfect spot to enjoy a leisurely stroll, and see the buildings which still remain as old townhouses. You can get to Kiyomizu-dera by riding the JR Limited Express Haruka Line and transferring to the Kyoto City Bus.

From Kansai Airport Station:
Ride Kyoto-bound JR Limited Express Haruka (1,910 yen + 990 yen unreserved seat fare, approx. 78 minutes) to Kyoto Station; walk about 5 minutes to Kyoto Ekimae Kyoto Municipal Bus Stop (Stop D1 for Bus No. 100, or Stop D2 for Bus No. 206) (230 yen, approx. 12 minutes). Get off at Kiyomizu, and walk about 12 minutes to Kiyomizu-dera Temple.

Roscoe Chui / Shutterstock.com

Arashiyama Togetsu-kyo Bridge Area
Togetsu-kyo Bridge was built as a worship route to Horinji Temple during the Heian period. The surrounding area is full of attractions, including Tenryu-ji Temple, with its beautiful gardens and famous Unryu-zu Cloud Dragon painting, bamboo groves that stretche over 400 meters, and Nonomiya Shrine, a shrine that appears in the Tale of Genji. You can get to Arashiyama via the JR Limited Express Haruka Line and the JR Sagano Line.

From Kansai Airport Station:
Ride Kyoto-bound JR Limited Express Haruka (2,200 yen + 990 yen unreserved seat fare, approx. 78 minutes) to Kyoto Station; ride JR Sagano Line Kameoka (approx. 17 minutes) to Saga-Arashiyama Station; walk about 13 minutes to Arashiyama-Togetsukyo.

Kifune Shrine Area
Kifune, said to be the back streets of Kyoto, is home to Kifune Shrine, a famous shrine where people come to pray for marriage. It is a beautiful shrine lined with red lanterns along the pathways. Dining ryokan also line the Kibune River on breezy riverside patios, where you can also enjoy a delicious meal over the clear, flowing waters from May to September. Kurama-dera Temple, another famous attraction, is also nearby.

Kifune is a bit out of the way from Kyoto City. To visit this shrine, you will need to employ several transportation methods, including JR Limited Express Haruka, Kyoto Municipal Subway, Kyoto Bus, and the Eizan Electric Railway.

From Kansai Airport Station:
Ride Kyoto-bound JR Limited Express Haruka (1,910 yen + 990 yen unreserved seat fare, approx. 78 minutes) to Kyoto Municipal Subway, Kyoto Station; ride Karasuma Line bound for Kokusai Kaikan (290 yen, approx. 20 minutes) to Kokusai-Kaikan Station; walk about 6 minutes to Kokusai-Kaikan Station Bus Stop; ride Kyoto Bus 40 for 2 stops, or Kyoto Bus 52 for 3 stops (230 yen, approx. 3 minutes) to Ichijoyama; walk about 6 minutes to Eizan Electric Railway Kino Station; ride Kurama Line bound for Kurama (340 yen, approx. 13 minutes) to Kifuneguchi Station; walk about 3 minutes to Kifuneguchi Station Bus Stop; ride Kyoto Bus 33 (170 yen, approx. 5 minutes) to Kifune; walk about 6 minutes to Kifune Shrine.

Kyoto Suburban Area

Kyoto Suburban Area
Hiroshi Tanaka / Shutterstock.com

■Byodoin Phoenix Hall Area (Uji)
Byodo-in Phoenix Hall, a national treasure, is a magnificent temple built during the Heian Dynasty. It is also featured on the design of the 10-yen coin. There is a golden phoenix on the roof, and even the building itself resembles a bird, wings spread, hence its name, Phoenix Hall. Uji is also a major tea production area, and there are many shops where you can enjoy authentic matcha sweets. Get to Uji using the JR Line.

From Kansai Airport Station:
Ride Kyoto-bound JR Limited Express Haruka (2,200 yen + 990 yen unreserved seat fare, approx. 78 minutes) to Kyoto Station; ride JR Nara Line for Nara (approx. 27 minutes) to Uji Station; walk about 11 minutes to Byodo-in Temple

EvergreenPlanet / Shutterstock.com

■Oyamazaki-Sanso Area (Yamazaki)
Oyamazaki-cho, located in southwest Kyoto, is a beautiful city full of nature and surrounded by water. The Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum consists of three buildings: the main building, which was built as a villa for successful businessman, Shotaro Kaga, and two annexes designed by architect Tadao Ando, called the Underground Jewelry Box (South Wing) and the Dream Box (North Wing). Various works of art, including Western paintings such as Monet's Water Lilies, were collected by the first president of Asashi Breweries, and are also on display. You can get to Oyamazaki via the JR Line.

From Kansai Airport Station:
Ride Kyoto-bound JR Limited Express Haruka (1,740 yen + 990 yen unreserved seat fare, approx. 49 minutes) to Shin-Osaka Station; ride JR Kyoto Line Rapid bound for Yasu (approx. 22 minutes) to Yamazaki Station; walk about 10 minutes to the Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum.

Amanohashidate (Miyazu)
Amanohashidate is located in Miyazu Bay of the Sea of Japan, the northern part of Kyoto Prefecture,. It is one of the "Nihon Sankei," or The Three Views of Japan. The name Amanohashidate (which roughly translates to "bridge of heaven") comes from the 5,000 pine trees that line the 3.6km sandy beach, a terrain said to resemble a bridge spanning the heavens over the blue sea.
On the south side of the summit of Mt. Monjusan is an observatory called Viewland that overlooks the beautiful Amanohashidate area. To get to Amanohashidate, ride the JR Limited Express Haruka and transfer to the Limited Express Hashidate.

From Kansai Airport Station:
Ride Kyoto-bound JR Limited Express Haruka (4,430 yen + 990 yen unreserved seat fare, approx. 78 minutes) to Kyoto Station; ride JR Limited Express Hashidate bound for Toyooka (1,690 yen unreserved seat fare, approx. 127 minutes) to Amanohashidate Station; walk about 8 minutes to Amanohashidate.

Different modes of transportation for different purposes!

The best transportation for you to use during your travels will depend on many factors, such as age, schedule, amount and size of luggage, who you are traveling with, and experience. The methods introduced today seek to provide as much convenience with as little cost as possible. Whether experienced traveler or Japan first-timer, we hope you will find this guide of great use. Enjoy your stay in Japan!

Text by:WESTPLAN

Get Discount Train Tickets, Japan Rail Pass & More

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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