Before even thinking about making the 50km trip to Kansai International Airport, double-check your flight itinerary and make sure you’re not departing from (the much more conveniently located) Osaka Itami Airport. Despite being so far away, reaching Osaka’s largest airport is actually very straightforward and there are several fast train services that run very regularly, and one bus company that has links to the entire region.
Bus from Osaka to Kansai Airport
Previous visitors to Osaka and the Kansai region will know that there aren’t very many buses between the area’s biggest cities or sites. Unless that is, you are traveling to one of the nearby airports. In this case, the Osaka Airport Limousine company is happy to offer its services for reaching Kansai Airport with relative ease.
With pick-up options from a number of places within Osaka as well as from Kobe and Kyoto, OKKBUS is a great option for those with large bags. Fares from within Osaka start from 1,550 Yen (ca. 15 USD) and the ride takes a little over one hour.
Train from from Osaka to Kansai Airport
Anyone who has read our Osaka city guide will know that is a vast, metropolitan city with numerous entry points and plenty of different areas to stay during your trip. The closest main hub to Kansai Airport is Tennoji, which is located at the base of the circle that can be seen as making up central Osaka.
From here, the JR Limited Express Haruka/ Kansai Airport Express Haruka reaches the airport in just 35 minutes for 1,710 Yen (ca. 17 USD). You can also board the same train earlier on its route, at Shin-Osaka station, for which the total journey will take 50 minutes and cost 2,330 Yen (ca. 23 USD) instead.
An almost identical journey can be done on the Kansai Airport Rapid Service (also JR) which originates from Kyobashi and passes through Osaka station, not Shin-Osaka. This ‘Rapid’ train is actually the slower of the two, taking 70 minutes from Osaka station (1,190 Yen, ca. 11 USD) and 55 minutes from Tennoji (1,060 Yen, ca. 10 USD).
If you happen to be staying near the busy Namba station in southern Osaka, the Nankai Railways train from Nankai Namba is the easiest one to get. The commuter Express trains complete the trip to the airport in 45 minutes (920 Yen, ca. 9 USD) while Limited Express trains do it in 35 minutes (1,430, ca. 14 USD) if you’re tight for time.
Car from Osaka to Kansai Airport
Renting a car from central Osaka and dropping it off at the airport is also an option as some of the biggest rental companies such as Nippon Rent-a-car have branches on site. One of the cheapest is 2Tocoo but even their cheapest car will cost 7,500 Yen (ca. 75 USD) for just a few hours worth of rental time.
Taxi from Osaka to Kansai Airport
As relaxing as it may be, a taxi from almost anywhere in central Osaka to Kansai airport would cost between 15-20,000 Yan (150-200 USD) and would likely be even more expensive at night.
Best way to get from Osaka to Kansai Airport
To catch those cheap early morning flights is quite difficult in Osaka. The airport is very far from the city with little budget accommodation nearby, and trains stop running before midnight. Therefore if you find yourself needing to reach Kansai airport during the twilight hours, then the best option is to take a bus as OKKBUS offers one almost every hour. Alternatively, terminal 1 does have showers for those who want to spend the night in the airport.
The city’s extensive rail network means that taking the train offers the best choices for reaching Kansai airport, no matter what part of the Osaka metropolis you are coming from. However, the trains can be very busy so those travelling with children or big bags might want to consider taking the bus, which offers a similar price and can even do some hotel pick-ups.