So there we were with our one large luggage, between platforms 4 and 5, wondering whether we should jump in the train at platform 5 when the JR person informed us a few minutes earlier that the Kansai Rapid Service was going to be in platform 4. My husband pointed out that the train had Rapid Service blinking across it. Being it our first time to land in KIX and to ride the Kansai Rapid Service, we were not sure if it was the one going straight to JR Osaka Station in Kita-ku or if there were other types of rapid services. It was on a different platform. What if it was the right train? The next train would be another thirty minutes and it was already getting late. We jumped inside with only a few seconds to spare before the door closed.
As we pulled out of the airport station, I was still not sure if it was the right train until the monitor showed station names that I could see in the Osaka Railway and Subway map I got from one of the airport information counters. I could now stop gripping my husband’s hand.
If you’re heading to Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe and other parts of the Kansai region from outside Japan, then you’ll most likely be flying into the Kansai International Airport (KIX). From KIX, you have several ways to get to your destination.
How to: For Osaka, we took the JR airport rapid train. This goes straight from the airport to Osaka Station in Kita-ku without you having to make any transfers, which I wasn’t keen to make late in the evening while lugging our bags. The rapid train takes about 50 minutes to get to Tennoji Station (JPY1,060) and 70 minutes to get to Osaka Station (JPY1,190); it also stops at other major stations on the Osaka Loop Line since it is a normal commuter train. It’s cheaper than the Haruka Limited, which stops at Tennoji, Shin-Osaka (this is different from Osaka Station), and Kyoto; but Haruka is faster by 20 minutes and there are reserved seats.
When in doubt, there’s a big JR ticket office in the airport, just above the train platforms. We made a stop here to buy our ticket (instead of the ticket machine) so we could also talk to the person behind the ticket counter and ask which platform we needed to take. Since we took the Kansai airport rapid service, our stop was JR Osaka Station, which was a 10- to 15-minute walk away from our hotel–longer if the wheel of your luggage gets broken.
If you’ll be booked in Kita-ku area, you can also take the airport limousine bus, which stops in different places (ex: Osaka Station) and hotels (Umeda Hotel New Hankyu) and takes about an hour for JPY1,550. The Nankai Rapid can also be an option from KIX to Umeda subway station, but it makes a stop at Namba Station (the option for you if your hotel is close to Namba station), and from there you have to transfer and take the Midousuji line.
Take note: When you’re waiting for your train, remember to check where you should stand on the platform. Aside from the signs for women-only cars, there are symbols (circles and triangles) and numbers (which indicate the car number) on the platform. There’s usually an electronic signage by the platforms that show which platform number and/or symbol you should line up on for your destination so you get on the right car, because some trains uncouple in the middle of the journey and go to different destinations. Happy riding!