Easy Ways to Get from Kansai International Airport to Osaka By Train

by Jackie
A parked Haruka train at Kansai Airport Station with the Hello Kitty decoration

You’ve finally arrived at Japan’s Kansai International Airport (airport code: KIX) after your long travels and you’ve gone through the immigration and luggage pick-up. Now, you need to figure out how to get to Osaka City by train. Don’t worry. We have you covered! 

Taking the train is the easiest way to get from Kansai Airport Station to central Osaka. Osaka is only 50 kilometers (31 miles) away from the airport. 

There are different trains to take based on your budget and time flexibility. To save even more money, foreign tourists can also take advantage of exclusive discounted tickets if showing a passport at the ticket counter at the time of purchase. 

To make things easy for you, we’re sharing how to get from Kansai International Airport to Osaka city center by train and the different train options to consider. 

Whether you’re going to Osaka for 1 day or longer, we hope you enjoy your time in the Kansai region!

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Figure Out Which Station in Osaka to Go To

Before you head to a train and buy train tickets, you’ll need to figure out which train station is the closest to your Osaka accommodation.

Using Google Maps app is recommended so you can find the location of your accommodation and the nearest station. 

You can also map the directions to get an idea of what are the current train schedule to consider. We find that the current train schedules are accurate and depart on-time.


How to Get To Osaka By Train

There are two train companies to consider – Nankai Railways and Japan Railways (JR). Each line will vary depending on your final destination. 

When you leave the airport, follow the signs to the “Trains” and then you’ll be at the Kansai Airport Station. It takes only a few minutes to get there.


Option 1: Taking Nankai Line from Kansai Airport (KIX) to Osaka

If taking the Nankai Railways, there are two train lines to take:

  • Nankai-Kubo Airport Express 
  • Nankai Limited Express Rapi:t (Yes, Rapi:t is spelled like that as it means “fast” in German.)

There are three stations to get off in Osaka – Namba, Shin-Imamiya, and Tengachaya. From there, you can transfer to other lines or take the bus depending on your ending location. 


Nankai-Kubo Airport Express

The Nankai-Kubo Airport Express departs every 30 minutes. It’ll take 44-54 minutes to arrive at Namba Station. The cost is around 930 yen ($6.80 USD). 

This is a local train that takes longer compared to the Limited Express Rapi:t train. 


Nankai Limited Express Rapi:t

The Nankai Limited Express Rapi:t departs also every 30 minutes. It’ll take 40 minutes to arrive at Namba Station The cost is 1,450 yen ($10.65).

This Limited Express train requires reserved seating in advance. With this train, you sit comfortably on the plush seats and have luggage storage. 


Buy Nankai Line Tickets Ahead of Time Here

If you do not want to buy tickets ahead of time, you can buy them at the ticket counter. 


Option 2: Taking JR Line from Kansai Airport (KIX) to Osaka

Japan Railways (JR) Line has two train lines to take:

  • Kansai Airport Rapid Service
  • Haruka Airport Limited Express

Kansai Airport Rapid Service

The Kansai Airport Rapid Service is a local train that takes slightly longer to get to Osaka City but it is cheaper. The route bypasses some of the train stops. 

This train stops at Osaka Umeda and Tennoji Station. It takes 45 minutes to go to Tennoji Station and 1 hour and 5 minutes to get to Osaka Umeda Station. There are at least 3-4 Rapid Service trains every hour.

The cost is approximately 1,080 yen ($8) for this ride. 


Haruka Limited Express Line

Haruka Limited Express Line is the fast express train that takes you to central Osaka and then you’ll transfer to the Osaka Loop or other lines to complete your journey. 

This train is also known as the “Hello Kitty train” as the outside and inside of the train are decorated with Sanrio’s popular cat, Hello Kitty. We’ve taken this train line twice and love the Hello Kitty theme!

Door opening of the Hello Kitty themed Haruka train at Kansai Airport Station

Haruka Line stops at Tennoji and Shin-Osaka in Osaka. It’ll take 35 minutes to get to Tennoji Station and 50 minutes to get to Shin-Osaka Station. From these stations, you can transfer and take the local trains to go elsewhere. There are at least two Haruka trains every hour. 

Note: Haruka Line also goes to Kyoto, Kobe, and Nara areas. 

There is reserved and non-reserved seating. You can easily reserve a seat at the JR office and enjoy the comfortable seats. There is also free wifi and luggage storage. 

The cost is 2,070 yen ($15.20) but there are discounts for foreigners! 

A Hello Kitty themed head cover for the seats in the Haruka Airport Limited Express train Two seats per row with the Hello Kitty themed head cover for the seats inside the Haruka Airport Limited Express train

Buy Discounted JR Pass Before You Arrive Here

Note: The Haruka ticket cost will be covered by the JR passes above. 


If you did not buy a JR pass ahead of time and will only stay in the Kansai area, visit the JR ticket counter located outside of the train entrance. They will provide two discount options:

  • Buy a prepaid ICOCA card and a Haruka one-way ticket (Note: Round trips are available for purchase.) More information is here. 
    • ICOCA cards can be used on Kansai West buses, trains, and subways. You can even use it to pay for things such as lockers at train stations or food at convenience stores.
    • The cost to go to Tennoji Station is 3,200 yen ($23.50) (2,000 yen for the ICOCA card which includes a 500 yen deposit for the card + 1,200 yen for the Haruka ticket). 
    • The cost to go to Shin-Osaka is 3,600 yen ($26.45) (2000 yen for the ICOCA card and 1600 yen for the Haruka ticket). 
    • We decided to do this on our recent trip to Osaka and enjoyed the convenience of using the ICOCA card for our Osaka and Kyoto local train travels. We didn’t have to worry about buying tickets at the station. Just need to add money to the card when running low on funds. 
  • Buy a JR Kansai One Pass. The cost is 3000 yen ($22) (including a 500 yen deposit for the card). This is a prepaid ICOCA card. This card has special discounts too. More information is here. 

The two options above will be cheaper than buying a Haruka one-way ticket by itself. It’s only available for visitors aged 12 and up.

Don’t forget to show your passport as proof of your short stay visit. 

Note: You can return your ICOCA card to a JR West station or at the Kansai airport and receive your 500 yen deposit back. 

A hand holding up a Hello Kitty ICOCA card in front of the Hello Kitty Haruka train at Kansai Airport Station

The Hello Kitty ICOCA card is adorable and available at the Kansai Airport JR ticket office


Which Train is Better to Take – Nankai or JR Line?

It depends on your final location. There is no right or wrong way. 

Both of these lines have a cheaper option and take the local routes and a more expensive and faster way to get to Osaka city. 

Just know that you may need to transfer to another local line (ie: to JR Osaka Loop) and/or use a different train railway company (ie: JR line to Nankai line). So you will incur additional costs. 

If your accommodation has a station along the Nankai line, feel free to just take the Nankai Airport Express or Rapi:t lines. There isn’t any need to take the JR line as it will add to the cost. 


Return from Osaka to Kansai Airport

The return should be a similar route as the initial route. We suggest that you check out the best way to get to Kansai Airport from your Osaka location via Google Maps. It’s what we use as a guide for the train routes and schedules. 

If you already bought a round-trip ticket from the airport to Osaka, then you can proceed with the return route. 

For those who use an ICOCA card, you can add funds to your card at the Kansai Airport Station gates to top up the card before exiting to enter the airport. You can add the exact amount to your card to have a zero balance on your ICOCA card. 

We took the Nankai Line back to the airport. The Shin-Imamiya train station near our accommodation in Osaka was along the JR and Nankai Line so it was easier for us to take the Nankai Line.


Final Thoughts

We hope you feel more at ease with choosing the right train option to get to Osaka. After you go through this process, you’ll be a pro at taking the train from any airport in Japan. 

Once you’ve reached Osaka, enjoy all of the cheap eats and incredible sightseeing spots. If you have the chance, we suggest a visit to Universal Studios Japan to hang out at the new Super Nintendo World!

Check out other places to visit in Osaka:

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