The JR Kansai Airport Line is a short rail line that connects Kansai International Airport with the rest of the JR West railway network in Osaka. The line runs between Kansai Airport Station and Hineno Station with just one stop between at Rinku Town Station. Two important through services make use of this line: the Limited Express Haruka and the Kansai Airport Rapid Service.
The Limited Express Haruka connects Kansai Airport with important JR stations at Tennoji, Shin-Osaka and Kyoto. The Kansai Airport Rapid Service connects Kansai Airport with important JR stations at Tennoji, Osaka and Kyobashi. Both of these services are covered by the Japan Rail Pass. In this article we explain how to travel between Kansai Airport and Osaka Station using the Kansai Airport Rapid Service.
Traveling from Osaka Station to Kansai Airport
Trains bound for Kansai Airport make regular departures from Platform 1 of Osaka Station. They take around 65 minutes to reach the airport and the fare is 1190 yen.
Kansai Airport Rapid Service trains that are bound for Kansai Airport follow an anti-clockwise route around the Osaka Loop Line. Some trains start at Tennoji Station and others start at Kyobashi Station before stopping at Osaka Station. They then follow the Osaka Loop Line’s anti-clockwise track back down to Tennoji Station. From Tennoji they then follow the Hanwa Line to Hineno Station, and from Hineno they follow the Kansai Airport Line to Kansai Airport. This route is important because trains following the anti-clockwise track depart from Platform 1 at Osaka Station.
You should not get on Kansai Airport Rapid trains at Platform 2. These trains are returning from Kansai Airport following the clockwise track. They are bound for either Kyobashi or Tennoji Stations, and they will terminate at those stations.
Kansai Airport Rapid trains that are bound for Kansai Airport are coupled with Kishuji Rapid trains until they reach Hineno Station. At Hineno Station the carriages belonging to the Kishuji Rapid train separate from the Kansai Airport Rapid. The Kishuji Rapid train then follows a different course down to Wakayama. It is important to board the right part of the train at Osaka Station so that you don’t go to Wakayama by mistake! Be sure that you board one of the front four carriages as these will go Kansai Airport.
The rear four carriages belong to the Kishuji Rapid Service bound for Wakayama.
Traveling from Kansai Airport
Departing from Kansai Airport Station the Kansai Airport Rapid Service follows the Kansai Airport Line to Hineno Station, and then follows the Hanwa Line to Tennoji Station. From Tennoji Station the train then follows a clockwise course around the Osaka Loop Line, stopping first at Osaka Station, before reaching Kyobashi Station. Some trains terminate at Kyobashi Station and others continue on to complete the circle at Tennoji Station.
Journey times vary according to the train and the time of day. Here are the fares and average times required for the major stations on this route:
|10 – 15 minutes
|50 – 55 minutes
|70 – 75 minutes
|70 minutes (transfer at Tennoji)
|40 – 50 minutes (transfer at Hineno)
For Wakayama, take the Kansai Airport Rapid Service to Hineno Station. At Hineno Station transfer to a Kishuji Rapid Service train bound for Wakayama. The total journey time is between 40 – 50 minutes and the fare is just 890 yen.
For Kyobashi Station, it is actually quicker to transfer when the train first reaches Tennoji Station, and change to a train following an anti-clockwise course around the Osaka Loop Line. The fare is the same and changing trains will get you to Kyobashi Station 10 minutes earlier than if you follow the clockwise route.
For Namba, take the Kansai Airport Rapid Service to Shin-Imamiya Station on the Osaka Loop Line. At Shin-Imamiya Station transfer to a local train on the Yamatoji Line and get off at JR Namba Station. The total journey time is between 60 – 65 minutes for a fare of 1060 yen.
For Kobe, take the Kansai Airport Rapid Service to Osaka Station. At Osaka Station transfer to a Rapid Service on the JR Kobe Line and get off at Sannomiya Station. The total journey time is around 1 hour and 47 minutes for a fare of 1710 yen.
For Kyoto, take the Kansai Airport Rapid Service to Osaka Station. At Osaka Station transfer to a Rapid Service on the JR Kyoto Line and get off at Kyoto Station. The total journey time is around 2 hours for 1880 yen.
The Limited Express Haruka provides a faster service to Kyoto but it is also more expensive. If you take the Limited Express Haruka from Kansai Airport, it will take you directly to Kyoto Station in just 1 hour and 20 minutes with no changes, however the fare is 2850 yen. If you are carrying the Japan Rail Pass the Haruka service is recommended for journeys to Kyoto.
Choosing Your Route
All seats on the Kansai Airport Rapid Service are non-reserved and the trains can be crowded during peak periods. The Kansai Airport Rapid Service is also much slower than the Limited Express Haruka. However, the Kansai Airport Rapid Service does have some advantages. It is much cheaper than the Limited Express Haruka, and it also runs a direct route between Kansai Airport and Osaka Station. To travel to or from Osaka Station using the Haruka, you would have to transfer at Shin-Osaka Station. The Kansai Airport Rapid Service also runs several trains an hour. To plan journeys on JR West lines we recommend the JR West Timetable and Fare Finder. If you have ongoing connections with private rail lines, use an English language online route finder like Jorudan or Hyperdia.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.