From Kansai Airport to Osaka, Kobe, or Kyoto
Built on an artificial island in the middle of Osaka Bay, Kansai Airport (abbreviated to “Kankuu” in Japanese) is about 30 miles south of central Osaka City, 65 miles south of Kyoto, and 45 miles from Kobe. Built in 1994, it’s hyper modern and very well connected to the cities in this region.
Unlike the options for Tokyo airports, choosing a method of transportation into Osaka really depends on where you’ll be staying.
If you’re staying in the Osaka Station area (also called Umeda), the limousine bus is the best option. Buses take around an hour and cost ¥1,500.
For the Shin-Osaka area, as well as to Kyoto,
To Kobe, there’s a ferry called “Bay Shuttle” that takes you across Osaka Bay for ¥1,800; the total travel time is about 30 minutes. On the arrival level of the airport you’ll find a ticket counter; immediately outside the ticket counter area, you’ll find a shuttle bus stop that will take you (for free) to the pier, about 6 minutes away. (The ferries usually run once an hour, with the shuttle bus leaving the bus stop at around 10 minutes to the hour.)
There are other options; some a little cheaper, and some a little quicker. However, since this is a guide for first-timers, I want to show you the easiest way, without having to make transfers and hall your luggage up and down stairs at train stations.
Other Kansai Airport Information
On the first floor (arrivals level), you will find a Tourist Information Counter where you can pick up maps, brochures, and magazines with information about tourist sites in the area. It's also a great place to check to make sure you're headed towards the right train or bus stop.
There are also a few currency exchange booths, with rates the same as in town. (Unlike other countries, the rate for foreign exchange is similar, if not exactly the same, in airports as it is in downtown banks.) You'll also find ATMs from Citibank and Seven Bank that accept international ATM & credit cards. Many Japanese banks ATMs do not accept foreign cards, so be sure to use one of these.