Hawaiian Airlines (HNL --> KIX).
It was his parent's first time to the Kansai area (first Japan trip for his sibling) so I planned our entire itinerary
and served as unofficial tour guide. ;)
From Oahu, Osaka is about a 9 hours non-stop flight on Hawaiian's Air's Airbus 330-200 (refer to SeatGuru's seating chart). While offer flights with layovers (in Haneda, Tokyo), whichever way gets me to Japan the fastest, the better!
We took HA 449, and landed in Osaka (KIX), Kansai International Airport the next night at around 7 pm. The flight and food was ok, nothing memorable (unless you count the HA check-in kiosk not allowing us to check-in originally).
While Hawaiian has started to refurbish their planes with a lay flat first-class, this route has not been done yet (looks like only from HNL --> Narita, Tokyo).
We had upgraded to extra comfort ($125+ each way). Aside from an amenities kit (which is pretty well thought out), and a few extra 4-5 inches of leg room. I'm not really sure it was really worth it unless you can get seats right behind first class (Row 11).
I usually allow about 45 mins to an hour to go through immigration, but the line this time for visitors wasn't bad at all. In contrast, I felt a bit sorry for the Japanese residents.
Since Japan immigration prohibits photographs, lets use our imagination here:
KIX airport (Terminal 1)- Arrivals-
If you get lost, just head towards the center area.
There's an information desk here (Terminal 1; International Flights):
1st Floor (arrival) Floor
Kansai Tourist Information Center + Travel Desk - 1st Floor- T1
- FREE WIFI -
[TIP]- If you don't get a mobile WIFI hotspot for your trip, download this app (i0S or Android) to use FREE WIFI.
It gives you access to over 60k hotspots across Japan.
... Did I mention FREE?
Swing by the Kansai Tourist Information desk for your free pamphlet (with setup information and premium code)-- giving you access to an additional 200k hotspots.
You can read more about how this FREE wifi works.
Internet connection is provided by Travel Japan Wifi & Japan Rail West.
If you miss the one at the airport, see the full locations list of all the areas where you can find the premium code.
My plan was going well, until the staff told me all three trains I wanted to book were all sold out. So I had to get the next availability. I abandoned the Sagano Romance train idea as there's only one per hour and it didn't really fit in with my plans by booking another time (you can make reservation but not for the open air car). Some people have reported success at swapping out their reserved seats for the open-air car day-of if there's availability.
If you forgot to get YEN before you land, there's several currency exchange options at the arrival area:
Going to the Japan Rail (JR) Ticket Office at the airport.
This requires going up the escalators to the 2nd floor then walking straight!
If you decide to take the train to your hotel, here is where you would buy your tickets.
Both Nankai Railways and Japan Rail (JR) have ticket offices and stations next to each other.
Pick the one that offers the most convenient route to your destination.
Sometimes, there's volunteer guides here (with English signs) that can offer free trip assistance.
[How to get to Hotel from the Kansai Airport via Limo bus?]
How to Buy Limo Bus Tickets
This option isn't for everyone, but I personally adore Limo Buses.
I like it so much, I devoted another post on it.
It's the slower but more scenic alternative, but comfortable and great when you have lots of luggage.
There's 2 ways you can get your Limo bus tickets at the KIX airport, they are:
Ticket-Window (1st Floor towards middle escalators).
Credit Cards only. English (so-so, debatable).
Ticket machine (self-serve)
Immediately outside of arrival area by the bus stops.
1. First find the bus stop number for your destination.
2. Then find the corresponding ticket machine that sells that ticket.
3. Hit "English" then follow instructions on the screen!
(And oh yes, putting in money would be good too).
You can also buy round-trip tickets (valid for 14 days) here that will save you a few YEN if you are coming back the same route from your destination.
But I got the one-way ticket this time as we we planned to come back from another area.
The ticket's don't limit you on which time you have to follow, so you can freely hop any (as long as the destination is correct).
See a list of all of the Limo bus stops in the Kansai region, or read about how Limo Bus work.
Either way you choose, you will get a ticket that looks similar to this:
We stayed at a hotel right next to the OCAT (Hotel Grasmere Monterey, Osaka), which I recommend (it has a grocery store right underneath, connected to 6 different metro stations), and about ~5-10+ mins walk to Dotonbori.
- Next steps -
All you have to to do is to find the correct bus stop line,
stand in line, show your ticket + hand over your luggage (to get a claim tag).
Their staff will guide you through the rest.
Seating from the airport is first come first-served. So pick any open seat you like.
- Kansai Airport Limo Bus Routes and where it goes.
- You can find Timetable and bus stop information too.
- List of Limo Bus Stop numbers and locations at KIX airport.
- Kansai Tourist Information Center.
- KIX Airport Map Directory.
- Nankai Railway (Rapi:t Train from Airport to Namba).
- Nankai Railway from Kansai Airport --> Surrounding areas (Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, Nara, Wakayama).
- Nankai Railway Route Map.
- JR Rail West- ICOCA + Haruka Discount Combo.
- JR Rail West- 8 Day Free Wifi.
- JR Rail West-(Counter Hours and services at KIX Airport).
- OCAT (Osaka City Air Terminal) floor directory. Their Limo bus station is on the 2nd Floor.
What to watch out for when you arrive at KIX at night:
- Last Limo Bus or train (JR/ Nankai) departure of the night.
- Will you be eating at the airport before getting to your hotel?
- Take note of Mobile Wifi Counter hours (some close kind of early at night).
- It's much more convenient to pre-order your items (hotspot/ phone) prior to leaving your home country, then have it sent directly to your hotel/ place of lodging. It'll be ready for you at check-in.