This region can serve as a nice base with a good number of things to do…
The other major city near this airport is Osaka, and you can take the Haruka train from Osaka to Kansai Airport too.
Osaka is slightly closer to the airport than Kyoto.
Is it easy to get to Kansai Airport from Kyoto by train?!
Yes, it can be pretty easy!
There is the JR Haruka train that you can get on at Kyoto Station, and then get off at Kansai Airport.
So it can make for a pretty simple last leg of journey before flying out.
This is one of the most convenient ways to get to the airport by train from Kyoto.
The one part that might be confusing is in buying the train ticket (because you need 2 tickets, actually), but more on that below.
How frequent are the train timings?
The JR Haruka limited express train generally departs from Kyoto Station every half hour, so the train timings can be pretty convenient too.
Here’s a bit of what your train journey from Kyoto to KIX airport might be like!
Arrive at Kyoto Station
Head on over to the ticket machines
You’ll be able to buy JR Haruka train tickets at the normal ticket machines.
Buy your train ticket!
You’ll basically just follow the prompts on the screen.
You can switch over to the English language option.
If you are buying a ticket for more than one person, you can select how many adults and children you are buying tickets for.
The default is 1 person, so if you’re only buying a ticket for yourself, you don’t need to bother with this part.
So at the main screen, you will look for the “limited express” option and continue to follow the prompts.
You’ll first click for a train bound for Kansai Airport, and then you’ll be asked which train station on this line you want to get off at.
So in both cases, you’ll choose the airport.
Here is where you need to buy 2 tickets!
You want to choose the option to buy BOTH the limited express ticket AND the fare ticket.
And then you’ll be provided with the train ticket fare.
And then you’ll pay that amount below!
If you don’t have exact change, change will be provided.
And out comes your tickets!
There will be 2 tickets that come out.
How much is a train ticket from Kyoto to Kansai Airport?
So the total cost of a train ticket from Kyoto Station to Kansai airport on the JR Haruka limited express train is 2,850 yen (US$25). (Or this is how much I paid in April 2019 anyway.)
You can only buy non-reserved seating tickets on the ticket machine
The JR Haruka has both reserved seats and non-reserved seats.
The tickets you buy at the ticket machine will provide you with non-reserved tickets.
If you’re not traveling during peak times, you will likely be okay with non-reserved seating.
The bonus is that Kyoto Station is where this train originates, so there’s an even better chance that you’re likely to end up with a seat.
But, if it makes you feel better to have reserved seating and you know the train time you want to take based on your flight time, you can get reserved tickets at the Kyoto Station JR office.
This is located right next to the ticket machines.
Sometimes, there is a long line at the JR office, so you may not want to wait until the last minute.
It is possible to buy reserved seating tickets days in advance.
If you buy non-reserved tickets at the ticket machine, that is for DAY OF travel. So don’t buy in advance!
Can you use a JR pass to take the Haruka train?
Yes, the JR pass is good for the Haruka airport train which means you can completely skip buying any tickets at all!
Okay, so you have your JR Haruka train ticket in hand (or your JR pass)…
Head over to the platform that the Haruka train departs from!
If you have train tickets, you’ll insert the 2 tickets together that you just bought at the same time.
And then they will come out of the other end, and you need to grab them.
Once you’re through the gate (or you could do this before you go through the gate), you can confirm the train timings, and what platform you need to go to.
Although for figuring out which direction the JR Haruka platform is can be as simple as following the signs!
And maybe you’ll want one last meal in Japan – a train station bento box?!
You’ll see this on your way to the train.
Food and drinks no problem on the train.
Or you’ll see a 7-eleven convenience store kiosk too right before you get on the train for some quick snacks and drinks.
So now you’ve arrived at the platform…
You can do a quick check to confirm this is the airport train!
And then board the train according to which seating your ticket is!
Seats in reserved cars and non-reserved cars are the same.
Luggage storage in the JR Haruka train?
As an airport train, there are dedicated sections to store your suitcase or big backpack.
There’s also a luggage rack above your seat that you can use for smaller items too.
There is a toilet on the train.
And then soon…
Off you go to Kansai Airport!
aka a man-made island!
At some point, someone will come around to check tickets, so be sure to have them handy!
Arrival at Kansai Airport KIX!
And once again…
Follow the signs!
First to leave the train area…
There are stairs, escalators, and elevators.
Then you’ll come to exit the airport train station…
And then either show your JR pass over to the side, or place your 2 tickets into the machine.
This time, no tickets will come out at the other end – you’re done!
And then next, follow the signs to catch your flight!
HAPPY TRAIN RIDE FROM KYOTO TO KANSAI AIRPORT!
More quick tips for planning your trip to JapanThere are affiliate links on this page that take you to partner websites.
For more on planning your trip to Kyoto, see the 1-day, 2-day, and 5-day Kyoto itineraries. If you'll be in Kyoto in the spring, also see the 1-day cherry blossom photo walk.
Hotels in KyotoSearch for deals on Kyoto hotels here.
For hostels across Japan, try this top backpacker's hostel chain.
Kyoto can also be a good place to stay at a Japanese-style ryokan, like this one. Or if you're on more of a budget, try this one.
Also use the map below to see more hotels in Kyoto!
Shoes for JapanFor summer travel, hiking sandals can be perfect for walking around cities and for many of the short day hikes! See travel sandals like these for women and these for men.
Japan is a mountain country so be sure to get in some hikes!
See trail running shoes too (for women - for men) for other solid hikes including climbing Mt Fuji.
Speaking of hiking, I love this daypack.
The super fast train in JapanIn general, 2 long-distance shinkansen train trips will likely end up making it so the JR pass will be worth it.
See the current price of a JR pass from an official vendor.
See an example of traveling by the fast train from Tokyo to Kyoto.
Natural disasters in JapanUnfortunately, Japan can be prone to natural disasters which means risk for travel delays. So be sure to look at travel insurance for natural disasters.
My travel insurance took care of my accommodation and food costs when I was forced to stay extra days in Japan because of a typhoon.
See how much insurance costs for your trip.
Best travel guides for JapanIf you're at step 1 in your planning process, have a look at this Discover Japan book.
For "books" that won't take up space in your suitcase, see the best PDF guides.
See more of the best books for Japan trip planning.
Cheap(er) flights to JapanI used this website to find the cheapest flight and to book my recent flight to Japan.
Sometimes it makes sense to book direct - my preferred way!
But this booking site will search a combination of airlines, including those who aren't partner airlines, which means that they can help you find cheaper flights by booking individual flights for you as part of one flight itinerary. This can be especially helpful if you're not flying out of a major hub with direct flights to Japan.
I've missed a flight booked through them and it was taken care of with hotel and new flight.
See more tips for finding cheap flights to Japan.