For those who will use Kansai International Airport (KIX) to visit Kyoto, this is a must-read article. Kansai International Airport is the nearest (or second nearest) airport from Kyoto City and the one most international travelers use.
This post will list 3 important things every traveler should do when they arrive at this airport.
First things first. Except for using the bathroom, everyone needs some cash for everything from buying a snack to purchasing a train ticket to Kyoto. The exchange rate might not be best at the airport, so just exchange enough money to use for the next day or two days. Note that even the cheapest transportation method (long distance bus) costs about 2500 yen/person. If planning to take a taxi from Kyoto Station to a hotel, it might take 600 – 1500 yen depending on the distance. Therefore it is wise to exchange at least 10000 – 20000 yen/person. Remember that cash is more convenient in Japan.
Use the Bathroom
Do not underestimate the importance of this suggestion. Some people think it will be easy to find bathrooms in Kyoto Station (for those who use trains or buses). Unless you are a regular at visiting Kyoto, it will be a time-consuming and somewhat frustrating experience. And it will take about 75 – 90 minutes to get to Kyoto from KIX. Some buses and trains (express) have a bathroom inside, however it is very small and not a good idea to count on it. Kansai Airport is relatively new and has many clean bathrooms.
Purchase Transportation Tickets
After exchanging money, now it’s time to buy a transportation ticket. There area a few options here; JR (name of the biggest train company) Express Called Haruka or Airport Limousine Bus. There is another train called Nankai, but it will be confusing since you need to change trains a few times to get to Kyoto. To get a bus ticket, use the ticket machine located outside on the 1st floor of the airport building. Get a ticket to Kyoto Station and wait at bus stop No. 8 for Terminal 1 and No. 1 for Terminal 2. As for a train, it is better to buy the express ticket even though it costs more than the local train. Go to JR’s ticket booth (find the green one which sells express tickets). Choose English menu and follow the directions carefully. For more information on transportation, please consider buying the affordable Kyoto e-Guidebook.