It is very common to book a flight very early in the day so one can get to their final destination sooner and be able to enjoy the day fully. The Kansai International Airport (KIX) is a busy airport that is situated considerably fay away from the center of Osaka, on an artificial island in the southwest of this city.
Obviously, there are several ways to get to Kansai International Airport and to catch the plane depending on your preferences or situation.
Taking a taxi is definitely the most comfortable option, especially when you are bringing luggage with you. It is not difficult to find a taxi stop at the nearest mall, relevant train station or even important buildings such as hospitals. Catching an empty one on the streets or calling one using your phone is also possible, even though the basics of the Japanese language would come as handy in the latter.
Unless that it not a problem to you, the downside about using the taxi services has to do with the price. The airport is considerably far away from the center (like the Namba area), so expect to pay more than ¥12,000 on a one-way trip.
Especially if your luggage is “traveller-friendly”, going to KIX by train is a much more economical option. If you are staying in the Namba area, it is possible to take the JR Nankai Line that goes directly to the airport from Namba station.
It takes about 45 minutes and costs ¥920, but there is also a Limited Express which is faster, taking about 35 minutes and costing around ¥1430. From other stations, like Umeda, it is necessary to choose a route to get to Namba station before transferring to the Nankai Line. Be also aware that trains start running only shortly after 5 a.m.
There is an excellent shuttle bus service from the main areas of the city of Osaka and also from the surrounding ones (like Kobe, Kyoto, Nara, etc…) that can take you to the airport. If you are staying or living in the north of Osaka, taking the monorail to Itami Airport (domestic flights airport) or to Hotarugaike station and then taking the shuttle bus to KIX is also a good option.
The prices depend on the starting point, but it is never more than ¥2,550 one-way.
Official Website: http://www.kate.co.jp/en/
However, sometimes public transportation and other means do not match the place you are staying and/or the hour of your flight. Taking this issue into account, there are some options that are perfectly plausible to be considered as well.
Staying at a hotel
As said, if none of the options are attractive to you, or if the timetables are not in your favor, you can choose from the travelling options listed above and then stay in one of the many hotels by the shore, in front of the airport island.
The prices vary depending on the hotel and it normally provides a shuttle bus service from the hotel to the airport at given times of the day and night.
Staying at the airport itself
If none of the previous options look suitable for your situation, or if you are travelling on a low budget, why not spending the night at the airport?
It might not be the most comfortable option for a good night’s sleep, but KIX airport is considered to be one of the safest airports to stay overnight.
If you are willing to spend some money, on the second floor of Terminal 1 there is a “KIX Airport Lounge” where you can rest and even take a shower.
If spending money is not in your plans at all, it is completely fine to take some sleep on the chairs spread around the airport. Security guards roam around all night and there is also a koban (small police station) on the same floor, in case you need to ask for help. Even when most shops and restaurants are closed, there is a konbini (convenience store) next to it as well a McDonald’s, both open 24 hours a day, if you are hungry or thirsty. Most people in the same situation gather on this floor, especially because it is the same floor that is linked to the JR station.
Choose wisely and have a safe flight!