Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Transportation from Osaka Itami Airport

Bus schedule next to bus ticket counter. Next to it is a bus ticket vending machine
Osaka has 2 airports - Kansai International airport (KIX) and Itami airport (ITM). If you are flying straight from abroad, you most likely will arrive at Kansai International airport. This time because we flew from Narita we actually selected Itami because it is closer to town which makes easier airport transport.

One of my concern when arriving in a foreign country is how to get to my destination. The easiest way sometimes is to hop on a taxi if it would not break your travel budget. But Japan is not the place you want to flag a taxi so lightly. So I made sure to do my homework and did research prior.

What I found out was there were three ways to get into town (different parts of Osaka). 

Monorail & Train
The subway lines that run through Osaka from North to South, West to East don't actually made it into the airport. Airport is serviced by monorail only which connects to the subway at Senri-Chuo station. (look at diagram below)

If you choose to use monorail/train/subway, make sure to get yourself one of those prepaid card like Pasmo or ICOCA card. It saves times and headache trying to get the right fare travelling to places. This card can be used later as well on subway around town.

Itami airport is served by many different types of buses. Osaka airport website has very clear information. 

Most of the buses going to different parts of Osaka comes every 20 minutes. And fares go around 500-640 yen depends on destination. You can see diagram below for all destinations covered.

Tickets can be purchased at vending machines outside arrival hall. Or if you prefer dealing with human, you could also purchase your ticket from the ticket counter.

For more information on any of the bus served - check out the link provided above.

I have heard that travelling by taxis are not recommended in Japan. Especially if you have other options. The taxi fares can be pretty expensive.

My experience
I don't normally use buses because it's harder to figure out where to stop. But in our case I was glad that we chose to take bus from Itami airport to Shin Osaka station. I had the schedule printed out and realized that the timing was just perfect with the bus schedule. So by the time we got to the bus stop we didn't have to wait long. 

Another plus was the bus was limousine bus so there was special compartment for all the luggage. And the bus didn't go anywhere other than the destination. In our case it went straight from Itami airport to Shin Osaka station which was exactly where we wanted to go.

We arrived at Itami at around 8 pm. If we had taken train we would have to transfer at another station and take another train. With a big suitcase and bag pack in towed that thought didn't seem very appealing. Years ago in Tokyo we somehow got on a wrong train and ended up getting back to station so late and almost missed the last hotel shuttle.
Waiting in line at bus stop #13 for Shin Osaka station - on the left was the bus ticket counter and also ticket vending machine
Bus stop has destination name so you won't be mistaken