Our 2018 long haul trip takes us to the Land of the Rising Sun. Japan will be the first country for our trip to the Far East, after many years of traveling around Europe. We boarded a Malaysia Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur direct to Kansai. Departing KLIA at 22:10, we arrived Kansai airport at 05:40 the next morning. Flight MH52 utilising A330-300, took 6 hours of flying time which we felt rather ‘short’ compared to flying into a European city typically taking 12-14 hours.
Our Japan trip starting 2nd week of November 2018, coinciding with the start of autumn will take us to Kyoto and Osaka before flying to Tokyo with a brief one night stay at Lake Kawaguchiko for Mt Fuji.
Upon arrival into Kansai, we will be collecting our pre-booked ‘Haruka’ train tickets & ‘Icoca’ pre-charged cards. Haruka is an express train service and coupled with the Icoca card (primarily to pay train & bus fares), you’ll be entitled to a substantial discounted train fare for the Haruka from Kansai to Kyoto, or to other designated station in between. We will need to collect our train ticket and the Icoca card from the JR Ticket Office.
The International arrival level at Kansai airport is on 1F of Terminal 1. After passport control and handing our disembarkation card (distributed during your flight), claiming of our luggage and going through customs, we need to go up to 2F and walk over to the annex train station building. We then headed for the JR Ticket Office and after verifying details with our passport, paid & collected our Haruka tickets & Icoca cards. The Icoca card has a valid usage for up to 10 years. For more information and booking, visit here.
Directly in-front of the JR Ticket Office, are the ticket gates for our Haruka train platform on 1F a level down. Elevators are available for those with luggage.
(Note : 1F is GF (Ground Floor) in most other countries. Likewise, 2F in Japan is the 1st Floor and so on.)
Traveling time is 1h 15m for the Haruka to Kyoto station. If you’re riding the train in the morning, choose seats to the left to avoid the sun. As the train enters Osaka, you’ll notice a number of tall buildings, befitting it as the 2nd largest city in Japan. Our journey continues by-passing Osaka bound for Kyoto.
Once you’ve arrived into Kyoto train station, you’ll want to get out through the central exit for the Kyoto Tower (Shiokoji Dori) side. Depending on your itinerary, you may want to exit through the Hachijo Dori exit at the opposite side for your hotel or Shinkansen transfer. Elevators and escalators are available in this station. As with most Japanese hotels and guest houses, check-in is 2-3pm, thus you’ll may need to store your luggage till then. There are lots of coin operated lockers at B1 level of the station. A manned luggage office is also available although a little hidden, so ask around for directions. Cost of storage depends on the size of your luggage.