November 2018 First order of the day upon arriving Kansai Airport was to perform our morning prayer. Kansai Airport offers a prayer room on level 3F of Terminal 1. Coincidentally, Malaysian Airline passengers disembark at Terminal 1. One can take the elevator but for odd reason, it only stops at 2F and 4F. So it’s your choice to then take the escalator up one level from 2F or down one level from 4F. Way to the prayer room will pass Uniqlo & Daiso.
The prayer rooms are separated by gender. It has it’s own ablution area and the room is quite spacious with the prayer area fully carpeted. These prayer rooms are one of the better ones we’ve been in Japan. A big thank you to the management of Kansai Airport for providing these prayer rooms. From their website, we understand there are two more prayer rooms available at departure airside. Unfortunately, we’ll be leaving Japan via Narita Airport.
Directional board. The area marked ‘1’ is Korean Airline lounge. The prayer room is towards the right past the lounge.
Hallway towards the prayer rooms as seen from outside Korean Airline lounge.
Entrance to the men’s prayer room.
Prayer area with directional sign to Makkah.
Chairs available for those requiring to perform prayers sitting down.
Entrance to women’s prayer room opposite the men’s.
November 2018 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 discounted ¥1,600 one way Kansai-Kyoto Haruka tickets.
The regular & Hello Kitty Icoca cards. Two different designs to distinguish which is his & hers.
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.
Passage on 2F airport terminal to Kansai-airport (train) Station in an annex building.
The annex building of Kansai-airport (train) Station.
Front part of the annex Kansai-airport (train) Station.
Rows of ticket machines for Nankai & JR trains towards your left.
At the end of the ticket machines, is the JR Ticket Office with it’s blue/yellow facade.
Inside the JR Ticket Office are counters for Japanese & English speaking visitors.
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.
Ticket gates for JR trains and Nankai trains. Credit : hiohio.net/travel-blog/
Past the ticket gates for JR trains, are stairs leading to the Haruka platform one level down. Elevators are also available.
The Haruka awaiting for passengers.
Seats in the Haruka train.
Luggage compartment in the Haruka.
(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.
The causeway connecting Kansai airport & the mainland.
Boat on one of the rivers.
One of the tall buildings in Osaka.
Another modern tall building in Osaka.
The unmistakable Umeda Sky Building.
Coming up, a brief stop at Shin-Osaka station.
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.
Arrival platform 30 at Kyoto train station.
No doubt we’re correctly in Kyoto.
Central entrance/exit of Kyoto train station facing the Kyoto Tower.
Kyoto Tower in-front of the station’s central entrance.
Useful map of Kyoto Station. Credit : KyotoStation.com