The JR Pass and the Haruka Express.
Arriving in Japan at Kansai International Airport (KIX)? Then you can use the Haruka Express train for quick and comfortable access to Kyoto and Osaka. The best part is that it is completely free with your JR Pass or regional JR West pass.
The Haruka Express is a ltd. express train service operated by JR West, that means it only stops at important stations and is faster than local trains. Taking just 30 minutes to Tennoji station, 50 minutes to Osaka station and 1h 15 minutes to Kyoto. With over 30 services between Kansai Airport and Kyoto in each direction per day, you never have to wait long!
Regional JR West passes also cover the Haruka Express, such as the Kansai Area Pass, Kansai – Hiroshima pass and Hokuriku Arch pass, a full list can be found here
Getting on the Haruka Express is simple:
Firstly, exchange your JR Pass at Kansai Airport. You can make reservations for the Haruka Express at the same time when activating your JR Pass.
Then, make your way to the JR part of Kansai Airport station and find your carriage number and seat.
Using the Haruka without the JR Pass:
Don’t have a JR Pass, or activating it later? Then you an also use the the Haruka Express a one way fare will cost around 3.000-3.500 yen. A discount ticket called Haruka and Icoca is available, which comes with an ICOCA card, which is very handy to pay for your local transport needs like the subway and Kyoto bus.
Amenities on board
The Haruka Express is build with comfort in mind, seats can recline and rotate 180 degrees. So you’re always facing direction of travel or you can sit together with a party of 4. On board WiFi is available and Green Class (1st Class) carriages are located at the front of the train.
Time tables for the Haruka Express can be found here