We are arriving at Kansai at 21.00 in the evening, and heading for Kyoto first to spend a few days before travelling. However, as it will be so late when we arrive, should we travel to Kyoto immediately or should we find somewhere closer to sleep that first night (and if so, where? Osaka?) We would rather not activate our JR pass for a few days, so what is the best way to get to a hotel quickly that night? Will the tourist office at the airport be open that late?
There are still trains going to Kyoto at 21.00, however it may be a little late to make your way there, as I would expect you to arrive after midnight. This would not have to be a problem if you book a hotel near Kyoto station, however otherwise I would recommend a stay near Kansai Airport. There are different hotels close to the Airport that make for easy transit stays. I don't have a specific hotel for you but I would recommend taking a look at booking websites such as Agoda or travel adviser for Hotels near Kansai Airport.
The following morning, I would recommend going back to Kansai Airport from where you can take a direct train to Kyoto. A great option is the Haruka Icoca package which gives you a discounted ticket on the Haruka Express directly to Kyoto and comes with a handy prepaid travel card (ICOCA) which you can use to travel the first couple of days before you start using the JR Pass.
Hope this helps!
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