Early Morning Flights : How to Get to Kansai International Airport


So maybe you've  made the same blunder as me:

You've booked an early morning international flight from Kansai International Airport (at 7am), and it's not until during your trip that you realized that might not have been the best time to choose.
I had no car and came to the realization that the subways wouldn't be running until around 5am or so. If it only took ten minutes to get to the airport from where I was, that wouldn't have been too much of a problem. However, I was staying in Osaka a  stop or two from Namba station, and estimates said it would take an hour to get there.

I wanted to arrive 2 hours before my flight to have time to check in and find my terminal, and it seemed like I had two unappealing options:

1)  pay for an expensive taxi ride
2) head to the airport and arrive around midnight, then spend hours overnight there

Fortunately, some research provided me a third option: take the airport limousine bus.
For those with early bird flights, the limousine bus departs from various location within the Kansai area.
Within Osaka, the main two departure sites are Herbis Osaka and Hotel New Hankyu. The earliest bus departs around 3:30am, and reaching the airport takes approximately 50 minutes.
If you're lucky and you are near the departure locations, your life will be easier. Unfortunately, I was about 40 minutes walking distance from the nearest one. However, my airbnb host kindly reserved a taxi for me to take me to the airport limousine bus stop, which combined with the bus fare, was still far cheaper than if I had to take the taxi all the way.

Information on the bus timetable, fares, etc, can be found here.

At Herbis Osaka, the bus stop is easily distinguisable. There is a small inside waiting area with seats and a vending machine to make your wait more comfortable than sitting on the sidewalk outside. There will also be a machine-operated ticket counter outside where you can buy your ticket. If the window isn't open yet, you're just simply too early.
As you wait for the bus to arrive, there will be a worker there going around to check if you're heading to terminal 1 or 2. He/she will give you a receipt for your luggage. Make sure you hold onto it!

Once you arrive at the airport, the bus driver will unload your luggage. I just grabbed mine and started walking away, but he frantically motioned for me to come back and said I couldn't take it until he verified my receipt with the luggage. Don't be a goofball like me.

If you've arrived too early like me, none of the check-in counters will be open yet, and your only companions will be other early travellers and security guards. There are a few armless airport chairs which you can take a nap on, and if you're hungry there is a 7/11 on location.

Kansai Airport is quite small, so check in and security goes relatively fast, and finding your terminal should be easy. Past security, there are a few options to pass time. At the international terminal, there are last minute souvenirs you can peruse, such as totoro dolls, japanese flavored kitkats, and other knicknaks. If you're craving last minute dessert, there is also a Nana's Green Tea counter where you can enjoy matcha parfaits.

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