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Kansai Osaka Airport Review

Review of Kansai KIX Osaka Airport

Since I have been to Osaka a number of times, I felt it was high time that I did a review of this amazing airport known as KIX or Kansai International Airport here.

Anyone visiting Osaka would be coming in here and I am going to share some general overall information about what is available here at the Osaka Airport.

Review of Kansai Osaka Airport

On a trip here with mainstream journalists from Malaysia and working with the Osaka Government Tourism Board (OGTB) and Tourism Malaysia Osaka (TMOsaka), our group was taken on a tour around the airport. 

Anyone planning to visit here should take note that flights to Osaka depart from Kuala Lumpur at midnight and arrive in Japan early in the morning.

Therefore we flew via Malaysia Airlines on this trip and on our arrival, greeted by the head of Malaysia Airlines Osaka office together with the representatives of TM Osaka and OGTB.

The seven-hour flight was pretty decent, but my important tip would be to get a window seat or one by the door or bathroom if you want a comfortable flight here. 

Osaka Airport International check-in counters
International check-in counters at the departure hall

Anyway, arriving at Osaka's KIX brought back memories from my previous trip in 2012 and 2013 where I noticed that some renovations have been done to accommodate the growing passengers here.

You should also know that there has been a steep rise in Malaysians visiting Osaka, namely Muslim tourists who seek the Japanese experience here. 

Our media group was given a semi-tour of the shopping facilities in the departure area and on a first impression, I could see that sections here resembled more of a shopping mall rather than a common airport shopping area.

They put in the effort to ensure that travellers felt comfortable here and I for sure was very comfortable. Popular Japanese brands caught my eye as we did a walk through the main shopping areas in the airport departure area. 

Daiso store at Kansai airport
Daiso store at Osaka airport

Muji to Go, Uniqlo and even Daiso were some of the common names that I am used too and they are more familiar with Malaysian travellers as well.

Other shops were more general and straight forward offering travellers what they needed before and after a trip. Souvenir shops were abundance with all sorts of Japanese names while speciality stores were also available. 

On a side note, the Daiso store here is selling items at ¥100 and at the time of my visit, the conversion to Ringgit Malaysia was 3, so everything was RM3 and that was a steal if you ask me, compared to the Daiso in Malaysia which is RM5 per item.

So, if you are a shopping fanatic, make sure you bring that famous Bag-in-Bag and book that extra luggage on flight back. (Bag-in-bag is how travellers put a medium bag inside a larger luggage bag and packing the clothes in the medium bag)

Kansai Airport Shopping
Shopping in Osaka KIX Airport

The Kit-Kat Hunter

For chocolate lovers, if you are hunting for that amazing Japanese Kit Kat selections, there is one store here that sells the entire collection, well sort of.

As I was walking through, I noticed the specialized Kit Kat display with at least 8 different flavours. Eight! Can you imagine that? Not one, not two but eight!

Definitely, a paradise for Japanese KitKat lovers and the prices are quite decent too, priced at ¥600 to ¥800 per box, which works out to be around RM18 to RM24 (US$6 to $8).

Flavours include Kit Kat Wasabi, Green Tea, Red Bean, Strawberry Cheesecake and other unique stuff.

You know how friends and relatives always ask for Japanese Kit Kat when anyone goes to Japan? Well, this is your solution here in Osaka. 

Japanese KitKat  at Osaka Airport
Japanese Kit Kat variety for sale at Kansai Airport

General Shopping Photos of Kansai Airport

Below are some general photos were taken during my walk around with the Kansai Airport officials.

A majority of the photos were taken in the common departure area of the airport. This means it is open for the public as well. 

Osaka Airport Japanese souvenir shop
A Japanese souvenir shop

Kansai Airport Kokumin Shop
Kokumin Shop

Kyoto Craft Mart Osaka Airport
Kyoto Craft Mart, a good place for souvenirs

Muji to Go shop in Osaka Airport
Muji to Go speciality shop in Kansai Airport
Shops at Osaka airport
Some of the shops in the airport area

Toy Park Shop at Osaka Airport
Toy Park, great for kids...and adults too

Uniqlo store at Osaka Airport
Uniqlo store at Kansai Airport

Japanese Food at Osaka Airport

Sushi Restaurant in Osaka Japan
Some of the Japanese 'Display Food' at the airport

Japanese Bento t Osaka Airport
Japanese Bento and other dishes

As for food and beverage, the list goes on and on here. Mainly Japanese restaurants that offer the usual sushi, bento, soba, and ramen with their beautiful fake-food displays that are always in front of the restaurants, which always amazes me too.

Others include the Japanese fusion restaurants offering hamburgers, steaks and a number of western choices. 

For those arriving in Osaka, you would most likely be really tired and exhausted from the flight and will head straight to the city.

Therefore these places are best visited before you depart Osaka so give extra time before you check in to for your flight.

In general, you can come here early for breakfast and explore Japanese food one last time before leaving Osaka. 

Muslim Friendly Facilities at Osaka Airport

Halal Food in Osaka Airport
A halal Japanese restaurant at Kansai Airport

Halal certified restaurant in Osaka, Japan
Halal certification at the Japanese Restaurant

Halal Restaurant at Kansai Airport

Muslim travellers are in for a deal as there was one Japanese restaurant which was certified Halal by a Malaysian certification board and the sign clearly stated it by displaying it in front of the restaurant.

So, Muslims can now enjoy traditional Japanese cuisine which is halal here at Osaka airport. Just take a look at the menu photos below. 

Halal Japanese Food at Kansai Airport
Halal Japanese Food at Osaka Airport

Muslim Prayer Room Facilities at Kansai

Kansai Airport has also built special prayer rooms for Muslims. Our media group visited one prayer room or 'surau' which is located on the 3rd floor of the main terminal building.

Surau at Osaka Airport
Prayer Room or surau at Osaka airport

Inside there is a men and women section for prayers complete with the 'kiblat' direction and also an area to wash up before prayers.

To use the facility, you need to inquire from the main information counter for them to open the prayer room for you. In total, there are three prayer rooms found around Kansai Airport which are;

1. Third Floor 
2. International Gate Area North Wing
3. International Gate Area South Wing

Prayer room at Osaka Airport
Prayer room sign at Kansai Airport

Arrival facilities at Kansai International Airport 

Kansai Tourist Information Center Osaka Airport
Kansai Tourist Information Center

When you exit the immigration and customs, you will see the main arrival hall. Here is usually where pick-ups are done and in most cases, Free Independent Travelers or FIT as they are commonly called will seek the bus or train services to head into Osaka city.

It generally takes about one hour to travel to the city from the airport. 

Kansai Tourist Information Center

Osaka Information
Kansai and Osaka Information

Before one does that, you should check out the Kansai Tourist Information Center for all your information. Not to worry as the staff here speak English.

They also have a dedicated area where free information booklets on Kansai and Osaka are displayed and some of them are available in multiple languages.

Look out for the English ones and at the time of writing this, there was none in Bahasa Malaysia. Most of the general information about places to go, places to shop, festivals and so on are available here.

Japan Sim Card and Mobile Center at Kansai Airport
Japan Sim Card and Mobile Center at Osaka Airport

Japan Sim Card and Smart Phone Kiosk 

The most popular stop for travellers is the sim card booth. It is here where you will most likely get a sim card for your smartphone or the easiest of them all, renting a portable WiFi unit which is very practical.

I am still unsure about the Japanese Sim Card and if it works well with the Malaysian or Southeast Asian mobile phones, but you should double check on this.

Osaka Airport Free WiFi services
Osaka Free WiFi services

As for me, I just used my hotel WiFi whenever I had the chance. A number of places around Osaka offer free WiFi while there is also the Osaka Free WiFi which is very easy to log into.

Just connect to it, a browser will automatically pop up, put in your email and you can use it for 15 mins. When it disconnects, just do the same step.

I would confidently say that all hotels in Osaka have free WiFi and here's a tip, some of the convenient stores have free WiFi like Lawson. Simply log in and connect.

There are even some companies in Malaysia that offer portable WiFi rentals before you leave the country.

At the Mobile Kiosk Center here, you can even rent Japanese smartphones which are in English. 

MAS check-in counter at Kansai Airport
Malaysia Airlines check-in counter at Kansai Airport

Checking in at Osaka Airport

The Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia X check-in counters are located at Counter A, which is the first counter and the leftmost as you enter the departure hall of Kansai Airport.

The staff here are all Japanese who speak English so there should be no problems in a language unless you do not speak any English at all, I suggest you ask them for the Malaysian manager or staff to speak too. 

Osaka Airport Smoking Room
Smoking Room located at Counter A in the departure hall 

Smoking Room at Osaka Airport

You should know that entire Japan is on route to becoming a no-smoking country, however, for smokers, fear not as there are designated areas and rooms available.

At the Osaka Airport, the smoking rooms are available on all levels. At the departure hall, the smoking room is just next to Counter A where the MAS and AirAsia X check-in counters are located. 

On the arrival hall, the smoking room is all the way to the right of the building before you exit the arrival.

Please note that you are not allowed to simply smoke anywhere you like, even outside the airport. 

Osaka Airport Luggage Baggage Wrapping Storage
Luggage services at KIX

Bag Wrapping Facilities and other services

While a number of travelers like to wrap their bags for extra security, this service is offered just next to the smoking room at Kansai Airport.

There is a fee charged according to size. The company is called Your Wrap. 

1. Small Luggage Bag is ¥500
2. Medium Luggage Bag is ¥700
3. Large Luggage Bag is ¥900
4. Extra Large Luggage Bag is ¥1000 

Baggage Storage Service 

Next to 'Your Wrap' is a baggage or luggage storage service where fees range from ¥360 to ¥1030 according to the time you store it here.

These are very trustworthy services but please do not put valuables in your check-in luggage, never ever do that. 

Extra Luggage 

For anyone who over-shopped in Osaka, fear not as you can buy boxes from the Baggage Service Area.

A medium-sized box will cost around ¥800 and you can check-in these boxes on your flight. Note that any excess baggage will be charged, depending on your airline. 

Kansai Airport Money Changer
Money Changer at Kansai Airport

Currency Exchange or Money Changer in Osaka Airport

There are a few counters at the arrival and departure levels so you need to look out for the word 'Currency Exchange'.

Money Changer is a very Malaysian or Southeast Asian term so you will not see it all over Japan. Rates are based on the banks and are usually decent.

However, it is always better to change your Japanese yen in Malaysia or your home country before visiting Osaka, Japan. 

Vending Machine Services

Kansai Airport vending machines
Vending machines at the arrival hall

You will be surprised that they even have a vending machine area in the arrival section of the airport here.

Inside you will find machines that sell popular Japanese coffee brands like Suntory, Boss, UCC and many other names.

They also sell them in hot or cold and prices are always around ¥100 to ¥130 per can. Other items found here include soft drinks and cigarettes.

Other shops and facilities around Kansai Airport

For those leaving Osaka, I would highly recommend you come at least 3-4 hours before your flight departs.

Why? All because of the security checks which can take quite long. As Malaysian Airlines and AirAsia X flights depart in the late morning, many other international flights also depart around the same time.

Therefore, you should give at least 30 to 45 minutes just for the security checking line. (Where you need to remove everything for the airport scanners). 

There is also a post office, clinic, dental clinic, police station, battery charging points (chargeable ¥100 for 30 minutes) and even a pet hotel. A number of airport lounges and the KIX Airport Lounge are also open 24 hours. 

Mc Donald's at Osaka Airport
Last chance for that Japanese McDonald's burger before leaving Osaka

And more importantly, it is the 'last-minute shopping' where you have the option of visiting the many shops outside the main departure area before going into the duty-free area.

Why am I saying this? Simply because there are many travellers who like to finish their small change or get those last-minute goodies and souvenirs from the local convenience stores like 7-11, Lawson and Family Mart. 

Also, the common Japanese restaurants, Halal restaurant, and other fast foods are usually outside in the main areas.

Once you go inside after immigration, you will only have the choice of the duty-free shops here. Again, there are a ton of items to buy here too.

If you are looking for traditional Japanese food souvenirs or Kit Kat, the duty-free shops have them all there.

And the best part, a lot of them display the contents of the snacks for you to see while some English explanation is also available for some of the Japanese snacks. 

Kansai KIX domestic departure hall
The domestic departure hall at the airport

Tsutaya Book Store Kansai Airport
Tsutaya Book Store at the domestic section of the airport

AED or Automated External Defibrillator devices in Kansai Airport

Kansai International Airport was the first airport in Japan to install AED or Automated External Defibrillator devices that can be used by ordinary citizens.

An AED is a medical device that is used to restart the heart of a person who is in cardiac arrest and there are 46 AED units around the airport here. 

In total there are 27 units in the Terminal 1 Building, 11 units in the Terminal 2 Building, and 8 units in the Aeroplaza, hotel, Observation Hall and other locations.

Please get and check the airport map if you or someone travelling with you is diagnosed with a heart condition. 

Kansai Airport Layout Map
Kansai Airport Map

For more information, you can also visit the Kansai Airport website and also the Osaka Government Tourism Board website.

This trip was made possible with the collaboration of OGTB, Tourism Malaysia Osaka and Malaysia Airlines.

Osaka Tourism Board Tourism Malaysia Airlines
Officials involved in the Osaka Media Trip

On a side note, many people seem to be asking me when is the best time to visit Osaka and speaking to the many tourism people involved over the number of times I have visited this place, I have come to a conclusion.

The best time to visit Osaka would be in the Autumn from October to November, Spring from the end of March to early April.

However, you should take note that the Cherry Blossoms usually start flowering in end March to the first week of April for those wanting to see this amazing sight.

You can also check out the Sakura Forecast website. I am amazed that they even have this for the tourist.

Universal Studios Japan Osaka
Universal Studios Japan, one of the most popular attractions in Osaka

Other times to visit Osaka are during Christmas to experience the Japanese Christmas and witness some for the winter festivals.

However, most of the Japanese festivals take place in the summertime so if you are into festivals, please check the main website for the complete list of festivals in Osaka.

However, you should also know that Universal Studios Japan is one of the most popular tourist attractions to visit at any time of the year.


I hope you enjoyed my Kansai Osaka Airport review and if you have any comments or feedback, please do contact me from the comment form below.

I will also be sharing more stories and photographs of my Osaka Media Trip while you can also check out some of my previous Japan articles highlighting Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo.   

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