On this trip to Japan, we travel in a larger group of nine, me, my wife, the boys, mom, uncle, and aunties. It made the arrangement of the itinerary rather challenging since we have to balance objects that might interest the elders, the boys, and us, thus we tried not to make an overly tight and ambitious schedule.
Our flight from Jakarta departed on time, but we received notification from Air Asia a couple of weeks before that our flight from KLIA to Kansai was rescheduled to two hours later, so instead of arriving at Kansai at 9am, we will arrive at 11am with almost 4 hours of midnight stopover at KLIA.
Arriving at KLIA around midnight, we were grateful that McDonalds, Starbucks, and a convenient store were still open. Nobody can sleep during the stopover, so the boarding call for the flight to Kansai was a sweet sound to our ears.
Finally arrived at KIX, we purchased So-net simcard at the vending machine at the far end of arrival hall. To get this simcard working on iPhone, we need to install the APN profile beforehand, which can be found here http://www.so-net.ne.jp/prepaid/i/ (open in your iphone web browser). More information can be found here http://www.so-net.ne.jp/prepaid/en/
The simcard can be used for data only. You can’t make phone call or send sms with this card. Should you need to make and receive phone call, you can rent a mobile phone. Or you can rent a mobile wifi router if you want to connect to multiple mobile devices at once or still want to use your own simcard for call and sms, .
With our mobile phone all sets, we went upstairs to buy our lunch at Sukiya, then headed to the connecting door to JR station.
The queue at JR Office took about 20 minutes that afternoon, after which we were directed to a counter with an English speaking staff who helped us purchase Icoca-Haruka package. Although the queue and purchase can be represented by one person, the person has to provide the passport of everybody in the group. Icoca-Haruka set with a single trip to Kyoto costed 3.600 JPY which includes 1.500 JPY usable credit + 500 JPY deposit in the Icoca card.
Haruka is a limited express train which directly links Kansai Airport with Tennoji, Shin-Osaka and Kyoto. It takes approximately 75 minutes from Kansai Airport to Kyoto.
Icoca card is a cashless smart card for journey on the JR trains as well as other lines such as Kintetsu, Hanshin, Keihan, buses etc. It can’t be used for Shinkansen and you have to purchase separate ticket for limited express train. The card can be topped up at ticket machine at the station.
More info about Icoca here https://www.westjr.co.jp/global/en/ticket/icoca-haruka/pdf/icoca_area.pdf
The Haruka coach has a baggage storage has a separate large baggage section just outside the passenger section. We then ate our meal on the train (yes it is allowed). After a while the conductor appeared to check our tickets, and in our case also presented our kids with Shinkansen stickers (nice touch).
Arriving at Kyoto Station, we struggled a bit to find the Hachijo exit which will lead to our hotel, but after asking for direction a couple of times aided by Google Maps, we found the exit at last which was right across our hotel, Ibis Styles Kyoto Station.
After check in and a bit rest, we headed back to the station. We were looking to purchase platt-kodama tickets for our trip to Nagoya, but the tickets to nagoya was sold out (maybe because it’s Sunday), but we managed to secure the Monday evening Nagoya – Kyoto tickets.
We took JR Nara line from Kyoto Station (only 2 stops) and alighted at Inari Station which was right across the street from Fushimi Inari Taisha.
Since it will take hours of ascending steps to go all the way, we only went halfway up, took some pictures and then get back to the station. We pondered to go to Gion but decided to head back to dine at Kyoto Station instead so we can go to bed early since we already has a long day at KLIA and airplane.
There are a lot of dining options at Kyoto Station. There is Ramen Street on the 10th floor, various restaurants at Isetan Department Store, and there is Asty Road at the ground floor of Kyoto Station near Shinkansen ticket gate which has nice dining selections. We picked Sushi No Musashi, a conveyor belt sushi restautant. The price was indicated by the color of the dish. It took about 15 minutes of queue before we were assigned our seat but it’s worth the wait, the dish was fresh & tasty and the price was good.
With our stomachs full, we crossed the street to our hotel for a good night sleep where finally we can lay down with our backs flat and our feet straight.