Friday, May 2, 2014

Japan Day 1: Arrival at Osaka International Airport

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All the kids were excited for the trip that waking them up at 4 in the morning was no trouble at all. Our Cathay pacific flight was scheduled to depart at 8:45 am. 

NAIA terminal 1 is undergoing some renovations so C anticipated some delay in checking in. 
I am happy to note that MIASCOR has undergone some minor face lift, and is not so tired looking anymore. It is worthy to note that the new couches have uplifted the overall mood of the lounge a bit.

The food however, remains the same throughout the years.  But I don't want to complain since the food and the stay is free anyway.  Being grateful is the only way to go.

We chose to fly Cathay Pacific because the husband wanted an airline that has a young fleet and a solid safety record.  But I think C just wanted to really stop at HK even if just to eat at the airport.:)  

With nothing better to do but to eat, we settled for some quick bites at C's fave, Tasty Congee and Wanton.
J couldn't resist having her fave green tea frap at Starbucks.
The flight was uneventful with the kids busy enjoying the in-flight entertainment.  While I was just busy catching up on some zzzzzs.

When we finally got to our final destination, it was already 8:45pm, the plane was delayed by a few minutes leaving Hong Kong because of air traffic issues.

Arrivals are on the 1st floor, while departures are from the 4th floor.
The Japanese customs has very rigid procedures where they took our fingerprints and photos.  The passengers are not allowed to take any photos of the place at any area within immigration.  As is our usual practice, we divided our family of 5 into 2 groups to shorten the time it will take us to pass through  immigration.

The airport is huge, but it only took us about 20 minutes to get off the plane, pass through immigration, claim our luggage and proceed to the ticketing office.

1. After clearing immigrations and claiming our baggage, we proceed to the arrival hall by taking the elevator or escalator to the 2nd level.
2. On the 2nd level, we exit the building and walk across the walkway to the opposite building.

3. The Nankai Railway ticketing office and the entrance to the train station are both located on the second floor of Terminal 2.  The ticketing office of the Nankai Line is color coded in red, and is located on the left side coming from Terminal 1. We purchased a ticket to “Namba station”, which is the final stop. Make sure to have cash with you as most of the Japanese establishments do not accept credit cards.

There are several options to choose from to get from KIX to the Namba station, where we were staying. The Nankai Line has three types of trains to Namba-Nankai Station:
a. The rapi:t a (pronounced rapito alpha) train reaches Namba from KIX in 30 minutes. There is one train an hour. This train cost ¥1,390 for a one-way ticket, ¥500 more than the normal rapid service train.
b. The rapi:t b (rapito beta) at the same price stops at more stations, and takes 35 minutes. It costs the same as the rapi:t a, which is ¥1,390.
c. You can also take an ordinary Nankai Airport Express Line and reach Namba in 45 minutes. This line runs along the same tracks to the same destination, but stop more often and may get crowded. It costs ¥920, making this the cheapest option
d.  Then there is the Nankai Local Line, which stops at ALL the stations, which may take you an hour.

4. We entered the Nankai Railway gates opposite the ticket counter and took the escalator down to
the tracks.   The entrance to the Nankai Line is color coded in red.

There are also discounted train tickets you can get which are of value:
a. Kanku Tokawari Rap:t Ticket.  Using the Kanku Tokuwari ticket, you can get the Rap:it ticket at a discounted rate of Y1,100 instead of the regular Y1,390. Besides nicer reserved seats, the Rap:it Express also has luggage racks. The time difference between the Rapi:t Express and Airport Exress is minimal, but so is the fare difference with the discount (210 Yen). Go to the bottom of the page, and click on the link about Kanku Tokuwari to get more details.
b. Yokoso Osaka Ticket.  It includes a one-way travel to Namba using Nankai Rapi:t Express, and a one-day free pass of Osaka subway and bus. You can use one day pass on the day you get Rapi:t or the next day.

***Although the Kanku Tokawari Rap:t Ticket and Yokoso Osaka Ticket are available for foreigners on tourist visas, and they are said to be available for purchase outside Japan only, we were able to purchase Kanku Tokawari Rapi:t Ticket in the Nankai ticketing counter with no problem. We did show them our passport and they did look at our visas.

We planned to avail of the Kanku Tokawari Rap:t  going to Namba from KIX and the other way around for our return flight home.  However, because we experienced some delay due to airport tarmac traffic, we missed our train. C wanted to ride the rapi:t a, but the next train was not scheduled until after an hour.  He wanted to wait 30 minutes for the Rapi:t b, but I convinced him to just take the regular airport express. The regular Airport Express is a commuter style train where the seats are facing each other, there are no luggage racks so we had to hold on to our luggage in front of us; but it was no hassle either since the train was almost empty. Also, since KIX is the starting station and because of the time of our arrival, we had no problem finding a seat.

We purchased the Kanku Tokuwari ticket and rode on the Nankai Rapi:t Train leaving Namba for KIX
 The inside of the Nankai Rapi:t

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