I have an upcoming trip to Kyoto with my parents next week - will be spending 5 days in the city, including a day trip to Nara (hopefully - depends on weather). On the last day, I will have checked out from my ryokan in Kyoto by 11am, and am planning on spending the afternoon and early evening in Osaka before my flight. I would probably not check out much earlier than 11, as I'd like to sit down to the ryokan breakfast, and maybe have another bath , in a relatively unhurried way.
My flight is at 2330hrs out of KIX.
Does it sound better if I were to:
1) Take the JR Haruka from Kyoto to KIX, deposit my luggage with one of the left luggage services, then head into Osaka from the airport, or
2) Would it make more sense for me to arrive in Shin-Osaka station (JR Tokaido Shinkansen) from Kyoto, find a place to leave my luggage at the station, then retrieve them before heading to the airport around 8pm?
(I travel light, but my parents will probably have a bit more to lug around)
I've been in Osaka (briefly) about 4 years ago, but only as a stop-over on the way to Koya-san. I hope to take in the Aquarium (Kaiyukan), maybe the Umeda Sky Building, and sample (eat!) whatever looks interesting along the way.
Thanks for reading, and any advice is hugely appreciated.
I'd recommend against going all the way to KIX and then all the way back into town. You'll kill 2 hours that way. Would also recommend against storing luggage at Shin-Osaka, rather store in the Osaka station area. You can easily get to Umeda Sky Building from there. Also, the kaiyukan is not centrally located, but rather out a bit. It's doable with your schedule, but it's going to take quite of bit of time going back and forth. Underground between the Umeda Sky Building and Westin Hotel next door is a group of restaurants in an area designed to look like a street in old Japan. Nice place for lunch maybe.
Another option is to send your luggage one day ahead directly to KIX by parcel post (takkyubin). Keep only what you need for last day in a shoulder bag and pick up the luggage at KIX at the takkyubin counter.
Edit to add. Rather than taking the shinkansen from Kyoto, you can just take an express train on the regular tracks. Time to Osaka is about 30 minutes.
arriving in Osaka (rather than Shin-Osaka) sounds perfect.
the kaiyukan is a small hike, but the whale shark makes it unmissable (for me).
takkyubin - this could work really well, as long as the bulk of (any) shopping is done the day before - will definitely consider it. only (possible) problem is i've heard delivery to/ from airports might take 2 days instead of the usual 1. i could very well be wrong, though.
I live in Japan. The only time I've used takkyubin for luggage to/from the airport was from NRT or KIX to home (Osaka area). It's never taken more than 24 hours. Check with the ryokan. I'm sure that they will know.
If you want to go to kaiyukan, then maybe you could do Sky Building first, eat lunch, then go there in the afternoon. I think that you take the Osaka Loop line from JR Osaka, then transfer to a subway at Bentencho. I could look it up if someone else doesn't chime in. After that, if there is time left, you could go back into the central part of town via that subway line, for example to Nanba, for dinner, which would be more exciting that the area around the aquarium. Then, catch one of the airport trains or buses to KIX from that location. Quite a bit of walking and train riding, but certainly doable and you'll sleep well on your flight. :-)
Buses go directly from Kaiyukan to Kansai so one option would be to enjoy the afternoon around Umeda then head out to Kansai around 3.00pm see if you can check-in and then go to Kaiyukan. The entry is cheaper after 5.00pm and the crowds are less.
nishimark: thanks again for the advice - namba sounds great - if the vibe's anything like shinjuku it will be just my thing.
fumitani: spot-on, i'll be singer slinging the way back
valve bouncer: thanks, and will definitely think about your suggested itinerary.
just discovered that the whale shark is in another facility and will only be back in kaiyukan end-august. i'd probably still visit the aquarium anyway, though the attraction's somewhat diminished.
this leaves me open to considering other ways of filling in the time before the flight - i could linger in kyoto, but osaka would be such a different experience that i'd rather spend the bulk of what little time i have there. too bad dotombori appears to become livelier the later it gets, when i'd already be at the airport.
If you don't send luggage by takkyubin, you're going to need to come back to it at the end of your day before going to the airport. So, here's an idea.
Go to JR Osaka and store luggage there. (It would be nice if someone would chime in about that possibility. I'm sure that there are lockers there, but don't know where or how big they are). From Osaka station, walk/taxi to Umeda Sky building and eat lunch there. Back to Osaka/Umeda area and take Midosuji subway to Shinsaibashi, then walk the shopping street from Shinsaibashi to Nanba. Nanba is a great Osaka experience, different than Shinjuku. Eat dinner in Nanba, then take subway back to Osaka station (about 15 minute ride) to pick up luggage and go to airport by train or bus.
The map on the website for Nankai Namba Station indicates both coin lockers and a 手荷物預かり所, which normally means a counter with a person behind it.
Since Nankai Namba has an express train to KIX and is connected through tunnels to the Midosuji Subway Line (and possibly to JR Namba as well--I don't recall), that might be the best place to store your bags.
thanks nishimark, and ksandness (for suggesting nankai-namba. i hadn't considered that before, but the line to KIX seems painlessly speedy)
here are the possible permutations i can think of, assuming I don't use takkyubin:
1) Kyoto > Osaka station (leave luggage)/ Umeda > Shinsaibashi, walk to Namba > Umeda/ Osaka (get luggage) > KIX
2) Kyoto > Shin-Osaka station (leave luggage) > Osaka/ Umeda > Shinsaibashi, walk to Namba > Shin-Osaka (get luggage) > KIX
3) Kyoto > KIX (leave luggage) > Nankai Namba (no luggage at all in town!) > KIX
Apart from time, number of station changes etc. the difference between the cheapest and most expensive routes is about 7000yen for the 3 of us, which isn't insignificant but not really terrible at all.
Obviously Option (3) takes the most time, via a circuitous route... it does however have the advantage of leaving me hands-free. I am leaning towards (1), as it makes Umeda an obvious lunch stop with a smooth flow towards Nanba... provided I can be sure about luggage facilities at Osaka Station (this is when I rue my indolence in my (late) Japanese classes).
Like most anyone else I dislike being weighed down for any period of time by more than a shoulder bag, but I'm (thankfully) relatively fit and can handle that. But add my parents' bags (my mom is petite, so her stuff is mine to bear in transit) and the prospect of hauling them for more than one change of stations = increased overall grumpiness, sweat & stink in summer humidity plus definite need for pre-flight shower (i'm considerate to the poor sods around me, usually).
this is most probably what i'd do:
Originally Posted by nishimark
Osaka station, walk/taxi to Umeda Sky building and eat lunch there. Back to Osaka/Umeda area and take Midosuji subway to Shinsaibashi, then walk the shopping street from Shinsaibashi to Nanba. Nanba is a great Osaka experience, different than Shinjuku. Eat dinner in Nanba, then take subway back to Osaka station (about 15 minute ride) to pick up luggage and go to airport by train or bus.
nanba sounds just the thing after the temples of kyoto. thanks again nishimark!
As ksandness pointed out, this is also an option:
4) Kyoto > Namba (leave luggage) > Wherever you like > Namba (get luggage) > Walk to the Nankai tracks > Nankai express train to KIX
thanks jib71! i had thought of that, but (according to hyperdia at least) this involves:
Kyoto > Osaka, walk to Umeda > Namba Subway, walk to Nankai (leave luggage at the 手荷物預かり所)
I'm not familiar with Osaka (my dim memory from 4 years ago was of a gently weird and crazily attractive lady who owned the house I spent the night in - nope, nothing happened) - so I'm not sure if the walks (Osaka - Umeda, and Namba - Nankai) are a mere hop skip & jump or a more serious hike (with road crossings, long stairs, etc). I hate to sound a wimp, but anything more than escalators or short, well-paved paths (with my lovely parents - my mom really isn't the fastest walker) could easily add a significant chunk of time between getting off the train and depositing luggage. Of course, I do realise Umeda > Namba is a very short 15min ride, and so my concern is mainly with the "walks".
I'd be glad to be corrected - this must give off more than a little whiff of a***-retentiveness, but hopefully all the obsessiveness on my part will give my parents a (deceptively) smooth experience.
No roads to cross. IIRC, from Osaka JR tracks, the route to Umeda subway station is within the building. At Namba, I'm pretty sure you'll find coin lockers at the subway station. So it might not be necessary to go to the Nankai station to drop off bags. If you do want to go there, it's a walk within the same complex (including one quite impressive escalator ride).
Both stations may give you sensory overload with the multitude of platforms and whatnot.
No doubt one of our Osaka regualrs will set me straight if I've forgotten something.
I went around the world. It was alright for a holiday but I wouldn't want to live there - Michael Redmond
jib71: thanks - it greatly simplifies matters knowing that each pair of stations are within the same complex.
sensory overload: I think I know what you mean, though that's partly why I keep returning to Japan .
Here's a page in English that claims that JR Osaka has a place to leave luggage (counter) as well as lockers. Osaka station is recently remodeled and after going through it for 20 years or so I now get lost. So, I don't know where the lockers or luggage counter are.
From JR Osaka, there are 3 subway lines running south toward Nanba. You're going to want to take the Midosuji line (colored red in signs). If you take my advice to walk from Shinsaibashi to Nanba (flat all the way), then get off at Shinsaibashi station which is one stop before Nanba. It will be a bit of a hike to the subway station, which is underground below JR Osaka and Hankyu (another train line) Umeda stations.
In Osaka station are information booths staffed with English speakers, maps, etc.
You could also take a taxi from JR Osaka to Shinsaibashi instead of the subway. I don't think that it would be much more than 1000 yen, if that. Same for returning from Nanba, maybe 1200-1500 yen? In contrast, each subway ticket will be 230 yen. On the other hand, riding the subway is a great way to experience the "real" Japan. :-)
Also, the walk to Umeda Sky building is 10-15 minutes and not pleasant (not attractive and winds though construction sites, I just did it last week). I recommend a taxi to and from there (probably 640 yen each way).