Our Travel to Kansai, Japan-AirAsia, Rail Passes and More


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Day 1

AirAsia

We booked our flight from Honolulu to Kansai (KIX) Japan on AirAsia after our friends suggested we try it. They had used AirAsia and had no problems. It was half the cost of the next cheapest airline which was great! The original price was $129 one way, which came out to $258 RT. Our total for the RT came out to $350 because we added things on, the dinner going was one add on (we didn’t buy the dinner for the return flight thinking we’d eat before the flight and most likely be sleeping 😴 for most of the flight). They don’t have extra dinners if you decide you want one during the flight, but they do come round (3 times during the flight) with the snack cart (instant ramen, chips, candy, and drinks) if you do get hungry and want something to munch on. The dinner was small, but the taste was good. Luggage  was another add on, pre-pay or it’s $100+ per bag and if it’s over 20K (44lbs.) you have to pay extra for that too. They also weigh your carry on luggage 7K (15lbs.). We also got the “Hot Seat” (it has more leg room but the width of the seats are the same. The Hot Seats go fast so we ended up sitting all over the plane. Three of us were in the “Quiet Zone” ( children 10 and under not allowed in this area) behind the first class, one in the middle of the plane and the other four in the back of the plane. Think of AirAsia like a flight from back in the 80s, no video screens on the seats in front of you, or hand held devices to rent to watch movies or listen to music 🎼 or headphone slots in the arms of the chairs to listen to music 🎶, and you have to pay if you want a pillow or a blanket, we brought our own. “Just the bare necessities” as Baloo the bear would say. Which is how probably how the keep the cost for tickets low.

Check in was done by Hawaiian Airlines employees who they  contract the work out to. It was quick, considering there were 8 of us in our group.

Despite the bathrooms on the left side of the plane being out of commission, and the difficulty in understanding the stewardess and pilots due to their heavy accents it was a pleasant flight. The crew were cordial and we landed 35 minutes ahead of schedule.

At KIX (Kansai Airport)

Customs

was a breeze considering the last time we flew into Tokyo there was a long zig zagging line that took over an hour to get through. This time it was less than 30 minutes. It could be that our flight was the only one that landed at that time.

Luggage

The area was crowded but everyone waited patiently for their bags to roll out onto the belt. That was about another 20 minutes of waiting.

Money Exchange

We changed our money in Japan because it was a better exchange rate, 108 yen to the dollar 💵 Unfortunately you could only change $1,500. Thankfully we learned that you can go to the banks, most hotels, the major train 🚂 or subway 🚇 stations, and malls to change money. We just kept an eye out for them and noted where they were for later transactions. Just keep in mind that not all the machines have the same exchange rate. The first one We used the exchange rate was 104 yen per dollar while the second one was higher at 108 yen per dollar. Every yen counts!

Pocket WiFi and Line App

Before leaving for Japan another friend told us about the “Line” app. Most of the people in Japan use this app. that you down load and can talk, text, and face time people in Japan or the U.S. for free as long as you have a WiFi connection. When we landed in Kansai we turned off our data, picked up the two pocket WiFi units we had reserved before leaving for Japan, punched in the passwords and snap we were connected, enabling us to communicate with each other and our friends in Japan!

Rail Passes

The final thing we did at the airport was to buy the Osaka Kaiyukan Pass, and the 1 day Osaka Amazing Pass at the counter. It’s easy to find it has the posters of the different passes. You get unlimited access to the subway lines, and free or a discount into different attractions.

Next was finding the correct train to catch to our vacation rental . The workers are efficient and don’t shoot the breeze, they answer your question as quickly and politely as possible and are on to help the next customer.

With the help of the person at the JR Line who directed us to the Nankai line, and the Nankai clerk pointing us in the right direction we got onto the correct train headed to the Shin-Imamiya station. It helps that there is a different color for the different lines.

Once we were in Shin-Imamiya we followed google that lead us down the wrong street, so we had to turn around and head back to the beginning, stopping at a police box (about the size of a twenty by twenty room) to ask for directions. We showed the office the address of where we needed to go and he drew us a map with landmarks to guide us. Fifteen minutes later we arrived at our home for the next ten days!

Airbnb

Since our last trip to Japan (Tokyo) in 2014 there has been a lot of trouble with vacation rentals in Japan. New laws were implemented and Airbnb revised their policies.  Now when searching for vacation rentals they will usually have a picture showing that they are certified. That’s reassuring.

The vacation rental we stayed in was big enough for the 8 of us, with two toilets 🚽 one on the first floor and another on the third where the bedrooms were. The rooms were air conditioned, which was nice because it got hot in the evening. Our host was great with communication, and the house was near many attractions which we were eager to go and explore!

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