Note: throughout this document, Japanese place-names (and other key
words) are given, at least on first occurrence, in both Roman and
Japanese characters, the latter as an aid to deciphering signs and
destination-boards and communicating with taxi- and bus-drivers.
Likewise, vowel-length is indicated in the transcriptions, to assist

Prices in Japan are quoted in Japanese yen (JPY; ¥; ). Current exchange
rates are: JPY 1,000 ≅ GBP 4.85; EUR 6.15; USD 9.55.

1. Where should I make for?

The main international airport serving the Kansai                       area,
in which Kōbe           is located, is Ōsaka Kansai International Airport
                 (KIX) at Izumisano <> and
<>, colloquially referred to as
‘Kankū’     . This is by far the best option for those arriving by air (as a
bonus, it’s one of the world’s more interesting airports, both
architecturally and in terms of its geographical location). If you are
combining your trip to Kōbe with other business or with a holiday in
Japan, you may choose to arrive at another port of entry, such as Tōkyō
     or Nagoya         . In this case, you will probably arrive in Kōbe by
train, although there are also two domestic airports in the area — Ōsaka
(Itami)       Airport                          (ITM)      <http://www.japan->, which has flights from a large number of cities,
and    the    diminutive     new   Kōbe    City   Airport              (UKB)
<>, which offers a more restricted
service. IATA airport code OSA is a ‘city code’, which covers all three
airports mentioned — it can be useful when searching on the Internet.

If you are travelling to Tōkyō at some stage, you might none the less
consider entering Japan through Ōsaka.          Tōkyō Narita International
Airport                   is more distant from the city it serves than any
other major airport in the world, and getting into town can be a time-
consuming hassle, whereas the domestic Tōkyō Haneda Airport
                is quite conveniently located for the city centre. (Haneda
Airport in fact has the word ‘International’      in its name, but currently
the only international flights are to Seoul. Shanghai flights may be
introduced soon.)

Note that rail travel within Japan is very expensive, unless you purchase
a Japan Rail Pass in advance. Further details are available from Japan
Railways (JR) at <>.

2. How do I get there?

Many of the world’s major cities have direct flights to Ōsaka Kansai
International Airport. However, direct flights are often appreciably more
expensive than those involving a connection. Itineraries involving a
change of plane will often allow you a free stop-over in the city where the
change is made. As the Institute has a limited travel budget, we strongly
encourage participants to take advantage of discounted and consolidated

A well-nigh essential source of data on flights is the Travelocity web site
<>, which compares the fares of all airlines
flying a particular route and enables you to book on-line. However, it is
always worth checking the fares offered by the various airlines on their
own web sites, as these can sometimes be cheaper. With the growth of
on-line booking, many travel agents have gone to the wall; but one that
has successfully (and deservedly) survived into the Internet era is
Trailfinders (☎ 0845 058 5858), which has branches in London,
Manchester, Oxford, Cambridge, and a variety of other cities around the
UK. Astonishingly, they can sometimes undercut web fares!

2.1. From Europe

Details of relevant airlines (with network alliances in brackets) are given
below. At the time of writing, direct service from the UK to Ōsaka Kansai
Airport was available only on:

 JAL Japan Airlines (OneWorld)

whilst the following airlines offered one-stop service from the UK (an
asterisk after the name of a city indicates that UK nationals must obtain a
visa in advance if stopping over there, but not if merely changing planes):

 Air China (Star Alliance)
    via Beijing* or Shanghai*
      from Heathrow
 Air France (Skyteam)
    via Paris
      from Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham, etc.
 Air India
    via Bombay* or Delhi*
      from Heathrow

Alitalia (Skyteam)
   via Rome
     from Heathrow
Asiana (Star Alliance)
  via Seoul
    from Heathrow
Cathay Pacific (OneWorld)
  via Hong Kong
    from Heathrow
  via Dubai
    from Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, etc.
Finnair (OneWorld)
   via Helsinki
     from Heathrow and Manchester
KLM (Skyteam)
  via Amsterdam
    from Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham, etc.
Korean Air (Skyteam)
  via Seoul
    from Heathrow
Lufthansa (Star Alliance)
  via Frankfurt
     from Heathrow, London City, Manchester, Birmingham, etc.
Malaysia Airlines
  via Kuala Lumpur
    from Heathrow and Manchester
Qatar Airways
  via Doha
    from Heathrow, Gatwick, and Manchester
Singapore Airlines (Star Alliance)
  via Singapore
    from Heathrow and Manchester

 Thai International (Star Alliance)
   via Bangkok
      from Heathrow

Service from Heathrow to Ōsaka Itami via Tōkyō is offered by

 ANA All Nippon Airways (Star Alliance)
 JAL Japan Airlines (OneWorld)
 British Airways (OneWorld), who codeshare with JAL within Japan

but this itinerary is not recommended, because most flights involve an
inconvenient change of airports in Tōkyō (which can take as much as five
hours!). If you can find an internal flight from Narita, fine.

Most of the above airlines offer similar service from continental Europe
from or via their hubs.

It is also possible to travel to Kōbe from Europe by train and boat, taking
a train to Moscow, then either the Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to
Vladivostok, a passenger ship to Fushiki, and a tortuous train-journey
(involving several changes) to Kōbe, or the Trans-Mongolian Railway or
Trans-Manchurian Railway from Moscow to Beijing, an express train to
Shanghai, and a passenger ship direct to Kōbe. See:

2.2. From North America

The following airlines offer direct flights to Ōsaka Kansai Airport from the
North American airports indicated:

 Air Canada (Star Alliance) — from Vancouver
 Northwest Airlines (Skyteam) — from Detroit
 United Airlines (Star Alliance) — from San Francisco
 Continental Airlines (Skyteam) codeshares with Northwest
 US Airways (Star Alliance) codeshares with United

 All Nippon Airways (Star Alliance) codeshares with United and Air Canada

Through tickets on any of these carriers can therefore be booked from any
North American airport which they serve.

3. Once you arrive — getting to the Kōbe Institute

Please don’t take a taxi from the Airport to the Institute — it will hardly
save you any time over the bus, and it will cost about as much as your air

3.1. From Ōsaka Kansai International Airport                      (KIX)
3.1.1. Limousine bus               to Kōbe (Sannomiya)        (     ),
         then taxi.
‘Limousine buses’ run between Kansai International Airport and Kōbe.
When you emerge from customs into the arrivals hall, make for bus stop
no. 6, which is on the pavement immediately outside arrivals and to the
left of where you come out. The (usually blue or pink) ‘Limousine Bus’ to
Kōbe Sannomiya leaves from this stop. You need to purchase a ticket in
advance, and you do this from pay station C, which is in the wall right
next to the bus stop. The fare is ¥1,800, and the machine accepts coins
and notes (including ¥10,000 notes) and gives change.              (Trivial
observation: it doesn't seem to matter which way round or which way up
you insert the note. Why can’t other countries make machines like that?)
The buses are frequent (every fifteen minutes at peak periods, every
twenty minutes at other times), and take just over an hour (65-75
minutes) to get to Sannomiya, in the centre of Kōbe (the service is direct,
with one intermediate stop, which gets left out if no one wants to get off
there, as is often the case). The timetable of these services is available
We recommend that you get a taxi to the Institute from Sannomiya; this
will take about 15 minutes and cost approximately ¥2,000. See §3.7
below.    If you want to use the bus or the local train (neither is
recommended on arrival, but they are fine for subsequent journeys), see
§§3.5 and 3.6 below.
3.1.2. Minibus between KIX and Kōbe Institute
A convenient reservation-only minibus service between Kansai
International Airport and various locations in Kōbe, including the Kōbe
Institute, is available at a cost of ¥2,300. The Institute can book this
service for you if you provide the relevant information on the Reservation
Form. The driver will meet you at the exit from the baggage-claim area,
and will be holding a sign with your name (or ‘Kobe Institute’) on it.
3.1.3. Kobe–Kankū Bay Shuttle                              Ferry
The Kobe–Kankū Bay Shuttle, a high-speed catamaran ferry, operates
between Kansai International Airport and Kōbe Airport.                 See
<>. The one-way journey takes 30 minutes
and costs ¥1500. It includes a short shuttle bus ride between the Kansai
Airport terminal building and the ferry pier. You should buy your ticket at
the counter next to the exit from Level 1 of the Terminal, at the far north
end. Once you arrive at Kōbe Airport, take the shuttle bus to the
terminal, then follow the instructions in §3.3 below. This is a wonderful
way of getting to Kōbe if you like ships and the sea; however, if you have
heavy bags, do bear in mind that it involves four changes of vehicle
between Kansai Airport and the Institute.

3.2. From Ōsaka (Itami) Airport                     (ITM)
Limousine bus               to Kōbe (Sannomiya)        (      ), then taxi.
‘Limousine buses’ run every 10-20 minutes between Ōsaka Itami Airport
and Kōbe Sannomiya, taking 40 minutes. The fare is ¥1,020. The
timetable of this service is available at:
We recommend that you get a taxi to the Institute from Sannomiya; this
will take about 15 minutes and cost approximately ¥2,000. See §3.7
below.    If you want to use the bus or the local train (neither is
recommended on arrival, but they are fine for subsequent journeys), see
§§3.5 and 3.6 below.

3.3. From Kōbe City Airport             (UKB)
‘Port Liner’               train to Kōbe (Sannomiya)         (     ), then
The ‘Port Liner’ light rail service runs between Kōbe City Airport and
Sannomiya, taking 18 minutes; the cost is ¥320. At peak periods, there is
a train every eight minutes. The timetable is available at:
We recommend that you get a taxi to the Institute from Sannomiya; this
will take about 15 minutes and cost approximately ¥2,000. See §3.7
below.    If you want to use the bus or the local train (neither is
recommended on arrival, but they are fine for subsequent journeys), see
§§3.5 and 3.6 below.

3.4. From Narita International Airport                           (NRT)
Take a connecting flight to Kansai International Airport (KIX) or Ōsaka
(Itami) Airport (ITM) and proceed as above (see §§3.1 and 3.2); or
transfer by train or bus to central Tōkyō (journey time between one and

two hours), then to Tōkyō Haneda Airport (HND) (at least another 30
minutes), and take a flight to Kansai International Airport (KIX), Ōsaka
(Itami) Airport (ITM), or Kōbe City Airport (UKB), and proceed as above;
or transfer by train or bus to Tōkyō Station     and take the Shinkansen
       ‘bullet train’ to Shin-Kōbe Station      (see §3.5.2 below).

3.5. From railway stations in Kōbe
List of relevant stations,
with estimated taxi fare/time to the Kōbe Institute (see §3.7)
Main stations in the city centre area and Shin-Kōbe
3.5.1. Sannomiya Stations
        (JR, Hankyu Railway            , and Hanshin Railway          )
          ¥2,000/15 min.
3.5.2. Shin-Kōbe JR Station
        (Shinkansen         ‘bullet train’ station)
          ¥1,500/10 min.
Local stations (can be reached by train from Sannomiya)
3.5.3. Rokkō Station      or Ōji Kōen Station
        (nearest Hankyu Railway          stations)
          ¥1,100/5 min.
3.5.4. Rokkōmichi Station           or Nada Station
        (nearest JR stations)
          ¥1,200/10 min.
3.5.5. Ōishi Station
        (nearest Hanshin Railway                  station)
          ¥1,000/5 min.

3.6. From central Kōbe by bus and on foot
3.6.1. Catch the bus: The nearest bus stop to the Institute is ‘Gomō’
on city bus route no. 2, which runs between Sannomiya         and Hankyu
Rokkō Station       about every five minutes. The fare is ¥200.
3.6.2. Continue on foot: From the bus stop to the Institute is about 10-
20 minutes on foot. Be warned that the walk involves a very steep
climb (the horizontal distance is approximately one kilometre and
the gain in height about 90 metres). We do not recommend
walking up the hill carrying luggage!

3.7. From Kōbe Sannomiya (etc.) by taxi
There are normally plenty of taxis waiting at the Sannomiya bus stop.
There are also taxi-ranks at Shin-Kōbe, Rokkō, and Rokkōmichi stations.
The driver will probably have problems finding the Kōbe Institute! Please
show him/her the map below (also available at <>)
and/or the following text:

            ‘okkusfōdo daigaku, nada maruyama kōen no ue’
         literally: ‘Oxford University, Upper Nada Maruyama Park’

Don't be surprised to find a chain barring the entrance road to the
Institute. This hasn’t fazed any taxi-driver I’ve encountered — but, just in
case it throws yours, you should know that the chain will lower and allow
the car to proceed if the driver takes a ticket from the machine to the
right. Provided the car leaves within fifteen minutes, there’s no charge. A
message is played explaining this arrangement as vehicles approach!


To top