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Kobe, Japan- Airport Transportation and Port Information

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Getting from the KIX (Kainsai international Airport) to your local destination in Japan can be a daunting and confusing task for those who are not used to traveling overseas or have not been to Japan. Don't get me wrong, Japan is efficient, clean and you can get from point A to B on their public transportation system. However, if you are staying in Kobe, Osaka or Kyoto, taking the mass transit system can take considerable time navigating if you're inexperienced and often means transferring from one type of train to another, or a long bus ride... in addition to dragging your luggage along for the ride.

Having lived in the San Francisco area for years, I was spoiled by the "Super Shuttle" company which would take you from the airport to the destination of your choice and visa-versa...for a reasonable fee. I was  quite excited to find that the Kobe/Osaka area has a similar company "MK Skygateshuttle". This service was recommended to me by the "Crowne Plaza Hotel" as being reputable and affordable. After doing some research, I found that their prices were the same as what it would cost me on the trains to downtown Kobe (about $25-$35 U.S.) and would take about the same amount of time on a good day. Keep in mind that these type of shuttle services generally carry a few passengers at a time and may mean that you have to stop at a few other hotels first. Being picked up at the airport and dropped off in front of my hotel, however, seems much more appealing after a long, 12-hour flight than trying to figure out train signs. By the way, MK Taxi also operates from other airports in the area.

If you are coming in or going out by ship, then this is for you. There are a number of port stops in Kobe, Japan, but all are within town. It is very easy to catch a cab from any of the ports in Kobe, to your hotel in Kobe. Keep in mind though, that even though a cab ride from the port of Kobe to the center of town in Kobe is cheap, a cab ride to Osaka or Kyoto would be relatively expensive due to the distance. If you don't have a lot of luggage, you can take a cab from the port to the nearest subway station and catch your train to Osaka or Kyoto there. The trains are not always cheap either for a short ride, and can be crowded, depending on the time you are there. I have used the trains quite a bit, and have never had a problem with people being rude or pushy, but the crowd can make it impossible to carry luggage during rush hour.

My cab ride from the Crowne Plaza in Kobe to the port was only about $10 U.S., so not bad. Osaka is about a 30 minute train ride from Kobe, so you can guess on the distance for a cab. I would always recommend staying in Kobe if you are going out of Kobe on a ship.


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