Thanks to the development of low-cost carriers (LCC), the price of air tickets is becoming relatively cheap. However, most LCC airlines only offer tickets at unfavourable time slots, like very early in the morning or very late at night, so it can make booking accommodation downtown quite uneconomical! This then begs the question, where else can we spend the night?
My friends and I encountered this exact problem on our last trip to Kansai. To lower expenses, we purchased flights that arrived in Japan at 1 am and departed at 6.30 am two days later. Since no public transportation is available at these times, and with catching a taxi to/from the airport being expensive, we decided to spend two nights sleeping at Kansai Airport.
Read on for a full overview of the facilities available and general experience of sleeping in Kansai Airport overnight! If you are looking for a budget trip, this really is the way to do it! And unlike some airports in the world, Kansai Airport is a decent place to stay for the night or for a prolonged period of time!
Kansai Airport is one of Japan’s busiest and most important airports and attracts many tourists who are usually heading to Osaka, Kyoto, and surrounding areas. The airport consists of two terminals.
Terminal 1, the main terminal, is in a modern building and serves domestic and international flights by all big airlines. Terminal 2 is primarily for low-cost airlines. You can definitely notice the difference between this and the nicer Terminal 1. However, there is a free shuttle bus going between the two terminals.
Staying overnight in the airport is generally accepted by staff, and many people do it. There is also Free Wifi available throughout the airport, which is a real lifesaver when you have a long time to wait around!
Inside the airport, you will find the KIX Refresh Square and the KIX Airport Lounge, where you are able to rent a small bed to sleep on. Also, there is a hotel located only a couple of minutes from the airport which offers plenty of facilities but is rather expensive.
We chose to sleep in the free areas of the airport. This is anywhere on the benches or even on the floor. There are plenty of benches throughout the building where you may see many backpackers also choosing to sleep on them. These benches aren’t very comfortable but at least you can lay fully down on some of them, which makes things easier.
Also, there is no need to worry about safety as police patrol the airport 24 hours per day, checking passports and providing help if required. In addition, lights are kept on throughout the night. Therefore, Kansai Airport is a good place to spend the night on a tight budget and is a very safe place in which to do so.
Please note that seats near sockets, free Wi-Fi spots, and convenience stores are usually occupied. Therefore, if you need these facilities then make sure you arrive early to grab these particular seats.
If you are from freezing countries, you may be used to bathing once every few days. However, for travelers that bathe every day, there is a shower room in KIX Airport Lounge, located on the second floor of the Terminal 1 building.
After entering the shower room assigned by a staff member, you will see another room beside it, where you can brush your teeth, dry your hair, put on make-up and store your luggage. The lounge provides body soap, shampoo, hair dryer and a coin which operates the shower machine making hot water accessible after pressing the button. It only costs 500 yen to enjoy these facilities for an hour.
These shower faciltiies are excellent, and the units are clean, comfortable, and private. Many airports in the world do not provide such services, so this is one of the real beneifts of staying over night at this airport!
Eating maybe one of the biggest concerns for visitors who choose to stay at the airport. Although most shops close at midnight in Kansai Airport, there are still 24-hour shops available like Lawson, Family Mart and McDonald’s. All of these shops are available on the second floor of the Terminal 1 building. On our last night here, we bought dinner, supper and desserts all from Family Mart, that were all very delicious! My friend even said that she wouldn’t sleep that night so she could try all the food available there!
As I mentioned, Kansai Airport is a safe place to stay and there isn’t a lot to worry about. However, there are lockers available to store your luggage if required. Lockers are easy to find in the airport and are located in the Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 buildings. However, most of them are on the second floor of the Terminal 1 building.
Cost per day
- Small-size: 300 yen
- Medium-size: 400 yen
- Large-size (for suitcase): 600 yen
Although Kansai Airport seems to offer all the facilities you need during your stay, there are still two additional items you may require: eye cover and earplugs. However, blankets and hot water are provided up requesting at the service desk.
The reason I recommend earplugs and eye covers is because the airport is nearly always busy and people will be chatting and moving around. You may also notice that in some areas, even at night, there will be TV ads, radio’s, music, and other noise coming from the various shops nearby or over the speakers. This could be very disruptive to sleep.
Kansai Airport is a great place to stay overnight, as it is safe, convenient, and free of charge. If you arrive late or leave very early in the morning, I strongly advise that you spend the night at the airport rather than staying downtown.
Although you can sleep anywhere in the airport, personally, I recommend the second floor of Terminal 1 as that is where the 24-hour deli is and is where most visitors gather. Moreover, simply cross the footbridge on the same floor and you’ll see the JR station. Since it’s very convenient, most people stay here and the seats get occupied very early. Enjoy your trip, and I hope you get a great sleep!