Metro Manila · To Kyoto, Megacity Osaka (Japan)
The Kansai Airport serves the three cities Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe, which together form the Keihanshin Metropolitan Region with nearly 20 million people. The airport is the door to Japan for visitors from the Philippines, but most tourists will go straight to Kyoto: with dozens of temples, palaces and shrines, 14 of them declared as World Heritage Sites, the country´s former capital is a treasure box of Japanese culture and history.
Airport and Airlines
Cebu Pacific flies from Terminal 3 of Manila's NAIA Airport to Kansai Airport three times a week, on Tuesdays, Thursday and Sundays. Depending on the season, tickets cost around 20.000 to 50.000 Pesos. Cheaper promo-tickets are sometimes available.
Philippine Airlines flies daily from from NAIA Terminal 2 to Kansai Airport for 20.000 to 40.000 Pesos, depending on the class. Cheaper promo-tickets are sometimes available.
All flights take around three to four hours.
Citizens of the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and most European countries do not need a visa for a short-term stay (up to 90 days, 3 months or 6 months, depending on the citizenship). For detailed information, click here.
Philippine citizens need a visa for Japan. The easiest way is to apply via an agency, which costs 1000 to 1,200 Pesos (the visa itself is for free) and takes between three days and three weeks, depending on the agency.
Arriving at Kansai Airport
Some ATMs do not accept cards issued abroad, so if you do not want to take a risk, bring sufficient money to Japan.
There is a currency exchange office at the airport.
From Kansai Airport, a train brings you to Kyoto within 75 minutes. Trains leave at least every 60 minutes. The cheapest ticket is the JR West Rail Pass, available at the counter of the airport's train station. Foreigners get it for a discount price of 2000 Yen (around 850 Pesos), provided they show their passport and flight ticket.
Getting around in Kyoto
The city, as the rest of Japan, has an excellent public transport network with busses and several subway lines. Getting a ticket for the subway seems terribly confusing at first glance, but take your time and you will figure it out.
The best way to get from one World Heritage Site to the other is by bus. A day pass costs 500 Yen (210 Pesos) and is available in many hotels and hostels. Buses get full during rush hour, which starts at around five in the afternoon. Sightseeing brochures and city maps that include the public transport network are available at info points in the trainstation and in hotels/hostels. They are very useful to plan your trip and to choose which of the dozens of temples, palaces, pagodas and zen gardens to visit. It is recommended to have a look into a city guidebook before leaving for Kyoto, so you can already create your personal must-see-list.
Leaving from Kansai Airport
Leave Kyoto early enough, as you still have to take a shuttle train at the airport. Also, online check-in does not spare you from going to the check-in counter to get a regular boarding pass! If you arrive early, spend your time getting some duty-free green-tea-sweets as last-minute souvenirs.
'Two things usually leave a lasting impression to foreigners visiting Japan: the country's love for high-end technology and the exquisite politeness of literally everybody you talk to'