What to Expect from the Reopened Kansai International Airport

ByJustin Hanus
Mar 25, 2024

What to Expect from the Reopened Kansai International Airport

After closing for renovations in 2021, the international terminal of Kansai International Airport reopened in December 2022. This was its first major renovation since it opened in 1994. A variety of new restaurants and shopping areas await travelers visiting Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, and other cities in Kansai.

Greater Capacity

The higher number of people visiting Kansai had been putting a strain on the passport control area of the airport. The renovation increased the airport’s capacity by merging the North and South passport controls into a single central zone. Automated gates are also making departures run more smoothly.

Duty-Free Shopping

The largest addition to the airport is a duty-free shopping area. This mainly sells perfumes, beauty products, wines, and Japanese souvenirs. Customers can even shop here before they arrive at the airport by placing orders to pick up at the reservation counters. As well as high-value items, this option is available for purchasing snacks.

Themed Areas

The departure area is now divided into four themes, called Peaceful, Curious, Active, and Fun. Choose where to go depending on your mood, as each has shops and restaurants that match its theme.

  • Peaceful — Here, you’ll find organic and natural products designed to help you relax — everything from folk crafts at Ippinsan to light lunches at Soup GOGYO. The sub-theme of this zone is Japan x Natural.
  • Curious — This zone is creative, elegant, and uniquely Japanese. The sub-theme is Japan x Traditional Culture. Stores include eateries like Kix Beer (which serves local craft beers), Mensho (which serves ramen), and Kansai Tabi-nikki (for local confectionery).
  • Active — With glittering lights and contrasting colors, this area is energizing and dynamic. It’s sub-theme is Japan x Modern, which is reflected in the store Japan Tech — a store selling Japanese brand watches, appliances, and beauty products. Other spots include the first Segafredo Zanetti Caffè in a Japanese airport and Canadian Morning & Toko, a store selling outdoor apparel and other equipment made in Japan.
  • Fun — Boost your mood in the cheerful atmosphere of this zone, which has the sub-theme of Japan x Pop Culture. Stores include the “made in Japan” brand Miki House and OnigiriBurger, which serves sushi-inspired burgers, complete with rice and fresh nori (seaweed).

Renovated Domestic Terminal

Kansai International Airport renovated its domestic terminal as part of the first phase of the project — this reopened earlier, in October 2022 — which is great news for anyone using the airport to travel within Japan. The renovated terminal has 12 new shops and restaurants: six after the security checkpoint in the domestic departure area and six on the 2nd floor. Most of the new additions are restaurants serving traditional Kansai dishes, but there’s also a drug store selling essentials for travelers.

All this is just the start of what Kansai International Airport will have to offer, as renovations to other areas are still continuing. Expect some big changes in the next couple years, including a new security check and international terminal lounge opening in the spring of 2025 as well as the expansion of the international terminal commercial area, which will be complete in the autumn of 2026.

Carpkazu (Japanese), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

About the author

Justin Hanus editor

Leave a Reply