This blog will inform you about photography / aircraft spotting at Kansai Airport. I have been here in April 2014.
Osaka Kansai (KIX) is the international airport of Osaka. It is served by a lot of airlines. Some interesting are Jeju , Air Busan A320/A321, easter Jet Boeing 737, Transasia A330, Hawaiian A330. Also see here is Jetstar Japan and Starflyer.Have not seen Vanilla Airlines or Air Do. JAL/J-Air Saab, Dash8, Embraer and ANA Dash 8 are not seen here.
Just one United B777 and a single Boeing 737 here. Delta uses the B757. Unlike Tokyo which has a lot of US airlines
Fedex and UPS are seen here each day with Boeing 777, B767 , MD11 and B757.
Thai operates the Airbus A380
ANA has a few daily flights here. ANA Cargo ca be seen as well with the Boeing 767. Japan Airlines has just a few flights per day to Kansai.
Lowcost airline Peach is based here and uses terminal two exclusively. .
The airport has two parallel runways. 06R/24L which is the preferred runway and 06L/24R which is mainly in use when there are a lot of departures. 06L/24R is mostly being used between 09:00 and 12:00. After that it is back to single runway operations.
Kansai is a challenge for photography. The sunlight gets better after around 14:00. Before that you are facing the sun at the observation deck. If you are lucky landings are on 24R. If you are unlucky landings are on 06R and you will not be able to make decent photos. Except for aircraft parked at gates 1 to around 20.
There is a Lawson supermarket at the Aeroplaza. Located on level 1f (groundfloor). Here you can buy sandwitches and drinks. Aeroplaza is located under the Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport.
To reach Kansai from Itami take the airport limousine bus. It wil take about 70 minutes and costs 1950 yen. It runs about twice an hour. Tickets can be purchased from the bus staff at the busstop. The busstop at Itami airport is 7c.
There are also two train companies going to Osaka Kansai.
The SkyView observation deck is located near 24L and can be reached by free shuttle bus departing from bustop number one at Terminal one. The bus runs every 20 minutes.
The observationdeck is actualy two building connected with a footbridge. It has multiple levels of outside decks offering nice views over both runways and the apron. It is opposite the Japanse coastguard hanger where some Saab 340’s and Puma helicopters are based.
The position for the sun at this is not optimal. In the morning you are facing the light. There are screens in the building showing arrival and depatures, including freighers and type of aircraft. There is also a shop selling aviation stuff like models and lots more. You can sit inside and watch the proceedings.
Typical photo taken from observationdeck of aircraft landing 24L.
When 06L/24R is in uses there is a small hill located next to the carpark,of terminal two. The hill is high enough to get over the fence without the need for a ladder. The hill was purpose,built for watching planes as it has steps and a path from the terminal building. A Boeing 737 on the runway takes about 275mm.
To reach terminal two from terminal one, head for the plaza. This is the area where the hotel is,located. Go to the ground level. The free shuttle bus will leave every 5 minutes or so. To reach the mound, exit the terminal two, take a left turn and walk towards 06L/24R. Then follow the fence towards the northeast. Cannot be missed.
If landings are on 24R this is a great place. All aircraft will pass. If landings are on 06L you might miss aircraft which take an earlier runway exit.
This is an example of a photo taken here.
On the southside of terminal two are also some spots for photos. Just follow the fence towards terminal one untill you see a crashgate. The fence has a small hole between the upper and lower parts of the fence. Not big enough to,stick a lens through but you can take pictures. Continue walking towards terminal one and you,will come close to the taxiways connecting both runways. Stay clear from the fence and stay at the other side of the road. You wil not encouter issues,with police if you follow this simple rule.
spot 4 and 5:
At terminal one you can take pictures of some of the aircraft leaving or entering the gate. Go to the 4th level and walk either towards one of both sides depending what you like to,see. It might also be possible to take photos from the parkinggarage although long lenses are required.
This is an example of a picture taken from outside terminal one. And this is a photo taken at the north side of the terminal one.
spot 6 and 7:
Inside the terminal one after passing the securitycheck you will need to take the monorail shuttle to be able to take pictures. At both sides of the terminal there are possibilities for photos.