JRW 281 Haruka 201200913.jpg
A JR West 281 series EMU on a Haruka service
Service typeAirport rail link
(Limited express)
LocaleTokaido Main Line, Osaka Loop Line, Hanwa Line, Kansai Airport Line
First service4 September 1994
Current operator(s)JR West
Kansai Airport
Service frequency30 return workings daily
On-board services
Class(es)Standard + Green
Rolling stock271 series, 281 series EMUs
Track gauge1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in)
Electrification1,500 V DC overhead
Operating speed130 km/h (80 mph)[1]

The Haruka (はるか, Haruka) is a limited express passenger train service operated by West Japan Railway Company (JR West) mainly between Kyoto Station to Kansai International Airport in Osaka Prefecture, Japan. Dubbed as the Kansai Airport Limited Express (関空特急) by JR West, it is the fastest train service connecting the airport with downtown Osaka and Kyoto, and also travels to and from Yasu via Kyoto during peak hours. As Haruka trains travel over the Umeda Freight Line, they do not serve Osaka Station. A change of trains is required at either Tennoji or Shin-Ōsaka.[2]


There are a total of 30 daily return workings per direction (30 to the airport, 30 from the airport), with services operating every half an hour through most of the day. A typical travel time between Kyoto Station and the airport takes 1 hour 20 minutes per way.[3]

Before the discontinuation of services between Maibara and Yasu, two morning rush hour Haruka trains ran from Maibara to the airport, and one morning rush hour trip from Kusatsu. Two evening rush hour Haruka trains also ran from the airport to Maibara.

Station stops

The Haruka primarily operates between Kyoto Station and Kansai Airport Station, with most services stopping only at Shin-Ōsaka Station and Tennōji Station in Osaka City. Some trains make additional stops during the early morning or evening rush hours (stations in italics in list below).[3]

The train travels over the Umeda Freight Line which bypasses Osaka Station when it runs from the Tōkaidō Main Line to Osaka Loop Line and vice versa, leaving no services going to and from Osaka Station.

Line Station Transfers
Kusatsu Kusatsu Line
Ishiyama Keihan Ishiyama Sakamoto Line
Yamashina Kosei Line, Keihan Keishin Line, Subway Tōzai Line
Kyoto Tōkaidō Shinkansen, Sanin Main Line, Nara Line
Kintetsu Kyoto Line, Subway Karasuma Line
(JR Kyoto)
Shin-Ōsaka Tōkaidō Shinkansen, Sanyō Shinkansen,
Subway Midōsuji Line
Osaka Higashi Line
(freight branch)
Osaka Loop
Tennōji Yamatoji Line,
Subway Midōsuji and Tanimachi Lines,
Kintetsu Minami Osaka Line
Hineno Hanwa Line for Wakayama
Kansai Airport
Kansai Airport

Rolling stock

271 series EMU
271 series EMU


6-car formations

6-car formations are arranged as shown below, with car 1 at the Maibara/Kyoto end.[4][5]

Car No. 1 2 3 4 5 6
Numbering KuRo 280 MoHa 281 SaHa 281 SaHa 281-100 MoHa 281 KuHa 281
Accommodation Green Reserved Reserved Reserved Non-reserved Non-reserved
Facilities Toilet Vending machine Wheelchair space / Toilet Toilet Vending machine  

All cars are no-smoking.[4]

9-car formations

9-car formations are arranged as shown below, with car 1 at the Kyoto end.[4][5]

Car No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Numbering KuRo 280 MoHa 281 SaHa 281 SaHa 281-100 MoHa 281 KuHa 281 KuHa 280 SaHa 281-100 KuMoHa 281
Accommodation Green Reserved Reserved Non-reserved Non-reserved Non-reserved Reserved Reserved Reserved
Facilities Toilet Vending machine Wheelchair space / Toilet Toilet Vending machine   Toilet Toilet Vending machine

All cars are no-smoking.[4]


As a limited express service, the Haruka requires both a fare ticket (乗車券, jōshaken) and a limited express ticket (特急券, tokkyūken) – see train tickets in Japan. The ICOCA card can be used as a fare ticket (for passing the ticket gate) for non-reserved travel, with the limited express ticket purchased from the conductor on board the train. There are no extra charges required for the Haruka service for foreign passengers traveling with a Japan Rail Pass.

A free public Wi-Fi service is provided in the train.[6]


The Haruka service was inaugurated on 4 September 1994 using 3-car 281 series EMUs.[5]

6-car 281 series sets were introduced from 2 April 1995, and 9-car (6+3-car) formations were introduced from 14 July 1995.[5]

Non-reserved cars were introduced from 1 December 1998.[5]

The smoking areas were abolished from the start of 18 March 2007 timetable revision.[5]

Haruka services were suspended on 4 September 2018 due to the effects of Typhoon Jebi causing damage to the airport and the Sky Gate Bridge R being damaged by an empty fuel tanker. Services were restored on 8 September 2018, but could only go as far as Hineno Station due to the section leading to the airport being cordoned off for repair works. Through services to the airport were completely restored on 18 September 2018.

From the start of the revised timetable on 14 March 2020, new 271 series trains were introduced on these services, operating coupled with the existing 281 series sets. From the same date, all Haruka services were formed as nine cars, increasing passenger capacity between Kansai International Airport and Kyoto.

All trains currently run in a special "Hello Kitty"-themed wrapping since 29 January 2019.[7]

However, due to the low passenger demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan, services between Maibara and Yasu were discontinued since 13 March 2021.

2023 is the expected opening of new underground platforms at Osaka Station set aside for Haruka services.[8]


  1. ^ JR新幹線&特急列車ファイル [JR Shinkansen & Limited Express Train File] (in Japanese). Japan: Kotsu Shimbunsha. 2008. ISBN 978-4-330-00608-6.
  2. ^ "TrainReview". trainreview.com. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  3. ^ a b JR Timetable March 2012 issue. p. 112
  4. ^ a b c d JR Timetable March 2012 issue. p. 1006
  5. ^ a b c d e f JR電車編成表 2012夏 [JR EMU Formations - Summer 2012] (in Japanese). Japan: Kotsu Shimbunsha. May 2012. p. 159. ISBN 978-4-330-28612-9.
  6. ^ "JR-WEST Free Wi-Fi Service". West Japan Railway Company. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Süße Katzen auf Erfolgsschiene" [Cute cats on track to success]. Lok Magazin (in German). Vol. 5/2019, no. 452. Geramond Verlag. May 2019. p. 34. ISSN 0458-1822.
  8. ^ 杉山, 淳一 (11 November 2016). "「なにわ筋線」の開通で特急「ラピート」と「はるか」が統合される?" [Will the limited express "Rapi:t" and "Haruka" be integrated with the opening of "Naniwasuji Line"?]. itmedia.co.jp/ (in Japanese). Retrieved 11 February 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)