JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service: Shin-imamiya Station to Kansai Airport Station

The first eight days of the new year, still tightly binding both eyes. Revenge for my frozen body last night during the New Year’s Eve celebration at Dōtonbori Canal by the warmth of Hotel Kaga blanket was something I considered draw. But in the end, only a thing was able to force my eyes not to close anymore, i.e Air Busan BX 123 flight at exactly 11:00 am, because as usual, for international flights, four hours before flight time I will start my journey to the airport.

Almost seven o’clock, I jumped up, grabbed a hotel’s white towel, bathroom amenities and immediately headed out of the room to shared bathroom at the end of corridor. Hotel Kaga’s bathroom is quite spacious for a backpacker. In the form of a two-part space, i.e a partition with glass and a sink and a bath capsule with a warm shower. Long time under a warm shower is my bad habit, because warm water is very effective in expelling fatigued leg muscles which is my main asset in every trip….Yup, especially if it’s not for walking tens of kilometers throughout the adventure.

After taking a shower, I nonchalantly crossed hotel corridor only wrapped in a towel and flip-flops. Making some passing hotel guests look surprised. “Ah, I only met once with them…. Let it go,” I thought, starting to be fun.

In the room I immediately cleaned up, put on a t-shirt with a black long john, cotton trousers to keep my body temperature, a pair of boots and started packing all my things into a blue Eiger 45L backpack which I borrowed from a friend at work (too bad, just borrow a backpack) .

I went down to the lobby using elevator and immediately handed over my room key at reception desk.

“Thank you for staying at our hotel. Have a nice trip, Sir”, a receptionist who was still the same, on duty from last night, smiled as she handed me the deposit money.

“You’re welcome. Very happy to stay at Hotel Kaga …. A good hotel”, I casually answered. “See you, Sir”.

“See you”, he waved his hand and was still smiling.

I headed back down street towards Shin-imamiya Station, the station I first landed on when I entered downtown. That’s  the only station closest to my hotel and Nankai-Kuko Line train which goes to Kansai International Airport (KIX).

The five meter wide alleys began to wriggle, leaving the remnants of last night’s New Year celebrations. I quickly walked through several alleys without enjoying the atmosphere, I’ve passed it a few times though. Taking a copy to Abiko-suji Avenue, I arrived at Shin-imamiya Station within five minutes of leaving the hotel.

Entering the station gate, my eyes immediately looking for ticketing vending machine. I got it easily. A ticket worth 1,060 Yen was finally in my hands and I immediately docked at e JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service platform.

JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service Ticket.

The airport service train arrived on time, I entered one of its carriages and shortly after sitting down, the train sped away. I returned to enjoying the trip again like when I first took the same train when I arrived in Osaka. The first sight that be presented was the atmosphere of a densely built urban area in Nishinari, Sumiyoshi and Suminoe City Districts. After crossing Yamoto River, the atmosphere changed to an area of ​​agricultural land in Kishiwada and Izumisano areas. Then the train crossed the ocean in Osaka Bay after a bit of climbing an overpass in Rinku Town. After crossing sea bridge along five kilometers, the train arrived at Kansai-Airport Station.

Urban area in Osaka.

As soon as the train stopped at platform, I immediately jumped out of the carriage to departure hall of Kansai International Airport, the winner of Skytrax’s Best Low Cost Airline Terminal in the World.

One of the first destinations upon arrival at the airport….Yes, money changer.

Go to Shin-Imamiya Station from Kansai Airport Station

I already have a ticket worth 1,060 Yen to go to Shin-Imamiya Station in Naniwa City District. Meanwhile, time continued to move away from the dawn. I was still standing on one of platforms, waiting for JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service train to arrive. On another platform, a train with a futuristic design was parked waiting for its scheduled departure.

Haruka Express Train bound for Kyoto. It costs 3,400 Yen one way. Interested?….

Not long after, the conventional model train slowly but surely slowed down entering platform from northeast side. Within seconds, the metal wheels squeaked against steel track and came to a complete stop in front of me. An officer immediately docked at the front of the carriage and stood watching towards the rear end of train. After all passengers got out, he waved at me and directed me to enter the train. Maybe he had been observing me as a foreigner who lookedhj a little different from most passengers.

I was going to go up…. It was cheap.

I entered the first carriage and took a single left seat near the door. Fifteen minutes to go to seven in the morning, when JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service started speeding away from Kansai Airport Station. Heading north towards downtown.

Not long after the train was running, the first spectacular view appeared from carriage window. The vast expanse of Osaka Bay decorated with a tinge of dawn became a beautiful charm to welcome my first morning in Osaka Prefecture.

After four kilometers, the train crossed a steel bridge which straddled the bay. Then passed under a flyover which stretched along the beach in Rinku Town area. The combination of the calmness of bay, the tinge of dawn, the situation of half-dark streets and city lights which have not been reluctant to go out, beautify the rhythm of my morning journey.

Rinku Town area.

The sight paused for a moment at Rinku Town Station. The train had to drop off and picked up some passengers.

Leaving Rinku Town Station, the train continued on Nankai-Kuko Line. The Nankai-Kuko Line itself is a train line which starts from Kansai Airport Station in the south and ends at Namba Station in the north with a total length of nearly fifty kilometers.

Far away from Rinku Town, this time the scenery changed to a stretch of farmland located around Izumisano Town. The agricultural lands were combined with several small landing house complexes owned by residents. At some point, several medium-sized apartments began to appear. Meanwhile, dry rivers looked neat with guardrails at its edges.

Expanse of agricultural land and housing.

Within thirty minutes, the train began to enter the densely built urban area, in Nishi City District to be exact. There was no more agricultural land there. The view only contained housing, apartments, offices as well as health and shopping centers.

This time I myself would not complete the trip until the last stop point, namely Namba Station. I would stop at Shin-Imamiya Station, one station away before arriving at Namba Station.

I got off at Shin-Imamiya Station at fifty minutes of JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service train ride. I immediately left Shin-Imamiya Station on Abiko-suji Avenue. Then turned right, headed south down an five meters wide alley. After walking for three hundred meters I arrived at Hotel Kaga.

Along the way to Hotel Kaga, I walked with great confidence without needing to ask anyone about hotel location because I really understood route to get there from the map I brought.

I entered Kaga Hotel which was predominantly brick red in color. Greeted by a friendly male receptionist. But it was still too early to be able to check-in. I really only meant to leave my backpack and immediately explore Osaka until evening.

But to speed up the check-in process later, I decided to pay in advance. After receiving a receipt and placing my backpack in reception area, I finally left the hotel which costed for 1,800 Yen per night and headed straight for Osaka Castle.

JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service: Stasiun Shin-imamiya ke Kansai Airport Station

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Lelapan hari pertama tahun baru, masih membalut erat kedua mata. Membalas dendam kebekuan badan tadi malam saat perayaan malam pergantian tahun di Dōtonbori Canal dengan kehangatan selimut Hotel Kaga menjadi sesuatu yang kuanggap impas. Namun akhirnya, hanya satu hal yang mampu memaksa mata untuk tak lagi terpejam, yaitu penerbangan Air Busan BX 123 tepat pukul 11:00, karena seperti biasa, untuk penerbangan internasional, empat jam sebelum waktu terbang aku akan memulai perjalanan menuju bandara.

Hampir pukul tujuh, aku melompat bangun, menyambar handuk putih milik hotel, bathroom amenities dan segera beranjak keluar kamar menuju shared bathroom di ujung lorong. Kamar mandi Hotel Kaga cukuplah luas untuk ukuran backpacker. Berwujud ruang dua sekat, yaitu sekat dengan kaca dan wastafel serta kapsul mandi dengan shower air hangat. Berlama-lama di bawah shower air hangat adalah kebiasaan burukku, karena air hangat sangat efektif mengusir keletihan otot kaki yang merupakan aset utamaku dalam setiap perjalanan….Yups, apalagi kalau bukan untuk berjalan berpuluh-puluh kilometer sepanjang petualangan.

Usai mandi, aku dengan cueknya melintasi koridor hotel hanya dengan berbalut handuk dan sandal jepit. Menjadikan beberapa tamu hotel yang lewat melihat heran. “Ah, ketemu cuma sekali ini….Biarin saja”, batinku mulai iseng.

Di dalam kamar aku segera berbenah, memakai t-shirt berangkap long john hitam, celana panjang katun penyimpan suhu tubuh, sepasang sepatu boots dan mulai mengepak semua barang ke dalam backpack Eiger 45L berwarna biru yang kupinjam dari teman sekantor (parah, backpack aja pinjem).

Aku turun ke lobby menggunakan lift dan segera menyerahkan kunci kamar di meja resepsinonis.

Thank you for staying at our hotel. Have a nice trip, Sir”, resepsionis yang masih sama, bertugas dari semalam, melempar senyum sembari menyerahkan uang deposit padaku.

You’re welcome. Very happy to stay at Hotel Kaga …. A good hotel“, Aku menjawab sekenanya. “See you, Sir“”.

See you”, dia melambaikan tangan dan masih tersenyum.

Aku kembali turun ke jalanan menuju Stasiun Shin-imamiya, stasiun yang menjadi tempat hinggap pertama kali ketika aku memasuki pusat kota Osaka. Hanya stasiun itulah yang terdekat dari hotel dan dilewati kereta Nankai-Kuko Line menuju Kansai International Airport (KIX).

Gang-gang selebar lima meter mulai bergeliat, menyisakan sisa peryaan tahun baru semalam. Aku menyusur beberapa gang dengan cepat tanpa menikmati suasana, toh aku sudah beberapa kali melewatnya. Mengambil tembusan ke Abiko-suji Avenue, aku tiba di Stasiun Shin-imamiya dalam lima menit semenjak meninggalkan hotel.

Memasuki gerbang stasiun, mataku langsung menyisir keberadaan ticketing vending machine. Aku mendapatkannya dengan mudah. Tiket senilai 1.060 Yen (Rp. 145.000) akhirnya berada dalam genggaman dan aku segera merapat ke plafform JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service.

Tiket JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service.

Kereta layanan bandara itu tiba tepat waktu, aku memasuki salah satu gerbongnya dan tak lama setela terduduk, kereta itu melaju. Aku kembali menikmati ulang perjalanan seperti saat pertama menumpang kereta yang sama setiba di Osaka. Pemandangan pertama yang tersaji adalah suasana daerah urban padat bangunan di Distrik Kota Nishinari, Sumiyoshi dan Suminoe. Setalah melintas Yamoto River suasana berganti menjadi daerah lahan pertanian di daerah Kishiwada dan Izumisano. Kemudian kereta melintas lautan di Osaka Bay setelah sedikit mendaki jalur layang di Rinku Town. Setelah melintas jembatan laut sepanjang lima kilometer maka kereta tiba di Kansai-Airport Station.

Daerah urban di Osaka.

Begitu kereta merapat di platform, aku segera melompat keluar gerbong menuju departure hall Kansai International Airport, si pemenang Best Low Cost Airline Terminal in the World versi Skytrax.

Satu tujuan pertama setiba di bandara….Yes, money changer.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Menuju Shin-Imamiya Station dari Kansai Airport Station

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Aku sudah menggenggam tiket senilai 1.060 Yen (Rp. 145.000) untuk menuju Stasiun Shin-Imamiya di Distrik Kota Naniwa. Sementara, waktu terus bergerak meninggalkan fajar. Aku masih berdiri di salah satu peron, menunggu kedatangan kereta JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service. Di peron lain terlihat sebuah kereta dengan design futuristik sudah terparkir menunggu jadwal keberangkatan.

Haruka Express Train menuju Kyoto. Harganya 3.400 Yen (Rp. 463.000) sekali jalan. Berminat?….

Tak lama kemudian, kereta bermodel konvensional perlahan tapi pasti melambatkan laju memasuki peron dari sisi timur laut. Dalam sekian detik, roda besinya mendecit mencengkeram jalur baja dan berhenti sempurna di depanku. Seorang petugas segera merapat di bagian gerbong terdepan dan berdiri mengawasi ke arah ujung belakang kereta. Setelah semua penumpang keluar, petugas itu melambaikan tangan kepadaku dan mengarahkanku untuk memasuki kereta. Mungkin sedari tadi dia mengamatiku sebagai orang asing yang berpenampilan sedikit berbeda dengan penumpang kebanyakan.

Aku mah naik yang begituan aja….Murah.

Aku memasuki gerbong pertama dan mengambil bangku tunggal sebelah kiri di dekat pintu. Lima belas menit lagi menuju pukul tujuh pagi, ketika JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service mulai melaju meninggalkan Stasiun Kansai Airport. Merangsek ke utara menuju pusat kota.

Tak lama kereta berjalan, pemandangan spektakuler pertama tertayang dari jendela gerbong. Hamparan luas Teluk Osaka berhiaskan semburat fajar menjadi pesona apik menyambut pagi pertamaku di Prefektur Osaka.

Genap empat kilometer, kereta melintas di jembatan baja yang mengangkangi teluk itu. Kemudian melintas di kolong-kolong flyover yang membentang di sepanjang pantai di Kawasan Rinku Town. Paduan tenangnya teluk, semburat fajar, aroma setengah gelap jalanan dan lampu-lampu kota yang belum enggan padam begitu memperindah irama perjalanan pagi itu.

Kawasan Rinku Town.

Pemandangan itu berhenti sejenak di Stasiun Rinku Town. Kereta harus menurunkan dan mengambil beberapa penumpang.

Meninggalkan Stasiun Rinku Town, kereta terus menjelajahi Nankai-Kuko Line. Nankai-Kuko Line sendiri adalah jalur kereta yang berawal dari Stasiun Kansai Airport di selatan dan akan berakhir di Stasiun Namba di utara dengan panjang keseluruhan hampir lima puluh kilometer.

Jauh meninggalkan Rinku Town, kali ini pemandangan berganti dengan hamparan lahan pertanian yang berlokasi di sekitar Kota Izumisano. Lahan-lahan pertanian itu berpadu dengan beberapa kompleks landing house berukuran mungil milik warga. Di beberapa titik mulai terlihat beberapa apartemen berukuran sedang. Sedangkan sungai-sungai kering tampak rapi dengan pagar pembatas di tepinya.

Hamparan lahan pertanian dan perumahan.

Dalam tiga puluh menit, kereta mulai memasuki kawasan urban yang padat bangunan, di Distrik Kota Nishi tepatnya. Tak tampak lagi lahan pertanian disana. Pemandangan hanya berisi perumahan, apartemen, perkantoran serta pusat-pusat kesehatan dan perbelanjaan.

Kali ini aku sendiri tak akan menuntaskan perjalanan hingga stop point terakhir yaitu Stasiun Namba. Aku akan berhenti di Stasiun Shin-Imamiya, berselang satu stasiun sebelum tiba di Stasiun Namba.

Aku turun di Stasiun Shin-Imamiya pada menit ke lima puluh dari perjalanan kereta JR Kansai Airport Rapid Service. Aku segera keluar meninggalkan Stasiun Shin-Imamiya di Abiko-suji Avenue. Kemudian berbelok ke kanan, menuju ke selatan untuk menelusuri gang selebar lima meter. Setelah berjalan sejauh tiga ratus meter aku tiba di Hotel Kaga.

Sepanjang berjalan menuju Hotel Kaga, aku melangkah dengan sangat percaya diri tanpa perlu bertanya kepada siapapun tentang letak hotel karena aku sangat memahami rute menuju kesana dari peta yang kubawa.

Aku memasuki Hotel Kaga yang berwarna dominan merah bata. Disambut oleh staff resepsionis pria yang ramah. Tetapi masih terlalu pagi untuk bisa melakukan check-in. Aku memang hanya bermaksud untuk menitip backpack saja dan segera mengeksplorasi Osaka hingga malam.

Tetapi untuk mempercepat proses check-in nanti, aku memutuskan untuk membayar di awal. Setelah menerima tanda bayar dan menaruh backpack di ruang respsionis, akhirnya aku pergi meninggalkan hotel seharga 1.800 Yen (Rp. 256.000) per malam itu dan langsung beranjak menuju Osaka Castle.

Kisah Berikutnya—->