Goose Feather at Namba Parks

Leaving Osaka Castle via Uemachi-suji Avenue , I headed for Tanimachi 4-chome Station. Passing rows of red-maple trees planted on each side of road, then head to station entrance which was located at the feet of mighty Osaka Museum of History.

“Enjoy Eco Card” (another name for One Day Pass in Osaka) for 600 Yen made ut comfortable and easy to got in and out of station without having to hunt a ticket at automatic vending machine when you wanted to use the services of Osaka Metro. I just tap the card at ticket collecting gate and enjoyed traveling around Osaka as I please.

Enjoy Eco Card.

Taking Tanimachi Line and changing to Sennichimae Line at Tanimachi 9-chome Station, my journey stopped at Namba Station after traveling three kilometers and in fifteen minutes.

Arriving at the eighty-five year old Namba Station, I exited towards Namba City. Namba City is a very large shopping center in this area.

Stepping in corridor after corridor in Namba City made me interested to stop by and saw some of UNIQLO store’s winter jacket collections in a side of magnificent corridor. An interesting funny story happened to me again here. This was the result of my cheap winter jacket I was wearing. This second-hand winter jacket from Pasar Baru (a market in my town) sheded soft goose down from its inside when I tried on a UNIQLO winter jacket in dressing room. Suddenly, after I came out from fitting room, a female attendant took a broom and dustpan to clean that goose. She just smiled at me when was putting the winter jacket back into display case. Even though, I thought I wouldn’t be able to afford it, I was still determined to try it. How could I not think a thousand times to buy it if a winter jacket was priced at 12,900 Yen.

To forgot about that embarrassing incident, I hurriedly left the store and rushed to Namba Parks. This time I started to be amazed because the access to Namba Parks kept me on indoor pedestrian path, even though Namba City and Namba Parks were in different locations. The indoor corridor continued to south and was directly connected to Namba Parks.

After walking less than two hundred meters from the exit gate of Namba Station, I finally arrived at Namba Parks. The cool garden was designed at the top of shopping center with a contour made of steps like a terrace. I should have visited this park at night because there were a lot of lights installed which would definitely light up at night.

A side of Namba Parks, the park above the mall.

Namba Parks itself is also integrated with a shopping and office complex located in Naniwa City District. In the park, I only took thirty minutes because I wanted to visit Americamura soon to see the shopping and entertainment area from a different perspective.

It was already half past two in the afternoon, I started to leave Namba Parks via original route when I came to Namba Parks.

Tom Cruise and Osaka Castle

You know this this “Handsome Role” right?…

The picture is a scene from the movie “The Last Samurai”, when Captain Nathan, played by Tom Cruise, honorably fights with the leader of Samurai, namely Katsumoto, played by veteran Japanese actor Ken Watanabe, against the soldiers of Emperor Meiji who are trained by American Army. The background of this war is “Modernization vs Feudalism”. Emperors glorified modernization and Samurai maintained tradition.

Those are just a few of many heartbreaking mosaics that made Japan’s history when it transformed from a conventional country to a modern one. One such mosaic is Boshin War, a civil war which left a mark of destruction and was recorded in this historical place which I visited.

Yups….This is Osakajo….People call it as Osaka Castle or Osaka Castle.

—-****—-

On 09:50 hours, I stepped on the platform of Tanimachi 4-chome Station, then exited through one of its gates where Osaka Museum of History and Hoenzaka Iseki proudly stood in station’s courtyard. My steps continued to be connected on Uemachi-suji Avenue with red maple tree decorations on both sides.

Its strong history made Osaka Castle be my first destination in the city with a nicknamed “Manchester From East”. I really didn’t want to delay and lose my first glance at king’s palace which is more than four centuries old. The distance is only six kilometers from Kaga Hotel where I stayed and the availability of Osaka Metro line to it made it so easy to access this destination.

Did you dare to introduceing yourself to her?

Not long in walking, I arrived at Osaka Castle, through Otemon Gate to be exact. Otemon Gate itself is on east side of palace, while on its west side is provided Aoyamon Gate. Like an ancient palace, this place is surrounded by a wide canal nearly a hundred meters long as a form of defense.

Passing a bridge, pedestrian path began to direct every tourist to enter a side of Otemon Gate. It began with a door made of two towering steel sheets. After that, plastered walls which made from fine andesite, some of which were left intact with a length and width of almost five meters.

Soon the second gate greeted. The gate with a size larger than the first one was nicknamed Osakajo Tamon-yagura which was composed of large, intact and sturdy wood. Through this second gate, tourists would automatically enter palace area which had an area of ​​not less than six hectares.

In some fragments of its history, it’s told that this castle was destroyed by fire due to the Boshin War in 1868. Now the Boshin War itself has been illustrated by Tom Cruise in the preambule at the beginning of this article.

Osakajo Tamon-yagura
Osakajo which on fire…..

I arrived at southern courtyard, call it as Osaka Castle Park. This is where tourists gather and enjoy the elegance of castle made by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the leader of Japan’s Sengoku Period. I took time to take pictures with old samurai role in castle grounds. Even to got rid of loneliness, I often have fun posing behind a group of tourists who were taking pictures. Grinning horses, jumping, waving or whatever I did. Sometimes it made one of that group pointed at me while laughing after seeing their photos in their digital room. Seriously acute.

After an hour of enjoying Osaka Castle, I decided to sit down and enjoyed the Ikayaki which I bought from one of many food truck which was neatly lined up in east courtyard. A portion of Ikayaki was priced about 300 Yen. Ups, do you know Ikayaki?…. It was a large grilled squid seasoned with mirin (Japanese seasoning).

The original samurai armor is usually in black colour, right?.
A food truck in Osaka Castle.

Finishing in eating Ikayaki, or at exactly 10:30 am, I started to leave Osaka Castle area and planned to head to Naniwa City District.

Where would I step?………

Magazine, Osaka Metro and Osaka Castle

A quarter of an hour to nine….I left Kaga Hotel in Nishinari City District after leaving my backpack in reception area. I rushed to Dobutsuen-mae Station. But first, I had to stuff something into my stomach before arriving at station. Since midnight last night, when I arrived in Osaka, I haven’t eaten a bite.

I decided to look for the nearest convenience store. On the way to station, I found a FamilyMart on the edge of Saka-suji Avenue. I won’t be munching on onigiri again for breakfast. I’ve been bored since two days ago routinely chewing that food. Finally I chose a cup noodle and immediately took the queue in front of cashier. Waiting my turn, one by one, FamilyMart customers completed their payment. I only reflexively followed forward when the queue in front also advanced, but actually my eyes never looked ahead.

Cashier : “Hello”

I still didn’t budge.

Cashier: “Hello”

I still thought thar it was the turn of someone who queueing in front of me

Cashier: “Helloooo….Sir. You…..Sir”.

Me: “Oh it’s my turn, sorry” The cashier just smiled when he saw my face was red with embarrassment. Damn….She and the queue behind me were grinning in unison because they caught me staring at a corner of a shelf with many adult magazines neatly arranged. Luckily the cashier didn’t offer me to buy the magazine….I was embarrassed.

This kind of thing is common in Japan…..

After paying, I headed to a dispenser. Pour hot water into cup noodles and took a corner of that convenience store to eat it.

Cashier: “Helloooo Sir, eat outside, please!”

Ohhh….I was embarrassed, expelled out again, even though I was avoiding cold air outside. In the end, I still ate my cup noodles while standing in front of minimarket while chilling happily….My fate.

Moments later, I were eaten all my noodles until there was no gravy left. I continued to the north. Arriving at the intersection of Abiko-suji Avenue, I immediately headed underground through one of gates belonging to Dobutsuen-mae Station which is on the south bank of main road.

Me: “Hello, How can I get a One Day Pass, Sir”. I made sure not to buy it too long like what happened two days ago in Tokyo.

Security Officer: “Doko e ikitai desu ka?”, apparently this man couldn’t speak English.

Me: “Osaka Castle, Sir”.

Security Officer: “Hooooohhhh….”. He didn’t even know

Me: “Osakajo”.

That security officer then smiled nodding and ushered me through a corridor and then he pointed to an automatic vending machine.

“Arigatou Gozaimasu”, I told him. Even though if you are looking for a machine like this, I can too. Is the One Day Pass sold separately from the machine, that’s what I meant…..Hmmh.

Never mind, I started hitting that automatic vending machine button. I could smile with relief because this machine was not as complicated as the one in Tokyo. I put in a 1,000 Yen sheet, pressed the “ENGLISH” button, continued to the “CARD” button and finally I found the “ONE DAY PASS” button for 600 Yen.

That night was the first overseas New Year’s Eve for me. I purposely bought an One Day Pass because I was going home after midnight, after New Year’s Eve Countdown of course.

Now I was getting ready to take Osaka Metro. It was also my first time experiencing subways in Japan after having only tasted surface trains nine times in a row since my arrival in Tokyo.

I started at Midosuji Line and then changed to Tanimhaci Line at Tennoji Station. Drove north for five kilometers and within fifteen minutes, I finally arrived at Tanimachi 4-chome Station in Chuo City District.

I immediately exited through the exit gate where Osaka Museum of History building and the historical landmark Hoenzaka Iseki are located. From there, I continued along Uemachi-suji Avenue towards Osaka Castle which was only one kilometer away.

Osaka Museum of History.
Hoenzaka iseki, 5th Century warehouse building in Japan.
Isn’t that a maple tree?
I arrived at Otemon gate of Osaka Castle

Let’s exploring Osakajo…..

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.

Peach Aviation MM6320 from Tokyo to Osaka: 15th Airline

My departure time for East Asia Tour Volume-2 was only a day away. There was still one stage of my itinerary which was still scattered and unfinished, i.e the deadlock of my transfer mechanism from Tokyo to Osaka. Three months ago, I wasted a cheap bus ticket from Tokyo to Osaka for 5,700 Yen just because I kept thinking and looking for other options. Some time later when the weekend came, the price of bus fare increased to 9,700 Yen. While the Shinkansen ticket price reached 14,000 Yen.

It mean that apart from the bus, the Shinkansen was also impossible for me to choose. The bullet train was too expensive for my pocket. Inevitably, I have to go back to rummaging through information about Japanese transportation.

I started tracking how many commercial airlines which Land of Rising Sun owned. Previously, I had booked one of their airlines to move from Kaohsiung (Taiwan) to Tokyo, that airline was Vanilla Air. But this airline in fact set a fairly expensive price for Tokyo to Osaka route, around 10,130 Yen.

From my persistence in exploring cyberspace, my mouse touch found another LCC (Low Cost Carrier) airline belonging to Japan, namely Peach Aviation. The airline’s attributes rely on a combination of orange and pink colors, forming a pale orange color known as peach. I started looking for a route. Finally I found Tokyo-Osaka route for 7,150 Yen, a slightly cheaper price than taking the bus, Shinkansen or Vanilla Air.

—-****—-

Preparing for take-off with Peach Aviation MM6320.

The incident of delay and accidentally drinking alcohol became a bad memory before I left Tokyo. However, I started to smile when my flight number was mentioned in airport announcement. I started queuing in line. I began to imagine the beauty of Osaka Castle in every second of my queue. Until I arrived, my boarding pass and passport were checked by a female ground staff who was very young.

“I’m sorry, this is not your flight. Your flight will be depart 30 minutes later”.

“Are you sure?”, I half asked.

“Yes, sir. This flight is MM320 and your flight is MM6320, almost similar”.

“Oh God, I’m sorry. This is my wrong”, I slapped my forehead while trying to hide my embarrassment.

I stepped back from the queue and sat in one of empty rows of seats that had been left by prospective passengers to enter the plane. I was still watching the queue until the last person entered the plane. Now I was back waiting….

30 minutes later…..

Unmistakably, this was my flight, I made sure flight number information on the LCD screen was correct, then I matched it with the same number in my boarding pass….Yup, this was MM6320. I immediately entered the queue. Then at the queue gate, I gave my boarding pass and passport to be checked by one of ground staff. Finally, I was allowed to enter the plane.

The cabin dominance with a peach color made the room so cheerful, slightly reducing my fatigue in struggling with delays. Every cabin crew was so quick to help passengers put their luggage into luggage compartment. Several times, a flight attendant didn’t hesitate to take off her shoes and stood into a chair edge to push some large luggage and tidy it up in luggage compartment.

After preparation, Peach Aviation MM6320 began to crawl towards runway accompanied by a demonstration of flight safety procedures by cabin crew. Moments later the flight captain asked for permission to take off. Shortly after, the Airbus A320-100 sped away from Narita International Airport from Terminal 1.

The sky in Tokyo seemed to be clear that night. I didn’t feel any turbulence during 1 hour 35 minute flight. Osaka is Japan’s third largest city, 500 km in west of Tokyo. Throughout flight, most passengers prefered to close their eyes, but I still turned on the reading light because I was interested in the abundance of tourism information which contained in Peach Aviation’s inflight magazine. I took pictures one by one of that tourist information sheets, I needed it while in Osaka. Apparently my activity was noticed by a flight attendant from behind. Even at one time she came to me.

Hunting for information on board.

“Do you still reading, Sir?” .

“Yes, Ms. I need some information from this magazine”.

“Oh ok, Sir. It doesn’t matter. I just make sure”.

She smiled and sat back in her flight attendant’s seat at back. Even after that, I made sure that throughout the flight I never turned off the reading light. On 23:53 hours, flight captain started talking into his microphone to simply announce that the plane would soon be landing at Kansai International Airport Terminal 2. All passengers rushed up, got ready and tidied up every seat. The cabin crew continued to check back and forth according to safety procedures for landing process.

I still didn’t know about actual conditions down there because I was sitting in aisle seat. I was able to feel when the plane began to lower and occasionally rocked to stabilize its position. Until finally the smooth pounding of plane’s wheels informed me that Peach Aviation had touched the runway of Kansai International Airport, in Terminal 2 to be exact.

There was no welcoming aerobridge, all passengers must descend the stairs and be picked up by Narita apron shuttle bus to the terminal building.

Arriving at Kansai International Airport Terminal 2 on midnight.

That night, I decided to spend the night at Kansai International Airport Terminal 2 and would leave for downtown on the next day.

Alternatives for airline tickets from Tokyo to Osaka can be found on 12Go or the following link: https://12go.asia/?z=3283832

Bulu Angsa di Namba Parks

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Meninggalkan Osaka Castle melalui Uemachi-suji Avenue , aku menuju Stasiun Tanimachi 4-chome. Melewati deretan pohon red-maple yang tertanam di setiap sisi jalan, kemudian menuju pintu masuk stasiun yang terletak di kaki-kaki perkasa Osaka Museum of History.

Enjoy Eco Card (nama lain One Day Pass di Osaka) seharga 600 Yen (Rp. 82.000) membuatku nyaman dan mudah untuk keluar masuk stasiun tanpa harus hinggap di automatic vending machine ketika ingin menggunakan jasa Osaka Metro. Aku tinggal men-tap kartu itu di ticket collecting gate dan menikmati berkeliling Osaka sesuka hati.

Enjoy Eco Card.

Menaiki Tanimachi Line dan berpindah ke Sennichimae Line di Stasiun Tanimachi 9-chome maka perjalananku berhenti di Stasiun Namba setelah menempuh jarak tiga kilometer dan dalam waktu tempuh lima belas menit.

Tiba di Stasiun Namba yang berusia delapan puluh lima tahun, aku keluar menuju ke Namba City. Namba City merupakan pusat perbelanjaan yang sangat luas di daerah itu.

Menelusuri koridor demi koridor megah di Namba City membuatku tertarik untuk mampir dan melihat beberapa koleksi winter jacket milik UNIQLO store di salah satu sisi koridor megah. Kejadian menggelitik kembali menimpaku di sini. Ini akibat dari winter jacket murahan yang kukenakan. Winter jacket bekas keluaran Pasar Baru itu merontokkan bulu-bulu angsa lembut dari sisi bagian dalam ketika aku mencoba sebuah winter jacket milik UNIQLO di kamar pas. Sontak, setelah aku keluar dari kamar pas itu, seorang petugas wanita mengambil sapu dan pengki untuk membersihkan bulu-bulu itu. Dia cuma tersenyum menatapku yang sedang meletakkan winter jacket ke tempat display semula. Padahal aku sudah berfikir tak akan mampu membelinya, tetap masih tetap saja nekat mencobanya….Dasar sok gaya. Bagaimana aku tak berpikir seribu kali untuk membelinya jika sepotong winter jacket di banderol dengan harga 12.900 Yen (Rp. 1.750.000).

Untuk melupakan insiden memalukan itu, aku bergegas meninggalka store itu dan bergegas menuju ke Namba Parks. Kali ini aku mulai terkagum karena akses menuju ke Namba Parks membuatku tetap berada di jalur indoor pejalan kaki, padahal Namba City dan Namba Parks berada dilokasi yang berbeda. Indoor corridor itu terus menuju ke selatan dan terkoneksi langsung dengan Namba Parks.

Setelah berjalan tak sampai dua ratus meter dari exit gate Stasiun Namba, akhirya aku tiba juga di Namba Parks. Taman keren itu didesain di bagian atas pusat perbelanjaan dengan kontur yang dibuat berundak-undak bak terasering. Seharusnya aku mengunjungi taman ini saat malam karena terlihat banyak lampu terpasang yang pastinya akan menyala di malam hari.

Salah satu sisi Namba Parks, taman di atas mall.

Namba Parks sendiri juga terintegrasi dengan kompleks perbelanjaan dan perkantoran yang terletak di Distrik Kota Naniwa. Di taman itu, aku hanya menyempatkan tiga puluh menit saja karena aku ingin segera mengunjungi Amerikamura untuk melihat area belanja dan hiburan dengan sudut pandang yang berbeda.

Waktu sudah menunjukkan jam setengah dua siang, aku mulai meninggalkan Namba Parks melalui jalur semula saat aku mendatangi Namba Parks.

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Tom Cruise dan Osaka Castle

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Kamu kenal “Si Ganteng” ini kan?…

Gambar itu adalah penggalan adegan film “ The Last Samurai”, ketika Kapten Nathan yang diperankan Tom Cruise bertarung secara terhormat bersama pemimpin para Samurai yaitu Katsumoto yang diperankan aktor kawakan Jepang Ken Watanabe melawan tentara Kaisar Meiji yang dilatih oleh Angkatan Darat Amerika. Latar belakang perang ini adalah “Modernisasi Vs Feodalisme”. Kaisar mengagungkan modernisasi dan Samurai mempertahankan tradisi.

Itulah sedikit dari banyak mozaik memilukan penyusun sejarah Jepang ketika bertransformasi dari negara konvensional menjadi negara modern. Satu mozaik itu adalah Perang Boshin, perang saudara yang meninggalkan bekas kerusakan dan terekam di dalam tempat bersejarah yang aku kunjungi ini.

Yups….Inilah Osakajo….Khalayak menyebutnya Kastil Osaka atau Osaka Castle.

—-****—-

Pukul 09:50, aku menjejakkan langkah di peron Stasiun Tanimachi 4-chome, kemudian keluar melintasi salah satu gerbangnya dimana Osaka Museum of History dan Hoenzaka iseki berdiri gagah  di pelatarannya. Langkahku terus tersambung di Uemachi-suji Avenue dengan hiasan pohon red maple  di kedua sisinya.

Sejarahnya yang kuat menjadikan Osaka Castle sebagai destinasi pertamaku di kota berjuluk “Manchester dari Timur”. Aku memang tak mau menunda dan kehilangan pandangan pertama pada istana raja yang berusia lebih dari empat abad itu. Jaraknya yang hanya enam kilometer dari Hotel Kaga tempatku menginap dan tersedianya jalur Osaka Metro menujunya membuatku begitu mudah mengakses destinasi itu.

Kamu berani kenalan ga?

Tak lama berjalan kaki, aku pun tiba di Osaka Castle, melalui Otemon Gate tepatnya. Otemon Gate sendiri berada di sisi timur istana, sedangkan di seberang barat disediakan Aoyamon Gate. Seperti layaknya istana zaman dahulu, tempat ini dikelilingi oleh kanal lebar sepanjang hampir seratus meter sebagai bentuk pertahanan.

Melewati sebuah jembatan, jalur pejalan kaki mulai mengarahkan setiap wisatawan memasuki sisi Otemon Gate. Diawali dengan pintu berbahan dua lembar baja menjulang. Setelahnya, terpampang dinding-dinding berbahan andesit halus yang beberapa diantaranya dibiarkan utuh dengan panjang dan lebar hampir lima meter.

Tak lama gerbang kedua menyambut. Gerbang dengan ukuran lebih besar dari yang pertama itu berjuluk Osakajo Tamon-yagura yang disusun dari kayu-kayu besar, utuh serta kokoh. Melewati gerbang kedua inilah, wisatawan secara otomatis memasuki area istana yang memiliki luas tak kurang dari enam hektar.

Dalam beberapa fragmen perjalanan, diceritakakan bahwa kastil ini pernah luluh lantak oleh api akibat Perang Boshin pada tahun 1868. Nah Perang Boshin sendiri sudah diilustrasikan oleh Tom Cruise pada preambule di awal.

Osakajo Tamon-yagura
Osakajo yang terbakar…..

Tibalah aku di pelataran selatan, sebut saja Osaka Castle Park. Disinilah para wisatawan berkumpul dan menikmati keanggunan kastil buatan Toyotomi Hideyoshi, sang pemimpin Jepang  Zaman Sengoku.  Aku menyempatkan diri berfoto dengan samurai tua di pelataran kastil. Bahkan untuk mengusir kesepian, aku sering iseng dengan berpose di belakang rombongan turis yang sedang berfoto. Nyengir kuda, melompat, melambaikan tangan atau apapun kulakukan. Terkadang membuat salah satu rombongan itu menunjukku sambil tertawa setelah melihat hasil foto di kamara digital mereka. Parah akut memang.

Genap satu jam menikmati Osaka Castle, aku memutuskan untuk duduk dan menikmati Ikayaki yang kubeli dari food truck yang berjejer rapi di timur pelataran. Setusuk Ikayaki disana dihargai dengan 300 Yen (Rp. 41.000). Eh, tahu kan Ikayaki?…. Itu lho, cumi bakar ukuran besar yang dibumbui mirin (bumbu khas Jepang).

Baju zirah milik samurai asli kan warnanya hitam.
Kalau punya duit, boleh ngemil. Kalau ga punya duit tapi kepengen, boleh juga, ga ada yang ngelarang.

Menuntaskan Ikayaki, atau tepat pukul 10:30, aku mulai meninggalkan area Osaka Castle dan berencana menuju ke Distrik Kota Naniwa.

Kemanakah gerangan?……….

Kisah Selanjutnya—->

Majalah Dewasa, Osaka Metro dan Osaka Castle

<—-Kisah sebelumnya

Seperempat jam menuju pukul sembilan….Aku meninggalkan Hotel Kaga di Distrik Kota Nishinari setelah menitipkan backpack di ruang resepsionis. Aku bergegas menuju Stasiun Dobutsuen-mae. Tetapi terlebih dahulu, aku harus menjejalkan sesuatu ke perut sebelum tiba di stasiun itu. Sedari tengah malam tadi, ketika aku tiba di Osaka, belum sesuap pun aku makan.

Aku memutuskan mencari minimarket terdekat. Dalam langkah menuju stasiun, kutemukan sebuah FamilyMart di tepian Saka-suji Avenue. Aku tak akan mengunyah onigiri lagi sebagai sarapan. Aku sudah bosan sejak dua hari lalu rutin mengunyah makanan itu. Akhirnya aku memilih sebuah cup noodle dan segera mengambil antrian di depan kasir. Menunggu giliran, satu persatu pelanggan FamilyMart itu menyelesaikan kewajiban. Aku hanya reflek ikut maju ketika antrian di depan juga maju, tetapi sesungguhnya mataku tak pernah menatap ke depan.

Kasir : “Hello

Aku masih tak bergeming.

Kasir: “Helloo

Aku masih berfikir itu giliran pengantri di depanku

Kasir: “Helloooo….Sir. You…..Sir”.

Aku: “Oh it’s my turn, sorry

Kasir itu hanya senyam-senyum saja melihat mukaku yang memerah karena malu. Sial….Dia dan pengantri di belakangku kompak nyengar-nyengir karena memergoki aku memandangi sebuah sudut rak dengan banyak majalah dewasa yang tersusun rapi. Untung si kasir tidak menawariku untuk membeli majalah itu….Kan malu.

Yang beginian sudah biasa di Jepang….Duhhhh….

Selepas membayar, aku menuju ke sebuah dispenser. Menuang air panas ke cup noodles dan mengambil sebuah pojok minimarket untuk menyantapnya.

Kasir: “Helloooo Sir eat outside, please!”

Duhhhh….Sudah malu, kena usir lagi,. Padahal aku sedang menghindari hawa dingin di luar sana. Ujung-ujungnya, aku tetap saja menyantap cup noodles sambil berdiri di depan minimarket sembari berdingin ria….Nasibbb.

Sewaktu kemudian, cup noodles itu ludes hingga kuahnya pun tak bersisa. Aku melanjutkan langkah ke utara. Tiba di perempatan Abiko-suji Avenue, aku segera menuju bawah tanah melalui salah satu gate milik Stasiun Dobutsuen-mae yang berada di tepi selatan jalan besar itu.

Aku: “Hello, How can I get a One Day Pass, Sir”. Aku memastikan supaya tak kelamaan membelinya seperti kejadian dua hari lalu di Tokyo.

Petugas Keamanan: “Doko e ikitai desu ka?”, rupanya bapak ini tidak bisa berbahasa Inggris.

Aku: “Osaka Castle, Sir”.

Petugas Keamanan: “Hoooohhhhh….”. Dia belum ngerti juga

Aku: “Osakajo”.

Petugas itu lantas tersenyum mengangguk-angguk dan mengantarkanku melalui sebuah koridor lalu menunjuk ke automatic vending machine.

Arigatou Gozaimasu”, ucapku padanya. Padahal kalau mencari mesin beginian, aku juga bisa. Apakah One Day Pass dijual terpisah dari mesin, itu yang kumaksudkan…..Hmmh.

Sudahlah, aku mulai memencat-mencet tombol automatic vending machine itu. Aku bisa tersenyum lega karena mesin ini tak serumit seperti yang di Tokyo. Aku memasukkan selembar 1.000 Yen, memencet “ENGLISH” button, berlanjut ke “CARD” button dan akhirnya kutemukan “ONE DAY PASS” button seharga 600 Yen (Rp. 82.000).

Malam itu adalah malam tahun baru di luar negeri yang pertama buatku. Aku sengaja membeli One Day Pass karena akan pulang selepas tengah malam, setelah New Year’s Eve Countdown tentunya.

Kini aku bersiap menaiki Osaka Metro. Ini juga  pertama kalinya aku merasakan kereta bawah tanah di Jepang setelah sembilan kali berturut-turut hanya mencicipi kereta permukaan semenjak ketibaanku di Tokyo.

Aku mulai menyusuri Midosuji Line lalu berpindah ke Tanimhaci Line di Stasiun Tennoji. Melaju ke utara sejauh lima kilomater dan dalam lima belas menit, aku akhirnya tiba di Stasiun Tanimachi 4-chome di Distrik Kota Chuo.

Aku segera keluar melalui exit gate dimana gedung Osaka Museum of History dan landmark bersejarah Hoenzaka iseki berada. Dari situ, aku terus menelusuri Uemachi-suji Avenue menuju Osaka Castle yang hanya berjarak satu kilometer.

Osaka Museum of History.
Hoenzaka iseki, bangunan gudang dari Abad ke-5 di Jepang.
Itu pohon maple bukan sih?
Aku tiba di Otemon gate Osaka Castle

Mari kita eksplore Osakajo…..

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—->

Peach Aviation MM6320 dari Tokyo ke Osaka: Maskapai ke-15

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Waktu keberangkatanku menuju tur Asia Timur Jilid-2 tinggal sehari lagi. Masih ada satu tahapan itinerary yang masih tercecer dan belum tuntas, yaitu buntunya mekanisme perpindahanku dari Tokyo ke Osaka. Tiga bulan lalu, aku telah menyia-nyiakan tiket bus murah dari Tokyo ke Osaka seharga 5.700 Yen (Rp. 775.000) hanya karena terus berfikir dan banyak mencari pilihan lain. Beberapa waktu kemudian Saat akhir pekan tiba, harga tariff bus itu meningkat hingga 9.700 Yen (1,2 juta). Sedangkan harga tiket Shinkansen  mencapai 14.000 Yen (Rp. 1,9 Juta).                                                                                                                   

Berarti selain bus, Shinkansen juga tak mungkin kupilih. Kereta peluru itu terlalu mahal untuk ukuran kantongku. Mau tak mau, aku harus kembali mengobrak-abrik informasi tentang transportasi Jepang.

Aku mulai melacak perihal seberapa banyak maskapai komersial yang dimiliki oleh Negeri Matahari Terbit. Sebelumnya, aku sudah memesan salah satu maskapai mereka untuk berpindah dari Kaohsiung (Taiwan) ke Tokyo, maskapai itu adalah Vanilla Air. Tetapi maskapai ini nyatanya mematok harga lumayan mahal untuk rute Tokyo ke Osaka, berkisar 10.130 Yen (Rp. 1,4 juta).

Dari persistensiku menjelajah dunia maya, sentuhan mouseku menemukan satu maskapai LCC (Low Cost Carrier) lain milik Jepang, yaitu Peach Aviation. Atrbut maskapai ini mengandalkan perpaduan warna orange dan pink, membentuk warna jingga pucat atau dikenal dengan nama peach. Aku mulai mencari rute. Akhirnya aku menemukan rute Tokyo-Osaka seharga 7.150 Yen (Rp. 970.000), harga yang sedikit lebih hemat daripada menggunakan bus, Shinkansen atau Vanilla Air.

—-****—-

Bersiap take-off bersama Peach Aviation MM6320.

Insiden delay dan tenggakan alkohol secara tak sengaja memang menjadi memori tak mengenakkan sebelum aku meninggalkan Tokyo. Tetapi, aku mulai sumringah ketika nomor penerbanganku disebut dalam pengumuman bandara. Aku mulai mengantri dalam barisan. Mulai terbayang keindahan Osaka Castle dalam setiap detik antrianku. Hingga tiba, boarding pass dan pasporku diperiksa oleh ground staff wanita yang masih sangat muda dan berbadan mungil.

I’m sorry, this is not your flight. Your flight will be depart 30 minutes later”.

Are you sure?”, jawabku separuh bertanya.

Yes, Sir. This flight is MM320 and your flight is MM6320, almost similar”.

Oh God, I’m sorry. This is my wrong”, aku menepok jidat sambil berusaha menyembunyikan rasa malu.

Aku kembali mundur dari antrian dan duduk di salah satu deretan kursi kosong yang sudah ditinggalkan para calon penumpang untuk memasuki pesawat. Aku masih saja mengamati antrian itu hingga orang terakhir memasuki pesawat. Kini aku kembali menunggu….

30 menit kemudian…..

Tak salah lagi, inilah penerbanganku, aku pastikan informasi nomor penerbangan di layar LCD baik-baik, lalu kucocokkan dengan nomor yang sama di boarding pass….Yup, benar ini MM6320. Aku segera memasuki antrian. Lalu di gerbang antrian, aku memberikan bording pass dan paspor untuk diperiksa oleh salah satu ground staff. Akhirnya, aku diizinkan untuk memasuki pesawat.

Dominasi kabin dengan warna peach menjadikan ruangan itu begitu ceria, sedikit mengurangi penatku dalam berjibaku menghadapi delay. Setiap awak kabin begitu sigap membantu penumpang memasukkan barang bawaan ke kompartemen bagasi. Beberapa kali, seorang pramugari tak ragu melepas sepatunya dan menaiki kursi untuk mendorong beberapa bagasi besar dan merapikan letaknya di kompartemen bagasi.

Seusai persiapan, Peach Aviation MM6320 mulai merayap menuju runway diiringi demonstrasi prosedur keamanan penerbangan oleh awak kabin. Beberapa saat kemudian Kapten Penerbangan meminta izin untuk melakukan take-off. Tak lama setelahnya, Airbus A320-100 itu melaju sekencang-kencangnya meninggalkan Narita International Airport dari Terminal 1.

Langit Tokyo sepertinya cerah malam itu. Aku tak merasakan turbulensi apapun selama 1 jam 35 menit penerbangan. Osaka adalah kota terbesar ketiga Jepang yang berjarak 500km di sebelah barat Tokyo. Sepanjang penerbangan sebagian besar penumpang lebih memilih memejamkan mata, tetapi aku tetap saja menyalakan lampu baca karena tertarik dengan banyaknya informasi pariwisata yang tertuang dalam inflight magazine Peach Aviation. Aku memotret satu demi satu lembar informasi pariwisata yang kubutuhkan selama di Osaka nanti. Rupanya aktivitasku itu diperhatikan oleh seorang pramugari dari belakang. Bahkan pada suatu waktu dia datang menghampiriku.

Berburu informasi di dalam pesawat.

Do you still reading, Sir?” .

Yes, Ms. I need some information from this magazine”.

Oh Ok, Sir. It doesn’t matter. I just make sure”.

Dia tersenyum dan kembali menduduki bangku pramugarinya di belakang. Bahkan setelahnya, kupastikan bahwa sepanjang penerbangan aku tak pernah memadamkan lampu baca itu. Pukul 23: 53, Kapten penerbangan mulai bicara dengan microphonenya untuk sekedar mengumumkan bahwa pesawat akan segera mendarat di Kansai International Airport Terminal 2. Semua penumpang bergegas bangun, bersiap diri dan merapikan setiap tempat duduknya. Para awak kabin terus mondar-mandir memeriksa sesuai prosedur keamanan untuk proses landing.

Aku masih tak menahu perihal kondisi sesungguhnya di bawah sana karena aku duduk di aisle seat. Aku mampu merasakan ketika pesawat mulai merendah dan sesekali bergoyang untuk menstabilkan posisi. Hingga akhirnya hentakan halus roda pesawat memberitahukanku bahwa Peach Aviation sudah menyentuh runway Kansai International Airport, di Terminal 2 tepatnya.

Tidak ada aerobridge yang menyambut, semua penumpang harus menuruni tangga dan dijemput oleh Narita apron shuttle bus menuju bangunan terminal.

Tiba di Kansai International Airport Terminal 2 tepat tengah malam.

Malam itu, aku memtuskan untuk bermalam di Kansai International Airport Terminal 2 dan akan berangkat menuju ke tengah kota di keesokan hari.

Alternatif untuk tiket pesawat dari Tokyo ke Osaka bisa dicari di 12Go atau link berikut: https://12go.asia/?z=3283832

Kisah Selanjutnya—->