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.

Overnight at Kansai International Airport (KIX)

Arriving at Kansai International Airport (KIX), Osaka.

I descended Peach Aviation with flight number MM6320 via manual ladder. Then I was taken using Narita apron shuttle bus to Terminal 2 building. Finally, I arrived in Osaka and stepped onto airport which had won “The Best Low Cost Airline Terminal in the World” in Skytrax version.

Since this was a domestic flight, of course I didn’t need to be busy dealing with immigration. I stepped on the floor of Terminal 2 building on exactly midnight. I think it would be better if I immediately looked for a place to close my eyes for next five hours. I also felt very tired because from the morning when I checked out until the afternoon I walked around Tokyo carrying a 6 kg backpack. The expensive transportation costs didn’t allow me to put my backpack in hotel first when exploring Tokyo. Because of course it costed a lot of money to just go back and forth to hotel just for  taking a backpack in hotel when you want to leave Tokyo. As a result, I had to carry my backpack wherever my feet went until I arrived in Osaka.

My instincts were very quick to find the best seat, I was now in an area on west side of Terminal 2 building which was quite. Four chairs without armrests made the perfect treat for that evening. Not thinking long, I immediately acquired one of them, made my backpack as a pillow and I quickly fell asleep on it.

Zzzzzz…..The remain, I didn’t know what was going on around.

—-****—-

Greekkk…..praakkk…..Buughhh…..Kraackkk.

I gasped and suddenly woke up. Sitting with a headache, I saw clearly a group of tall and beautiful Chinese girls were already sitting in front of me. Two of them noticed me who was in a disheveled condition, then smiled. It was impossible for me to continue sleeping in front of them. Looked like they just landed and out of nowhere.

The clock needle was still perched at number four. That means I’ve slept even four hours. I drank the remaining mineral water. And in an instant, that girls were busy with their respective devices.

I immediately took out my toiletries pack and put my thick jacket into my backpack. I immediately went to the toilet. Entering the airport toilet in the morning was a strategy to enjoy clean toilets because usually the cleaning service just finished cleaning it and no one had used it yet.

Sure enough, I was the first to enter the toilet that morning. Extraordinarily clean, regarding to the cleanliness of public facilities in Japan, no need to ask, they are the experts. That morning, for real, for the first time I used a toilet with a full of button control panel . I put my backpack on clean toilet floor and started my morning activities in it. I guessed, I was too long because of the preoccupation with trying to operate all kinds of button next to the toilet. I pressed no less than ten types of button, from the flushing/sound button to the warm seat button. Not hard, almost 40 minutes I mastered the toilet.

Oh, Donny….All the way to Japan just to try the toilet….Damn

Using free shuttle bus to Terminal 1.

After brushing my teeth in front of the sink. I started to prepare myself to head to the city. I immediately looked for the whereabouts of train station. Following an instructions, I was directed to a free shuttle bus to transfer to Terminal 1, because train to downtown was there.

I boarded to free shuttle bus. Traveling a distance of about 2 km and less than ten minutes I arrived at Terminal 1 at exactly six in the morning. I started hunting for train tickets.

“Which train must I take to get the cheapest price to Shin-Imamiya Station, Ms?”, I asked to female clerk sitting at ticket sales desk.

“JR Kansai Airport Rapid for 1,060 Yen, Sir”

“Okay, I take that”

Preparing to go to Osaka.

Not long after, JR Kansai Airport Rapid Train arrived. I immediately entered one of its carriages which was dominantly silver with a blue color, then sat on one of its single seats. Less than five minutes, the train departed. That’s how Japanese trains awere, never late and always on time.

15 minutes later…..

Osaka Bay

I was so surprised that its carriage passed through a giant iron bridge which straddled the sea. All my life, I just found out that Kansai International Airport (KIX) is located in the middle of the sea, 5 Km from the nearest mainland in Osaka city. Wasn’t this a wonderful experience?……

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—->

Bermalam di Kansai International Airport (KIX)

<—-Kisah Sebelumnya

Tiba di Kansai International Airport (KIX), Osaka.

Aku menuruni Peach Aviation bernomor terbang MM6320 melalui tangga manual. Kemudian dibawa menggunakan Narita apron shuttle bus menuju bangunan Terminal 2. Akhirnya, aku tiba di Osaka dan menapaki bandara yang pernah memenangi Best Low Cost Airline Terminal in the World versi Skytrax.

Karena ini adalah penerbangan domestik tentu aku tak perlu sibuk berurusan dengan pihak imigrasi. Aku menginjak lantai bangunan Terminal 2 tepat tengah malam. Kiranya akan lebih baik jika aku segera mencari tempat peraduan untuk memejamkan mata sejenak hingga 5 jam ke depan. Aku juga sudah merasa sangat letih karena sedari pagi saat check-out hingga sore berkeliling Tokyo dengan memanggul backpack seberat 6 Kg. Biaya transportasi yang mahal tak memungkinkanku untuk menaruh backpack di dormitory dahulu. Karena sudah barang tentu membutuhkan biaya yang tak sedikit untuk sekedar bolak-balik ke dormitory hanya untuk kegiatan remeh temeh, yaitu mengambil backpack saat ingin meninggalkan Tokyo. Alhasil, aku harus memanggul backpack kemanapun kaki melangkah higga aku tiba di Osaka.

Instingku sangat cepat untuk menemukan tempat tidur terbaik, aku kini berada di sebuah area di sisi barat bangunan Terminal 2 yang cukup tenang. Empat bangku gandeng tanpa sandaran lengan menjadi hadiah sempurna malam itu. Tak berfikir panjang, aku segera mengakuisisi salah satunya, menjadikan backpack sebagai bantal dan dengan cepat aku terlelap diatasnya.

Zzzzzz…..Selebihnya aku tak tahu apa yang terjadi di sekitar.

—-****—-

Greekkk…..praakkk…..Buughhh…..Kraackkk.

Aku tergelegap dan tersontak bangun. Dalam duduk dengan kepala pening, aku melihat jelas rombongan gadis-gadis tinggi cantik asal Tiongkok sudah duduk di depanku. Dua diantaranya memperhatikanku  yang sedang dalam kondisi kusut, kemudian melempar senyum. Sudah tak mungkin aku melanjutkan tidur di depan mereka. Sepertinya mereka baru saja mendarat dan entah dari mana.

Jarum jam masih bertengger di angka empat. Berarti aku sudah terlelap genap empat jam. Aku menenggak air mineral tersisa. Dan dalam sekejap gadis-gadis itu sudah sibuk dengan gawainya masing-masing.

Kukeluarkan segera toiletries pack dan kumasukkan jaket tebalku ke dalam backpack. Aku segera beranjak menuju ke toilet. Masuk ke toilet bandara saat pagi adalah strategi untuk menikmati toilet bersih karena biasanya cleaning service baru usai membersihkannya dan belum ada yang menggunakan.

Benar saja, akulah orang pertama yang memasuki toilet pagi itu. Luar biasa bersih, perihal kebersihan fasilitas umum di Jepang, tidak usah ditanya, mereka jagonya. Pagi itu, sungguh nyata, untuk pertama kalinya aku menggunakan toilet dengan control panel penuh tombol. Aku menaruh backpack di lantai toilet yang bersih dan memulai aktivitas pagi di dalamya. Sepertinya aku kelamaan karena keasyikan mencoba mengoperasikan semua jenis tombol di sebelah kloset toilet. Tak kurang dari sepuluh jenis tombol aku memencet-mencetnya, mulai dari tombol penyamar suara (flushing/sound button) hingga penghangat kloset (warm seat button). Tak kerasa, hampir 40 menit aku menguasai toilet itu.

Oalah, Donny….Jauh-jauh ke Jepang cuman buat nyobain toilet….Kasihan……

Menggunakan free shuttle bus menuju Terminal 1.

Usai menggosok gigi di depan wastafel. Aku mulai mempersiapkan diri untuk menuju kota. Aku segera mencari keberadaan stasiun kereta. Mengikuti petunjuk yang ada aku diarahkan pada sebuah free shuttle bus untuk berpindah ke Terminal 1, karena kereta ke tengah kota berada disana.

Aku menaiki free shuttle bus itu. Menempuh jarak sekitar 2 km dan tak sampai sepuluh menit aku tiba di Terminal 1 tepat pukul enam pagi. Aku mulai berburu tiket kereta.

Which train must I take to get the cheapest price to Shin-Imamiya Station, Ms?”, aku bertanya kepada petugas wanita yang duduk di bagian penjualan tiket.

JR Kansai Airport Rapid for 1.060 Yen (Rp. 145.000), Sir

Okay, I take that

Bersiap menuju Osaka.

Tak lama kemudian, JR Kansai Airport Rapid Train itu tiba. Aku segera memasuki salah satu gerbongnnya yang dominan silver dengan kelir biru, kemudian duduk di salah satu bangku tunggalnya. Tak sampai lima menit, kereta itu berangkat. Begitulah kereta Jepang, tak pernah telat dan selalu tepat waktu.

15 menit kemudian…..

Teluk Osaka (Osaka Bay).

Begitu terkejutnya diriku karena kereta itu melewati jembatan besi raksasa yang gagah mengangkangi laut. Seumur hidup, aku baru tahu kalau Kansai Internatioanl Airport (KIX) berlokasi di tengah laut, berjarak 5 Km dari daratan terdekat di kota Osaka. Bukankah ini pengalaman yang luar biasa?……

Kisah Selanjutnya—->