JSPS Quarterly
No.63 2018 Spring

Introducing Japan: Kobe: Sandwiched between mountains, land, and sea

Dr. Nicola Margaret Gerrett

 on the map of Japan

Kobe is a beautiful vibrant place: It combines a modern, cosmopolitan city with the beautiful mountain ranges of Rokko and Osaka Bay. One of the things I enjoy most about living in Kobe is how quickly I can access the mountains from my apartment. There are so many great hiking routes and some spectacular views of Kobe and Osaka. If it's a clear day, you can also see all the way to Wakayama and Awaji Island.

Hiking in the Rokko Mountains
                              Hiking in the Rokko Mountains

Mount Maya is the second highest peak (698m) of the Rokko mountain ranges and whilst you can take a cable car to the top I much prefer the challenge of hiking up, enjoying lunch and then taking the cable car back down. Mount Maya is known for offering one of the best night views in Japan. Unfortunately, I have attempted to see this twice but struck out with the weather. I hope that before I leave I will get the opportunity to see it, minus the clouds!

                              Night view from Mount Maya

The highest peak is Rokkosan-Saikoho, at 931m. There too is the option of a cable car to take you to the top but you will miss the opportunity of seeing some spectacular waterfalls on the way up and a large dam. After hiking up, more fantastic views await, which can be enjoyed from the botanical garden or a number of cafes and restaurants. If you are feeling energetic you can continue hiking to Arima Onsen to soak your tired legs. It is also possible to hike to Arima Onsen via Ashiya Rock Garden, a little further east of Kobe city centre. I really enjoy hiking here, as you need to scramble and climb over many rocks and boulders which jut out from the trees. On the weekends, you can see many people enjoying the views and taking a well-earned rest on these protruding rocks.

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JSPS Quarterly No.63 2018