A good hike in the hills above Kobe. Take the Hankyu to the Ashigawa station; follow the river on the left side. The road will sort of end but stay left and keep going uphill. This will take you to the “Rock Garden” after you pass a narrow path with stores on each side. Some interesting climbing in the “Rock Garden”. Once you get to the top there are many ways to get back to town.
Another trip into the hills above Kobe. You can link this up with the trip from Ashigawa. Take the Hankyu and get off at Mikage and walk uphill as far as the road will take you. To the right will be a stream coming from the mountains. Follow that on a road past a crematorium. Shortly after the crematorium there is a trail leading up the mountain. There are many branches but if you continue going uphill you will come to a tea house (food & drink). From the top, if you go right you will meet up with the trail down to Ashiya. If you cross the road and go downhill (the other side of the mountain) you will come to Arima. From there you can take the Kobe Dentetsu Line changing at Shinkaichi for Sannomiya. There are other ways to return from Arima. If you go left you will come to Mt Rokko and the rope way. A good day’s walk whichever way you go.
Probably my favourite place (at least for now). A place the tourists haven’t found yet. A great place to bring a bottle of wine, a little cheese, and anything else. In winter be ready for snow. There isn’t much there, just the remains of a castle, extensive series of walls, and a wonderful view of the valleys below.
Take the JR to Himeji and change for the Bantan Line going to Todayama. Get off at Takeda (don’t take the express!). From the station you can see the castle walls on the hill across the tracks. There are some stores in the town straight ahead as you leave the station, if you want some food. There are two ways to get to the castle, the woods route and the road route. The woods route: across the tracks there is a shrine (long red steps) and a temple (white wall). Keep the shrine on your right and go along the white wall up the hill. This path will lead through a cedar grove and wind its way up to the castle. The road route: walk straight from the station, make the first right and walk through town. After about ten minutes make a right turn across the tracks and follow the road up the hill to the castle.
Editor’s note: I think George would be both disappointed and amused to know that the tourists have indeed finally discovered this place and it’s now referred to in guide books as the “Machu Picchu of Japan.” It’s heavily promoted by local tourism boards, and now features an extensive system of paths covered with some type of synthetic material and lined with ropes. Kind of a drag since you used to be able to roam freely and have a picnic on the grass. We went on a rainy day and it wasn’t too busy, but it sees a lot of visitors these days.
This is a walk in the hills above Kobe. Not all that difficult but all uphill until you turn around. Your destination is the Foreigner’s Cemetery on the top of the mountain.
From Motomachi JR west exit walk uphill (towards the mountains). Any street will do. When you reach the last east-west street turn left until you come to a small park with a baseball field on the right a very short distance. Take a right there and you will come to a large girls’ school then you know you are on the right road. Just continue up following a stream on the left. After a series of stairs you will come to a road. If you take the road to the right, you can pick up a trail that ends up behind the Shin Kobe station; a good return route (long). To continue up the mountain, cross the road. There is a pond there and the trail goes to the left of the pond. About halfway up you will come to a temple; the path goes to the left. There are some places to stop along the way. At the top you will come to another road, this one traveled. In fact, there is a bus that comes back to Kobe but it doesn’t run everyday. Cross the road and there is a small lake with boats to rent, a coffee shop and a small beach. Beyond the beach you pick up the road again and to the right is the Foreigner’s Cemetery, which is the interesting thing to see. The Cemetery is locked but if you are a foreigner you can get in or you can get a view of the grounds from a walkway to the left of the gate.
While at Hiroshima you should see Miyajima. It is about 20 minutes from Hiroshima station and then a very short ride to the island. This is a beautiful shrine built right on the water. Beyond the shrine and small town is a mountain that is difficult to climb but worth it. There are temples along the way. It would be about a two hour walk with many steps. But you can take the rope way down and there is a tea house at the bottom of the way. Of course, you could also take the rope way up. There is plenty of information about Miyajima available. Lots of monkeys and deer.
This is good for some serious hiking or beach sitting. Or spend two days and do both. It is very easy to get to. Take the JR to Omi-Miako. There is one train a day that leaves from Sannomiya and goes directly there about 9.30 am. That’s the quickest way. If you miss that, change at Kyoto for the train to Omi-Miako. At Omi-Miako the beach is one way the mountains are the other. The beach is very long and you can pick your spot depending on the amount of company you want. For the mountains just walk through the rice fields (there is a road) to a very busy highway. At the highway turn left and you will come to a river (there may not be any water). At the river turn right and walk uphill.
This can be a long walk and there is a bus that runs about every hour. It is about an hour’s walk with only one turn; when you come to a house with some vending machines, turn right. This will bring you to a ski-lift. The ski-lift takes you to a rope way, which takes you to the end of the the rope way. There you will find all kinds of trails leading in many different directions. This is not easy walking but it is deep woods, cold streams, a few monkeys and places to camp. At the top of the rope way there is a limited restaurant to the right. There is no map at the top, but trails are well marked in kanji. It would be best to have some kind of map before you start walking. There are probably other ways down but the rope way, ski-lift, and bus is probably the simplest and most relaxing. You can walk for as long as you like on top.