When I googled hikes in Kobe I came up with two – Mt. Maya and Mt. Rokko, two massive hills in the connected range behind Kobe. I had gone on massive hikes before and this was my one shot, so I decided to actually combine the two for what would end up being about a twenty mile hike. No big, I could take it easy the next day.
The below pics cover the hike up and over. The plan was to end up on Mt. Rokko and take the tram back down to the city of Kobe. It went a different way. When I ended up at the car station at Mt. Rokko, I was informed that it was closed. Okay. It was only about an hour to get back to the station on Mt. Maya. I could handle that. I trekked back to Mt. Maya (where those gorgeous views of Kobe and Osaka Bay are below) and that station was closed as well. Now, that system is two-fold. One car from the peak down to another cable car further down. The man at the station couldn’t speak much English (beyond “closed” and “not running” it seemed), but when I pointed at the lower car and asked if it was in service he said yes.
Good. I had been hiking for about six hours at this point, not to mention I had no idea where I was to actually get back. The markers up here weren’t in English, and while I had memorized the symbols for Mt. Maya peak (squiggly angry J, fancy B, W flipping the bird), I didn’t know the symbols for the return.
I left and went around to the pathway down where I had come up. Only, I came up from a different path. I didn’t pass the first car on the way up. So somewhere along the way I would have to make a turn. I could guess, which was really my only option. There were two young Japanese men who were in the cable car station when I was and must’ve overheard my exchange. As I stood at the trail head, they came up behind me and shouted “car, car” and told me to follow them. Looks like they were headed the same way. I stayed behind them and they would occasionally turn around to make sure I was following. After about another hour of hiking down, we were at the lower station. I had never been so happy to see such a scary cable car. My knees were shaking from the abuse and I was looking forward to just sitting down for a few moments, trying to put out of my mind that I still had to walk another half hour at the bottom back to the train station.
I made it back okay, and am lucky that those guys happened upon me, even if I would’ve chosen the same path they had me follow them on. The bay of Kobe was all lit up at night, bright and colorful where it was flat and white from the hilltop in the day. Either way it was beautiful.