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Japan Kobe Hiking Mount Rokko

5 November 2017

First everybody then nobody

Its Sunday, men are allowed out hiking, theres only one popular hiking spot near Kobe and its awesome, so it was packed. And then it wasnt.
Allow me to explain further.

Kobe is wedged between the sea and a mountain range, the city extends quite a long way out to sea on terrifying reclaimed land.
The highest mountain is Mount Rokko, that would be todays first destination, but once you are up there, you can walk over all the other mountains.
There are 4 or 5 different cable car / ropeway things to go up or down if you are lazy and or stupid, I will use none of those.
Also, very strangely, no temples and no shrines, none at all that I saw!
The main path, is called Rokko rock garden, because you go over some steep rocks, and it was fantastic, but full of other hikers.
And as I suggested above, Sunday is the only day of the week men are allowed to do anything fun, so there were as many men as women, so essentially twice as many people, as all the other days are women only, plus me of course.
This meant, on the way up I had to wait, and wait, for very slow people taking rests every few steps up the single file path, which was annoying.

Before that though, at the trail head, I bought a drink from the vending machine, drank it all at once, and was putting it in the recycling bin round hole, when I decided to make sure it was going in the right side.
Some of these bins have different sides for plastic bottles vs aluminium cans. So I am reading the writing with my empty bottle in my hand, and a guy comes out of the tiny shop and starts screaming at me. I could tell he was swearing and hurling racist insults, cause there were other people around and they were in shocked silence.

I had no idea what he was going on about, so I just stared at him and said nothing and looked mad. Another hiker comes over and tells me in English that mad guy thinks I am stealing the empty bottles!
So heres what I did, shoved the bottle in the bin, then calmly bought a drink for the guy that explained to me what was going on from the vending machine. The store owner guy continued his tirade and wouldnt let me past, so I shoved him hard enough for him to stagger backwards. What now racist asshole? What now? Nothing of course, all bark no bite.

Thats the second time I have had to be physically violent in Japan, a small security guard man tried to restrain me for taking a photo of the Square Enix building many years ago.
Racism is out of control in Japan!

Anyway, since I took so many photos, I better get on with it!

Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - My highway overpass window on Kobe revealed another day of 'blue' sky in Japan. Except its terribly polluted again. I had hoped last nights sudden win

My highway overpass window on Kobe revealed another day of 'blue' sky in Japan. Except its terribly polluted again.
I had hoped last nights sudden wind would blow it away, no such luck.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - First I had to get to the trail, its a bit of a walk from Ashiya station, there were lots of other hikers to follow, and the Lawson convenience store

First I had to get to the trail, its a bit of a walk from Ashiya station, there were lots of other hikers to follow, and the Lawson convenience store next to here was full to the brim, I had to line up for ten minutes to pay for my Pocari Sweat.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - Lots of people, impossible to get lost today, on the way up anyway.

Lots of people, impossible to get lost today, on the way up anyway.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - This is the real start of the trail. Its very steep and rocky for about 90 minutes up past here. This is also where I had to threaten to kill a Japane

This is the real start of the trail. Its very steep and rocky for about 90 minutes up past here. This is also where I had to threaten to kill a Japanese man for accusing me of stealing plastic bottles.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - It was slow going, but the view was great, except for the pollution. Often trails have no view due to trees, this one has exposed rocks a lot of the w

It was slow going, but the view was great, except for the pollution. Often trails have no view due to trees, this one has exposed rocks a lot of the way up.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - Kobe, or its suburbs anyway.

Kobe, or its suburbs anyway.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - This is not the top, its not even halfway up. Its the top of the rock garden hiking part. Some people went back down a different way from here. Where

This is not the top, its not even halfway up. Its the top of the rock garden hiking part. Some people went back down a different way from here. Where would be the fun in that?


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - Nice view though, lots of color today, but I didnt photograph it well.

Nice view though, lots of color today, but I didnt photograph it well.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - Here I am. The slow going to this point due to single file and waiting meant I hadnt even broken a sweat. Others were draped in a towel continually dr

Here I am. The slow going to this point due to single file and waiting meant I hadnt even broken a sweat. Others were draped in a towel continually drying their sweat, Japanese people always hike with a towel.
I was wearing shorts, and glad I did, but not one other person was, I was checking. Later in the day I saw some trail runners at the top in shorts.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - A short while after the end of the rocky garden, you pass a golf course, right on the side of the mountain. It wont be the last one today either, ther

A short while after the end of the rocky garden, you pass a golf course, right on the side of the mountain. It wont be the last one today either, there are lots of country clubs up here and a tollway road that tunnels through the mountain connecting them all.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - I still had to get up there and hike all the way along it. Thankfully the crowds were thinning a bit now.

I still had to get up there and hike all the way along it. Thankfully the crowds were thinning a bit now.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - An example of todays leaf color. Probably not the best example.

An example of todays leaf color. Probably not the best example.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - There are also lots of flood control barrier things all the way up, which create waterfalls and spots to appreciate the view.

There are also lots of flood control barrier things all the way up, which create waterfalls and spots to appreciate the view.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - Some more color and a waterfall. No bears today, but there are lots of wild boars, I saw one. The locals were yelling at it and trying to video it, it

Some more color and a waterfall. No bears today, but there are lots of wild boars, I saw one. The locals were yelling at it and trying to video it, it was terrified and charging off through the trees at full speed.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - Its starting to look a long way down and a very long way from the city. I checked my GPS to make sure I wasnt wandering off into oblivion.

Its starting to look a long way down and a very long way from the city. I checked my GPS to make sure I wasnt wandering off into oblivion.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - And here we are at the summit proper. I did not stop.

And here we are at the summit proper. I did not stop.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - View, I had to go along the ridge path to those towers on the left, and then some distance beyond them too, before starting to head back down.

View, I had to go along the ridge path to those towers on the left, and then some distance beyond them too, before starting to head back down.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - The far side of the mountain is more cities. Nishinomiya apparently. Never heard of it. A guy taking the same photo pointed and said that to me, I che

The far side of the mountain is more cities. Nishinomiya apparently. Never heard of it. A guy taking the same photo pointed and said that to me, I checked the map on my phone, he was absolutely right!


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - POLLUTION. Osaka to the left, Kobe to the right.

POLLUTION. Osaka to the left, Kobe to the right.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - Not even sure whats that way!

Not even sure whats that way!


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - The path along the ridge was great, up and down a few times but also flat sections. It kind of follows a road and you have to cross the road a few tim

The path along the ridge was great, up and down a few times but also flat sections. It kind of follows a road and you have to cross the road a few times, which is full of motorbikes and tour buses.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - Starting to get a bit superfluous with the photos now.

Starting to get a bit superfluous with the photos now.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - I was really enjoying the view for many many hours.

I was really enjoying the view for many many hours.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - And now I am at one of the many cable car top stations, where you can have lunch, but I didnt, nowhere to sit, expensive, no time, got to keep moving!

And now I am at one of the many cable car top stations, where you can have lunch, but I didnt, nowhere to sit, expensive, no time, got to keep moving!


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - As you can see the top of this peak is very developed, lots of little shops selling expensive crap to tourists. There are also lots of hotels built on

As you can see the top of this peak is very developed, lots of little shops selling expensive crap to tourists. There are also lots of hotels built on cliffs up here.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - Some more view, featuring people enjoying the view.

Some more view, featuring people enjoying the view.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - This is actually a different golf course to the one earlier. They have included covered hiking trails through it for people like me, but have tried to

This is actually a different golf course to the one earlier. They have included covered hiking trails through it for people like me, but have tried to stop people seeing into the course. I found this spot to peer in though.
Apparently Donald Trump is in Japan playing golf today. Maybe he is here.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - The crowds thinned completely. I think most hikers took one of the cable cars down. I selected a path down, and had it completely to myself, but it ap

The crowds thinned completely. I think most hikers took one of the cable cars down. I selected a path down, and had it completely to myself, but it appeared to be a really long way back to civilization.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - The long path down was great, and featured every kind of scenery, dark wooded parts, lots of streams to cross, waterfalls, colored leaves etc.

The long path down was great, and featured every kind of scenery, dark wooded parts, lots of streams to cross, waterfalls, colored leaves etc.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - Heres a stream I had to cross, I never saw another person for 3 hours on the way down! Hence the 'first everybody, then nobody' title of todays post.

Heres a stream I had to cross, I never saw another person for 3 hours on the way down! Hence the 'first everybody, then nobody' title of todays post.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - The light was very good at times.

The light was very good at times.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - I kept passing similar flood control artificial waterfalls, at least ten of them.

I kept passing similar flood control artificial waterfalls, at least ten of them.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - Then I got to this. It is much bigger than it first appears to be. I had to have 3 different attempts to get over before I found a way where I didnt p

Then I got to this. It is much bigger than it first appears to be. I had to have 3 different attempts to get over before I found a way where I didnt plummet to my death.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - Then I came to a surprise tunnel. It goes under the toll road. My theory is they really dont want pedestrians or cyclists to find a way onto that road

Then I came to a surprise tunnel. It goes under the toll road. My theory is they really dont want pedestrians or cyclists to find a way onto that road, there is a long road tunnel under the mountain just past this point.
It was pretty great going in this tunnel in the middle of nowhere, and absolutely freezing inside.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - And then I came out at a random spot on the side of the road, and a few hundred metres later had this great view! However its still 5km to a train sta

And then I came out at a random spot on the side of the road, and a few hundred metres later had this great view! However its still 5km to a train station, all downhill, an easy jog.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - A bit more of the great view from here. Lots of really really nice houses up here. Lots of stairways connecting streets that require switch backs due

A bit more of the great view from here. Lots of really really nice houses up here. Lots of stairways connecting streets that require switch backs due to how steep it was.
Reminded me a lot of the mid-levels area of Hong Kong. Only a lot quieter. No convenience store to be found! I really wanted a banana.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - I thought the view was good enough to warrant a smug looking selfie.

I thought the view was good enough to warrant a smug looking selfie.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - Back up there in the distance is where I had come down from.

Back up there in the distance is where I had come down from.


Japan-Kobe-Hiking-Mount Rokko - And then, after 30km and 7 hours of hiking and running where I could, back at the station! Another great day of hiking in Japan.

And then, after 30km and 7 hours of hiking and running where I could, back at the station!
Another great day of hiking in Japan.


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