Though I am as much in shape as a sloth, Hänsel and I came up with the crazy idea to climb the Rokko mountains to see the Nunobiki Falls and Herb Garden. Once I was in Kobe, we took the bus to the the lower station of the Rokko Ropeway. Everyone seemed to have chosen the cable car over a challenging walk up the mountains, but we were convinced that it would be more worth it when we saw our surroundings while walking. Except we didn’t find the entrance of the hiking trail…
After searching around for approximately half an hour, we finally realized we weren’t even at the right ropeway station. To see the Nunobiki Falls you had to leave from the lower station of the Shin-Kobe Ropeway. Since we really wanted to see the Nunobiki Falls and Herb Garden, we left to eat some pasta and continued our way to the Shin-Kobe Ropeway. Again, most people chose the cable car option, which was indeed tempting, but we stood our ground and started hiking. At the very beginning of our hike, we encountered something rather odd-looking. At first, it looked like homeless people gathered under a bridge, but in fact it was a camp site, filled with families, since it was Golden Week – a sequence of several national holidays in the first week of May.
From then onwards, it only went upwards. The weather was ideal for the hike – about 20°C – but going up the countless of stairs covering the hiking trail, I soon felt extremely hot and exhausted. Nevertheless, the view was absolutely breathtaking.
After passing several waterfalls, we reached a platform that offered a great overview of the city and port of Kobe.
Aside from the Nunobiki Falls, the Nunobiki Herb Garden also attracts quite a few tourists. We cheerfully continued our hike, looking forward to seeing and smelling the abundant colourful flowers. However, it was just our luck that the garden closed as we arrived, at five o’clock. Very disappointed, we still sneaked in to take a quick glance at this astonishing place high up in the mountains. Properly strolling through the garden and feasting on a meal in one of te surrounding restaurants will be for another time – but by cable car, this time!
Going down the mountain, we kind of lost our way. We only had a very simplistic map with us, and most of the tourists who hiked down the mountain, had left before us and the others had, again, chosen for the cable car. So we were almost alone at one point, except from some Chinese behind us who, just like us, didn’t seem very confident of the path they had chosen. They even seemed to trust our orientation skills and followed us for quite some time, before they eventually disappeared – probably thinking that we lead them the wrong way. However, reaching the Nunobiki Gohonmatsu Dam, it was clear that we had actually been right to trust our gut feeling, and that we didn’t have to spent the night in the mountains, between numerous hovering caterpillars.
Next on our track, there would be a monkey bridge, which especially Hänsel was looking forward to, envisioning something high and adventurous.
But it ended up being this quite safe, but beautiful and picturesque bridge.
Soon, we reached the end of the hiking trail, completely exhausted but satisfied. It was indeed quite a day!