Hiking rokku gaden (rock Garden)
Hyogo Travel Blog› entry 1 of 6 › view all entries
Duration 3 hours
Distance 4.5 kms
Start Ashiyakawa station on the Osaka to Kobe Hankyu line local train
Finish Okamoto station on the Osaka to Kobe Hankyu line express station
Nearest towns Osaka/ Kobe
My friend and i happened to have the same day off today so we decided to go hiking.
At Ashiyakawa we bought lunch from Lawsons, a covenient store here in Japan and a litre of water and set up hiking up the main road towards the mountains, following the signs to rokku gaden (rock garden) After walking about 300 metres you enter one of Kansai's most exclusive residential neighbourhoods Ashiya, here the people all drive Mercedes or BMW and the houses are huge with many of them having video cameras for security, if your into architecture its a good walk in itself.
At the starting point of the hike there is a big sign rokku gaden and 2 tea shops if you haven't bought water then this is the last place to get some so make sure you fill up. Just past the tea shop you come to koza waterfall, a small fall it would be nice except for all the man made structures surrounding it. We stopped here as 2 of the guys needed a cigarette break.
From here the hike gets really interesting and fun as the steep stairs lead up into the mountain, a good workout but soon the stairs give way and you have to scramble up the rocky ridge using your hands to climb up, then further up it comes to a clearance. My friend Frankie, said he had seen wild boar here the three times that he'd been up we sat down to catch our breath and waited awhile to see but no such luck on this occassion, the wild boar is well known in this area and this is one of the reasons people hike the trail.
After the clearance, you still have to continue climbing the ridge but this time you can't scramble up instead you have to use the aid of the chains and ropes to keep ascending and at some places you need to climb up a ladder, this was fun to watch a group of 60-70 year old women scale the ladder, one woman was making strange noises because of fear. But I had total respect for these women I hope I'm climbing mountains at that age.
Ten more minutes of ascending the ridge and it leads into a forest. While talking with my friends I all of a sudden saw a snake, It was quite short with a bright yellow head I had never seen a snake in Japan unlike in Australia where we have to be aware of them at all times when in the forest. A further 10-15 minutes on you reach the summit of Mount Fubukiwaato.
The best part of the hike though is just before the summit there is another trail that leads to these strange rock formations a reddy colour that looks like it would fit in perfectly on Mars, the rocks could have been volcanic or something we have no idea but they didn't match the enviroment that we were in I was half expecting to see a martian. Ｉt was quite dangerous here the surface was very slippery as we wandered out and around these rocks just as we were going back I said that wasn't dangerous at all I slipped and fell down ,my foreign friend Frankie laughed andso did I but the Japanese looked on to see if I was alright. Frankie translated to them what I said as we were still laughing and then they started laughing too.
The descent is very easy, no scrambling down rocks or climbing down ladders just a simple path to hike down to Okamoto station. This was a great hike and if you come to Kansai you should definately do this hike unfortunately it is not found in any guide books so I hope this will help you out.