Hiking Distance: 12.5 km
Time: 6 hours
Elevation change: ➚940m ➘620m
➚ 940m ➘ 620m
The Mt. Rokko trail is a popular hike in Kobe that has great views over the city and Osaka Bay. The hike itself has interesting and varied terrain which includes mellow forest trails, steep steps, waterfalls, and some rock climbing. It takes about 3 hours to reach the peak of Mt. Rokko and the best option from here is a nice hike down to the famous Arima Onsen, a picturesque town nestled between the mountains. Another option from the peak is to walk an hour to an observation deck and ropeway, which also leads to Arima Onsen. Although it can get crowded, the Mt. Rokko to Arima Onsen hike is very enjoyable and easily accessed via public transport. It's common to see wild boar here, be cautious as they can sometimes be aggressive after being fed by visitors. Arima Onsen is also very unique, it's the oldest onsen town in Japan, founded 1300 years ago.
Trailhead: The trailhead is located here, only a 20 minute walk from Ashiyagawa station.
Car: You could search for some parking near the trailhead, but you're more likely to find a carpark around Ashiyagawa station.
Kyoto: The train to Ashiyagawa station from Kyoto takes about 1 hour and averages around ¥1,000.
Osaka: The train to Ashiyagawa only takes about 30 mins from central Osaka and costs around ¥300.
GPS map: outdooractive.com
The trail is well marked and well maintained, so you won't have any trouble with navigation, although mobile phone reception can be spotty. From the station you take the north exit and head up the road for about 15 minutes until you enter the forest, after another 10 minutes you'll arrive at some shops and a waterfall which marks the start of the official trail. You will hike some steep terrain through the forest which includes interesting stone formations for rock climbing, some chains, and regular intervals of easy, mellow hiking . It will take about 3 hours to reach the top, from here you can either head over to the ropeway area for more expansive views or continue down the trail toward Arima onsen. It will take another 2.5 hours from the top of Mt. Rokko to Arima onsen, from there you can catch a train back into Kobe.
Weather and Seasons
Mt. Rokko can be hiked year round, but spring and autumn are the best in terms of weather. Although hot, summer is lush and green. For autumn, the leaves on Mt. Rokko will be colourful around mid-November. If you're hiking in winter, be aware that the trail can become slippery with snow and ice.