Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Mt. Rokkō and Mt. Maya Ultimate Getaway Guide

Mt. Rokkō (六甲山) and Mt. Maya (摩耶山) are the two mountains northeast of Kobe City and are a popular weekend getaway destinations for both locals and international travelers. The mountains aren’t your typical natural beauty, as they also display Japan’s best night city views. In summer, it is a great escape from the summer heat in big cities. On top of that, one of Japan’s top three hot spring towns, Arima Onsen (有馬温泉), is only 12 minutes away by ropeway from Mt. Rokkō!

Apart from all the attractions that entertain visitors looking to spend a day or two relaxing with good food, checking out farms or wild animals, or admiring the great scenery, there are also a few mountain trails that attract hikers who would like some challenges.

Below, we will first go through how you can easily access Mt. Rokkō and Mt. Maya before introducing all the great places you can visit in the area!

Tips:
☛ Go with a pair of sneakers as the mountains’ roads aren’t all that flat.
☛ The temperature in the area can be a lot lower compared to the city center. It is better to bring a jacket or wear clothes that can be put on and/or taken off easily.

How to Get to Mt. Rokkō and Mt. Maya

There are a couple of ways to get to the top of Mt. Rokkō and Mt. Maya. The attractions up in Mt. Rokkō and Mt. Maya can be accessed easily through the bus services running on the mountain. How you want to get up there depends on where you are coming from and where you will be going afterward. There are several accommodations on both mountains as well, which need to be factored in if you plan to stay overnight at one of them.

Maya View Line (まやビューライン)

© Kobe Tourism Bureau

Mt. Maya is closer to Kobe’s main transport hub – Sannomiya (三宮). So if you are taking a bullet train to Kobe from other cities or spend some time sightseeing around Sannomiya, accessing Mt. Maya and then Mt. Rokkō by Maya View Line will save you some time on transportation.

To get to Maya Cable Car, you can take the bus routes below.

  • Kobe City Bus Route 18 (神戸市バス18 系統) that departs from Sannomiya Terminal (三宮ターミナル) next to Sannomiya Station
    • Get off at Maya Cable-shita (摩耶ケーブル下). The cable car station is just next to the bus stop
    • The service will stop at JR Shin-Kobe Station (新神戸駅) for those who are catching a bullet train
    • The bus trip will take around 25 minutes
    • The number of services is limited, so please check out the timetable HERE in advance to plan
      • 平日 is the timetable for weekdays
      • 土曜 is the timetable for Saturdays
      • 日曜 is the timetable for Sundays
      • The services that are marked with “新” will stop at JR Shin-Kobe Station
  • Kobe City Bus Route 2 (神戸市バス2 系統) departs in front of Kobe Municipal Subway’s Sannomiya Station (三宮駅)
    • Get off at Kan’onji (観音寺). The cable car station is around a 7-minute walk from the bus stop. Note there is a slope that you will need to climb
    • The bus trip takes around 20 minutes
    • The number of services is a lot more frequently compared to route 18. The timetable of the service can be found HERE
  • Saka Bus (坂バス) that departs in front of JR Nada Station (灘駅)
    • Get off at Maya Cable-shita (摩耶ケーブル下)
    • The bus trip takes around 10 minutes
    • The number of services is limited, so please check out the timetable HERE in advance to plan

Tips:
☛ If you are coming out of JR Sannomiya Station, the central exit is the closest to the bus stop.
☛ There are toilets at both Maya Cable Station (摩耶ケーブル駅) and Niji no Eki Station (虹の駅). But because the gondola lift’s departure time and the cable car’s arrival time at Niji no Eki are quite close, it is more recommended to use the toilet facility at Maya Cable Station.

Maya View Line is divided into two sections, Maya Cable Line (摩耶ケーブル) and Maya Ropeway (摩耶ロープウェー). Please refer to their official website HERE for the operating hours, fares, and timetable of the cable car line.

Rokkō Cable Line (六甲ケーブル)

Bus services that will stop at Rokkō Cable Line depart from stations other than Sannomiya Station.

  • From JR Rokkōmichi Station (六甲道駅) and Hankyū Rokkō Station (阪急六甲駅)
    • Take Kobe City Bus Route 106 (神戸市バス106 系統) and get off at Rokkō Cable-shita (六甲ケーブル下). The number of services is extremely limited, so make sure you check the timetable HERE in advance
    • Or take Kobe City Bus Route 16 (神戸市バス16 系統) and get off at Rokkō Cable-shita (六甲ケーブル下). There are a lot more services for the bus route. HERE is the service’s timetable
      • Please only look for services that are marked with “□”
  • From Mikage Station (阪神御影駅)
    • Kobe City Bus Route 16 (神戸市バス16 系統) and get off at Rokkō Cable-shita (六甲ケーブル下)

Please refer to their official website HERE for the operating hours, fares, and timetable of the cable car line.

© Kobe Tourism Bureau

Rokkō Arima Ropeway (六甲有馬ロープウェー)

© Kobe Tourism Bureau

If you are planning to go to Arima Onsen, you can also access Mt. Rokkō on the Rokkō Arima Ropeway. The ropeway station at Arima Onsen – Arima Onsen Station (有馬温泉駅) is a 15-minute walk away from Kobe Electric Railway’s (神戸電鉄) Arimaonsen Station (有馬温泉駅).

Please refer to their official website HERE for the operating hours, fares, and timetable of the ropeway.

Discounted Transportation Deals to Access Mt. Rokkō and Mt. Maya

As you might have realized, getting to the top of Mt. Rokkō and Mt. Maya involves a few different transportation modes. Instead of buying separate tickets at each facility, check out all the great deals available to save money and time to get your tickets HERE!

If you see a present box icon for any deals, you will get discounts or freebies by showing your ticket at certain facilities in the two mountains. As to exactly which facilities, it is currently not announced on their official website. So remember to check with the staff at the ticket office when you get your ticket!

How to Travel in Between Attractions on Mt. Rokkō and Mt. Maya

There are two types of shuttle buses that you may be hopping on and off during your time at Mt. Rokkō and Mt. Maya.

  • Rokkō Maya Sky Shuttle Bus (六甲摩耶スカイシャトルバス) that runs between Maya View Line’s Hoshi no Eki Station (星の駅) to Mt. Rokkō Cable Line’s Rokkō Sanjō Station (六甲山上駅)
  • Rokkō Sanjō Bus (六甲山上バス) connects various facilities on Mt. Rokkō

For the route map of both bus services, please refer to HERE (Japanese only). The fare table currently only comes in Japanese. The bus fare ranges from 170 yen to 490 yen for adults and 90 yen to 250 yen for children. If you read Japanese, please refer to HERE.

Again, there is no English version’s timetable for the services, but we will include the bus stops’ names in Japanese with each attraction we introduce below for you to match back to the timetables. For the timetable, please refer to HERE on the official website.

  • Rokkō Maya Sky Shuttle Bus (六甲摩耶スカイシャトルバス)
    • Please note Maya Ropeway Sanjō Station (摩耶ロープウェー山上駅) is the bus stop name that is just next to Maya View Line (まやビューライン)’s Hoshi no Eki Station (星の駅)
  • Rokkō Sanjō Bus (六甲山上バス)

Autumn Foliage Season at Mt. Rokkō and Mt. Maya

Depending on which part of the mountains you are in, the color of nature can start changing as early as early October. The season peaks from mid to late October all the way to mid to late November.

Mt. Rokkō and Mt. Maya Area Map

As you go through the attractions below, you can refer to the area’s map HERE.

Kikuseidai Observatory (掬星台)

© Kobe Tourism Bureau

Although there is no proper record supporting it, the night view from Kikuseidai is commonly known as one of the Best Three Night Views in Japan (the other two are Mt. Hakodate in Hokkaidō and Mt. Inasa in Nagasaki).

Mt Rokko’s views may be stunning, but the view from Kikuseidai Observatory just makes you feel like you could leap down and fly into the city, Blade Runner style.

The observatory got its name from the feeling that we could reach up and scoop the stars into our hands because of its high altitude. But instead of the stars in the night sky, the lights in Kobe and Osaka really have become those stars that the name is referring to now (well, it isn’t good that the light pollution is so bad now, but at least the view from here is just awesome).

Tip: Not known by many, but the sunrise from here is also astounding!

How to Get to Kikuseidai

  • The observatory is just next to Maya Ropeway (摩耶ロープウェイ)’s Hoshi no Eki Station (星の駅)
  • The car park is a bit further away from the observatory if you are driving. So please come with warm clothes as nighttime here can be really chill

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Mt. Rokkō and Mt. Maya.

Tenjō-ji Temple (摩耶山 天上寺)

© Kobe Tourism Bureau

Around 700 meters from Hoshi no Eki Station, the gate of Tenjō-ji Temple stands on one side of the road. Climbing up the staircases, you will find a temple that has a style somewhat different from other temples in Japan. The statues of Buddha here are very colorful and are more like those you see in temples in Taiwan or China.

One of the most special things about Tenjō-ji is it is the only temple in Japan that enshrined Budhha’s mother, Madam Maya (摩耶夫人). It is said this is why the mountain where Tenjō-ji is located is called Mt. Maya!

Locating at an altitude higher than Kikuseidai Observatory, on a clear day, the view you will get stretches further to even Shōdo Island (小豆島)!

Also, from late June to early July, while it can be quite tiring to go up the staircases from the gate, the hydrangea that will be blooming on the sides of the pathway can make this part of the journey easier to endure (^_-)-☆.

Tenjō-ji Temple’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • The temple is open from 9 am to 5 pm
  • It is around a 15-minute walk from Hoshi no Eki Station (but note the long staircases from the gate to the worship hall)
  • From Rokkō Cable Line’s Rokkō Cable Sanjō Station (六甲ケーブル山上駅), or, from Maya Ropeway Sanjō Station (摩耶ロープウェー山上駅), take Rokkō Maya Sky Shuttle Bus (六甲摩耶スカイシャトルバス) and get off at Mayasan Tenjō-ji-mae (摩耶山天上寺前)

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Mt. Rokkō and Mt. Maya.

Rokkōsan Pasture (神戸市立 六甲山牧場)

© Kobe Tourism Bureau

For all the farm animal lovers, you will have a lot of fun at Rokkōsan Pasture meeting their sheep, goats, horses, rabbits, and even guinea pigs! In addition to meeting the farm animals, there is also a list of activities that you can participate in.

For more information, please refer to our article on Rokkōsan Pasture!

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Mt. Rokkō and Mt. Maya.

Rokkō Mori no Oto Museum (ROKKO 森の音ミュージアム)

The original Rokkō International Musical Box Museum (六甲オルゴールミュージアム) was renovated and reopened in mid-July 2021 and has its name changed to Rokkō Mori no Oto Museum.

Now the facility isn’t just all about musical boxes. It is more like a cottage in a forest where you enjoy music throughout the area!

For more information, please refer to our article on Rokkō Mori no Oto Museum.

© Kobe Tourism Bureau

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Mt. Rokkō and Mt. Maya.

Rokkō Alpine Botanical Garden (六甲高山植物園)

If you are interested in seeing alpine plants but can’t be bothered to climb all the high mountains in Japan, then come to Rokkō Alpine Botanical Garden!

Located at an altitude of 865 meters, the cool weather here is similar to southern Hokkdaidō, which allows around 1,500 different types of alpine plants to grow here. And for those alpine plants to prosper, great effort has been put into replicating the terrain in high mountains.

From early spring to late autumn, you can always find some colors other than green. Whether it is the flowers just next to your feet or the autumn leaves above you, the garden is always the most colorful place in Mt. Rokkō!

Tip: It usually takes an hour or two to fully explore the garden. But if you don’t have that much time and weren’t handed a garden map that shows the areas with flowers blooming on the day, then check with the staff, so you get the best of the garden for the day!

From late October to early November, the usually quiet garden receives more attention from the tourists. As one of the well-known autumn foliage spots, you can even enjoy the beautiful scenery at night until 8 pm on weekends and public holidays (until 6:30 pm on weekdays)!

The autumn foliage season is from mid-October to late November but usually peaks from late October to early November.

Rokkō Alpine Botanical Garden’s Opening Hours, Admission Fees, and Access Information

  • The garden is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily except Thursdays unless it is a public holiday
    • The last admission at 4:30 pm
  • It is closed in winter from late November to late March
  • The admission fee is
  • The garden is just next to Rokkō Mori no Oto Museum. From Museum-mae (ミュージアム前) stop, it is a one-minute walk away from its west exit
  • You can also get off at KōzanShokubutsu-en (高山植物園), which is a minute away from its east exit

Tips:
☛ If you keep your ticket, you can enter the garden as many times as you like as long as it is on the same day
☛ If you understand Japanese, you will want to enter from the west exit to see if you are just in time for the next free garden guide tour
☛ If you are accompanying someone who is less mobile and travels in a wheelchair, please also use the west exit as there are a lot of staircases at the east exit
☛ The car park at the west exit is also bigger

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Mt. Rokkō and Mt. Maya.

Mt. Rokkō Tenran Observatory (六甲山天覧台)

Immediately from Rokkō Sanjō Station (六甲山上駅), there is this observatory that gives you a panorama view of Kobe, Osaka Bay (大阪湾), and then Osaka Plain (大阪平野) including Kansai International Airport (関西国際空港). You can even see Awaji Island (淡路島) on a clear day!

The night view from Mt. Rokkō Tenran Observatory is one of the three best ones in Mt. Rokkō and Mt. Maya. You will see “1,000万ドルの夜景” as part of the observatory’s directional sign, which means “the night view that costs 10 million dollars” Σ(゚Д゚).

© photo-ac.com

But don’t be worried. You aren’t expected to really pay 10 million dollars to access the observatory. It was just a catchphrase that was invented based on how much it used to cost Kobe to light up all its lights for a month back in 1975 (at night, of course). So for you to see the spectacular night view from the observatory, people who lived down there had to spend that much money collectively. A fantastic sea of lights view!

If you are lucky, you will also see the sea of lights (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Mt. Rokkō and Mt. Maya.

Rokkōsan Athletics Park GREENIA (六甲山アスレチックパークGREENIA)

Rokkōsan Athletics Park GREENIA is an outdoor recreation spot with a total of 164 obstacle courses that were newly opened in April 2021. The new but not-so-new park unified the three outdoor adventure facilities – Rokkōsan Country House (六甲山カンツリーハウス), Rokkōsan Field Athletics (六甲山フィールド・アスレチック), and Forest Adventure Kobe Rokkōsan (フォレストアドベンチャー・神戸六甲山).

© Kobe Tourism Bureau

Apart from the previously existing obstacles, the new park doubled the number of obstacles that you are challenged on drylands, above water, and in the air (e.g. ziplining)!

The difficulty of each obstacle is specified by the number of crowns on the signboard. The more crowns you see, the more effort is required to overcome them. If you notice a character board with the height written on it, you have to be taller than that board to enter the course. This is for your safety.

For a list of courses, please refer to their website HERE (Japanese only but with photos that tell the story). HERE is the park’s map in Japanese for a visual idea.

Tips:
☛ If you find the course too difficult halfway through, you can retire the course from the shortcuts.
☛ A set of dry clothes is a must if you are going onto the courses above water.
☛ If you want to play the 256 meters long ziplining (zip slide they called), make it the first course you visit as it is on a first come, first serve basis.
☛ Change rooms and shower rooms are available.
☛ Coin lockers cost 200 yen for small ones and 400 yen for large ones.
☛ Avoid weekends and public holidays as much as you can. The queues can be as long as those in Tokyo Disney Resort if you don’t go on a weekday.

Important: Note that the courses with 4 crowns are hard for even adults who do regular exercises. So don’t force yourself into something that is out of your reach. You really don’t want to be the one who got carried away by ambulance.

Mt. Rokkō Snow Park (六甲山スノーパーク)

© Kobe Tourism Bureau

In winter, when it starts snowing at Mt. Rokkō, being unsafe for visitors to jump and climb around the outdoor courses, Rokkōsan Athletics Park GREENIA is transformed into Mt. Rokkō Snow Park (六甲山スノーパーク)!

For more information about the snow park, please refer to their official website HERE.

Rokkōsan Athletics Park GREENIA’s Opening Hours, Admission Fees, and Access Information

  • The park is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily except Thursdays
    • If Thursday is a public holiday, it will open
    • Mercya forest & zip slide is open on Tuesdays and public holidays from the 19th of March to the 23rd of November in 2022
  • The admission fees are
    • 3,000 yen for adults
    • 2,500 yen for middle school to university students
    • 2,000 yen for elementary school students
    • 1,500 yen for children between 4 – 6 years old
    • 2,000 yen extra for courses in mecya forest and ziplining
    • 1,000 yen extra for ziplining (zip slide)
  • Access to mecha forest area (mecya forestエリア) requires advanced online booking. The BOOKING PAGE and translate it by Google Chrome’s translation function at the right of the address bar.
    • If you need assistance with the booking, you can contact us HERE, and we will get back to you
  • From Rokkō Cable Line’s Rokkō Sanjō Station (六甲山上駅), take Rokkō Sanjō Bus (六甲山上バス) and get off at Athletics Park-mae (アスレチックパーク前)
  • From Rokkō Arima Ropeway’s Sanchō Station (山頂駅), it is just a 2-minute walk

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Mt. Rokkō and Mt. Maya.

Rokkō Garden Terrace (六甲ガーデンテラス)

Different from the Rokkōsan Athletics Park GREENIA above, Rokkō Garden Terrace is a European-style observatory complex with different facilities surrounded by beautiful gardens for you to take a leisurely stroll in.

Smartly utilizing the terrain, the restaurants and cafes offering delicious French or Swiss menus here are on the observatory deck. Amongst all the eateries, Granite Café (グラニットカフェ) is the most popular amongst visitors. Located just in front of one of the observatories – Miharashi no Tō (見晴らしの塔), you will get a spectacular view similar to the view from the observatory. Customers also praise their creative menus (albeit there is no vegetarian light meal option).

Apart from Granite Café, each restaurant has its own distinctive features. Depending on how hungry you are and what cuisines you crave, your favorite restaurant of the day can change!

After enjoying some nice food and scenery at the restaurants, don’t forget to drop by the shops for some local specialties to make your families and friends who didn’t get to come with you happy when you get back home (^_-)-☆.

Miharashi no Tō (見晴らしの塔)

If you are looking for the observatory – Miharashi no Tō, find that 11 meters tall European turret on one side of the terrace. Because of its unusual style, you might not be aware of its functionality if you weren’t told in advance (´▽`*).

But now you are reading our article, remember to climb up to the top for the magnificent view in the photo on the right after you had a selfie with the tower!

And after you come down to the ground, head down to Miharashi no Terrace (見晴らしのテラス) to see for yourself if there are any differences between the view at the top and the view from the terrace (^_-)-☆.

© Kobe Tourism Bureau

The cottage garden under the Miharashi no Tō is filled with seasonal flowers. From mid-July to mid-August, you will see “Annabel”, which is a type of hydrangea blooming in the hot summer.

Rokkō Shidare Observatory (自然体感展望台 六甲枝垂れ)

The most striking thing on the terrace to most is probably the Rokkō Shidare Observatory which is located at the highest point of Mt. Rokkō. The observatory itself was designed by architect Sanbuichi Hiroshi (三分一 博志) and features a dome-shaped frame that covers the entire architecture.

With the concept of the big tree standing on Mt. Rokkō, Hinoki cypress from Yoshino, Nara Prefecture, is used for the frame, walls, and floor, of the observatory, that the scent of cypress drifts inside.

During the day, sunlight shines through the frame, creating a very fantastic space if you enter the “tree’s trunk”!

Around Rokkō Shidare Observatory the French chrysanthemum will be in full bloom from late May to early June.

At night, the entire observatory is lit with different LED lighting colors to describe the season. In spring, it is purple for the blooming flowers, blue to match the moon and fireflies butt light in summer, orange for the sunset in autumn, and silver for the white snow.

© photo-ac.com

Rokkō Garden Terrace’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • Rokkō Garden Terrace is open from 10 am to 9 pm (business hours slightly differ between the shops and restaurants)
    • The last admission is at 8:30 pm
  • The admission fees to Rokkō Shidare Observatory (自然体感展望台 六甲枝垂れ) is 500 yen
  • From Rokkō Cable Line’s Rokkō Sanjō Station (六甲山上駅), take Rokkō Sanjō Bus (六甲山上バス) and get off at Rokkō Garden Terrace (六甲ガーデンテラス)
  • From Rokkō Arima Ropeway’s Sanchō Station (山頂駅), it is less than a 5-minute walk away

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Mt. Rokkō and Mt. Maya.

Take the Rokkō Arima Ropeway to Visit Arima Onsen Town

Yumotozaka-Arima-Onsen-Hyogo-Japan
Click the photo to know more about what to do in Arima Onsen!

Arima Onsen (有馬温泉) is one of the Three Most Famous Onsen Towns in Japan. Located just 30 minutes from Kobe, the town known for hot springs that moisturize your skin is also filled with a range of leisure activities to keep you entertained!

To find out more about this hot spring town you must visit, please refer to our article on Arima Onsen (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Explore Other Place to Go and Hidden Gems in Kobe

The port city of Kobe has many other popular attractions and hidden gems that are worthwhile to explore. For example, for those who love nature, the Nunobiki Falls ranked the same as the Kegon Falls (華厳滝) in Nikkō National Park is probably the next spot you want to visit.

The Kitano Ijinkan-gai up on the hill is another place in Kobe for some great Instagram photos!

Akashi-Kaikyo-Bridge-Kobe-Hyogo-Japan-
Click the photo to find out more about Kobe!

To find out more about this amazing city, please refer to our article on Kobe (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *