The Kansai Episode: 4:30 To Sunset

A night view’s so captivating, the Bryants named their son after the city.

After the rather satisfying bowl of noodles, we proceeded to explore the immediate vicinity of Sannomiya – we hadn’t done any significant browsing as yet in Japan, so we took a look around. And predictably, at least for me, it wasn’t before long until I spot something which I didn’t even know I needed. He too, must have felt the same, for there was a general sense of calming quietness and budgeting to see if it was indeed, a dream that could be realized. I didn’t worry one bit. I had changed too much money – I now knew where to spend it. Alas, time was not on our side. We were constantly checking the time, for our next destination relied on us keeping to a certain schedule.

Waiting for the bus to Rokko Cablecar just off Hankyu Rokko station.

The Rokko Cablecar is in fact, a funicular railway.

Against the backdrop of the port city of Kobe is Mount Rokko, geographically, a mountain range that arises from the northern length of this short-breadth sparkling metropolis. Topped at a height of 931.6 metres, the steep and dramatic face offers urban dwellers a brief and convenient retreat by way of the altitude: a blanket scene scape of snow and the chance to ski in a region where snow is far and few in between, and a summer escape for a cool respite to escape the furnaces generated by heat radiation within the dense sprawl below. When we arrived at the funicular Rokko Cablecar station, we were somewhat petrified to find out that Rokko was not in fact, just a lookout tower and one-stop destination like Hong Kong’s Victoria Peak. It was its own destination. There were hordes of attractions that mostly appealed to the outdoorsy and adventurous, ranging from the tame golf courses, to farms and hot spring resorts. Fortunately enough, the lookout view-point was “close” enough, being a twenty-minute bus ride away. But the reason why we came up: Mount Rokko is said to possess one of the three “ten million dollar” views in Japan.

Once the bus dropped us off at the Rokko Garden Terrace, it was literally a sprint to the viewing point mostly because the next bus was departing fifteen minutes later. But it was cold – real cold. At such a height – on such a clear day – the wind was mighty, and clouds pass not above us, but through and under us. It was such a surreal experience to be had.

A cloudy Rokko Garden Terrace.

If you were wondering, the pictures are in order. Titus is just running back to make sure that this is the second last bus, and not the last.

Up the tower we go.

View towards Juso and Osaka.

View to Osaka Bay.

Osaka Prefecture in the background, Kobe in the foreground.

Rokko Island to the left, Port Island by the right, with Kobe Airport behind it. Osaka Prefecture and Kansai Airport in the distant foreground.

Kobe, with Sannomiya in the centre.

The moon through the passing cloud.

And as quickly as it began, we retreated back into the warmth, back to the Rokko Cablecar down the mountain face, into the bus and back to Rokko station where we boarded a Hankyu Kobe Line Local service for Umeda to Okamoto where we got off and boarded the Limited Express to Umeda.

Hankyu Rokko station as a Osaka Umeda bound Limited Express train passes by.

After just eighteen minutes on the Limited Express via Okamoto, we arrive at Osaka’s Hankyu Umeda station.

The iconic Osaka Subway Umeda station.

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