Since 70% if Japan is wooded, it makes sense that hiking, rambling and just walking are popular. There are often well-maintained facilities, maps and signs to help.
I like to hike in the hills above Kobe. The hills are immediately to the North of the city. Within a fairly short period of walking, you can get a very good view of the city, harbour and across to Kansai Airport if the sky is clear.
On this occasion I walked to the East of where I would normally start above Kitano Kobe. Starting on a small exercise park with paths into the bush, I thought that I had found a nice track since I had switched off global data roaming I didn’t have a full resolution map. If I had, I would have noticed earlier that there wasn’t a track as such, just lots of contour lines.
The path seemed like there had been hikers through that morning, but I soon realised that no-one ever walks here. Even with poles the path was slippery, each climb revealed another climb and the trees never ceased.
After about 30 minutes I was going nowhere. I tried to find way across to the opposite ridge, but it was just as steep and slippery. Admitting defeat I walked down to the bottom of the ridge, eventually meeting the same “path” I climbed and the relatively safe, if steep and narrow roads in Kitano.
- Download the maps;
- Check the path, and;
- Don’t leave mobile coverage area.