Hiking Mt. Kikusui (菊水山)

Japan

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June, 30 th 2019

Rainy season. Rainy season just started two days ago, but for me no reason to skip hiking. IMG_9529.jpgThis time I chose a trail which seemed not to be amazing and I just hoped the trails would be in a good condition. I’m pretty sure that nobody ever had heard about Kikusuiyama and Nabebutayama before. So, I was not wondering that under these circumstances anybody new would sign up. But there was Artyom, who was travelling Japan short term and keen to explore the hidden treasures of Kansai even IMG_9536.jpegon these rainy day. We met at Ōsaka Station and took the train to Kobe, where Tazin joined us. I was so happy to see her after quite a while. When we arrived at Hiyodorigoe Station it started raining heavily. The smartest thing I did today was taking an umbrella. Japanese people (comparing to Germans) have a special relationship to their umbrellas. They carrying them all the time; IMG_9553.jpgon a bicycle or even on a hike. Almost all of them look the same and there are available everywhere for some coins or even 100¥. During summer it is common to use them to protect your skin against the sun. So, always umbrellas, all the time. Umbrellas in Japan IMG_9560.jpgare quite big and create a convenient environment. During this time forget about rain clothes, you would get boiled in your own sweat. Together we started walking into our rainy adventure. I was surprised by the beauty of this trail from the very first moment. We were deep in the countryside, nobody was around us, beside small cute houses, a refreshing river and the unbelievable green of the mountains. The rain was heavy and soon the IMG_9570.jpegnarrow street we walked on became a puddle. Even though it was around noon, the deep green trees surrounded us and swallowed the daylight. Some lanterns created a very special atmosphere. I personally enjoyed walking in the rain a lot. Heavy drops fell on my umbrella. The sound of falling drops on a window, IMG_9578umbrella, tent or even the hood of a rain jacket makes me feel cozy and creates a deep happiness inside me. Unlike many people I don’t appreciate summer and “perfect weather” like blue sky and sun. I love grey and rainy days, I automatically calm down and enjoy. So, we walked in the rain while the drops were touching our skin. It was warm, but there was no heat. I was wearing my barefoot sandals, so the water was IMG_9262.jpegcooling my feet. What a lovely day. Soon we left the little street and hiked into the forest. The soil was soft. I had the feeling the nature around us was as enjoying as us. The leaves were fresh greens and clear drops were falling on the ground. Along the way there were many beautiful flowers growing. The trail was full of them and it their blue and violet colour was amazing. It went up very slowly and water was rinsing towards us. The trail became stairs, some natural made by roots and some artificial. The rain became heavier and the falling drops on the umbrella became louder and louder. There wasn’t any wind, so I didn’t get wet IMG_9582.jpgtoo much. Water was flowing down the stairs. Now, I was happy for the decision to wear my sandals. The stairs seemed not to end and I was wondering were all the water came from. Sometimes there were view points, but we couldn’t see anything. We could only suggest the mountains and the Ocean behind the fog. We continued climbing and arrived at the summit of Kikusuiyama. We ate our lunch beneath a shelter at the top. Without fog, it IMG_9590.jpgmust be an amazing view from there, but even with a lot of rain it was a beautiful place. While finishing our lunch, the rain stopped as well and we continued our hike. We IMG_9593.jpgfollowed a small path on a ridgeback, where we enjoyed an amazing view of the little village at the mountain’s bottom. The trail guided us back into the forest and we crossed a valley via an adventurous suspension bridge. We climbed up again the forest trail and arrived at Nabebutayama. It was foggy again, but while watching the heavy clouds moving we could sneak a view of the city of Kobe and the Ocean.  It didn’t rain for the rest of today’s hike and the temperature was just perfect. For a long time we IMG_9606.jpeghiked on a forest trail and enjoyed spending time together. We arrived at a small lake IMG_9610.jpgnext to a youth camp or something like this. It was abandoned. I’m sure when the weather is “perfect” it will be crowded with people doing BBQ, swimming and just enjoying. But for us, it was perfect right now. We were sitting on a bench and staring at the lake. Silence. Pure silence. So peaceful. After a while we entered the forest again and hiked along a small little path towards the Nonubiki falls IMG_9615.jpegat Shin-Kobe Station , which is a popular tourist’s spot. Finally we could see the city of Kobe on the one site and the green mountains on the other side. A fantastic IMG_9634.jpgending of a very unique hike. We could also see the Nunobiki falls, which I already saw on a hike a few weeks ago when we hiked Mt. Tenguzuka, the deep turquoise water turned into a dangerous river of brown fast running water. The power of water remains incredible. I can absolutely recommend hiking this trail, no matter of season. This trail, indeed, is one of Kansai’s hidden treasures far away from trodden tourist’s roads.

Access:Hiyodorigoe Station – Shin Kobe Station

Length: 11 km

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