June, 2 nd 2019
Hiking Nijozan. Yesterday I was invited at a dinner party at Sayaka’s place, where I also met Yoshi and Tomal. Together with her flatmates and other friends we spent a nice evening with delicious food and wine. At some point somebody had the idea to finish the Sake from Yoshi’s company we opened at the Hanami picnic some weeks ago. Then things went out of control. In the end Yoshi, Tomal and me ended up altogether on my bicycle riding through the night until the bicycle unbalanced and Yoshi lost her phone. We searched for a long time and even lost each other, but the phone remained lost. It was late in the night when I arrived home and just fell into my bed. I woke up with a bad hangover and it was hard to get myself ready for hiking. I walked to Tennōji Station and after breathing some fresh air I felt slightly better. I was looking the whole week forward to meet Flo, a friend I met in Tokyo after I just arrived in Japan before I started cycling. He introduced me a little bit into Japanese life and we spent a nice evening. After a few months stopover back in Germany he just moved to Nara and we became neighbours. This was the perfect example how unexpected things can run. Sayaka showed up and even Tomal and Yoshi managed to come. I was very happy, it has been since our Golden Week trip that we were together on the trail. We took the train to Nijozan Station and when we wanted to start hiking I realized, that I publish the wrong train station for today’s trail and had no idea how this could happen. I wondered, but since we just dropped off only one station earlier and there were many trails guiding to Nijozan, it didn’t matter. After a few hundred meters Yoshi and Tomal realised, that they had no lunch and were searching for a Konbini. Typically countryside the next Konbini was a little bit far away and since Flo and his friend also had no lunch we first hiked to the Konbini. Finally on the trail we entered a forest and started slightly climbing up. It was a light Harry Potter like forest and inside it was way cooler than in the village. This place must be very enjoyable during summer. Climbing up to the summit was challenging today and all of us suffered a lot. Hungry and sweaty we arrived at the summit, where a group of around thirty people took their lunch while children were running and playing around. It was very busy and the summit itself was a little bit disappointing. It was surrounded by trees and we couldn’t see anything. But the trees must offer a nice shady place for picnic during summer. Today’s sky was grey and when we sat down to have lunch it started raining. The local people disappeared. We enjoyed our lunch and the break until it went cold due to all the sweat. With new energy we went back on the trail which finally offered us a nice view of Nara’s deep green mountains. The sky was grey and kind of foggy, which was a pity. Usually we enjoy at least one amazing view per hike. We went deeper into the forest and the trail changed again. Ayaka compared it with the forest in Myazaki’s movie “Princess Mononoke” (one of my favourite movies) and I agreed. The forest was like a roof, we could hear the rain, but it didn’t touched our skin. This sound of the rain and the big water drops of the deep green plants created a very special and fairy tale like atmosphere. For me this deep fresh green was just unbelievable. It was amazing beautiful. This forest in this condition was pure refreshness. I could feel how it charged my batteries of happiness, which went very weak during the week working in the lab. Soon we arrived at today’s second summit, Mt. Medake, on its top we found a sun clock and an amazing place for picnic. Again we couldn’t enjoy the view, due to the foggy grey sky which didn’t allow a view in the distance. We continued and the trail became wilder. I was a little bit worried, since I wasn’t up for falling into an adventure today. When I created this trail I had the party in mind and tried to create an easy trail without any trouble. Luckily it worked out very well. Sometimes it seemed we entered a jungle, but the trail still was in a good condition. It was obvious how the local people took care for the trails in these mountains. There were many small viewpoints with self made benches and other cute self made furnitures. Also there were many signs. So lovely. The trail merged into a small road in a public park and soon we walked through the village. I really enjoy walking through villages in the countryside. For me this is the real Japan, the Japan I fell in love so much. When we arrived at the train station, the train just arrived and took us back to Ōsaka. Flo stayed in Nara while the rest of us went together for dinner in Tennōji. Yoshi went to the local police because they might found her phone and during dinner we got the message she got it back. Happy end.
June, 9 th 2019
Hiking Katsuragisan. I published this week’s hike extremely late and wasn’t expecting anybody new to join. Our Sunday’s hikes became kind of routine and sometimes I’m loosing motivation, but once on the trail I’m extremely happy to escape my nutshell in Nishinari. We met at Tennōji in the morning and this time it was a little bit chaotic. In the end, Hailey, who joined us for the first time, ended up in the wrong train, and Tomal was late. But we managed to jumped on the train and where Hailey joined us and met Flo who was waiting at Gose Station. We hopped onto the bus, who was about to leave and I was extremely happy that we could skip the around 3 km through residential area. At least we had to climb around 980 m elevation and should save our energy. During last week it was raining a lot and some of my coworkers told me rainy season (which will last around six weeks) officially begun. The temperature dropped, so it was very convenient the previous days and luckily today was sunny and dry. No humidity. The perfect weather for hiking. In a good mood we started into the day. We started at the Ropeway Station (Katsuragitozanguchi) and went back into the little village. Hidden behind a house, we found the trailhead which looked abandoned. It was obvious that anybody passed for months and only a few meters later there was a barrier. When I plan the trails I have no informations about the condition, but unfortunately I tend to choose the messy ones. I’m not keen to fall into adventures, it just happens. This time I wasn’t keen to climb cross country and proposed to choose the official trail at the ropeway Station. Since we are a group it wasn’t my decision and while discussion Flo just climbed ahead to check the trail and we were following while falling into adventure again. Soon there was no trail anymore, but the terrain was quite ok and I have to say it was extremely beautiful and peaceful. We hiked along a ridgeback through a forest with high trees and soft ground. The trees let a few sunbeams through the roof of leaves. We were protected of the sunlight and enjoyed the cool air while constantly climbing up. Soon it was too late
to return, but it wasn’t bad at all. We need the position of the summit of Katsuragizan and were just following our feeling. Soon the terrain went more difficult, the ground was more and more covered by fern and other small plants. Hailey and Sayaka found some pink tape at trees and followed them and were leading the group. Both girls are extremely strong and though and it was difficult for us to catch up with them. It went up very steep and we went up cross country. The ground was soft due to the heavy rain during the last days. Every step was exhausting and we were slipping down. But this forest was so beautiful, the nature untouched and in the begin to grow. The atmosphere was extremely refreshing and I could feel how my internal battery was charged and all stress I collected during the week just disappeared with every single step. For sure, it was exhausting as well. We lost the pink marks and the terrain went even more difficult, but still ok. We sometimes hit the trail provided by open street maps data, but it didn’t exist. We got along very slowly and decided to take a break once we arrived at the ridgeback ahead. When we arrived Flo discovered an unique tree and while going there he bumped into the official trail. All of us were very happy about it. Adventures are nice, but it is also a satisfying feeling having mastered it. We took our lunchbreak while many hikers passed by. We continued on the official trail which guided us through a muddy canyon up again until we had many stairs to climb. We got sweaty, but got along very. quickly (also because Sayaka was leading again). Just before summit we got a little bit lost again, but it was just a small detour until we finally arrived the summit. After a short stopover at the vending machine we climbed up the last few meters to summit. The summit of Katsuragizan is one of the nicest and breathtaking summits I have been so far in Kansai. It is not a typical summit, it is a huge willow and we could almost enjoy a 360° view. It is the perfect place for a picnic or just to be with enough space for everyone. Kansai’s highest mountain, Kongozan, was just a stone’s throw away and we could enjoy this impressive and beautiful mountain. It was amazing. Usually mountains are amazing, but while climbing them and being on top one rarely sees the mountain itself. So it was when we climbed Kongozan in winter. The trail and view was beautiful, but being this beautiful mountain from the top of Katsuragizan was just breathtaking. The sun was gone and it was a little bit cloudy and dizzy. We stayed dry, but I wonder how this view must look like on a clear day with blue sky. We enjoyed our time there until we slowly continued. There are many hiking paths at the so called highland and it was fun to walk around. One hillside is planted with azalea which create an amazing view when they are blooming during may. Unfortunately it was already over, but I will come back, because this must been more amazing than I have words for it. Even without bloom it was wonderful. One reason why I published today’s trail so late was the idea to camp at Katsuragizan at the weekend since there is a campsite. In the end I discarded the plan since it was planned short termed and the weather forecast was bad as well. But we wanted to check out the campsite. It is a nice place and for sure we will come back and camp there very soon. The trail I choose for climbing down was closed due to a landslide. The trail directly next to the ropeway didn’t exist either, so we had to take the same way we came from. For sure, this time we would skip the cross country part. The trail was going down very steep and it was a very difficult and exhausting terrain. It wasn’t fun, but luckily we were very fast and ended up at a very nice small river with an amazing waterfall. Wo stopped there and got some refreshment until we walked to the ropeway station at the bottom of the mountain. We had to wait some time for the bus und enjoyed the last sunshine while eating Ice cream. Then we took the bus back to Gose Station where the train to Tennōji was just arriving. Together we had dinner in Tennōji until we got home. Tired, but happy.
June, 10 th 2019 Ōsaka
Apartment search. Since I came back to Ōsaka in the end of November last year I’m living in a hostel. It is a wonderful place for tourist and travellers and also to calm down and finding a home for a while. When I started to work I didn’t want to move. It was just a feeling and the benefits of taking part in social life was way more important to me. Also living in the pulsing city centre was very attractive. In the last seven months I set my every day the way I like and even though I started climbing in Japan I still couldn’t gain a feeling of happiness. Laying in my bed and staring at the ceiling after work I was thinking about my former home in Germany. I had such a nice room I created and renovated as I liked it three years ago. And I loved living there. These thoughts were leading into homesickness and also little doubts. I love Japan and the people around me, even my Job is fun, but I don’t feel home. The disadvantages of living in a hotel grew more and more and the advantages disappeared. Every day the same questions from new random people. Crowded common areas, no calm space. The area around, Nishinari, is convenient, but there isn’t any green space around. No rest. When I open my window I can touch the next grey huge building. I still love this place, but it is not suitable to me anymore. I’m not a traveller anymore, now I am a resident and need to find a home. I always knew I would feel when the time has come to leave and hoped for circumstances to find a new home. These strategy worked out the last years and let me end up here in Japan, but this time it didn’t work and I had to learn a new lesson: Getting active yourself. Since summer is coming and according to all people summer is hell. My room in Toyo has no air condition, a reason more to leave before the heat of summer will knock me out. I decided to live in a share house (since an apartment would be too expensive at the beginning, many different kind of fee and I would have to buy all the household stuff as well) and in general I like people around me (if they don’t change every day). The concept of a shared house and living with people beside your relatives is quite uncommon in Japan. But due to the increasing foreigners is getting more and more popular. Japanese people are organised, so usually there is a shared house manager who runs the shared house and also visits it every week. Many times cleaning of the common space is also done by the manager. I googled the last two weeks in my spare time. Finding a nice one is easy, but in my case the location was very limited. And the wish to live close to both, city centre and my working place, didn’t make it easier (my work is in Ōsaka’s suburbs). I found a shared house, which seemed to be perfect: Next to train station, 15 min to my working place, 20 min to city centre, modern facilitiy, fair price and the best it would be close to the Yodogawa river, so finally I could enjoy some nature during the week. In theory it would be even possible to cycle to work. I applied for it on an English website. Waiting was painful. I wanted to live there. After one day without response (usually people in Japan reply very quickly) I got nervous. So, I google the in Japanese and found it directly on the companies’s website. I wrote to them in Japanese and got an answer almost immediately. One day later I visited the house and I liked it very much. The manager didn’t speak any English, obviously he wrote to me using google translate. Anyway I wondered how my Japanese increased the last months without studying actively and so communication was no problem. In two weeks I will leave Toyo. I can’t wait. I’m so happy.
June, 15 th 2019 Ōsaka
IKEA. I still can’t believe that I will leave Toyo soon. Half day I’m dreaming about sitting in my new room and just enjoying it. My new room will be provided with a bed, desk and in built wardrobe. Since I already bought a thin mattress and a pillow I only needed a blanket and bed sheets. I didn’t liked the Japanese bed sheets I found at Nitori or better said I finally had a reason to go to IKEA. So, today I went there – by bicycle (also to prevent me to buy to much nonsense). It was located at the harbour’s industrial area and when I arrived I was very surprised. Saturday, at noon, and the parking space was empty. In Germany you would need to take care that you didn’t get hit by a car or fully packed trolleys. For a second I wondered if they are closed. For sure, they didn’t. Inside and outside it was exactly like in European ones. It felt a little bit strange, I felt like being back at home, while still being 10 000 km away. It felt like a little stitch in my heart and home sickness raised up a little more. It was a surreal situation. In the whole store I only found a hand full of Japanese specific items like slippers, chopsticks or a Yukatan (bathrobe). But there was a vending machine after the household items where tired husbands took a rest. I also couldn’t resist to take the obligatory 100 ¥, 1 € or whatsoever hot dog. Funnily you had to purchase it and get a ticket at the vending machine beforehand (like everywhere in Japan even at the hair dresser). I would say there is a huge difference between IKEA and some Japanese furniture and home stock stores I already went in. The items in Japanese stores are extremely smart and increase the convenience of your life a lot. But unfortunately they are absolutely not decorative. IKEA is just stylish. They should work together. I have a weakness for the IKEA candles, but I could behave and only bought one. Happily I cycled back with my new bed sheets and the candles, imagining myself cuddling into it very soon.
June, 16 th 2019
Hiking Nakayama. This week’s trail I created a very long time ago. It connected two trails we already had done. Rainy season has not started yet and the trail was located within my favourite area, the Takarazuka mountains. I was thinking about a hike at Koyasan, but since I had no proper time for planing (which is actually needed for this trail) I luckily decided for this trail last minute. It was the right decision and I wondered how many people came in the end, even though almost nobody signed up. And something was different, Melanie found this week’s hike only via my website not using social any networks. It means this website finally worked out how it was supposed to, which made me very happy. My dream is it to create an independent kind of trail’s library, so people can just download and start into their adventures. In this case not even alone. I met Melanie at the meeting point at Ōsaka Station and only minutes later some new and and also a bunch of familiar faces appeared. We changed our plan and took the Hankyu Line instead of JR, so I had the chance to check my favourite bread store for some Brötchen (German bread rolls). I failed the last weeks to get ones of them, but now early in the morning I was successful and bought directly three packs. Next week will be saved! It was the amazing start into an even more amazing day. We changed trains at Takarazuka, where Abhi joined us. At Takedao Station we met Michael, which went to the wrong station in the morning, but made to catch up with us. Altogether we started into the trail and today’s adventure. The first part of the trail was part of the abandoned railway hike, the very first hike I organised when I arrived in Ōsaka last December. This hike is nice, but not very challenging. Soon we left the trail and climbed up into the surrounding mountains. We followed a small path with many stairs along a dry riverbed, the deep green mountains to the left and right to us. It was such a beautiful and peaceful place, and the deep green was refreshing and delighting us. Soon we were ready for a lunch break and stopped at a little picnic shelter. Since it was occupied by another group we sat in a circle next to it. Today’s group was very special. There were many new people, but it felt like already being friends for a long time. I enjoyed this atmosphere a lot and I almost couldn’t stop laughing. So many beautiful souls. We continued climbing and got sweaty. Laughing loudly we climbed up to the summit, which was a bunch of stones within the woods. We took some funny photos and continued and soon we arrived at a hillside with cut trees, so we had an amazing view and enjoyed it for a while. We made more funny pictures until we continued on the trail which was guiding us into the forest. I don’t know how it came, but at some point Abhi climbed a tree for no reason, but among all the trees his choice was not the best. Juzer tried to follow and started climbed another tree, but struggled a little bit on the first try. Even though this action was just nonsense, my climber’s pride was stronger than my reason, so I climbed that tree. Juzer tried again and climbed up very high. What a bunch of kids we were! We continued onto this lonely forest trail. This trails was created freely and I was expecting we will bump into a messy path and maybe we wouldn’t be able to continue at some point. At least the chance that this could happen was very high, since the heavy typhoon last September destroyed many trails in Kansai and we actually could see and feel the power of nature’s destruction first hand. But the trail kept being well. And also the weather. Rainy season has not started yet, but the temperature dropped down, so we could enjoy our hike without sweating too much. We climbed down and had to cross a road. On the first sight I couldn’t see any trail continuing, but hidden next to a barrier was a small path within a bush. We followed this trail and had to climbed up again. We were already tired, but still had some kilometres to walk. We continued through the forest and at least the atmosphere grew even more nicely and we never stoped laughing and kidding. I guess Michael took a great part of it, because he is a super funny and delightful personality. It is so much fun to have him around. We merged into the second trail we already did during Sakura season to see the plum bloom (read about it here) and I was surprised about this well going trail today. We arrived the summit of Nakayama, where we had a nice view. We decided to keep on going since it was super windy and a wall of rain was coming soon. We climb down and the trails at Nakayama are very special. The soil is yellow and the surrounding fern is huge, so it kind of feels like being in a jungle. Just before the end of the trail is a view point, where one can enjoy a breathtaking view of the city of Ōsaka. I’m still amazed by the city I’m living in. I love Ōsaka and enjoy being here. And this is the real face of the city, surrounded by the mountains and the sea. We took another break and when we started talking only about food, we decided it would be time to finish soon and hunting for some food. The trail ended at a temple, Nakayamadera temple. When we were here last time, it was busy here during plum bloom. But today it was absolutely lonely. No people were around. It looked like in a ghost village. It was quiet and left at a place which was supposed to be crowded. The group was behind so I walked alone through the temple area. The loneliness and quietness of this place created a very special atmosphere and I could feel how my mind calmed down and my body started to relax. Energy flooded my body. How peaceful. This temple is loved by tourists. For good reason. It’s amazingly beautiful. I would say together with the Shitennōji temple next to me place it is my favourite one. The Tennōji temple has a different atmosphere and its located in the pulsing city centre, while this one was located in the foot of the mountains. Many people visit and love Kyoto, because the city and their temples shows their imagination of Japan. The Nakayamadera temple is kind of the same, for me this temple is pure Japan. It is clean. Almost too clean. But so colourful. Peaceful. I cannot describe. They have a blue pagoda (usually they are red, never seen a blue one). Having the unique experience to walk one through this temple was a gift and a special moment for me. Most of the time I forget about that I’m living in Japan, since I’m so used to it. But in this special moment I realised again that I’m in Japan right now and I was so deeply satisfied to actually live my dreams. It was the amazing end of a perfectly amazing day with beautiful people in beautiful nature. Together we went to Umeda to have dinner together and enjoyed my favourite Udon (noodle). I’m more than delighted by today’s trail. I absolutely recommend to hike this trail. It is a super nice day trip with beautiful nature and Japanese culture. By the way, we saw so many of Gingko tress. It must be amazing during Momiji (autumn colouring) and for sure we will come back.
June, 20 th 2019 Ōsaka
Tomboy. I cut my hair and finally I’m myself again. I hadn’t have that long hair since I was a kid and I couldn’t identify with myself anymore. I was so unhappy with the wild growing forest, so I cut my hair myself with a shaving machine. At the beginning it worked, but instead of stopping I continued. With the result that I looked like a poodle. But it was a good excuse to go to the hairdresser next day. I already have been and she spoke English, but was she was very afraid to cut my “beautiful hair”. It took one hour until it was as short as I asked for. The wool is gone and I’m a shaped sheep now. The most happiest sheep in Ōsaka hihi.
June, 21 st 2019 Ōsaka
Goodbye Nishinari. My last week in Toyo was horribly busy and I extremely wondered where all the stuff was coming from. Packing in a 6 m2 room during every day life was not easy. I also picked up a bicycle bag from Sayaka and cut my hair. I still was excited and couldn’t wait for moving. On my last evening in Toyo I got also a bit nervous. Many things would change and literally it would be my first own home after leaving my parent’s home. I remembered when I was a small kid I always wanted to move into a flat on top of our nearest supermarket and couldn’t imagine not even living in the neighbour city. Now, my first own home will be in Ōsaka. In Japan. Funny. I also thought about my first days in Toyo. I spent a great time here. I remember how happy I was to have an own big room and laid flat on the ground after sleeping in my tiny tent or on random’s couch for three months. This room and this place were heaven to me and I was welcomed warm hearted. I’m very grateful for this amazing place and with these even more amazing people who welcomed me like a family. I will miss the place as well. It was a unique experience to live in the pulsing heart of the city. With all the light, sounds, people and the big city vibes. I will miss my beloved Tsutenkaku Tower. When I first came to Ōsaka and was down I climbed up this Tower and the city showed its beauty. At this time I never expected to come back and to live there for 7 months. I don’t regret any day.
June, 22 nd 2019 Ōsaka
Hello Higashiyodogawa. It’s moving day. I’m gonna live in a shared house and unlike German shared houses or flats which are organised by the residents here in Japan they are mostly run by a manager. Lucky me the shared house manager was picking me up by car. That was real luck, because in the end I had way more stuff than expected. In the end I had four huge boxes, a mattress and the bike bags and my backpack filled up (the stuff I originally brought to Japan). My flatmate Gui helped me carrying down the boxes and so I was waiting with Junya who was working at the reception to get picked up. The shared house manager might wasn’t expecting that much stuff as well and had to reorganise his car first. But all my belongings and me just fitted in and soon we were on the way to the North of the city. The last views of Nishinari were a bit emotional. The ride was short and together we brought my stuff into my new room. We handled all the contract issues and I signed. And then I was in my new room. My home. Silence. Then the bomb exploded and I opened the boxes the make myself comfy. It took me almost the whole afternoon. In the evening I decided to go back to Nishinari to pick up my bicycle, which was already packed waiting for me (the plan was to take it in the car as well, but forget about that). Since the shared house didn’t offer any kitchenware beside pots I went to Nitori again to buy all the stuff I will need. In Namba I packed my bike again in the underground station and brought it on the train. Bicycles are only allowed on the train if they are packed and even then not very welcome. There wasn’t any trouble, but I won’t do that again. Because it is extremely inconvenient! It was already late when I came back home
and I climbed into my loft bed. I already love my new home. And another dream from childhood came true: I have a loft bed now. For many adults might be the inconvenience by itself, but for me a dream.
June, 29 th 2019 Ōsaka
Home sweet home. I love my new home. I felt home from the very first moment. It’s been just a week, but my live changed a lot. The quality of my every day life increased. It is a calm live in a residential neighbourhood and I already went to the nearby river for running. I just enjoy being at home. Even though there are theoretically around seventeen people living with me in the huge house, I only met three or four of them. I expected a crowded kitchen and shower in the morning and evening. But that’s totally wrong. Mostly I’m the only resident who is using the kitchen and the showers are also always available. I cannot believe that so many people living here. With five of my flatmates we made a tacoyaki (octopus ball, which is a typical speciality of Ōsaka) party tonight. Hardly anybody speaks English, so I guess my Japanese skills will also increase while living here.
June, 30 th 2019
Hiking Kikusuiyama. Rainy season just started two days ago, but for me no reason to skip hiking. This 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 on 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; on 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 are 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 narrow 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, umbrella, 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 cooling 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 too 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 must 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 followed 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 hiked on a forest trail and enjoyed spending time together. We arrived at a small lake next 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 at 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 ending 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.