Remember in a previous post about Kobe, I mentioned that Kobe people explain directions using the mountains? The Rokko Mountains border southern Kobe city to the north, and the view from there is considered very beautiful. All the time that I was previously lived in Kobe, I thought about going to Mt. Maya to see the night view. I kept putting it off, though, thinking it was too inconvenient/touristy/whatever. I finally went recently, and I am really glad that I did!
Mt. Maya (摩耶山) is a mountain in Kobe and is one of the major peaks of the Rokko Mountains. From the peak, you can see all over the Osaka Bay area, including Kobe, Osaka, and all of the area in between. The 10 million night time view is considered one of the top 3 in Japan, along with Hakodate and Nagasaki.
It is possible to climb Mt. Maya, and I have heard that it is a relatively easy hiking trail. I took mass transit considering I wanted to see the night time view.
To reach Mt. Maya, the most popular way is to take a bus from Sannomiya station (the main train station in Kobe), and then take the Maya Cable Car (a cliff railway) and transfer to Maya Rope Way (an aerial tramway). The name of the railways are a little confusing for English speakers since a cable car is usually what I would call an aerial tramway, when in fact Maya Cable Car is a train.
At the top of Mt. Maya, there is a park where you can see the very beautiful view. I got there before sundown so that I could secure a good location to see the view. There were some photography enthusiasts who set up about 2 hours before sundown! On the other hand, there are people who come after the sun has set, since it is quite cold at the top of the mountain.
Taking these pictures was quite a challenge to me since I don’t own a tripod. Since the sun was continuing to set after I got there, I tried a lot of different settings. It was a great experience to learn more about how my DSLR works – and I think I got pretty good pictures, especially considering this was the first time I took night time pictures!
If you do come to Mt. Maya, please remember that it is a mountain, so it is significantly colder at the top than in Kobe city. I was wearing short sleeves that evening when I was in the city, but I definitely needed a coat when I took these pictures, especially considering I was there for a few hours.
Mt. Maya is planning to do major maintenance on the ropeway/cableways this winter. If you do decide to go, please take some time to check whether they are running. There are alternate ways to get to the top as well.
Hope you enjoyed this tour of Mt. Maya, home of one of the 3 most beautiful night views in Japan!