Kobe's Neighboring Hills

Because it is a new city, dating from 1868, in which year it was opened to foreign trade, Kobe boasts of but few places famous in history. Most of Kobe's sights are those annexed from Hyogo and other districts now incorporated in it. For instance, the Shinto Shrine of Nankō, chief landmark of the commercial Kobe, dedicated to the memory of the national hero, Kusunoki Masashige, who perished in 1336, belonged to Hyogo. With the exception of the Ikuta shrine associated with the Empress Jingū Kōgō (143-242 A.D.), which lies buried in a noisy vanity-fair of small pennyworth shops, the city proper offers no sights of old associations. Kobe's pride lies in its environs, in the natural beauty of sea and land, in its walks up picturesque hills decked with noble trees and murmuring cascades. Among them the walks up Mayasan and Rokkōsan are delightful. But these ascents, though beautiful, were once so arduous that they were denied to the weaker folk. They have since been made easy, almost too easy, by cable and ropeway-cars. On top of Mayasan (2,290 ft.) stands the temple dedicated to Maya, the mother of Buddha, and needless to say it commands a magnificent panorama of the surrounding scenery. Kobe lies far below like a sprawling beehive, the great city of Osaka floats yonder, and the mirror-like Inland Sea stretches far to the horizon.

Even Rokkōsan (3000 ft.), the highest peak of the Rokkō mountain range, once almost inaccessible to women and children, has become all but a popular resort, thanks to the "lift" cars worked by electricity, and the fine motor roads enable autos and buses to go right to the top. There on the plateau of Rokkōsan is a regular little colony of hotels, tea-houses and restaurants, catering for the convenience of visitors who come in summer to get cool, and in winter for skating and skiing, and at all other times to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Here also is one of Japan's finest 18 hole golf links.

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