So, I have been thinking about my next destination for a little bit and I keep feeling drawn to Kobe. There were a number of reasons I have been thinking about Kobe, not the least of which is the accessibility to nature.
Now, I know I live in a tropical paradise, there is no disputing that Okinawa is Japan’s version of Hawaii. Many people make Okinawa their destination wedding site because it is so picturesque. But I have an itch to get on a plane and see and do and go…I have to indulge it, at least once a month.
Kobe, Japan is world-famous for its beef and yes, I’ll get to that in a minute, but it also has mountains and waterfalls. It is very close to Osaka but I wanted to fly into a smaller airport. I found an inexpensive flight and I was off.
Nunobiki no taki is a series of waterfalls at the head of the Ikuta River in the Hyougo Prefecture. Several poems and stories were written about it including one where a samurai dives in and goes to the bottom where he discovers a palace. He is an unwelcome visitor and is torn apart when he surfaces.
So these photos are a little out of order, but I decided to do some distress tolerance and let it stand. I originally wandered up toward the Shin-Kobe Station (Shinkansen – Bullet train) and the waterfalls are a few minutes walk from there.
Well, those who know me well will tell you that if there are two ways to go, I will invariably choose the wrong direction. It makes for interesting experiences and I’ve learned in the past two years that I see things I might have missed otherwise. That was very much the case here. I kept walking up, and up and up and I thought, this doesn’t look like the pictures I saw…that’s because I was on the wrong mountain. Oh well, no time spent in the woods is ever wasted, and these photos are some of the things I happened upon.
I realized when I got to the Temple that I was in the wrong place, but let me describe this experience. I saw the temple, shoes lined up outside, chanting, soft and melodic carried on incense scented breezes…me alone outside…amazing. It is one of those memories I will tuck away and keep. My time in Japan has many memories stored away for later reflection.
When I realized I was on the wrong mountain, I meandered down, following the stream, listening to the locals speak to me, a crow that sounded like it was laughing at me, a few little birds, cicadas singing their farewell to summer and the buzzing of many mosquitos who thought I might be good for a light lunch.
I found my path under the gondolas or the ‘ropeway’ as it’s called here and set off behind this lady pictured below with her husband.
When I first looked at Kobe from the plane, all I thought was…Korea. The mountains and the sea it looked to me like Korea. Well, I have climbed hills or mountains in Korea and decided that these people are tough! So are the folks in Kobe. These little old ladies were leaving me in the dust. It was hot and exhausting, but the beautiful thing about Japan is everywhere you look, there is a vending machine. I was well supplied.
I strolled through the botanical Herb Gardens and I noticed a sign for a rest station near the top. There were all these hammocks for anyone to stop and relax. So wonderful!
There were many different gardens, herb, rose, sunflower, autumn gardens, fruit gardens…so beautiful and walking back down on a little trail I found a simple, elegant and unmanicured little tree that was exalting in the afternoon sun rays.
After all my walking, a little under nine miles…yes miles, not kilometers, I prepared a scented bath and soaked for a little while. I am learning to appreciate the virtues of a nightly bath for relaxation.
I made reservations at a good restaurant, Tajima at the Portopia Hotel that I could get to via the Portliner monorail. I arrived early as I am wont to do and decided to explore the waterfront.
Now Kobe is not only known for its beef, it is a city that is recognized for its design and also fashion. There is a fashion museum and the young people here are known to be very stylish. I saw a lot of people coming and going and followed along.
It was the 2017 Autumn and Winter Kobe Collection show, so I looked around, listened to music and took some photos. I was given an envelope of coupons…I could have gotten 15% off a Priscilla wig!
Of course I was still a half an hour early for my reservation, but I figured everyone is so accommodating over here they would let me in if they had an empty table. They did, there were only a few people there and they took me right in.
The meal started with some smoked beef sashimi, squid and a pate. Next a chilled eggplant soup, followed by a fresh garden salad, then the beef with kabocha (like acorn squash), onion, garlic cooked to perfection, okra, eggplant and mushrooms…oh yes and Kobe beef. Without question, marbled, tender and melt-in-your-mouth incredible. What an experience. Followed by a small bowl of rice and miso soup. Dessert was fresh grapefruit sorbet with mango and little jelly beads with coffee. They forgot to bring me a spoon however and I just kept going with the chopsticks. The server came running over apologetically with the spoon, and laughed saying I did very well with the chopsticks!
Sated and happy, I took the Portliner back to my section of town, Sannomiya. There are many shops and people.
The next day I walked around the area and looked at stores, packed my new Patagonia backpack and got to the airport.
On my way out, I saw this little fellow, he is Kobear, I just had to stop by and say hello.
I hope everyone had a fabulous Labor Day and took time to remember all the sacrifices made. Take care and see you all soon!