The evening before this hike, we were frantically searching through magazines and books detailing hikes in the area. We knew we wanted to go for a hike, we just didn’t know where we could go.
The obvious choice was Rokko Mountain near Kobe, but most of the websites we saw described the hikes there as being challenging. And we weren’t up for a challening hike this time.
But then we caught wind of a hike that went along and old abandoned railway. That sounded perfect.
The hike is basically from one station to another. We caught the Hankyu line to Takarazuka station, then switched to JR and got off at Takedao station. Then we started the hike towards Namaze station.
We’re not sure why the line closed. But seeing as the old railway line is winding it’s way down a narrow valley alongside the Muko river, and the Takarazuka line is a straight shot through the mountain. Our guess is that the old line was just not needed due to the new line being considerably quicker.
It’s not long until you reach the first tunnel of the old railway, and it’s a pretty straight forward affair. All of the tunnels were nice and dry while we were hiking, but it is possible that they would have some water in them after heavy rainfall. Also, worth mentioning that two of the tunnels do go pitch black. So make sure you have a decent light on your phone.
We were lucky enough that the Sakura was still in bloom when we did the hike. So it made it all the more beautiful.
The track itself is as you’d expect an abandoned railway to be. A lot of chunky rocks makes for a fairly uneven surface to walk on, and of course the railway sleepers/ties are left.
Having read other blogs of this hike, we thought we might not come across many people. We were so wrong! It’s a very popular hike, and we only felt like we had the place to ourselves as we got to the end of our 2 ½ hour hike (That includes a nice lunch break and lots of photo taking, so it’s not a long hike).
We even encountered groups of 50+ people going the opposite way.
The bridge across the Muko river has been bordered off and a pedestrian bridge has been built on top. Such a popular and easily accessible hike as this was bound to get some safety measures put in.
Once at the south end of the trail, the sleepers have almost completely disappeared and it’s a much easier hike to do. Not even a hike, it’s a walk. But we’re getting closer to civilisation again, so it’s time to figure out how to get to Namaze station.
We’re not going to claim this was the best hike of 2019, and you NEED to go do it right now! But if you’re in the area and feel like going for a relaxing walk, exploring an old railway and some tunnels… Go for it.
Even if you’re not interested in railways or tunnels, the scenery is gorgeous as you’re walking alongside a river for the entirety of the hike. So we think it was well worth it.