Translated by Lester Somera
A Stellar View From The Summit of Kobe - Mt. Maya Kikuseidai
Written by Kenji Hemmi
One of Japan's Three Night Views can be seen in Kobe from the Maya Kikuseidai viewing platform. In this article we explain how to get there from Sannomiya Station.
The Three Great Night Views of Japan are places where visitors can behold spectacularly beautiful scenes after dark: the view from Mt. Hakodate in Hokkaido, the view from Mt. Inasa in Nagasaki, and the view from Kikuseidai on Mt. Maya in Kobe.
Kikuseidai’s night view is particularly famous as a date spot, and is popular because it is easily accessed from the center of Kobe.
This time, we will explain how to get from Sannomiya, the heart of Kobe, to Kikuseidai.
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First - Head To The Bus Stop
Basically, to get from Sannomiya to Kikuseidai, you’ll need to take a bus and ride the ropeway. First, let’s head to the bus stop.
Go out the north exit of JR Sannomiya Station and turn left, and you will come to the spot pictured here. The bus stop is located on the opposite side, where the bus is parked, and can be reached in one or two minutes from the station.
This is the bus stop. The yellow pole reads “Line 18 Bus Stop, Buses Bound For The Mt. Maya Cable Car,” which is a good landmark. Remember the number 18.
There are several buses which depart from this stop, but be make sure to get on a line 18 bus. Any bus with an 18 on the top should be fine. No other buses service Mt. Maya Cable Station, so be careful.
Also, the line 18 bus only comes once or twice every hour, so if you miss it, you could be waiting for 30 minutes. Plan accordingly.
The bus’s destination is written on the board next to the door, so make sure you’re getting on line 18. An adult fare is 210 yen.
The ride will take up to 20 minutes. There will be an English announcement when the bus arrives at the Mt. Maya Cable Car stop, so you can relax.
Get On The Cable Car And Head For The Summit
This is the starting point of the cable car, Mt. Maya Cable Station, and it starts running from 10 AM. The bodies of the cable cars themselves are quite stylish, and just riding them is fun.
The station has restroom facilities, so handle your business here if you need to.
This is the ticket fare chart for the cable car and ropeway. If you plan to ride them on the way back, it’s convenient to purchase a roundtrip ticket beforehand.
A roundtrip ticket is 1540 yen for adults and 770 yen for children.
The cable car ride takes about five minutes, and you can watch the descending cable cars pass by on your way up.
After five minutes, you will arrive at the spot to transfer to the ropeway. The ropeway is a minute away on foot.
Head To Kikuseidai On The Ropeway
Next, let’s hop on the ropeway. This is the starting point for the ropeway line, Rainbow Station.
Rainbow Station does have restroom facilities, but there’s not a lot of time for you to transfer, so if possible, use the one at the Mt. Maya Cable Station beforehand.
Head to Kikuseidai on the ropeway. It takes five minutes, same as the cable car.
This is the view from the ropeway; from this high elevation, you can gaze down at the Kobe cityscape. Soon you will arrive at Star Station, the end of the ropeway. Kikuseidai is not far now.
Arrival At Kikuseidai!
A bit over 30 minutes after leaving Sannomiya, we finally arrived at Mt. Maya Kikuseidai.
Kikuseidai is located at an elevation of 690 meters. The kanji in Kikuseidai’s name mean “star scoop pedestal”, because the night sky is so close to the viewing platform it feels like you could reach out and gather the stars with your bare hands. Kikuseidai also serves as the goalpost for people climbing Mt. Maya, and thanks to its height above sea level, cool breezes blow through Kikuseidai all year.
As you can see in the picture, the beautiful night scenery stretches all the way to Osaka, and on clear winter days, you can even see Kansai International Airport.
This night view is generally known as the Ten Million-Dollar View. According to one theory, this name came about because the total amount of electricity used by all the lights visible from the platform is valued at $10 million.
Next time you come to Kobe, why not climb up to Kikuseidai? You can have a romantic night under the perfect Kobe night sky.