Introducing places of interest: Setonaikai National Park (Hyogo Prefecture)
The Rokko area features excellent transportation accessibility, such that visitors arrive not just for the mountaineering but also for the ability to use buses, cable cars, and other means of public transit.
Mt. Rokko highest peak (Kobe City)
While the name "Mt. Rokko" is generally understood to refer collectively to the Rokko Mountain Range, the highest peak in this group of mountains is itself called Mt. Rokko (931 meters above sea level). This peak commands a panoramic east-to-west view of the Rokko Mountain Range as well as a view of Osaka Bay encircled by a large urban area.
Many hikers aspire to arrive and climb to the summit while enjoying the natural environment to be found along the hiking trail to the fullest.
Mayasan-Kikuseidai (Kobe City)
Mayasan-Kikuseidai is an observatory located below the east side of the summit of Mt. Maya. It constitutes a vantage point that is thrust relatively more southward than the rest of the Rokko Mountain Range, such that it affords views of a broad swath of the local region extending from the core of the city of Kobe to Osaka and Wakayama in the distance. This site commands what is known as the "10 million dollar nightscape," a description that underscores the fact that this observatory can be used at night as well as during the day. Cast your eyes towards the northeast to obtain a fantastic glimpse of the impressive Rokko Mountain Range.
Kikuseidai is a hub for many of the hiking trails found in the Rokko Mountain Range as well as a resting place for hikers.
Narugashima (Sumoto City)
Narugashima Island is situated on the shore opposite Yuracho, Sumoto City, in the southeastern part of Awajishima Island and is a long sliver of an uninhabited island extending about 2 kilometers north to south with an outline resembling the shape of a sea horse. The island is also referred to as Awaji-Hashidate for the fact that its long, white, continuous sandbar form is extended in such a way that it appears to enclose the local harbor.
A wide variety of life forms can be spotted on the island, including such important seaside plants as Hibiscus hamabo and Suaeda maritima, and loggerhead sea turtles, which come ashore to lay eggs.
The summit of Mt. Naru on the north side of the island affords views of the Kitan Strait, which lies between Awajishima Island and the Kii Peninsula. Visitors can also observe the flocks of birds that gather on the tidal flats of the island and survey the form of the entire island in all its long, thin glory.
Yura-Naruyama Castle was built on Mt. Naru during the Edo period. A battery was subsequently installed at this location from the last days of the Tokugawa shogunate to the end of the Second World War to harness the defensive advantages conferred by such an excellent vantage point.
Keinomatsubara (Minami-Awaji City)
Keinomatsubara is home to a dense stand of approximately 50,000 Awaji black pines. This white sandy beach extending for approximately 2.5 kilometers in length constitutes the finest seashore of white sand and green pines in the Seto Inland Sea region. This location is a place of scenic beauty historically known for this trait as chronicled by Kakinomoto-no-Hitomaro and others in The Anthology of Myriad Leaves.
Akomisaki (Ako City)
Akomisaki is famous as a notable site for cherry blossoms set against the backdrop of the Harimanada area. Many visitors arrive from the direction of Okayama, Himeji, and Kobe. From Akomisaki, one can see a continuous coastal landscape stretching from the Ieshima Islands and Shodo Island to the south to Kanegasaki in Aioi City to the east. The sunset as seen from Misaki has been officially recognized as one of the 100 finest sunset vistas in Japan.
Kanegasaki (Aioi City)
From an open area in Kanegasaki at the eastern end of Aioi Bay, visitors can see the coastline from the direction of Himeji to Murotsu to the east, in the direction of Ako to the west, and the Ieshima Islands dotting the Harimanada area to the south. Also visible is Kamazaki extending from Tsubone at the base of the peninsula across from Aioi Bay, scenes of oyster rafts floating in the water, and other elements of a tranquil coastal landscape. Descend along a walking trail from the open area in Kanegasaki to the tip of the cape where the walking trail will continue along the seacoast. At this point, you can survey a steep rocky stretch by the shore.
As poems written at this location by poets Yamabe-no-Akahito and Urayamabe-no-Akahito in the Nara period are included in The Anthology of Myriad Leaves, this cape is also referred to as a "Cape of the Myriad Leaves."