Ghosts in the Hills

July 23, 2009

(Originally Published 14/05/2008)

On Sunday I went to Kobe again to visit my friend Jen and to climb a mountain and explore abandoned places!  I packed a bento of rice balls and we met at Vie de France for a breakfast of bread and coffee.  We took the train to Ouji Kouen (a couple stops away from Sannomiya where Jen lives) and then began the trek up the hill past the zoo and a climbing wall.  We took a couple of wrong turns (because the roads looked cooler!) and I had to stop and rest for a moment after a strange and sudden dizzy spell but eventually we found the cable car station at the base of Mt. Maya.

More... We found the trail that goes up the mountain and were soon climbing through the forest and enjoying beautiful views of Kobe.  It was an unusually clear day (it had just rained) and we could see all the way across the bay to the lower side of Osaka and even Wakayama.  Kobe is a really amazing city and I love how many places they have for going for spectacular views of the city sandwiched between the mountains and the sea.  We hiked along, dodging dangling caterpillars every couple of steps, and soon we came upon an abandoned house!  This was an unexpected pleasure and we poked around a little bit, stepping carefully on mounds of garbage and rotten tatami mats.  I’m not exactly sure how safe we were because there were some significant holes in the floor (and the ceiling) and some of the pillars underneath the second floor looked unstable.

A little higher up we came to the station where the cable car transfers to the aerial tram which takes passengers up to the top of the mountain.  It looks like fun to ride the cable car and the tram but it costs over eight dollars one way and that just doesn’t seem worth it for a ten-minute ride.  The mountain is really steep but I don’t think it takes more than an hour at a very leisurely pace to get up to the midway point and probably another hour beyond that to get to the top.  Well, we were surprised at how easy it was to find the abandoned hotel – it was about fifty meters away down the mountain from the station!  We stopped and had lunch before sneaking through some bushes, scrambling down the hill (really unstable and kind of scary), and creeping down an old path to the hotel.  We could have just jumped a gate but it was right next to the station and someone might have stopped us if they’d seen us.

I really love abandoned places.  I don’t really know much about this place because we found out through a Japanese website and I haven’t taken the time to read the previous explorer’s report and find out what he said.  I’ll get around to it after I’m done with final exams and let you know what I find.  Anyway, here are some pictures.

The path up the mountain (much steeper than it looks!):

Mt. Maya walking course

The abandoned house:

Abandoned house on Mt. Maya

From inside on the second floor:

So many holes!

From underneath the second floor (shouldn’t have been walking up there!):


The abandoned hotel (there is a tire in the roof and judging from the crater it looks like it was dropped from space by a passing airplane):

Mt. Maya Hotel (abandoned)

Hotel (again)

Same hotel

Main floor veranda

Outside the ballroom

The ballroom:

Ballroom (perhaps?)

Scary chair

Ever encroaching...

Downstairs (what sounded like footsteps echoed up and down the corridor, it was just water dripping):


Lots of baths and toilets:

Bath faucets


That brand new red chair in the corner really bothered me.  Who brought it there and why?

Bright red chair

View out the window

Really nice view of Kobe

The big red chair


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