Suma Alps, Local Adventures and Cities as Living Beings

What does adventure mean? What counts as an adventure? For some people, adventure means scuba diving, while for others, discovering a new coffee shop downtown is an escapade. Here is the definition of adventure in Oxford Learner’s Dictionary: an unusual, exciting, or dangerous experience, journey, or series of events. Nowhere in this sentence is there a hint of the need to go or travel somewhere far to have an adventure.

Urban hiking: Suma Alps

Suma Ward in Kobe offers a moderately challenging urban hike. I hiked Suma Alps last year and went on another hike a few days ago. Open and gorgeous any time of the year, it’s a popular hiking spot for people of all ages. It takes about two and a half hours to complete this hike, depending on the route you take. 

Mount Hachibuse – Mount Yokoo trail (approximately 8.4 km)

The first and most popular hike is the Umanose trail. “Umanose” means the back of a horse, and the trail really looks like that. This scenic rocky section is thrilling due to its exposed mountain surface. I found it a bit hair-raising at first but managed to traverse it during my first attempt last year. I continued and ended my hike in the north of Suma, at Mount Yokoo.

Crying-hiking Umanose! Doesn’t this place look like the back of a horse?

There are buses to JR and Sanyo Suma stations, but if you feel adventurous, you can walk down the hill until you reach Suma-dera, which I did. Suma-dera is a beautiful and popular temple in Kobe where you can enjoy tranquility (or contemplate things if you are an overthinker like me.)

This year, however, I decided to choose a different route. I started the hike at Sumaura Park and reached the top of Mount Hachibuse to view the breathtaking and panoramic Seto Inner Sea. Watching the sea from the summit made me feel blessed to live near it. After taking a break there, I started going down and followed a different route that took me to Shioya from Mount Hatafuri. 

City as a living being

It’s hard to pinpoint what an adventure entails for different people. I have been living in Kobe and know a lot of cool places in this city, but I know there is still a lot to explore—which isn’t intimidating. Quite the contrary, it’s stimulating! 

I believe a city has its own pulse, and it evolves in so many ways every day. The streets, alleys, and neighborhoods change just like we do, and there’s little we can do about it. At the summit, I overheard some senior citizens talking about the “old days” of Kobe—days that passed way before I was born. They sounded rather nostalgic but concluded their conversation with a famous Japanese saying: Shouganai! “It can’t be helped,” or “it is what it is!” And it’s true indeed. 

Embarking on local ventures makes me feel like a historian. I witness the change in the city and write down my observations whenever I can. This building has disappeared, or, A new place has appeared—these kind of notes make me realize the significance of recognizing a city as a living being. And just like a living being, a city can thrive or wither.

More local adventures, please!

Cities are at the core of literature for most genres. In a creative writing book I have been reading, the author says that imaginary settings have replaced real settings in novels today, since most people don’t explore their cities as much as 19th– and 20th-century authors did. As a result, an inconsistent gap arises between the characters and the places. Perhaps it’s worth exploring what discovering our cities and going on more local adventures mean for literature. 

Local adventures have a pivotal role in sustainability and environmentalism, too. Traveling locally means less waste, energy, and distance. It also means we spend less money, which is great because as alluring as distant adventures are, they are costly. And when we explore our cities, we can contribute to the local economy, get to know local people, and travel more often. 

I admit that the idea of traveling to remote, secluded places or bustling capitals is still appealing. Traveling enhances our human experience and helps us see the world through others’ eyes. Yet, we shouldn’t brush aside the fact that where we live can be as exciting as those faraway places. Our local environment can also alter our worldview. I know I will focus on local expeditions more this year, so buckle up for more Hyogo adventures!

What about you? Do you like where you live? Do you go on local adventures? 

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  1. Rolf

    Wow, looks like a great adventure! I’d also love to live that near to the sea and mountains.
    Currently living in Tokyo, but I try to go on small adventures through the city. But am also planning to get out of the city more often.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bahanur

      Thank you for visiting my blog! 😊 I am sure numerous adventures are awaiting you in Tokyo and Kanto!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Shahbaz Ashraf

    You are absolutely right in pointing out that adventure can be around us, and we don’t need to go to far away places for adventure. What we need, is a restless soul and an adventurous spirit.
    Again, you have beautifully described everything owing to your keen observation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bahanur

      It’s always a great pleasure to see your comments here. Thank you 😊


      1. Shahbaz Ashraf

        My pleasure!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. mundae.misaki

    Sentiment you mention here’s really applicable to the Philippines I feel—a lot of people I’ve met think that the only real adventures are off abroad, and they can have preferences of course, but I’ll die arguing that a lot of our local landscape is unparalleled!

    Even just the largest island of Luzon where our capital is- I’ve had lots of fond memories around both our mountainous north and our flatter south- not to mention how beautiful some more isolated islands look! Siquijor and Camiguin come to mind—never been there myself, but if funds allow, I’d love to see them for myself at some point.

    I feel it’s a big shame that so many people kind of overlook our local sights, but on the bright side, means we usually have less of a crowd to deal with in these places (*’▽’*)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bahanur

      Thank you for your insightful comment 🙏 I don’t know if I ever mentioned it to you, but I’ve been to Manila by myself and loved it to bits 💕 Such a colorful and volatile city! I wandered around quite a lot and enjoyed my time discovering it for a week. It felt quite nostalgic, and I really want to go back to Manila to feel that way again.

      I wonder what Siquijor and Camiguin look like! I’ve been interested in Cebu or Boracay, but I feel they might be a bit too “touristy” for me. What do you think? Which isolated island would you recommend for tourists who want to travel off the beaten path?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. mundae.misaki

        Oh- that’s cool to hear! Just a few weeks ago I was touring places in Manila like Intramuros with my family—it unfortunately coincided with a strong typhoon striking, but it made me realise how used I was to these places that I began overlooking them (*^^*)

        Idea of non-touristy islands is interesting though—I think places like Bohol or Palawan are a good balance of great scenery and sparse crowds, but also smaller islands like Romblon which I don’t believe is frequented much? But the beaches and historical buildings there are gorgeous! There’s also Corregidor, which I’ve yet to visit, but had the pleasure of barely seeing on some days when Manila Bay’s clear.

        Down at the southernmost ends are places like Tawi-Tawi or Basilan which I’ve always found interesting, especially given culture there’s a lot more Islamic compared to the Catholic rest of the country—would love to visit them if they become safer in the future!

        Honourable mention to the province of Aurora along Luzon’s eastern coast—The photos of its forests and beaches have always looked absolutely beautiful for me, though sadly the highways there from here in the metro are way too congested for me to visit.

        this is just all my personal opinion but- If I just had the savings I’d love to tour much more outside of Luzon (*’▽’*)

        Liked by 1 person

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