Cable-car / ropeway highlights
A charming cable-car and ropeway system travels between the mountaintop and base of Mt. Maya, allowing visitors to enjoy its abundant natural beauty, with its dense forest that draws a striking contrast with the adjacent urban cityscape.
On the mountaintop, visitors can access Mt. Maya Kikuseidai, which provides a breathtaking panoramic view that encompasses not only the city of Kobe, but even locations as far away as the Kii Peninsula. At nighttime, this spot acts as a highly popular romantic location that provides visitors with what has popularly been called the “10 million dollar night-view.”
Visitors can also learn about the historical importance of this tourist spot, which has been served by the Maya Cable-car system (since 1925) and the Maya Ropeway system (since 1955). In addition to the visual appeal of the charming passenger cars, the station buildings themselves are well-renowned, with the “Maya Cable Station” being selected as one of the top 100 stations in the Kinki-area, while the “Maya Cable Niji no Eki Station (Kyu Maya Kanko Hotel - mae) ” exudes an antique Taisho-period charm.
Night view from Mt.Maya won the “COOL JAPAN AWARD 2019”, which people from around the globe discover and certify what they agree as Cool Japan.
Come visit Mt. Maya Kikuseidai via the Maya Cable and Ropeway system to experience one of the top 3 night-views in Japan, and indulge in the “10 million dollar” night-view!
As the Maya Cable-car ascends up the mountain, passengers can enjoy the glittering lights of the Kobe cityscape, which shimmer between the trees of the forest. The wonderful view from the passenger cars provides visitors with growing anticipation as they make their way up the mountain.
Next, visitors make their way to the Niji no Eki Station to continue their journey. As the ropeway gondola swiftly ascends up the mountain toward the night sky, passengers can partake in the “10 million dollar night-view” that spreads out in front of their eyes. The spectacular view prompts many a visitor to exclaim how beautiful the sight is, as the passenger car arrives at Hoshi no Eki Station.
Once arriving at Hoshi no Eki Station, visitors can access Kikuseidai, a point located roughly 700m above sea level. The night-view at this spot is a sight to behold, providing a panoramic view that spans from downtown Kobe to the urban sprawl of the Osaka region.
In the unfortunate event of foggy weather at Mt. Maya Kikuseidai, visitors can still enjoy the view from the observation point at Niji no Eki Station. Located 451m above sea level, this spot provides visitors with a more intimate, close-up view of the nighttime cityscape.
If time allows, visiting this location during sunset is also highly recommended. As the sun sets and the blue sky gradually begins to take on reddish, orange, and yellow hue, visitors will marvel in the breathtakingly romantic scene.
Passengers can first board the cable-cars at Maya Cable Station to make their way to Niji no Eki Station (Kyu Maya Kanko Hotel - mae). Adjacent to Niji no Eki Station, visitors can find a quiet observation point, which at an elevation of 451m above sea level, provides a relatively up close view of the cityscape.
Next, visitors can board the Maya Ropeway. Passengers will feel as if they are floating on air as they overlook the scenery, while the charmingly designed gondola ascends. The contrast of the abundant greenery of the mountain, and the backdrop of the expansive ocean and Kobe’s urban and harbor areas is sure to treat passenger to an exhilarating view.
At Kikuseidai on the mountaintop, a magnificent view awaits visitors, spanning from the Kobe Harbor-land area to the West, across Port Island and Rokko Island and out toward the Osaka area. On days where the weather is good, the view extends even further out toward the Kii Peninsula.
The view from within the interior of Hoshi no Eki is also noted for its spectacular beauty. From this vantage point, the Niji no Eki Ropeway Station further accentuates the magnificent scenery in the background. Located conveniently from downtown Kobe, this tourist course allows visitors to take in the abundant natural beauty of Mt. Maya.
The Maya Cable line was originally established in January of 1925.
At the time, Maya Cable station was called “Takao Station” and Niji no Eki Station was referred to as “Maya Station.”
After such events as the Hanshin flooding disaster of 1938, and the dismantling of the cable-car system for wartime military purposes, the 2nd-generation cable-car line resumed services in 1955, and since then the cable-car line has undergone 2 major renovations.
In November of 2012, the 2nd-generation Maya Cable-cars were retired, after serving passengers traveling to and from Mt. Maya for over a half-century (since 1955).
In March of 2013, the new “3rd-generation Maya Cable-cars” were unveiled, with the Maya Cable line celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2015.
The Maya Ropeway was established in July of 1955, as the Oku-Maya Ropeway line. The ropeway was the first to begin operations in Hyogo Prefecture, and it is also the 8th ropeway line to commence operations in Japan. At the time it started operations, the gondola cars “Suzu-kaze” and “Soyo-kaze” were known to be the heaviest gondola cars ever built in Japan. Around this time, the Oku-Maya Amusement Park, located adjacent to Maya Sanjo Station opened its gates. On holidays the area enjoyed a multitude of visitors coming to enjoy the cool evening weather, as they partook in the “1 million dollar night-view” (which would later come to be known as the “10 million dollar night-view”). In later years, the Oku-Maya Amusement Park closed its gates, and the Maya Cable-car line suspended services due to the occurrence of the Great Hanshin Awaji Earthquake. Fortunately, thanks to the support of the local community, the Ropeway was able to re-start operations in March of 2001. The line currently provides service with its 3rd-generation gondola cars (named “Hiko-boshi” and “Ori-hime”), and in 2015 the Ropeway line celebrated its 60th year of operations.
The support of the local community has been integral in establishing the historical importance of the Maya Viewline (Maya Cable-car and Maya Ropeway lines) as it continues its operations in present day.
(Some of the photos and text on this website are from the “Photo-book on the History of Public Ropeways,” published in December of 1985)
Upon being reopened in March of 2001, the “Maya Cable Station” was rebuilt to take on a log-cabin motif. On this occasion, the Kinki District Transport Bureau selected this station as one of its “Top 100 Stations in the Kinki Area.” When visiting the station, visitors can enjoy the abundant flowers and plant life, that bloom at different times throughout the seasons, such as the cherry blossom, rhododendron, and sasanqua camellia trees that line the stairs.
The “Niji no Eki” station (Kyu Maya Kanko Hotel - mae) still maintains its original appearance from when it was established in 1925, and it is a building of historical importance that still stands to this day.
Niji no Eki Station features separate observation points located to the east and west of the station.
At an elevation of 451m above sea level (while Kikuseidai is located roughly 700m above sea level), this spot provides visitors with a closer night-view of the cityscape.
Visitors are recommended to take in the view as they wait to transfer between the cable-car and ropeway lines.
The towers behind the right side of the station roof are broadcasting towers for public and private broadcasting companies.
During renovations in 2014, low-pole light fixtures were installed along the path between the Niji no Eki cable-car (Kyu Maya Kanko Hotel - mae) and ropeway stations, making it easier for visitors to walk this path at night.
This combination of the old and the new, gives Niji no Eki a unique charm.