Rope-way Station & Hotel, Mt. Rokko, Kobe, c. 1935.



1930sAmusements & RecreationsCommerceKyoto-Nara-Osaka-Kobe
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Rope-way [cable car] station, Mt. Rokko, Kobe, c. 1935. The Rokko Hotel was located 800 meters (~2,400 feet) above the sea level and was famous as a summer resort. The cable car rope-way was the only means by which visitors could reach the hotel until after WWII.

“[O]n the middle slope of Mt. Rokko is Rokko Hotel widely known as a summer resort, with abundant tourists during the season. The hotel atop Rokko Mountain was built incorporating the image of a European resort hotel. The hotel overlooks a sight popularly known as the ‘ten-million-dollar night view’ [of Kobe].”

Japan Magazine: A Representative Monthly of Things Japanese, The Japan Magazine Co., 1936

Whole view of Mt. Rokko Hotel and cable car, c. 1930.

“Hankyu Hanshin Hotels, part of Hankyu Hanshin Holdings, will close the historic 86-year old Rokkosan Hotel in Kobe on December 20. Hotel operations will continue in the newer 45-room main building located next door.

“The original hotel was opened in 1929 as an annex to the Takarazuka Hotel, before later operating as an independent hotel. It was designed by architect Masaharu Furuzuka, one of the Osaka-Kobe area’s leading modernist architects. Furuzuka also designed the Takarazuka Hotel in 1926.

“In 2007 it received a national designation as a Heritage of Industrial Modernization property. It is recognised as a leading example of the pre-war modernist architecture in the Osaka-Kobe region. Nevertheless, ageing and deteriorating equipment and a structure that does not meet current earthquake-resistance standards have been cited as reasons for the hotel’s closure.

“The Rokkosan area is the mountainous area running from Kobe to Takarazuka. In the late 1800s and early 1900s the mountains became popular as a resort area with a number of foreigners building holiday villas. Various mountain roads are named after some of the early foreign residents. The nearby Kobe Golf Club, which was opened in 1903 by English expat Arthur Hasketh Groom, was Japan’s first golf course.

“In the early 1900s, rival railroad companies Hanshin-Kyuko Electric Railway (now Hankyu Corporation) and Hanshin Electric Railway competed fiercely to develop the area. Hankyu were the first to open a hotel in Rokkosan with the Rokkosan Hotel in 1929. In 1931 they opened a ropeway. Not to be outdone, Hanshin opened the Rokko Cable Line one year later, followed by the Rokko Oriental Hotel in 1934. The Rokko Oriental Hotel, which had been rebuilt in 1968, closed its doors in 2007 and sits empty and overgrown.”

Japan Property Central, December 15, 2015

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