Rokkosan as a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors can be attributed to Arthur Hesketh Groom (1846-1918) an Englishman that arrived in Kobe in 1868. He loved the outdoors, hiking, mountain climbing and enjoyed visiting the mountains just north of Kobe.
In fact he loved visiting Rokkosan so much that in 1895 he build a cottage near the summit that was called 101, “Hyaku-Ichi” in Japanese, so that he could stay in the mountains longer. He had many friends and associates that enjoyed hiking and staying in the mountains with him, and in 1898 they decide to build a Golf Course, it would be the first in Japan.
In 1901, after three years of clearing trees, underbrush and rocks by hand, they were able to complete a course with four holes. By 1903 they had completed 9 holes and the Kobe Golf Club was born and by 1904 they had a full 18 hole golf course on Rokkosan.
A bust depicting him was is in the area in front of the Rokkosan Guide House in the Kinenhidai area. Every year in June to celebrate the opening of the Summer Hiking season, and pray for safety for all of the hikers, there is a “Groom Festival” held there. Children from the local mountain elementary school, clean the Groom Statue and surrounding area and present flowers to decedents that attend.
From 2006, June 5th has been named “Rokkosan Day”. June is the 6th month, so in Japanese “Roku” and the 5th is “Go”, put together they sound very close to “Rokko.”
This year, the “34th Groom Festival” will be on Sunday morning June 4th, 2017, from 10:40. There will be Sake to drink and a free raffle drawing for prizes. If you are in Kobe and have some time, please stop by and visit!
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