If you are living in the crowded Kansai area and want to escape the hustle and bustle of the cities,or a tourist in need of a break from the well worn traditional sights then Mt. Rokko Pastures maybe just the place to relax and unwind.
Mt. Rokko Pastures is similar to a zoo but has only the traditional farm animals such as sheep, goats, cows, ponys, ducks and so on.
It is situated as the name suggests atop of the 700m Mt. Rokko, and is just one of the many outdoor activities offered on the mountain.
You would not be mistaken for thinking that the grass areas inside the farm were mowed and manicured by a gardener but this is not the case, the grass is kept tidy by the sheep and lambs that roam the grounds freely similar to the deer in Nara.
Our arrival at 12.00pm via the cable car and rope way gave us time to have lunch and a walk around before we were entertained by sheep dog trails, which for the uninitiated involves a well trained sheep dog (Lucy from New Zealand in this case) circling the sheep under instruction from the owner and directing them into a holding pen, there were a few hiccups but Lucy got them there in the end, as well as the trails there is also a sheep shearing demonstration, these occur daily but times may vary so it is best to check upon arrival.
As well as all the animals and demonstrations there is also a cheese factory, which as well as demonstrations and tours it also conducts classes for anyone wanting to their hand at making cheese, again it would be wise to check ahead on times and availability.
There are several options to get to the pastures we chose a day pass offered by Hunkyu Railways,this pass enabled us to travel on all modes of transport throughout the day without the hassle of worrying about loose change for fares,heading back via the Mt. Miya Ropeway we took some time to take in the view of the urban sprawl of Osaka and Kobe as well as Osaka Bay, at night it is said to be spectacular.
Something to keep in mind if going to Mt. Rokko Pastures and that is it would be wise to take a disposable picnic mat from a 100 yen shop as the sheep roam freely and tend to do what sheep do a lot of when fed well, but above all enjoy a day out at Mt. Rokko Pastures and the fresh mountain air.