While I was visiting it turned out there was also going to be a hiking event with a group my friend had gone with before so I joined in. It seems, every Sunday a group meets up through Meetup and explores some new part of the Kansai area.
We all met at Takatsuki station, ran off to buy a lunch at the nearest convenience store and snacks and then came back to catch a bus towards the area we would start our hike. The goal of these hiking tours is to get out and get some exercise while enjoying a language exchange. You can meet people from all over, some who just happen to be visiting, others who live in the Kansai area or Osaka who want to practice their English or Japanese. I thought it was a fun way to learn and make new friends.
Our guide, Andy, told us that the hike would be easy so I was pretty relieved. My friend had gone the weekend prior and said it was pretty difficult. But then I found myself scrambling over rocks and trying not to slip on steep path ways and realizing that I don’t have any mountain goat genetics. I think I also don’t go hiking too much which may explain why I was struggling. It wasn’t too bad in all honesty, just I had seen river walk as the title and assumed a nice walk along the river and not a up and down climb over rocks and cement until I was sweating and glad I’d brought a fan.
The area was beautiful, we got to take a bit of a break near a waterfall and we saw a beautiful old shrine up near the top of the trail. We also had lunch along the river on various rocks to enjoy our food. It was a fun way to meet new people, and after the tour several people kept hanging out by going to a cafe together, though I had other stuff I wanted to do and felt ready for a long nap.
If you choose to do one of the hiking tours/walks I highly suggest packing a lunch, water, sunscreen, bug spray, a hat, a fan and wearing good walking shoes and making sure you have your hands free. There weren’t really any vending machines on the trail though there were some between the bus stop and the trail head, but I wouldn’t rely on that. See what the event suggests you bring and just be prepared. Sometimes lunch or transit is included in their overall fee though for our trip none of this was included. It was 1,200 yen and we needed to have enough yen for the bus there and back. We paid the 1,200 yen at the end before everyone split up. If you have any questions just message them. My friend signed us up for the event, you need a Meetup account to join or you can say “going” on their main website where they link all of their upcoming events, like pub crawls, karaoke, dinners, quiz nights, ping pong chats and holiday events. It was also a kid friendly event, there was only one kid who joined us but the trail didn’t seem to even slow him down…which I think just means I should do more hiking.
To get to the Takatsuki Settsukyo Park we got off the JR line at Takatsuki station and then took the ２３系統（高槻）bus 12 stops to 西之川原橋（バス）and then walked to the park.