Kobe is the sixth largest city in Japan and is the capital of Hyogo Prefecture. Kobe is on the south coast of Honshu, between Osaka and Himeji. Kobe has a population of 1.5 million people! Kobe was historically one of the ports which were opened following the years of seclusion. Kobe’s prominence as a port town was thriving until the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995. However today Kobe is still the fourth busiest container port in all of Japan. Kobe is also home to Ikuta Shrine, said to be among the oldest shrines in all of Japan. Ikuta Shrine is said to have been founded in the 3rd century to enshrine Wakahirume, founded by empress Jingu. But Kobe does not only offer manmade history, but nature history and beauty too.
The Kobe-Nunobiki waterfalls are truly spectacular and are really worth a visit. There are two ways to get to these breath-taking views, either by hiking or on the convenient rope way. Nunobiki waterfalls is actually rated as one of the top 100 waterfalls in all of Japan.
If you enjoy being in nature then this short hike to a stunning waterfall is an excellent trip. The hike is relatively short and quite easy. From the start of the hiking trail, just outside of Shin-Kobe station, it only takes about 15 minutes to get to Nunobiki waterfall. There are a total of four waterfalls on this walk, although one is quite obscured. A further 15 minutes of easy hiking will allow you to see the 3rd and 4th waterfall in this series. These waterfalls are a mix of drops carved by nature and man made extras. The first waterfall is called Mentaki and is about 19m tall, with a further descent carved by man. The third waterfall is named Meotodaki and the fourth is Nunobiki itself. Nunobiki is the grandest of all four falls, standing at 43m. If after this 40-minute hike you haven’t seen enough of nature, then continuing up the trail will lead to a Herb Garden and also an observatory.
If you don’t want to, or can’t, hike up to these falls that doesn’t mean you have to miss out. The Shin-Kobe rope way travels from just behind Shin-Kobe station all the way up to the observation deck near Mount Maya. A return trip will cost ¥1,400, and this includes access to the herb garden also. One way is just ¥900 (not including access to the herb garden), if you’d rather rope way up or down then travel back by foot. There are two stations on this ropeway route, one stopping just before the herb garden and one at the observation deck. This way you can experience it all with as much, or as little, walking as you’d like. The views of Kobe from the observation deck are spectacular. In the summer months the ropeway continues into the evening so you can get some beautiful twilight views.