If you are travelling to Kobe there’s so much you can do, if you are travelling to Kansai make a day trip to Kobe because you really don’t want to miss out. The city offers beaches, city life, shopping, nightlife, famous Kobe beef restaurants, but one of the best things has to be a journey into the mountains. Here’s the top five list of activities for Mount Rokko, the most famous mountain in Kobe.
The botanical gardens are open from March until November and feature seasonal flowers so you will find something different at each stage of the year. Spring hosts groves of cherry blossom trees, summer welcomes vibrant flowers, and autumn lets you see the beautiful colours of the changing autumn leaves. Plenty of these are only available in the Alpine Gardens because of its cool temperature. It’s a short bus journey from the top of the Rokko Cable Car route, and if you buy a ticket you can get a discounted joint ticket for the Music Box Museum which is close by. It’s a beautiful garden with a huge variety of flowers, a large pond filled with koi, and a set of wooden walkways that allow you to walk over the small streams and rivulets to see the plants up close.
A farm attraction aimed at families that offer a great view, on a clear day you can easily see across Osaka bay all the way over to Wakayama. On the farm you get to see lots of animals up close and in person, such as sheep, cows, rabbits, and horses. They also have crafts and activities on throughout the year, so you could ride a horse, watch a sheep dog show, see how cheese is made, and spin some wool thread.
Rokko Pastures Website *Available in multiple languages
There are many ways up and through the mountains but by far the most interesting are the cable car or the ropeway. The Ropeway brings you up the mountains and into the Rokko Herb Garden, with a stop at the mid point for if you want to walk up or down part way. You get a private car to yourself with large glass viewing windows and it’s modern looking. It’s fairly cheap for the amazing views you get and the speedy rate at which it zooms you over the mountains. The cable car is a very different, it’s two classic looking carriages you share with other passengers that lead you up the mountain at ground level. It runs every 20 minutes throughout the day, so you may have a short wait, but you can access more from the bus that stops at the top station.
You can actually see part of the Nunobiki Falls on your journey along the Ropeway, the hiking trail runs underneath the cable that you travel on, so you can hike up to the falls or get off the Ropeway at the halfway point and hike down to the falls. There are a four waterfalls along the trail but Ontaki is the highest at 43m.
The herb gardens offer great views of the city during the day and night, incredible food seasoned with local and seasonal herbs, and craft beers. There are several types of beer to try and they change from time to time to reflect the season. Food and drink aside, there is a path down through the gardens, with huge green houses filled with exotic plants and a trip to the lovers bell you can ring with your partner. In the autumn there a small open field you can sit on and relax as you watch dragonflies fly over you with a view of the city in the distance.
As a bonus, don’t forget that not only at the top of the mountains but over them there is Arima. Easily accessed on the bus or Arima Ropeway, Arima is a historical onsen town perfect for a relaxing day in some of the oldest hot springs in Japan.