Kobe is not short of green spaces offering residents and tourists the chance to get out and soak up the great outdoors. Whether you’re a sports enthusiast looking for somewhere to play or just after a nice setting for an ambient stroll, the city has a good mix of everything from sports parks to nature reserves. With the coast to one side and an impressive mountain range to the other, there is plenty of beautiful scenery to be enjoyed too.
Here is a selection of Kobe’s best parks.
A popular tourist attraction in Kobe, this waterfront park is not a park in the traditional sense of the word. It’s more of a beautiful open space next to the port of Kobe that offers great views both day and night. The park features fountains, modern art pieces, the Kobe Maritime Museum and the 108 metre high Port Tower where you can dine in a restaurant offering superb panoramic views of the city.
On the east side of the park is a memorial area commemorating the 1995 earthquake in the area that killed over 6,000 people. The area has been preserved since the quake so that visitors can see the extent of the damage. Tourists wanting to explore the range of views in more detail can take sightseeing boat tours from Kobe Harborland next to Port Tower.
Opening hours: park open 24 hours; Port Tower 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Maritime Museum 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Price: park entry free; 1,000 yen will get you entry into both Port Tower and the Maritime Museum
Situated on the south-west side of Mt Rokko and covering 40 hectares of space, Nunobiki Park is a feast for the eyes with its floral wonders, cascading waterfalls and spectacular mountain views. You can journey by cable car to the herb garden within the mountains where you will sail over the mountain waterfalls to arrive at a herb garden with around 200 species of flowers and herbs, as well as a rose garden, a lavender garden and a fragrant garden. If you’re up for a bit of a trek, there is a foot trail to the gardens that takes around 45 minutes.
Opening hours: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Price: Herb garden – 200 yen for adults, 100 yen for children; Cable car – 900 yen one-way, 1,400 yen round trip
Kobe Sports Park
If you fancy something a bit more activity-based, there’s Kobe Sports Park, located in the Suma ward in the northwest part of the city. This multi-facility park includes a baseball stadium (home to the Orix Buffaloes), tennis courts, a gymnasium, an athletics field and a children’s playground complete with fun play equipment. There are also around 50,000 flowers adorning the grounds, making the park a pleasant place for a stroll even if you don’t want to engage in sweat-inducing sports.
Opening hours: Most on-site facilities open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Price: Varies depending on facility
Suma Rikyu Park
Situated about 10 minutes by walk from Tsukimiyama station, this pretty botanical garden is bustling with activities and events. Within the park’s parameters, you will find over 200 different types of trees, multiple flower gardens, a fountain square and a beautiful pond while for the kids there is a play park and a forest adventure course. A restaurant and Japanese tea room are also on site making this a perfect spot for a bucolic afternoon.
Opening hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Price: 400 yen for visitors over 15 years of age
A scenic park that spreads between Mt. Hachibuse and Suma Beach, you can walk among over 3,000 plum and cherry blossom trees or ride the ropeway and cable car to the summit where you will find a mountaintop amusement park for kids and breathtaking views across the Seto Inland sea including Awaji Island.
Opening hours: park open 24 hours