Kobe, a city located in the southeast of Hyogo Prefecture, offers a unique blend of natural beauty, adventure, and a European ambiance. With its towering mountain backdrop, including the famous Rokko mountain range, Kobe attracts tourists from all over the world.
The Rokko mountain range is one of the main tourist destinations in Hyogo Prefecture. It is known for its international history, excellent hiking trails, and unbeatable views of Kobe and Osaka. The mountains are easily accessible from downtown Kobe and Arima Onsen, or just an hour from downtown Osaka. They provide a great escape for travelers looking to take a break from the busy cities.
One of the highlights of the Rokko mountains is the Rokko Garden Terrace, where visitors can enjoy a spectacular sunset view of Osaka Bay. The observation platform at the top of the Rokko cable car offers panoramic views of the urban sprawl below. The adjacent Tenran Cafe is a restaurant with a view where guests can enjoy meals and local beer while taking in the breathtaking scenery.
Another must-visit attraction in the Rokko mountains is the Alpine Botanical Garden. Situated at the summit of Mt. Rokko, the garden is home to approximately 1,500 types of wild plants. It features different sections, including a rock garden, aquatic plants, and woodlands. Visitors can learn about the local mountain plants and enjoy the cool climate of the summit.
For those interested in history, Mt. Rokko is home to japan‘s first golf course. The highest peak in the mountain range, Rokko Saikoho, stands at 931.3 meters tall. It is a shared symbol for both Kobe and Osaka, offering stunning views of both cities.
To reach the Rokko mountains, there are several transportation options available. Visitors can hike, take a bus, or opt for the popular method of taking the cable car. From Sannomiya Station in Kobe, travelers can take the train to JR Rokkomichi Station, Hankyu Rokko Station, or Hanshin Mikage Station. From there, they can take the Kobe City Bus No. 16 to Rokko Cable Shita Station. Buses leave regularly and take about 10 minutes. Once at the top of the mountain via cable car, visitors can explore the major tourist attractions by bus.
The history of the Rokko mountains dates back millions of years. Composed mostly of granite, the range is believed to have formed around one million years ago. However, during the Edo period, many trees were cut down for firewood, leading to a loss of greenery. Initiatives were taken in the Showa era to restore the forest. In 1895, English trader Arthur H. Groom discovered the area and decided to build a summer house there. He promoted the area, leading to its popularity and the construction of Japan’s first golf course.
In addition to the natural beauty and historical significance, the Rokko mountains offer various recreational activities for adventure enthusiasts. The Rokkosan Athletic Park Greenia is a large-scale adventure park the size of six baseball fields. Visitors can test their arm strength, fly through the air, or run around in the trees. The park also has a water course for those who want to take a dip. Greenia is fun for individuals of all ages.
For music lovers, the Rokko International Music Box Museum is a must-visit attraction. The museum showcases an impressive collection of 19th and 20th-century music boxes and other automatic instruments. Visitors can enjoy concerts and even make their own music box to take home. Outdoor concerts are also held regularly in the beautifully landscaped garden of the museum.
The Rokko Garden Terrace and Greenia are two other points of interest worth exploring in the Rokko mountains. The Rokko Garden Terrace offers shops and dining options with amazing views, while the Home Lookout Tower provides a 360-degree view of the surrounding area. Greenia, on the other hand, is an adventure park where visitors can enjoy various outdoor activities.
In conclusion, Kobe’s Rokko mountain range offers a diverse range of attractions and activities for tourists. From its stunning views and botanical gardens to its historical significance and adventure parks, the mountains provide a perfect escape from the bustling cities of Kobe and Osaka. Whether you’re a nature lover, history enthusiast, or adventure seeker, a visit to the Rokko mountains is an experience not to be missed.
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