Near Kobe lies Mount Rokkō, the highest summit of the mountain range bearing the same name. Kobe city is home to many tourist attractions and serves as a backdrop when viewed from the top of the peak. At night, the fantastic illuminated views add to the majesty of the site.
The rest of this article will help answer any question you might have about the region and why Mount Rokkō should be a stop during your next Japanese visit to the area.
The excellent nature excursion is undoubtedly refreshing for youngsters and adults alike. The mountains often provide a great getaway for locals taking a break from their busy lives.
The million-dollar view
Mount Rokkō is part of a mountain range and is famous for its history, great food, European flair, outstanding hiking trails, and fantastic views. Called Rokkōsan-Saikoho in Japanese, it means Rokkō’s highest peak.
You can enjoy magnificent views of both Kobe City and Osaka from the top, particularly spectacular at night when the urbanized landscape lights up. Mount Rokkō is familiar to tourists and local people alike. The nighttime view is famous and popularly referred to as one of Japan’s million-dollar night views.
The Rokkō Garden Terrace is an overlook that follows the natural topography. It opened in 2003 and spreads along the mountain ridge.
Visit the observation deck, the gorgeous garden with cyclical blooms, the dining establishments, and the shops.
Climb Miharashi no Tō for its stunning views. The 36 foot tall tower resembles part of an old chateau.
The Rokkō-Shidare Observatory Nature Experience Observation Deck is the highest spot on the mountain and a popular area. Designed by famous architect Hiroshi Sanbuichi, the building is distinguishable by the domed wrapping metallic structure.
Sunrays filter through the dome, creating a magical atmosphere. Japanese cypress was used for the frame, walls, and floor, causing the aroma to saturate the interior.
Over ten million colorful LED lights are used to light up Rokko Shidare throughout the year. This surprising nightly creation is the work of lighting designer Masayuki Fushimi.
The interior of Rokkō Shidare bathes in color, illustrating one of the seasons: purple for spring, blue for summer, orange for fall, and silver for winter.
Whether you visit in spring, summer, fall, or winter, the views from the observation deck of Tenran Dai Observatory will dazzle you. Although very different from each other, the day view and the night view are both wonderful.
You have many food options on top of Mount Rokkō. You can enjoy dinner from any of the eateries with the lights of Kobe city sparkling below. From a upscale meal to just snacks in the cafeteria or the food court, the choice is yours.
One of the four eateries, the Granite cafe is trendy and offers stylish dishes. It boasts European-style food and desserts. At tea-time, gorge on the delicious pastries. Healthy and delicious options abound in the evening, whether you decide to feast on meat, fish, or pasta.
Definitely try the famous cheese fondue, a blend of different cheeses and white wine. The authentic flavor will make you think you are having dinner somewhere in Europe, like Paris or Geneva.
For something simpler, you should head to the Food Terrace. The food court offers many light snacks such as noodles and other treats. You can eat indoors or on the patio outside. The breathtaking views are never far away.
The Rokkōsan Genghis Khan Palace offers tasty barbecued lamb meat Mongolian-style, called Jingisukan (Genghis Khan). Plates prepared with Wagyu Beef are on the menu as well. Since Kobe is also close to the sea, try some of the fresh seafood.
Converse with family and friends in a relaxed atmosphere at the Rokkō View Palace. The cafeteria will tempt you with its curries, hamburgers, and other simple dishes.
All of the Rokkō Garden Terrace restaurants use ingredients from Kobe and its surroundings, like locally grown fruits and vegetables and Kobe beef, raised nearby in the Hyōgo Prefecture.
The results are fresh and delicious dishes. Eat your meal while admiring the breathtaking vistas before your eyes.
Mount Rokkō also offers plenty of activities and entertainment choices. From a museum to a ski resort, there is plenty to fill your visit. An admission fee will be necessary for some of these activities.
Opened in April 2021, Rokkōsan Athletics Park Greenia is an outdoor recreation spot with an obstacle course. It includes the “old” Rokkō Country House, with its European feel and scenic mini-golf course.
For the golf lovers, the Kobe Golf Course, Japan’s first, is fully functional. Enjoy fishing, pedal boating, and even skiing in the winter months, when the park transforms into Mount Rokkō Snow Park.
Marvel at complex music boxes in the Rokkō Mori no Oto Museum. The gallery offers a remarkable collection of 19th and 20th-century music boxes.
You can even make your very own music box to take home as a souvenir. “Mechanical concerts” (no humans involved) are held throughout the day. After leaving the museum, take a relaxing stroll into the Siki garden.
Each season, various events take place on the terrace, like the photographic and art exhibitions. For more information, please check out their calendar.
The mountain provides some of the best hiking in the region. Additionally, a locals’ favorite, Arima Onsen, a hot spring town, is only a few minutes away by ropeway from here.
This is the best way to end a perfect but tiring hiking day. You will relax and soothe your muscle in the hot mineral water onsens.
An alpine environment
The mount’s summit has cool average temperatures year-round. It is the perfect location for the Rokkō Alpine Botanical Garden.
It was established near the top of Mount Rokkō and spotlights about 1,500 wild plants from Japan, the Himalayas, and around the world.
It is divided into several habitats to allow different plants to grow in an environment as close to their original geography as possible.
Mount Rokkō can be appreciated any time of year. The alpine forest is beautiful, whether it’s wearing green foliage or dazzling autumn colors. The site is as stunning in winter when covered in a blanket of snow.
One of the garden’s goals is to educate guests on the flowers that bloom in the area throughout the seasons. Different plant varieties flower at different periods, always adding touches of colors here and there.
From the cherry blossoms in the spring to the autumn foliage, the park is invariably the most colorful place on Mount Rokkō. Enjoy the shaded trails, the lakes, and wooden bridges while taking in the peace and the serenity of the location.
A bit of history
In 1895, Arthur H. Groom, an English gentleman who had settled in Kobe, went on a hunting trip up the mountain.
He fell in love with the area. He was an outdoorsman and a mountaineer and appreciated the beauty of the mountain range close to his residence. He decided to build a Summer house atop this beautiful peak.
Seeing its potential, he started to promote the area, and its fame and popularity grew through the years, resulting in the construction in 1903 of the Kobe Golf Club, Japan’s first golf course.
Where to stay
After a long renovation, the Rokkosan Hotel reopened as the Rokkosan Silence Resort in 2019. Initially opened in 1929, the English-style cottage once a destination with a reputation for luxury, had lost a bit of its luster through the years. Now returned to its former glory, It is ready to take on the future.
Constructions are not done, however. The new resort will include a modern, luxurious retreat shaped like a circle and immersed in the landscape, making it almost “invisible.” This environmentally-friendly addition will be completed in 2025.
How to get there
The best way to reach the summit is by the Rokkō Cable Car. The iconic line went into service in 1932 and will celebrate its 90th anniversary in March 2022.
It only takes about ten minutes to go from the bottom to the top. You can also hike up to the summit if you feel adventurous.
The diverse attractions are effortlessly reached by walking. You can also ride the Rokkō Sanjo bus that travels clockwise around the mountaintop.
The bus also links with the Rokkō Cablecar and the Rokkō Arima Ropeway. You can use either option to get back into Kobe city. Article Writen Exclusively For TankenJapan.com