5 Things to do in Kobe with a Baby

Kobe is the capital of Hyogo Prefecture, and is among Japan’s large cities. It was one of the first ports in Japan to open to foreign trade in the 19th century, with Hakodate, Yokohama, Nigiita and Nagasaki, being the other important ports. Having had a traumatic earthquake experience in 1995, Kobe now has fully recovered and is considered as one of Japan’s most vibrant cities.

What we love about Kobe is that although it is a bustling city with establishments similar to what you see in major metropoleis, it is a lot less crowded. In addition, it has the best of both coastal and mountain views that would make you feel like you’re far away from the city, even if you’re just five minutes away from the central business district. While Kobe is famous for its beef and high quality cheese, there is more to this sunny city than just steak and cheesecake. From a simple stroll in the park to climbing up the mountains, you will be up for a day of endless discoveries. So, whether you are planning to stay in Kobe with very young kids for several days or even for just one day, you will definitely find something fun to do. Below are our top 5 recommendations:

ROKKO CABLE CAR

RIDE THE CABLE CAR AND ENJOY THE BREATHTAKING VIEWS OF NATURE AND THE CITY

Mount Rokko is close to the cities of Osaka and Kobe and to the hot springs of Arima Onsen. From the top of Mt. Rokko one has a panoramic view of Osaka Bay or the wonderful night view over the city of Kobe. In every season, Mt. Rokko offers a spectacle of nature, along with places for dining and shopping. (www.rokkosan.com)

There are eight attractions in Mount Rokko: Rokko Garden Terrace, Rokko-Shidare Observatory, Music Box Museum, Alpine Botanical Garden, Country House, Snow Park and Tenran Observatory. To get to Mount Rokko Mountaintop Tourism Area, you could take the Cable Car. If you are just in it for a day- trip, the Cable Car is already an attraction in itself. So, if you want to travel slow and not go any farther, just taking a ride to the top and back is already a great experience.

The Rokko cable car has a long history that dates back to 1932 and features a two-car system rarely seen in the world. The observation car (open windows) is recommended. The view during early December is amazing with autumn colors still present and winter breeze cooling the air.

Observation Car (photo from https://www.rokkosan.com/en/cable/)

CABLE CAR HOURS AND TICKETS

Open for businessAll year round
Fare (one-way)Adult (12 and over) JPY 590 , Child (6-11) JPY 300
Ride timeAbout 10 minutes
Operating HoursFirst departure 7:10 / Last departure 21:10
※at about 20 min. intervals.

TIP: To get to the car, passengers must take a long flight of stairs. This could be tiring for some people especially for those carrying a baby, a bag and a stroller. It is recommended that those who have difficulty in walking must board the front part of the cable car. Also, try your best to travel light.

HOW TO GET THERE

If you’re coming from central Kobe: Go to Sannomiya Station, take the Hankyu Kobe Line to Rokko Station (7 minutes, around JPY 200), from where it is a ten minute bus ride on bus number 16 to the base station of the Rokko Cablecar. Note that the same bus can also be boarded at JR Rokkomichi Station (15 minutes) or Hanshin Mikage Station (25 minutes) and costs around JPY 200 from any of the three stations.

JR Rokkomichi Station:
Bus stop for Kobe City Bus Route 16 & 106 at JR Rokkomichi Station

TENRAN OBSERVATORY

LOOK AT THE VIEW OF HASHIN THROUGH A COIN-OPERATED TELESCOPE

One of the most panoramic spots in Japan. Enjoy the breathtaking views of Hanshin.

100 JPY for 100 seconds of viewing
TENRAN cafe stands on the observation deck (\”tenran-dai\” in Japanese) at Mt. Rokko. Take the Rokko Cable Car and arrive at Rokko-Sanjo Station. Climb up a long flight of stairs to reach the top. The cafe menu features well-selected local ingredients, such as \”Kobe Water\” drip brewing coffee and Kobe Cheesecake.

MERIKEN PARK

SPEND THE AFTERNOON AT THE PARK

Meriken Park is a massive, open-space waterfront leisure spot in Kobe Port. It is home to the city’s most notable contemporary architecture and historical sites such as Kobe Port TowerKobe Maritime Museum, Kawasaki World and a memorial to the victims of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, which severely damaged the park. Although much of it has been rebuilt, some parts of the wharf were left unrestored to serve as a remembrance of the extent of trauma the earthquake has caused the city. At present, modern art installations, fountains the BE KOBE photo spot, and the wide, grass-covered lawn make Meriken Park a family-friendly destination in Kobe.

TIP: Nakatottei Cruise Terminal is also located at the southern tip of Meriken Park and provides sightseeing cruises around Kobe Harbor. This is best done at night.

PARK HOURS AND TICKETS

Kobe Port Tower

Hours – 9:00 to 21:00 (December to February until 19:00)
Admission ends 30 minutes before closing

*No closing days

Admission: JPY 700 (tower only)
JPY 1000 (tower, Maritime Museum and Kawasaki Museum)

Kobe Maritime Museum and Kawasaki Good Times World

Hours – 10:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)

*Closed on: Mondays (or following day if Monday is a national holiday), December 29 to January 3

Admission : JPY 600 (both museums)
JPY 1000 (both museums and Port Tower)

HOW TO GET THERE

Meriken Park is located close to Minato-motomachi Station on the Kobe subway Kaigan Line from where it is a 5-minute walk.

Alternatively, Meriken Park is a 20-minute walk from Kencho-mae Station on the Seishin-Yamate Line or 15 minutes on foot from Hankyu Hanakuma and JR/Hanshin Motomachi Station.

KOBE HARBORLAND

WATCH THE SUNSET AT HARBORLAND AND ENJOY THE CITY LIGHTS AT NIGHT

After spending some time in Meriken Park, head to the mall nearby to cool down. Kobe Harborland is a popular shopping and entertainment district nestled between Kobe Port and JR Kobe Station. It is divided into three areas: Mosaic, South Mall and North Mall. Head to Mosaic if you want to enjoy a nice dinner with a view of the harbor lights and do some open-air shopping. Go farther south and you’ll find the giant Ferris Wheel and Anpanman Children’s Museum and Mall.

Dinner with a view

HOW TO GET THERE

Kobe Harborland starts just outside of JR Kobe Station and the Harborland Subway Station. Alternatively, you can take a five-minute walk from Meriken Park to get there.

KOBE NANKIMACHI (CHINA TOWN)

TAKE A TRIP TO CHINA TOWN FOR A CHANGE OF FLAVORS AND FEELS

Nankinmachi (南京町) is a compact Chinatown in central Kobe and a center of the Chinese community in the Kansai Region. The area was developed by Chinese merchants who settled near Kobe Port after the port was opened to foreign trade in 1868. As the Chinatown developed, it became known as Nankinmachi after Nanjing, the former Chinese capital. (https://www.japan-guide.com/)

Treat your family to a Chinese street food and shopping experience in this little spot in Kobe. Most shops open from 10:00 – 19:00, while most restaurants typically open from 11:30 to 21:00. Some close between 15:00 and 17:00.

TIP: Vegetable rolls are available for babies. English is not widely spoken in the area, so, it would help if you could say some key Japanese words such as “yasai” for vegetable and “akachan” for baby. You may also say “ebi ga arimasen” for no shrimp or “kani ga arimasen” for no crab and “niku ga arimasen for no meat. {please correct me if I’m wrong 🙂 but these phrases worked for me.}

HOW TO GET THERE

Nankinmachi is a five – minute walk from the south of Motomachi Station, a ten – minute walk from southwest of Sannomiya Station or a five – minute walk from the north part of Meriken Park.

OTHER TIPS

When you are out street shopping and you need to use the baby room, head to Daimaru for convenience. Their baby area is on the 5th floor. It comes with diaper changing beds and baby food booths. There is a nursing room which is spacious enough to hold strollers.

When you can, take the shinkansen if you are coming from Osaka and just want to be there for a day. Otherwise, stick to JR Line to avoid getting lost or getting off the wrong platform, as some of the train stations in Kobe are not so baby-friendly.

That’s it for this post! Enjoy your trip to Kobe and take lots of pictures to support your memory bank savings account! If you think there’s something we missed, let us know in the comments section or chat with us on Instagram @wandermommyblog.

Love and light, Samantha

TRAVELING TO OSAKA WITH YOUR BABY? HERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH YOUR LITTLE ONE:

>>>>10 THINGS TO DO IN OSAKA WITH A BABY

>>>A QUICK GUIDE TO UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN WITH A BABY

>>>WINTER TRAVEL TO OSAKA WITH A BABY

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