Unmatched views of Kobe and a lovely cup of peppermint tea
The Kobe Nunobiki Herb Garden and Ropeway is a bit of a hidden secret…literally in this case, hidden away as it is up behind Shin-Kobe Station. One of Kobe’s great charms is that it is one of the very few Japanese cities with such easy access to natural surroundings, and the Herb Gardens is a great way to experience it.
The motivation for Lexis students in this case was the stunning colour palette of the Rokko Mountains at the moment, with the Autumn leaves in just about full swing. Ideally, you’d head up over the hills to Arima Onsen, but the Herb Gardens are a much more accessible (just a few minutes walk from downtown) and less crowded alternative.
Unless you’re up for a serious climb, follow the signs from shambolic complex that houses the Crowne Plaza Hotel a short distance up the hill to the Ropeway Station. A return ticket the summit is ¥1400. Many people buy a one way ticket and walk down, returning via the very lovely Nonobiki Falls. It’s much more pleasant to walk down than up!
At the top of the hill is quite a substantial collection of cafes, restaurants and herb-based souvenir shops. One of the restaurants does an organic sample menu that is well worth a try. While we were up there most recently, there was a German sausage and beer festival in full swing, too.
Really though, this is about strolling through the gardens and hothouses, which run from the summit to around half way down the hill. For those with a weak constitution, there are numerous places to stop for a refreshing beer or cup of herb tea as takes your fancy. Your other option is to grab a Sweet Potato flavoured ice cream at the lower Ropeway station, of course .
Hint: Cut price romance? After 5pm ropeway tickets are half price…perfect for viewing the city lights!