If you like the outdoors then Kobe is rather conveniently located. It’s nestled in between the Rokko Mountains to the north and the sea of Osaka Bay to the south. This gives a fantastic array of options for people keen to do outdoor activities.
The Rokko Mountain Range is made up of several peaks, the highest of which is RokkoSan-Saikoho at 931 metres. Within the range there are a myriad of routes to explore. You can find mountain lakes, waterfalls, valleys, observation decks and fascinating rock features.
Although the Mountain range is so close to the city, it takes just moments to be lost in the wilderness with only the sounds of nature to be heard, only occasionally being reminded of the closeness of the city by the spectacular views stretching out to sea.
In the winter it is popular for skiing. Although not a large ski park, it is certainly convenient to get to. In the summer though, the hikers come out. The ultimate hike being the 55km trail starting from one end of the Rokko Mountain Range to the other. There is even a Cannonball Run in March where competitors race the both ways. A 112km overnight race.
If you are interested in hiking I would highly recommend buying the Rokko hiking map, available from any information centre in Kobe. Although all the hiking trails are signed, it costs just Y400 and is a good detailed map of the main hiking trails and has includes some nice suggested hikes. There are routes for all abilities and some areas, such as The Kamakura Valley, are popular with rock climbers.
Kobe, although a port, does have a few sandy beaches to the west, around 15 – 30 minutes by train, depending on the beach. These are suitable for swimming, and there is also a windsurfing school. Heading to the east you can find a water sports centre where you can try wakeboarding at a cable park.
Living in Kobe certainly means that you’re in a great location to make the most of the fantastic nature that Japan has to offer.