Each month throughout 2020 the AJS-Q is celebrating the 35th Anniversary of the Brisbane Kobe Sister City relationship by highlighting aspects of Kobe.
This month we are featuring a few of Kobe’s most beautiful parks and gardens.
This beautiful, traditional Japanese garden in the heart of Kobe comprises ancient trees, trickling waterfalls, woods, winding paths and a central pond in accordance with the Chisen Kaiyu style. Several culturally and historically significant buildings including the Kodera Stable, Funayakata houseboat and the former Hassam House are also located within the grounds. Started in 1885 and completed in 1911 the garden was built on the residence of Taijiro Kodera, father of former Kobe City Mayor Kenkichi Kodera. However, it was not until ownership passed to Kobe City in 1941 that it was named Sorakuen and was opened to the public. The 19,566 square metre garden is renown for its spectacular azaleas, the colourful autumn foliage of its many maple trees as well as peony and chrysanthemum exhibitions. The garden offers visitors a window on the past and a tranquil haven in the midst of the busy city. sorakuen.com
Kobe Nunobiki Herb Garden
Built in 1991 the Kobe Nunobiki Herb Garden cascades down the seaward facing foothills of Mt Rokko, behind Kobe’s CBD. This European themed garden is home to more than 75,000 different herbs and flowers and is the largest herb garden in Japan. It includes 12 zones with enticing names like Waterfall, Oriental, Lavender, Fragrant, Glasshouse, Lily and Rose, each designed to envelop visitors in a different botanic experience. Facilities include a restaurant, cafe and lounge offering herb and flower inspired cuisine as well as several small museums dedicated to spices, herbs and fragrances. There is also a herbal foot bath for those who really want to relax. The garden’s elevated position affords visitors superb views and cooling breezes, even on the hottest of days. It can be reached via a 10 minute ride on the Nunobiki Ropeway. The bottom station of the ropeway is a 5 minute walk from Shin Kobe. www.kobeherb.com
Rokko Alpine Botanic Garden
The garden was established on Kobe’s Mt Rokko in 1933, making it one of the oldest botanic gardens in Japan. Sitting at an altitude of more than 850 metres the garden’s collection of more than 1500 species of alpine plants includes a number that are rare or endangered. Displays alternate throughout the year so there is always something to enjoy with the change of the seasons. While visitors can access the garden by a Kobe City bus or by car the most scenic mode of transport is the Rokko Cable Car that has operated since 1932. It spans the 1.7km between Rokko Cable Shita Station and Rokko Cable Sanjo Station with the trip taking around 10 minutes. Upon arrival at Rokko Cable Sanjo Station the Rokko Sanjo Bus will take visitors to the Rokko Alpine Garden stop before completing a circuit to a number of other attractions on the mountain. kobe-rokko.jp
Located on the site of the former Zuihoji Temple, the park is famous throughout the Kansai region for its spectacular autumn foliage and its cherry blossoms in spring.
The park is approximately 10-15 minutes walk from Arima Onsen and is easily reached by train, bus or car from Kobe or Osaka.
For a great day trip combine a visit to the park with other attractions in and around the town of Arima. visit.arima-onsen.com