HOME Kansai Hyogo Arima Onsen, Mt. Rokko Magnificent views! How to enjoy the day and night views of Osaka to Wakayama from Kobe Rokko Garden Terrace
Magnificent views! How to enjoy the day and night views of Osaka to Wakayama from Kobe Rokko Garden Terrace

Magnificent views! How to enjoy the day and night views of Osaka to Wakayama from Kobe Rokko Garden Terrace

Date published: 25 October 2019

Mt. Rokko is a massive peak rising to an altitude of 932 meters extending north of Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture. The north of Kobe is called the "mountain side" and the south is called the "ocean side" by the inhabitants and the mountain referred to is Mt. Rokko which is familiar to area inhabitants as a symbol of the area. Rokko Garden Terrace is located near the top of the mountain.

Not only does it afford magnificent views, especially of the ten-million-dollar night view of Kobe, but it is possible to enjoy a meal and shopping at the observation facility. In this article we will tell you about some of the ways you can enjoy both days and nights at Rokko Garden Terrace.

Only 10 minutes by cable car to the top of Mt. Rokko

Kobe is of course easily accessible from Osaka and Kyoto and Mt. Rokko is familiar to both tourists and the local people alike. The Rokko Music Box Museum and Rokkosan Pasture are but two of the spots near the summit that can be enjoyed by families and friends, and the view from the summit is particularly wonderful. There are magnificent views of Kobe City as well as Osaka, Wakayama, and Osaka Bay.

The best way to reach the summit is by the Rokko Cable Car that went into service in 1932 and marked its 86th anniversary in March 2018. It only takes 10 minutes to go the 493.3 meters from the foot to the summit.

▲This is the Rokko Cable Shita Station at the foot. It can be reached by bus from either the Hanshin Electric Railway Mikage Station, JR Rokkomichi Station, or Hankyu Railway Rokko Station.
▲There are two types of cable cars, both third generation models, in operation: the Classic Type, the body of which is painted red and blue, and the Retro Type which is painted green. This is the Retro Type.
▲Going up the mountain you are certain to pass the other type! This is the Classic Type.
  • Rokko Cable
    六甲ケーブル
    • Address Nishiyama,-8-2, Takaha, Nada-ku, Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture (Rokko Cable Shita Station)
    • Phone Number 078-861-5288

    Hours: 7:10 a.m. ~ 9:10 p.m. ※Departures every 20 ~ 30 minutes
    Fare: One way: 590 yen for adults, 300 yen for children / Round trip: 1,000 yen for adults, 500 yen for children
    ※Adults are those aged 12 and above; children are those between the ages of 6 and 11 (12-year-old elementary students are eligible for child fare)
    Close: Open daily

Magnificent view from Rokko Garden Terrace

A bus will take you to Rokko Garden Terrace from the Rokko Sanjo Station after you arrive by cable car. After about a 15-minute ride you will arrive at the Rokko Garden Terrace where there are several shops inside the garden area. From here magnificent views are only a short distance away.

The Rokko Garden Terrace, which opened in 2003, is an observatory that utilizes the natural terrain. Spread horizontally along the ridge of Mt. Rokko there are an observatory, observation deck, a beautiful garden with seasonal flowers, 4 dining establishments, 5 shops and a parking lot. Best of all are the magnificent views offered from various spots on the terrace.

▲View from the observation deck on the east side of the terrace. The view extends from Kobe to Osaka.
▲ It gives the feeling of being in the clouds! (Photo provided by Mt. Rokko Tourism Co., Ltd.)

The terrace is dotted with exotic buildings. There is also a garden of beautiful flowers, such as roses and lilies, that bloom each season. This is a good place for a leisurely stroll.

▲The 11-meter tall Observation Tower resembles part of an old European castle.
▲This is the view from the Observation Tower. This writer suddenly felt like yelling, “Yahoo!” The stepped area below is the Observation Terrace.
▲Seasonal flowers bloom in profusion throughout the four seasons in the Cottage Garden extending below the Observation Tower. Annabelle Hydrangea are best viewed between the middle of July to the middle of August. (Photo provided by Mt. Rokko Tourism Co., Ltd.)

The Rokko-Shidare Observatory Nature Experience Observation Deck, the highest place on Mt. Rokko, is an exceptionally popular spot on the terrace. The building, which was designed by the architect Mr. Hiroshi Sanbuichi, is characterized by a domed frame covering the whole.

▲Rokko-Shidare Observatory Nature Experience Observation Deck. (Photo provided by Mt. Rokko Tourism Co., Ltd.)

It was meant to resemble a large bush standing on Mt. Rokko. The frame, walls, and floor were made from Japanese cypress harvested in Yoshino, Nara Prefecture and the aroma of the cypress permeates the interior. Sunlight filters through the frame during the day creating an air of fantasy. This truly is an observatory with a feel of nature about it.

▲The Fushitsu [Wind Room] is the broad, cylindrical area in the center of the observatory. The aroma of the cypress and cool breezes are most pleasant. (Photo provided by Mt. Rokko Tourism Co., Ltd.)
▲View from the higher observation deck of the sprawling cities of Kobe and Osaka below
▲The best time to view the Oxeye Daisy found around the observatory is from the end of May to the beginning of June. The seasons come about a month later near the summit of Mt. Rokko than on the plains below. (Photo provided by Mt. Rokko Tourism Co., Ltd.)

Incidentally, when night falls the area has a different type of attraction which we will explain a bit later.

Why not have a cup of tea at the Granite Cafe while you enjoy the wonderful view?

There are four restaurants and cafes on the property, each designed to afford excellent views through their large windows. One of these, the Granite Cafe, is especially popular for its stylish dishes as well as the stunning view.

▲ It is below the Observation Tower. (Photo provided by Mt. Rokko Tourism Co., Ltd.)

The cafe takes its name from the granite stone used in its construction. Granite is found in abundance on Mt. Rokko.

▲ All seats in the long, narrow interior look out over the scenery.
▲On a fine day you can also enjoy dining out on the terrace. (Photo provided by Mt. Rokko Tourism Co., Ltd.)

The cafe boasts fashionable European-style original dishes and desserts using locally harvested vegetables and Kobe beef. In addition to lunch, the pastries served during tea time are especially worth trying! In the evening, you can choose meat, fish, or one of three types of pasta for a main course, or order individual meat dishes and assorted cheeses; there is even a special dinner course.

▲ The Luxurious Kobe Beef Curry (1,836 yen including tax) comes with homemade pickles, a salad, petite dessert, and coffee or tea. (Photo provided by Mt. Rokko Tourism Co., Ltd.)
▲The dessert of the day consists of an assortment of four types (1,512 yen including tax) and comes with a drink. This dish of four kinds of seasonal sweets is discreetly luxurious.
▲The Domestic Japanese Black Beef Fillet Course (4,500 yen including tax) has been on the dinner menu since April 6, 2018. This is a delicious way to enjoy the dazzling night view under a starlit sky. (Photo provided by Mt. Rokko Tourism Co., Ltd.)

The popular cheese fondue made with lots of Emmental and Gruyere cheeses skillfully blended with white wine in a small, round pot has a truly authentic taste.

▲The popular cheese fondue can be ordered for two or more (1,944 yen, including tax, per person). (Photo provided by Mt. Rokko Tourism Co., Ltd.)
  • Granite Cafe
    グラニットカフェ
    • Address Gosukeyama-1877-9, Rokkosan-cho, Nada-ku, Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture located inside Rokko Garden Terrace
    • Phone Number 078-894-2112

    Hours: 11:00 a.m. ~ 8:00 p.m. (Times may vary according to the weather)
    *Lunch lasts until 3:00 p.m. on weekdays and until 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday, and holidays
    Closed: Open daily (sometimes closed in the winter and for inspections)

In addition to the Granite Cafe there are also several other unique restaurants on the terrace. Select one that suits your mood and preferences.

The Food Terrace is a food court on the observation deck that offers an assortment of light refreshments such as ramen, udon, and other snacks. In addition to the indoor seating there are also seats on the deck outside.

▲Ramen or ice cream enjoyed in the fresh air outside makes them taste even more delicious. (Photo provided by Mt. Rokko Tourism Co., Ltd.)
  • Food Terrace
    フードテラス
    • Address Gosukeyama-1877-9, Rokkosan-cho, Nada-ku, Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture located inside Rokko Garden Terrace
    • Phone Number 078-894-2223

    Hours: 10:00 AM a.m. ~ 4:00 p.m.; 10:00 a.m. ~ 7:00 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays (Times may vary according to the weather)
    Closed: Open daily (sometimes closed in the winter and for inspections)

The Rokkosan Genghis Khan Palace, another restaurant at Garden Terrace, offers healthy lamb meat in Mongolian-style barbecue, called Genghis Khan in Japan. The menu also offers a wide selection of dishes prepared with Wagyu Beef and fresh seafood, Kobe being close to both the sea and mountains.

▲The Whole Lamb Course brims with lamb meat (3,800 yen, including tax, per person). (Photo provided by Mt. Rokko Tourism Co., Ltd.)
▲The restaurant seats 170 and the night view through the large windows is absolutely stunning. (Photo provided by Mt. Rokko Tourism Co., Ltd.)
  • Rokkosan Genghis Khan Palace
    六甲山ジンギスカンパレス
    • Address Gosukeyama-1877-9, Rokkosan-cho, Nada-ku, Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture located inside Rokko Garden Terrace
    • Phone Number 078-891-0225

    Hours: 11:00 AM a.m. ~ 8:00 p.m. (Times may vary according to the weather)
    Closed: Open daily (sometimes closed in the winter and for inspections)

Rokko View Palace is a cafeteria-style restaurant. The menu offers curries, hamburgers, and other casual dishes which can be enjoyed over lively conversation with family and friends in a relaxed atmosphere.

▲Seating for 110. The windows beneath the slanting ceiling offer an excellent view of Kobe and Osaka.
▲ With such a large selection to choose from it might be hard to know what to order!
  • Rokko View Palace
    六甲ビューパレス
    • Address Gosukeyama-1877-9, Rokkosan-cho, Nada-ku, Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture located inside Rokko Garden Terrace
    • Phone Number 078-891-0780

    Hours: 11:00 AM a.m. ~ 8:00 p.m.; 11:00 AM a.m. ~ 8:30 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays (Times may vary according to the weather)
    Closed: Open daily (sometimes closed in the winter and for inspections)

A unique feature of all of these restaurants is that the ingredients they use in their dishes are all locally produced in Kobe and its surroundings. The result is that everything on the menus is fresh and delicious. Enjoy something out of the ordinary by dining to the chirping of birds in the fresh air as you enjoy a meal while marveling at the spectacular sights before your eyes.

Be sure to check out the seasonal events and Kobe souvenir shops!

There are also several shops, such as Rokko Souvenir Hall, Kobe Selection, and KOBE +, at Garden Terrace offering a wide selection of primarily food items representative of Kobe and Hyogo Prefecture.

▲Rokko Souvenir Hall sells mostly food products of both Kobe and Hyogo Prefecture.
▲There are lots of products made from onions for which Awaji Island in Hyogo Prefecture is famous. This is the Dazzling Island Onion Soup (2 servings; 860 yen including tax).
▲KOBE + handles the Kobe Tartan which was made to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the opening of Kobe Harbor.

There are also a variety of events held each season on the terrace. An event was held March 17 ~ May 31, 2018 called the “Mt. Rokko Swiss Fair ~ Join Heidi, the Girl of the Alps” There were panel displays as well as Swiss food and Heidi goods sold at the event and the whole terrace had a Swiss atmosphere about it.

▲During the event Heidi character goods were sold at the Little Horti variety shop.
▲ Inside the shop it was possible to put on Heidi and Clara costumes at no charge to take commemorative photos. Which one do you like?

The Granite Cafe mentioned earlier also had a special menu during the event. One item on it was the Engadiner Nusstorte (caramelized nut-filled pastry), a traditional pastry of the Engadine region of Switzerland for more than 200 years. Loaded will flavor, and calories, it is also referred to as the Forbidden Sweet. Only a limited amount was available for the month of May during the fair.

▲Engadiner Nusstorte (864 yen including tax). Served with a drink in a set it cost 1,296 yen (tax included). The exquisite softness of the caramel melting in the mouth followed by the flavor of the nuts is indescribably delicious.

A British Fair was held from June 9th to August 31st in 2018. There are plenty of other seasonal events such as the Rokko Photographic Garden and the Rokko Meets Art 2017 Encore Exhibition. For more information please check out the website.

$10 million night view and illumination art! Experience the mystical world of Mt. Rokko

Once the sun goes down the beautiful view during the day is transformed into something special.

▲ This is the night view from the Observation Terrace. Osaka Bay is beautifully surrounded by city lights. (Photo provided by Mt. Rokko Tourism Co., Ltd.)
▲This is the view from the observation deck. The carpet of light extending to the left from the northern part of Osaka is dazzlingly bright.
▲The bright lights of Kobe City in the foreground extend to Osaka Bay and beyond it can be seen the southern part of Osaka. The spots of light in Osaka Bay are those of passing ships. One never tires of this view.

Now that we’ve enjoyed the view below, let’s turn our attention to the peak behind us. You should be able to see the brightly lit Rokko Shidare!

▲Rokko Shidare appears to rise up like a vision in the darkness.

The Lightscape in Rokko is an illumination art event held at Rokko Garden Terrace. More than 10 million colorful LED lights are used to light up Rokko Shidare throughout the year using colors of the four seasons. This is a creation of the lighting designer Mr. Masayuki Fushimi and is themed The Pillow Book. The interior of Rokko Shidare is bathed in a color representative of a season: purple for spring, moonlight blue for summer, setting sun orange for autumn, and silver for winter.

▲ It is possible to go inside the observatory when it is being lit up. The colors are truly fantastic!

The spring version, Spring Dawn, was shown until May 31. It evoked an image of pink cherry blossoms and white clouds tinged by purple during the morning sunrise.

▲ Come to Rokko Shidare and peer down at the incredible night view!

The colors will be changed through the seasons, each time showing a more mystical world. Illumination was scheduled for 7:00 ~ 9:00 p.m. June 1 ~ September 6 for summer, 5:00 ~ 9:00 p.m. September 7 ~ November 30 for autumn, 5:00 ~ 9:00 p.m. December 1 ~ January 6, and 5:00 ~ 8:00 p.m. only on Saturdays and Sundays January 12 ~ March 10.

▲Summer Night. It evokes the image of a bright moon and rain, and fireflies drifting through the darkness. (Photo provided by Mt. Rokko Tourism Co., Ltd.)
▲Autumn Sunset. This evokes the image of the sun sinking behind the mountains. (Photo provided by Mt. Rokko Tourism Co., Ltd.)
▲Early Winter Morning. This evokes an image of early snow and cold frost. (Photo provided by Mt. Rokko Tourism Co., Ltd.)

In the past an area of the Rokko Shidare was the Jukkoku Observatory which had a slow-revolving floor. Some of the local residents may fondly remember that. This modern and progressive observatory is certain to gain more attention in the future.

What do you think of Mt. Rokko? When you visit Kobe and Osaka, don’t just admire Mt. Rokko from below; take time to go up to the top and spend time there. There are many spots offering excellent views and at Rokko Garden Terrace you can feel like you are walking in the sky.

  • Rokko Garden Terrace
    六甲ガーデンテラス
    • Address Gosukeyama-1877-9, Rokkosan-cho, Nada-ku, Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture
    • Phone Number 078-894-2281

    Hours: 7:30 p.m. ~ 9:00 p.m. (Times may vary according to the weather)
    * Rokko-Shidare Observatory Nature Experience Observation Deck is open from 10:00 a.m. ~ 9:00 p.m. (Admission closes at 8:30 p.m.)
    Admission: free
    * Admission to Rokko-Shidare Observatory Nature Experience Observation Deck is 300 yen for junior high aged and above and 200 yen for 4-year-olds ~ elementary school students (tax included in both fees)
    Closed: Open daily (between January and March some shops have unset holidays)
    * This article was written in 2018. Please note that times listed may may differ schedule after summer 2019.

main photo:Photo provided by the Mt. Rokko Tourism Co., Ltd.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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