Reach Kobe Port Tower by a brisk 15-minute walk from Motomachi Station on either JR or Hanshin Railway lines! Kobe Port Tower opened in 1963, and it has become the symbol of Motomachi and Kobe itself, as well as one of the staple sightseeing attractions in the area. Its impressive, characteristic bright red structure brings to mind the sound of traditional Japanese taiko drums. From the 92-meter high observation deck, you can look out over a panoramic view of Kobe, with Kobe Airport to the south and Mount Rokko to the north. This article will introduce five things you'll definitely want to do when you visit Kobe Port Tower.
View "Air and Sea" from the Observation Deck!
Kobe Port Tower is constructed from a complicated interweaving of 32 pipes, the first pipe construction structure of its type in the world. The "tsuzumi-gata" form reminiscent of Japanese taiko drums is also known for being unique and unprecedented anywhere else in the world. In 2014, the tower was registered as one of the national "tangible cultural properties", cultural, physical products with historic, artistic, or academic value to Japan.
If you're looking for a photography spot, you can take a compelling photo from the ground looking up at Kobe Port Tower. If you want to capture the entire scene, head to the 2nd floor deck leading to Kobe Meriken Oriental Park Hotel. There you can photograph a view of Kobe hotspots, like Kobe Port Tower as well as Kobe Maritime Museum and Mount Rokko.
The thing to enjoy above all else at Kobe Port Tower is the scenery. After buying a ticket at the 1st floor reception counter, take the elevator straight up to the 4th observation floor. There, you will be greeted by a grand panoramic view!
Below you to the west, you can see Chutotteichuo Terminal and watch the pleasure cruisers and other boats come and go. Past the docking area is the "umie MOSAIC" shopping complex, with its giant ferris wheel, restaurants, and shops. On days the weather is clear, you can even see Awaji Island in the distance.
To the east side is the waterfront Meriken Park, another Motomachi highlight. In front of the park is Kobe Port Terminal, where foreign cruise liners and other boats come to dock. You can see the entirety of Kobe Airport and the shipyard, and if the weather is good, you can even look out over Kansai International Airport far off in the distance. To the north is Mount Rokko and Kobe downtown beautifully spread below.
On the 4th floor is "Love Love Key Tower", where couples can inscribe their names and a message on a lock and key set and lock it on a wire rope to vow their eternal love. There is also a souvenir shop for you to find a gift to remember your trip to Kobe Port Tower by.
Be Enchanted by the Million Dollar "Glittering Night Scenery"!
The wide open view of the sky and sea in the daytime is incredible, and the view at night is a completely different yet equally amazing experience! After dark, you can enjoy the shining night scenery, said to be a million dollar-view. Take the same elevator to the 4th observation floor observation, and from there take the stairs up the 5th observation floor.
The panorama from the top 5th floor of the harbor, the city, over to the Rokko mountains and toward the ocean is absolutely magical. Just like during the daytime, you can enjoy different, distinctive views from each direction.
When you glance upward, a fiberoptic starry sky covers the ceiling, adding to the romantic atmosphere. The north, south, east, and west views are explained via photo panels and voice recordings, so you'll want to take your time looking around.
If you have the time and opportunity during your trip to Kobe, spending an evening at the tower is highly recommended. As the sun sets, enjoy watching as the night scenery slowly begins to glitter like precious stones.
A Thrilling Experience! Take a Walk Through the Sky at 75 Meters High
On the 1st observation floor, there are two "skywalks" set up, where guests can look straight down the 75 meters to the ground.
The skywalk platforms look translucent from a distance, but when you get closer to the floor, you're in for a surprise when a sensor triggers and the opaque white floor suddenly becomes transparent! Now that was a real scare...
Once you nervously look down... the people and cars look just like miniature figurines! Some people may not feel anything looking just at the buildings, but curiously, once you get a glimpse of people or other figures that give you a sense of scale, you'll instantly feel a pit in your stomach. It is recommended for those with a fear or heights or anyone who is easily frightened to try crouching down and experiencing the skywalk from a lower position.
On a related note, the 3rd observation floor is a rotating observation room. The room makes a complete turn in approximately 20 minutes! Even while standing in place, scenery changes around you. Be sure to check out this floor and enjoy a small ride.
Pick Out Souvenirs to Remember Kobe Port Tower
Once you've enjoyed the views, you can't forget a souvenir. There are souvenir shops on the 4th observation floor as well as next to the 1st floor ticket counter.
One popular choice is the "NUNOBIKI NO MIZU from KOBE" (390 yen, tax included). The indented bottle shaped like Kobe Port Tower is cute, and the design that sparkles in the light is delightful as well. The water inside is mineral-rich natural spring water from the Rokko Mountains.
Next up is the "Buru-buru Captain Tower" (small 900 yen or large 1100 yen, tax included), a stuffed toy of Kobe Port Tower's mascot character, Captain Tower. The way the toy vibrates when you pull the string on the back is adorable.
There are several types of refrigerator magnets (330 yen and up, tax included) picturing images such as the mountainside ijikan foreign mansions and the seaside scenery. Given their cheap price, many people buy these as souvenir gifts for friends and family.
As for sweets, most popular is the "Kobe Pudding" (4-pack for 1080 yen and up, tax included)! The simple and delicious taste of the custard pudding, made with eggs, dairy, and sugar, will be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of age or gender. Also check out the "Choro-Q" toy car designed after the Kobe Loop Bus (550 yen), the penholder shaped like the port tower (432 yen, tax included), and more! Be sure to find your favorites to bring back home with you along with your memories.
Kobe Port Tower神戸ポートタワー
- Address 5-5 Hatoba-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe
- Phone Number 078-391-6751
Hours of Operation: 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM (final entry 8:30 PM)
Price: adults 700 yen, elementary/middle school students 300 yen
Closed: Open Year-round
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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