The maritime city of Kobe is highly regarded as one of Japan’s most attractive cosmopolitan cities. For many centuries, Kobe has acted as an important port for the Kansai region and was one of Japan’s first ports to open for trade with the West. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to many, but the city is the source of the popular cuisine dish, Kobe beef.
A popular tourist site situated to the north of the city along the Rokko mountain range is the Nunobiki Herb Garden – home to 75,000 unique types of herbs. Connecting tourists to the garden from the city is accomplished by a 1.5 km urban gondola system.
Built initially in 1991, the gondola was upgraded to an MDG system in 2011 by Nippon Cable. Before the upgrade, the system was operated by Kōbe City Urban Development (神戸市都市整備公社) but is now owned by Kobe City and managed by Kobe Resort Services (神戸リゾートサービス ).
The base station of the Shin-Kobe Ropeway is conveniently located 5 minutes from the Shin-Kobe train station. From there, the gondola makes an intermediate stop at Kaze no Oka station, which is located at the bottom of the Herb Garden. From Kaze no Oka, passengers can access hiking trails leading to Mount Maya and the Nunobiki waterfalls.
Lastly, the cable car reaches its destination of Nunobiki Observation Deck where tourists can experience scenic views of Kobe (and even the distant Osaka if visibility allows it). A fascinating feature regarding the ropeway is the medieval Tudor design of each station. While this is an architectural style not often seen in urban cable cars, the design fits in appropriately to the garden’s naturalistic and serene ambiance.
All the gondola’s 69 cabins are composed of glass around all sides allowing for panoramic vistas of the garden and city at day or night, making the trip up to the destination just as exciting as the actual destination. The ropeway has been a premiere attraction in Kobe for nearly 3 decades now and demonstrates once again how urban gondola technology can enhance visitor experience and satisfaction.
|Year opened (upgraded)||1991 (2011)|
|Trip Time (minutes)||6.5-10|
|Fare both ways (Yen)||1,400|