As a port city, Kobe offers both residents and visitors the chance to take to the waters and enjoy the sights on a boat trip. You can sail around the bay, take a ferry to another city or even set off on a holiday cruise. Here is a selection of what is on offer.
This 90-minute cruise taking in the sights of the bay is perfect if you’re looking for a chance to unwind on the water. There are two boats to choose from – the 375-seater Ocean Prince and the 500-seater Royal Princess, both of which are luxury tour boats with first-floor lounges that provide pianists during the tours. Sights include Osaka Bay, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, Kobe Airport, Port Island and the Kawasaki and Mitsubishi docks. Tours cost 1,200 yen (adults) and run daily from 9:45 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. and set off from 7-1 Hatobacho, next to Kobe Port Tower.
Taking off from the end of Kobe Harborland, the Concerto offers three daily cruise options – a lunch cruise, a tea cruise and a twilight night cruise. Passengers can enjoy sights including Kobe Port Tower, Mount Rokko and the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge either during the day or at night while enjoying some teppanyaki. Sailing time is between 90 minutes and two hours and there are a range of pianists, jazz and classical musicians to soundtrack the experience. Prices for adults range from 2,200-2,900 yen plus meal costs.
The Luminous Kobe 2 is one of the largest restaurant cruise ships in Japan and has been touring the waters of Kobe since 1994. Passengers can choose from two tour options. The daytime excursions, which run at lunchtime and around sunset, travel around Osaka Bay and offer great views of Awaji Island, Mount Rokko and Kobe Airport. The evening tour journeys along the Akashi Strait, offering splendid nighttime views of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge and of Kobe city. Meal options are Mediterranean French-style cuisine and a steak buffet. The ship has a capacity of 1,000 that spreads across four decks. Boarding costs for adults are 3,240 yen for a two-hour cruise (plus meal costs). There is a shorter sunset excursion of 90 minutes that costs 2,160 yen.
Ferries can be a great way to travel to other destinations if you have enough time and want to enjoy a scenic journey. From Kobe, you can get daily ferries to nearby Osaka and beyond. You can choose from communal rooms, private first or second-class cabins, or even upgraded suites for longer overnight journeys. Cars, motorbikes, and bicycles can travel for free. The Sunflower ferry runs overnight journeys from Kobe Port to Beppu and Oita located on the Kyushu with the cheapest fares at 10,400 yen. There is also the Kobe-Osaka-Naha ferry traveling out to the Ryukyu Islands, operated by A-Line Ferries. The journey to Osaka takes about 2.5 hours. The full trip to Naha is a three-day excursion.
If you really want to make a holiday rather than a day trip of it, Princess Cruises offers 7-night and 14-night cruises around the Japanese islands and Taiwan. With a fleet of 19 “Princess” cruise liners and a variety of cruise options suitable for couples, families, singles and multi-generational groups departing from Kobe Port, you can tailor your experience to your preferences and see Japan in style.
Website: Princess Cruises