With summer in full swing, what better a way to spend a few afternoon or early evening hours than at a picnic? This can be a great way of organizing a romantic date or a fun occasion with family and friends that kids can enjoy too. Kobe has no shortage of splendid spots for picnics and here is a pick of some of the best. Just make sure you get there early to grab the best spot!
Also known as the Kobe City Forest Botanical Garden, this 142-hectare garden space located close to Mt. Maya is home to over 1,200 types of tree and visual delights of nature cherry trees, conifers, hydrangea, and rhododendrons. This makes it the perfect picturesque picnic setting whether you choose to picnic in the spring, summer or fall. The park is open daily from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (6:00 p.m. on weekends and during holidays).
This beautiful and popular garden is only a short walk from the Shin-Kobe station and accessible by a ropeway cable car. Situated within Mt. Rokko, which overlooks the main city of Kobe, picnickers here can relax and enjoy fantastic views of the mountains, city, and sea. The garden features over 200 different varieties of herbs and there are also greenhouses, museums, exhibits and gift shops to wander through if you fancy making the excursion a whole day trip.
Another glorious mountain location that is nestled at the top of Mt. Egeyama, which is 85 meters above sea level, this park is popular during the “hanami” season in early spring when people organize picnics to enjoy the blossoming of the 1,400 sakura trees that line the kilometer-long path that winds through the park. There is plenty of grassy space for picnics as well as benches for those who don’t want to sit on the ground. Although it’s a mountaintop park, expect it to get busy in the good weather seasons.
Address: 3 Chrome-21 Egeyamacho, Hyogo Prefecture 652-0043
Opened in 1933, Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden is one of the oldest botanical gardens in Japan. At a height of 865 meters near the summit of Mt. Rokko, it’s a bit of a trek but the scenery and atmosphere make it all worthwhile. You can enjoy a nice picnic around 1,500 species of plants from Japan and the Himalayas, including dicentra, edelweiss and native wild plants.
Located on Kobe’s Port Island, a 15-minute ride via the port liner from Sannomiya station, Kobe Animal Kingdom is a great family picnic spot where you can take the kids to see an array of creatures roaming around in plentiful space designed to mimic their natural habitat. With animal areas and plant gardens, it’s advertised as a place “where flowers, animals, and humans interact together”. Visitors can pet and feed some of the animals as well as observe them. You can meet capybaras, camels, penguins, kangaroos, alpacas and more. There is lawn space in the outside park, between the kangaroo farm and the alpaca space, where visitors can settle down for a nice afternoon picnic in the sun.
This serene park overlooks Osaka Bay and is a good choice if you’re looking to experience a romantic picnic date. In addition to a picnic area, the park has many other facilities including a botanical garden, a Japanese garden, tea ceremony rooms, fountains, a playground, and a restaurant.