There are few more pleasant ways to spend a breezy summer afternoon than heading to a nice open space and flying a kite. Although not well known, Japan has its own unique kite flying traditions. Kites were brought to the country from China in the 14th century and enjoyed a boom during the Edo period (17th to 18th century). Nowadays, you’ll see lots of traditional Japanese kites (known as “wakado”) that have been fashioned from bamboo rods and Japanese paper flying around the May Golden Week holiday combined with kite-flying festivals taking place nationwide. It’s also common to see kite flyers in public spots across the summer season with many expats from countries such as the US and the UK testing their kites in the Japanese breeze. Here are a few popular kite-flying locations in Kobe.
This park situated on the Kobe harbor is a popular spot for visitors due to the number of tourist attractions within. It’s a waterfront park with a spectacular view of the harbor and is a great spot for kite flying as it’s a wide, airy open space. There is also the 108-meter high Kobe Port Tower that you can measure your kite’s lift against. Other than kite flying, there is plenty to do in the park including paying a visit to the Earthquake memorial commemorating the 1995 earthquake in the city that killed over 6,000 people.
There can be few more enduring images of an enchanting summer’s day than seeing someone running along a beach flying a kite. Kobe has a few scenic beach locations around its coastline and the good news is that many of them don’t get swamped with too many visitors even in peak season. Suma beach, situated in Suma Seaside Park close to the city center on Kobe’s west coast, is a 1.5 km stretch of sand that is ideal for a kite stroll. Here, you can see your kite take sail against the beautiful backdrop of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge. The beach does become busier in the peak July and August months with visitors drawn in by attractions such as bars and restaurants, but you can still see plenty of kite-flyers having fun.
For those wanting to try their kite out from a great height, you won’t find a better Kobe location than the 932-meter Mt. Rokko. The summit of this mountain can be reached by cable car or hiking along the scenic path route. You won’t find too many kite flyers up here but there are stretches of suitable space, such as the rock garden close to the summit, that offer the opportunity to indulge in a spot of kite-flying while taking in the gorgeous views of the Osaka Bay.
This elevated park is nestled between Suma Beach and Mt. Hachibuse, so you can unleash your kite into the high mountain winds while taking in the city landscapes including the Seto Inland Sea, Awaji Island, and the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge. There is an amusement park at the top of the mountain making this a great venue for a family-friendly day out if you want to thrill the kids with more than just kite-flying.