Whether you’re looking for an indoor swim or some outdoor action in a boat or on a surfboard, you can find plenty of water-based activities in and around Kobe at reasonable prices. Here’s a summary of what is on offer.
For those after proper swimming and diving facilities rather than just a splash around at the beach, Kobe has several sports facilities with swimming pools that are easily accessible. The Konami Sports Club has three sites in Kobe – James Yama location, Sannomiya location and Konan Yamate location. Each venue offers 25-meter length pools with lanes and swimming classes where you can hone your technique. The Kobe Port Island Sports Center, meanwhile, has a 50-meter competition pool and a plunge pool with five diving boards, the highest of which is 10 meters.
Fancy something a bit more involved than a simple swim? You can head out to the Aeon Mall Kobe Minami, which is a large shopping complex that opened in October 2017. The place has a marine facility where you can partake in pedal boating, stand up paddling (SUP), canoeing, and (if you have a license) motor boating. Prices range from around 1,000 – 5,000 yen for activities up to an hour. For a more structured experience, Paddle Your Trip offers activities including kayaking, river SUP and white-water rafting at a range of nearby locations. Tailored plans for small groups are available. Instructors meet you at Sannomiya Station and transfer you to the activity location.
If you have your own surfing equipment, you can venture down to Suma Beach to try and catch a few waves or, for a more ideal experience, travel a bit further out to Isonaura Beach in Wakayama Prefecture. At Suma Beach, you can try a spot of windsurfing at Gem Resort (tel: 078-735-3120), which offers lessons for beginners from 5,000 yen. Inside the city, around 20 minutes drive from the center of Kobe, you’ll find an artificial surfing facility at Kobe Reyes. Lessons are offered at 10,000 yen per person, with soft boards, wetsuits and marine shoes also available for rent.
A slightly less well-practiced activity, water polo is a team sport where two teams of swimming players try to score goals against each other. The 50-meter pool at Kobe Port Island Sports Center is available for water polo. There are no sessions in the sport currently offered but the pool is available for private hire, including the hire of equipment, if there is a group of you who want to give the sport a try. Contact the center to make inquiries.
There are numerous other water sports opportunities a short drive or train ride from Kobe. If you head along to Lake Biwa close to Kyoto, you’ll find the BSC Watersports Center, which has over 40 years experience in teaching water sports including sailing, kayaking, and windsurfing. Also in Kyoto is the River Adventure Club, which offers river rafting activities for 4,380 yen on the Hozu River.