Looking for places to take the kids on a day out to stop them from getting bored? Kobe has plenty of family-friendly activities going on plus children’s play areas at many of its many tourist attractions. Here is a pick of some of the best places to go if you’re looking to entertain young ones, or even just have a bit of fun as an adult.
Situated on Kobe port, this multi-purpose complex is something of an all-in-one entertainment and leisure space for all ages. There are shopping malls, restaurants, an enormous cinema, amusements including a ferris wheel, the Kobe Port Tower for some spectacular views, the Kawasaki Good Times World for those interested in motorbikes and more. A great option for those bad weather days and there’s enough to keep kids of all ages entertained for a good few hours.
Price: varies for different attractions
Located about 15 minutes by Port Liner from Sannoyima, Kobe Animal Kingdom is a paradise of birds, animals and flora that will thrill anyone with an interest in nature and wildlife. It’s quite an interactive space where kids can pet and feed the animals. There are all sorts on display including camels, penguins, kangaroos and capybaras, plus a pool where visitors can have their feet manicured by nibbling fish. If you get peckish, there’s a nice cafe about halfway through.
Prices: Adults 1,800 yen; children 1,000 yen; ages 5 and below 300 yen
In the mountains above downtown Kobe, you can find everything from winter sports to music learning to give the kids a great day out in one of the city’s finest natural spectacles. Mount Rokko is open all year round and its pleasures include the Nunobiki Falls waterfall, a spectacular ropeway offering wonderful panoramic views, the aromatic herb gardens, the International Music Box Museum where kids can be taught how to make tiny musical instruments, a botanical garden, and a fun snow park in the winter months.
Price: Free entry but some activities are priced
Want to give your kids a chance to feed the dolphins, otters and piranhas? Head to Suma Aqualife, which is located next to Suma beach. It was the first aquarium in Japan and is a must for marine enthusiasts and anyone wanting to wow their children with sights of fish from around the world. There’s also a small amusement park and a restaurant on site. If the weather’s nice, you can follow your visit up with a relaxing trip to the beach next door.
Prices: Adults 1,300 yen; children 500 yen; infants free
This is a place in Kobe’s port area where children can play as well as learn about an important event in Japanese history. A section of the port in Meriken Park is a dedicated memorial to the earthquake in 1995 that struck Kobe. This area has been preserved so visitors can see the damage such as huge cracks in the pavement, broken fences and bent street lamps. Kids can learn about the effects of earthquakes through videos, films and photos at the museum in the park. Elsewhere in the park, there are play areas, the Kobe Port Tower and a maritime museum.
Prices: Free entry to the park
The Anpanman “museum” is actually a themed indoor kids’ play area plus shops, arcade games and restaurants dedicated to the popular Japanese children’s animated superhero character, Anpanman. Better suited for younger children, there is a fee for the play area but everything else is free access. You may even get to see Anpanman himself wandering about!
Price: 1,800 yen per person for entry to the play area