How to enjoy a delicious and delightful Kobe Sannomiya Center Gai area≫
Sea, mountains and forests. Nature surrounds Sannomiya Center Gai.I walked a little from business district of Kobe Sannomiya Center Gai.
Kobe Sannomiya Center Gai is always busy and full of people, and on contrary is also said to have a ”mysterious silent atmosphere”. Maybe it's because the nature, mountains or sea are always nearby? I would like to show You a connection between nature and convenient and cosmopolitan Kobe Sannomiya Center Gai.
We walked with Peter towards Ikuta shrine.
The shrine is just few minutes walking distance north of Kobe Sannomiya Center Gai.
While it's located in downtown, it maintains the traditional appearance thanks to its large torii gate and beautiful forest.
What do You think Peter liked the most about this place?
At the entrance to any shrine there is a place where You can cleanse your hands.
Depending on the nearest holiday, You can see different kind decorations used in the shrine rituals.
The shrine is definetely tourst friendly – with illustrated instructions for praying.
The forest area behind the shrine is great place to take a rest during a hot day.
You don't need to go to Kyoto to take a photo like this. There's a short path of bright red tori gates right behind Ikuta shrine.
A “power” spot located between the four biggest trees in the park might be a good place to recharge your batteries after a hard work day ;)
I always wondered if these barells still have sake inside. They sound empty when you knock on them...
Located conveniently on the north side of the Kobe Sannomiya Center Gai, and near the Sannomiya station, Ikuta is historically significant shrine, which is said to be linked to etymology of ”Kobe”. On the day of our visit a cogon grass ring was set up at the entrance.
Grand torii, characteristic shinto shrine, a place to cleanse your hands hands, shrine of Ebisu and shrine of Inari, sacred camphor tree, offerings such as pictures and casks of alcohol, “knife mound” or earthquake memorial stone monument are just a few of many interesting places to see at Ikuta shrine.
Also, on the north side there is a forest grove. A green oasis with sacred trees, it's a place of relaxation for shrine visitors.
Kobe City Hall observation floor
The 24th floor of city hall is free to access, and it's a great viewing spot to see the Kobe city center and surrounding mountains and sea. Peter visited the viewing spot many times before, and told us about the kind security staff.
If you decide to go into direction of the sea instead, not more than a 5 minute walk form the entrance of the Kobe Sannomiya Center Gai Shopping Street there is a tall building – Kobe shiyakusho (city hall). If you enter the building the very kind security guard will direct you to an elevator that goes up the 24nd floor to a observation floor. From here we can see amazing panorama of Kobe in all directions so don't forget Your camera. There is no fee and the observation floor is open during the day as well as early evening hours – the night panorama of mountains is especially beautiful. After sunset the peaks of Rokko mountains are lit up by three symbols of Kobe – a sailboat, anchor and Hydrangea flower.
Doesn't look like much bot if you enter this building you can see whole panorama of Kobe city center.
There's not much information but the security staff will point you in the right direction.
The view is amazing, I recommend visiting during day as well as in the evening.
Kobe City Hall observation floor
It's a free to access viewing spot located at the 24th floor of Kobe City Hall. To the east there's Rokko Island, to the south is Higashiyuenchi Park and Port Island.
In good weather you can see the Kii peninsula on the opposite side of Osaka bay. On the side of the mountain, a decorative illumination of Kobe Landmarks can be seen as well.
South from Kobe City Hall in the Higashiyuenchi Park, you can see monuments that symbolize the history of Kobe and various beautiful plants.
Another 3 minutes walking towards sea from shiyakusho there is a spacious park called Higashiyuenchi. Many visitor might already know it as every year it's used as a culmination spot during Kobe Luminarie. On a regular day the park is another quiet place to visit and relax, on it's moth southern part there are even some spots wit grass (not very common in Japanese parks) which are often used by people to take a nap or eat their lunch. In the park there is a memorial for the Hanshin Awaji Earthquake, a place definitely worth a visit if You can find the entrance (it's partially underground).
Another quiet palce to take a rest during the day. Unlike some Japanese parks, this one has lots of trees, flowers and even some patches of grass.
The park has numerous sculptures and art pieces. I higly recommend visiting the located underground Hanshin Awaji earthquake memorial.
Established at the same time period as the foreigners district of Kobe, this park, was originally a sports park for foreigners only.
Located south of the Kobe City Hall and west side of Flower Road, today the park is a place where “1.17 hope of light” memorial monument for Great Hanshin Awaji earthquake is located. Every year it also becomes the main venue at the Kobe Luminarie.
Peter’s comments:Ikuta shrine is located right behind Tokyu Hands department store, a walking distance from Sannomiya station. The bright orange shrine is really beautiful and well preserved – it's said it was founded in 201 AD and Kobe city got it's name after a group of it's supporters. Behind the temple there is a small temple park with tall trees and even some “power spots” if that's your thing. Even though the whole shrine is surrounded by buildings the shrine is quiet and can be a great place to visit and take a break during a busy day. In the evening the inner shrine grounds are closed but you can see the beautifully lit up temple through the gates. On special occasions the shrine holds various matsuri – it's always great occasion to experience Japanese culture first hand and snap some interesting photos.