Kobe Travel Guide: Nunobiki Herb Gardens and Ropeway

I had a great time in Japan the last time I was there, and was placed in Kobe for my school placement. I had previously been there for a night or two, so it was nice to be able to spend a lot more time there and do more after class. There’s a lot of options. One of the things I was keen to do, and did after class on the Wednesday, was the Nunobiki Herb gardens and ropeway.

We took the ropeway itself up to the top of the mountain, and the views from that were stunning. It was such a good day as well, so we got to see very far from the top and got great views of the dam and a brief glimpse of the waterfalls to come on our way up. The buildings at the top were very cute, and made in a European style I thought.

We walked down the mountain from there, and we saw a lot of wonderful plants. The gardens they had cultivated were very well maintained, and they had some miniature gardens for herbs of different functions and different types of flowers. There was also an abundance of hammocks so we obviously took advantage of them. It was so relaxing in the evening sun with such a great view of the surrounding mountain. Sadly, we weren’t able to enter the glass house as it was just closing as we got there.

When we reached the mid-way station, our guide left us. She was a tour guide who lives in Kyoto and was able to offer us good recommendations for activities. We were very happy to walk down the rest of the mountain, and we saw the dam up close. It was so serene and ideally situated for photographs. We then continued our descent. There were lots of great twists and turns, beautiful scenery, and various shrines scattered throughout the path. Somewhat hilariously, my two travelling companions who were between me on the path met each other before finding me as I had found a cool side path which I then showed them.

This path lead to Nunobiki waterfall, which our programme leader had recommended and for very good reason. But before that there was a very small canteen-style restaurant, with two Japanese vending machines of all things right beside it. I know Japan has the highest vending machines per person out of any country in the world, but this was another level… It was run by a lone woman and the first time I went there it seemed completely abandoned, she was nowhere to be seen, nor was anyone. It had a very post-apocalyptic feel to it.

Right below here was the main attraction, the waterfall. And at the start of sakura season too, there was a lovely pink undertone to the trees. There were some nice benches where we could just sit and observe the water flowing down. There wasn’t a huge, violent flow or anything like that, but a nice orderly flow which was very satisfying to watch. I spend a long time staring at this, and the other waterfall I discovered towards the end of the path, examining the structure of it and the rock formations.

It took us around two hours to climb to the end, and arrived just before sunset, so it was pretty perfect timing. It was such a nice walk, with great scenery and stunning waterfalls. I think we all enjoyed just taking a leisurely stroll there after a very busy day’s teaching.

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