Kobe in Autumn

As the summer heat eases, Kobe offers visitors numerous venues to admire beautiful autumn leaves in myriad colors – and all far less crowded than Kyoto! A whole 143 hectares await you at the KOBE Municipal Arboretum, which opened in 1940 and features a beautiful central pond and tributes to sister cities Seattle and Brisbane.

For even more breathtaking views, look no further than the Rokko-Arima Ropeway, a 12-minute cable-car ride connecting Kobe’s most famous mountain (Mount Rokko) with the oldest hot-spring complex in Japan – Arima Onsen. Closer to downtown, Suma Rikyu Park is a European-style garden offering views of Osaka Bay, numerous fountains and around 4000 rose strains blooming in spring and autumn. Even more centrally located, Sorakuen Garden is a traditional Japanese-style oasis next to Okurayama Station. Its maple and dogwood trees entice numerous autumn visitors each year and it hosts the Kobe Chrysanthemum Exhibition from the end of October to the end of November.

Why not complement the visual splendors with some musical magic? Kobe happens to be the city where jazz first arrived in Japan, and Kobe Jazz Street Festival marks the occasion with a two-day autumn musical extravaganza in early October. Expect a whole host of performers and venues for a feast of fun. Meanwhile, if you love nature and art, the Rokko Meets Art initiative offers a great chance to enjoy and rediscover art and sculptures in a new non-gallery setting around many attractions on Mount Rokko. Remaining in nature but combining tea with the autumn leaves is what you can enjoy in November at the Arima Daichakai Festival, with shuttle buses organized and a setting of stunning scenic beauty.

Finally, the Kobe Marathon, first run in 2010, has firmly established itself city-wide and is held in mid-November, with runners completing a loop from Sannomiya to Maiko and back before reaching the finish line on Port Island. It is also now a bronze label race certified by the IAAF.

KOBE Municipal Arboretum

A 143-hectare escape from the urban bustle, this huge natural oasis in northern Kobe has enough flowers and plants to attract visitors in any season. Its beautifully colored autumn foliage is something to see. There are also special plants and monuments to Kobe’s sister cities, Seattle and Brisbane.

Rokko-Arima Ropeway

The Rokko-Arima Cable Car takes visitors smoothly between the summit of Mount Rokko in the national park and Arima Onsen in just 12 minutes, offering unparalleled views of the magnificent mountains and sea in any season. It’s particularly spectacular in autumn months, with a blaze of color guaranteed.

Suma Rikyu Park

A European-style garden offering ocean views, fountains, and a wealth of roses blooming in spring and autumn within the fittingly named Rose Garden of the Royal Aristocracy. Other floral highlights awaiting your visit throughout the year include peonies, Japanese irises, red autumn leaves and plum blossoms.

Kobe Jazz Street Festival

Held over two days in October and celebrating the first Japanese jazz band formed in 1923, this festival features a whole host of performers and venues for a feast of musical magic.