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Meriken Park, Kobe

last update: November 13, 2020
Meriken Park (メ リ ケ ン パ ー ク) is an area of ​​relaxation and entertainment facing the sea, in the port area of ​​Kobe. The name derives from the adjective "American", which was commonly translated as "Meriken" during the Meiji era.

Things to do and things to see in Meriken Park, Kobe

Meriken Park is covered by large green lawns, statues, fountains, and numerous benches, where you can relax breathing the sea breeze and observing the coming and going of the boats in the harbor. The two most symbolic architectures of the city of Kobe are located here, namely the Kobe Port Tower and Kobe Maritime Museum. After sunset, with the lights coming on, the atmosphere becomes magical and the area is filled with couples, especially in summer.
Near Meriken Park there are also two hotels, the pier for sightseeing boats around Kobe Bay, and the huge Harborland shopping complex.
meriken park Meriken Park

Kobe Port Tower

(admission 700¥, opening hours 9-21, dec-feb 9-19)
An observation tower, 108 meters high, with a hyperboloid structure in red steel. It was completed in 1963 to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the opening of the port of Kobe. From this tower you can enjoy a 360 degree view, including the port and the Kobe Bay looking south, the Rokko Mountains and the western buildings on Kitano hill looking north, Meriken Park and the rest of the city looking east or West.
At the base of the tower there is a three-storey building that houses the ticket office, a cafe, a gift shop and access to the elevators that lead to the top of the tower, where there are five other floors. The elevator doors will open to the top 4th floor. From there you can move up and down the stairs.
Guide to the top floors of the Kobe Port Tower
  • the 1st floor houses the Skywalk, with a whole series of opaque glasses on the floor. When someone gets closer, the glass becomes transparent, allowing you to see below your feet from about 75 meters high;
  • Nothing special on the 2nd floor, which makes this place one of the quietest and least popular of the tower. It is not uncommon to be completely alone on this floor;
  • the 3rd revolving floor is where the Sky lounge is located. This floor makes a 360 degree turn in about 20 minutes. Here you can sit on the chairs in front of the windows and slowly observe the changing landscape, perhaps sipping a drink taken at the on-site cafe;
  • the 4th floor, as already mentioned, is the arrival point of the elevators and houses a souvenir shop;
  • the 5th floor is the highest point from which to enjoy the panorama, and is equipped with information panels and special lighting after sunset.
kobe port tower view
kobe port tower view view from the top of the Kobe Port Tower

Kobe Maritime Museum

(admission 600 yen, opening hours 10-17, closed on Mondays)
This museum was opened in 1987, to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the opening to international trade of the port of Kobe. The external architecture of the building, located in the center of Meriken Park, is characterized by a particular roof that recalls the shapes of a sailboat. Inside, you will find various information on the history and functioning of the port of Kobe, some dioramas and a whole collection of scale models of different types of ships.
In the same building there is also the Kawasaki Good Times World, which can be visited with the same admission ticket.

Kawasaki Good Times World

(admission 600 yen, opening hours 10-17, chiuso i lunedì)
The museum of the Japanese multinational Kawasaki Heavy Industries, originally from Kobe. This company, whose brand is known among people all over the world for motorcycles, is actually an industrial giant producing many other vehicles such as trains, planes, helicopters, tractors, ships, submarines, and various machinery and mechanical components . One of Kawasaki's largest shipyards is still located in the port of Kobe.
Inside the museum you will find a section dedicated to the history of the company, a motorcycle showroom, and some thematic sections divided by category: land vehicles, flying vehicles, marine vehicles, robots, and finally a section dedicated to environment protection.
In the same building there is also the Kobe Maritime Museum, which can be visited with the same admission ticket.

Memoriale del Terremoto di Kobe

The Kobe earthquake of 1995 destroyed much of the city and this area too. During the reconstruction works, it was decided to leave a small part of the pier damaged, and to make it a memorial of the catastrophic event that hit the city. It is a stretch of about 60 meters in front of Meriken Park, to the east, which reminds everyone of the power and damage caused by the earthquake. In front of this pier there are also several information panels.
meriken memorial park the destroyed quay of the 1995 Kobe Earthquake Memorial
Harborland is a former port cargo area, redeveloped and inaugurated in 1992. Today it is a large and modern complex for shopping and entertainment. It is also a romantic spot to stroll in front of the sea, with a fantastic view of Meriken Park and the Kobe Port Tower, especially in the evening.
The Mosaic shopping center, part of the larger Umie complex, is very popular with tourists. Inside there are also several restaurants with panoramic views of the harbor. Next to the Mosaic, there is a ferris wheel and a museum dedicated to Anpanman.

Kobe Bay cruises

A few meters west of Meriken Park, along the way to Harborland, you will find the bay cruise terminal (Nakatottei Chuo Cruise Terminal). Inside this building there are ticket offices and information centers of different companies that offer short cruises in the Bay of Kobe. The typical cruise lasts 45-60 minutes and goes around the port area, passing next to the artificial island of the airport and under the Kobe Great Bridge (fares 1200-1500¥ for 1 adult). Some cruises go further to the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge.

Where to stay in Meriken Park, Kobe

The area of ​​Meriken Park in Kobe is a very convenient area for those looking for incredible romantic nights with their partner, in rooms with panoramic views with the sea and the city lights, like in movies. Compared to other areas of Japan and especially Tokyo, hotels in Kobe are much cheaper.

Romantic hotels in Meriken Park

Kobe Port Tower Hotel

The Kobe Port Tower Hotel is located halfway between Meriken Park and Chinatown, 300 meters from both. It is a very strategic position to visit the city and save a lot of money (single rooms from 5000¥ per night, doubles from 7000¥ per night!) but also being able to enjoy some interesting services: 1) a large public bath with sauna available to all guests; 2) a not-so-expensive panoramic bar-restaurant on the 14th floor; 3) the possibility if you are lucky to have a small panoramic view of the Kobe Bay and Meriken Park if you ask for a room on the upper floors and the sea side.

How to get to Meriken Park, Kobe

The Meriken Park area is easily reachable from the center of Kobe on foot. Sannomiya station is about 1 km away.

Alternatively, the closest station to Meriken Park is JR Motomachi station (JR Kobe line), about 500 meters away.
The closest station to Harborland is JR Kobe station (again the JR Kobe line, two stops from JR Motomachi), about 600 meters away.

Map of Meriken Park, Kobe

Guided tours, activities and other things to do

If you are planning a trip to Japan and you want to do something more than just visiting famous places and monuments, we suggest you to use Rakuten Travel Experiences.

How to use Rakuten Travel Experiences

Rakuten Travel is a very useful website to enrich your travel experience, especially if you are going solo or it's your first time in Japan.
Because of the language barrier (and more), in Japan it is very difficult to interact with the locals and to get off the tourist track.
Thanks to Rakuten Travel you can find a lot of interesting and sometimes unique guided tours and activities all over Japan (and not only in Japan), that you would otherwise never be able to enjoy.
But there's more: on Rakuten Travel you can also buy tickets for several famous attractions, events, transportation and other useful services for tourists. Last but not least, you can reserve a table in hundreds of restaurants.

Some examples

Take a look at Rakuten Travel Experiences

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