Saturday, December 7, 2013

Gondola Lift and "Ijinkan" in Kobe City

Kobe-Nunobiki Ropeway (gondola lift) in Kobe City
 
As I mentioned before, Shin-Kobe on the Sanyo Shinkansen is quite a unique urban station, since it is backed by the steep Rokko Mountains. This station is known as a starting point for a visit to Mt. Yotsugi, where a large herb garden is located. It takes about ten minutes by gondola lift from Herb-en Sanroku station, which is next to Shin-Kobe.

The formal name of the gondola lift is Kobe-Nunobiki Ropeway. It was opened in 1991 to transport sightseers to the large herb garden at the summit of Mt. Yotsugi. Connecting Herb-en Sanroku and Herb-en Sancho, the line length is 1,460m. The height difference between the highest and lowest points of the route is 330m. Six-seater gondolas are able to transport 1,060 passengers per hour.

After visiting Mt. Yotsugi, I headed to the Kitano area in the northern part of Kobe City. Kitano is dotted with residences built by foreigners, who arrived in Kobe after the port opened in the late 19th century. It became popular sightseeing spot, "Ijinkan (foreigner's mansion)".

The Ijinkan area with its exotic atmosphere has Western-style houses and art museums... perfect for a leisurely stroll; however, the charm of Kitano is not only the sightseeing, but also the many shops frequented by the locals with laid-back atmospheres... established bars, live jazz clubs, cafes, restaurants serving cuisine from around the world, boutiques and imported jumble shops. I saw many sightseers visiting this famous spot in the city.

 
Uroko house in the Ijinkan area near Herb-en Sanroku Station on the Kobe-Nunobiki Ropeway