Kobe Luminarie and Sightseeing Spots for Xmas Season

This year, the Kobe Luminarie 2013 will start on December 5th. More than three million people will visit to the Luminarie site to enjoy the fantastic scenery of immense artistic images formed from a myriad of illumination lamps. Here we introduce "Kobe Luminarie" and sightseeing spots for the Christmas season in Mt. Rokko and Kobe.
All of the staff at Ryuusenkaku are eagerly waiting to serve the many visitors from around the world coming to the Kobe-Arima Onsen.

Kobe Luminarie

Kobe Luminarie

"Luminarie" is the plural form of Italian word “luminaria” that stands for Illumination with miniature bulbs. The Kobe Luminarie is held every year from early December for twelve days. It began eleven months after the Kobe Earthquake in 1995 with the hope to give courage and greatly inspire the people of Kobe. Because there was a strong desire for continuation after its conclusion, it became an annual event symbolizing the hope of Kobe citizens. The Kobe Luminarie 2013 is held from December 5th (Thurs) to 16th (Mon) south to the Hanshin Railway between Motomachi and Sannomiya station. The 2013 theme is "A Memory of Light"

Kobe Luminarie Kobe Luminarie Kobe Luminarie

19th Kobe Luminarie
ThemeA Memory of Light (Memoria della Luce)
DatesDecember 5th (Thurs) to 16th (Mon), 2012
TimesMonday-Thursday: 18:00 to 21:00
Friday: 18:00 to 22:00
Saturday: 17:00 to 22:00
Sunday: 17:00 to 21:30
※Time change for illumination can occur by inclement weather or crowd congestion.
LocationLocated south of Hanshin Railway (between Motomachi and Sannomiya stations) and extends from Old Foreign Settlement to Higash-yuenchi Park in Chuo-ku, Kobe.

History of Kobe Luminarie

Kobe Luminarie 1996 Kobe Luminarie 2000 Kobe Luminarie 2001 Kobe Luminarie 2002

Kobe Luminarie 2003 Kobe Luminarie 2004 Kobe Luminarie 2005 Kobe Luminarie 2006

Kobe Luminarie 2007 Kobe Luminarie 2008 Kobe Luminarie 2009 Kobe Luminarie 2010

Kobe Luminarie 2011 Kobe Luminarie 2012

Visitors
(1,000 people)
Exhibition Theme
[ English ]
Exhibition Theme
[ Italian ]
1st (1995)2,540Of Dreams and the LightDei sogni e della Luce
2nd (1996)3,860Hymns for the LightOde per la Luce
3rd (1997)4,730The Stars of the EarthLe stelle della terra
4th (1998)5,160Firmament of the LightFirmamento di Luce
5th (1999)5,160In the Sky with the Pure LightNel cielo di pura Luce
6th (2000)4,740The InfiniteL'infinito
7th (2001)5,190Desire of the LightDesiderio di Luce
8th (2002)4,640The Light is lifeLa Luce vita
9th (2003)5,070The Light of the HorizonLa Luce dell'orizzonte
10th (2004)5,380The City of the LightLa citt della Luce
11th (2005)4,360Beginning of the Second Chapter of the LightInizia il secondo capitolo della Luce
12th (2006)4,650Fascination of the SkyL'incanto del cielo
13th (2007)4,043Epoch of the LightL'era della Luce
14th (2008)3,755Light of the InfiniteLuce d'infinito
15th (2009)3,650Embrace of the LightL'abbraccio della Luce
16th (2010)3,434The heart in the LightIl cuore nella Luce
17th (2011)3,421The Lights of HopeLuci di speranza
18th (2012)3,401The Light of KIZUNA for Solidarity, Fraternity, and UnityLa Luce di KIZUNA, la solidarietà, la fratellanza e il legame
19th (2013)A Memory of LightMemoria della Luce

Access to Site

Because the roads around the illumination area are crowded, we suggest using public transportation from Arima Onsen to the exposition site. Traffic flow in the area is restricted to moving easterly from Motomachi to Sannomiya in order to control the great movement of people wanting to enter the Luminarie exposition site. When getting off the train at Sannomiya, you should be attentive to the direction you are going since you will only be able to see the Higash-yuenchi Park from the distance.

Traveling by Train

Kobe Railway [ Arima Onsen → Arima-guchi → Tanigami ]
WeekdaysSunday/National Holidays
16:0010 24 40 5510 24 40 55
17:0010 25 40 5510 25 40 55
18:0010 31 40 5810 29 40 57
19:0011 28 40 5706 23 40 53 59

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Mt. Rokko Tenrandai (observation platform) Rokko Garden Terrace Rokko International Musical Box Museum Kobe Port Tower Kobe Harbor Cruises Kobe Harbor Land Kobe Kitano Ijinkan (Western-style Houses)
Index of Sightseeing Spots for Xmas Season

Mountain side

Mt. Rokko Tenrandai (observation platform)

Mt. Rokko Tenrandai (observation platform)

The project for the Heritage of Japanese Night Views selected this scenic view that is said to be a 10 million dollar view. This lookout commonly visited by travelers to Kobe is in the immediate vicinity of the Rokko Cable Sanjo Station and is one of several places on Mt. Rokko for gaining an expansive night view of the sea of city lights spreading out from Osaka, Kobe, and Awaji Island. In 1981, the Emperor Showa came to this spot and commemorated it as Tenrandai. Since the parking lot and lookout are open free of charge 24 hours a day, this spot can be easily reached and is a popular destination, day and night, because of its shops and coffee shop. On a clear day in the distance, you can see the Kansai airport and the business district of Osaka to the east and the Akashi Strait Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the world, and Awaji Island to the west. Moreover, you can clearly see the scene from the Kobe city district to the several manmade Islands, such as Rokko Island, Port Island, and the Kobe Airport Island.

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Rokko Garden Terrace

Rokko Garden Terrace Rokko Garden Terrace

Conceived in a concept reminiscent of a country town in Europe, the Rokko Garden Terrace opened after remodeling in 2004 and is must-see spot with its fashionable knickknack shops and restaurant built together on top of Mt. Rokko. From the Lookout Tower at a height of 888m you can have an unfettered view of Osaka Bay. On a clear day, visitors can see a dynamic view of from the Akashi Strait Bridge to the Kansai International Airport lay before them as well as the Osaka Plain. Within this 180-degree panoramic view, you can take delight in the shopping and gourmet cuisine and enjoy a relaxing time.

AccessWalk about 8 minutes from the Rokko Sancho Station on the Arima-Rokko Ropeway
Business Hours9:00-21:00 (Hours vary according to shop, season, and weather.)
Closed onOpened 7 days a week except during the winter season.
TEL078-894-2281

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Rokko International Musical Box Museum

Rokko International Musical Box Museum Rokko International Musical Box Museum

In the vicinity of the Alpine Botanical Garden, there is a museum for music boxes established in 1994 called Rokko International Musical Box Museum. The unconventional building in the style of a German or Swiss mansion is a musical box museum that stores a multitude of automatic performing instruments starting with musical boxes that were in their zenith 100 years before and shows how these instruments were used in daily life in each period and each country. There is a regular concert seven times a day and visitors can participate in the performance with a hand-cranked barrel organ. Since there is museum cafe and museum shop, you can stay in the mood after the concert with dinner and coffee and enjoy browsing over the original music boxes and antiques sold in the gift shop.
During the Christmas season, there are events such as performance of Christmas carols, memorable Christmas music, and Christmas night concerts (reservations required).

AccessFrom the Rokko Sancho Station on the Arima-Rokko Ropeway, take the Rokko Sanjo Bus, and get off at "Rokko International Musical Box Museum."
Business Hours10:00-17:00 Admission: until an hour earlier
Closed onThursday (Opened in the summer season and national holidays) and Dec 31st-Jan 1st
Admission Fee1,030 yen
TEL078-891-1284

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Seaside

Kobe Port Tower

Kobe Port Tower

Standing 108m high in the shape of a Japanese drum, the bright red Kobe Port Tower is beautifully lit up at night and serves as the symbol of Kobe Port. On the top floor is an observatory deck offering a 360-degree panoramic view from Mt. Rokko, Mt. Maya, and the urban districts of Kobe City to Kobe Port and Port Island for a spectacular night view. This popular sightseeing attraction with its pipe design was a worldwide first and has won numerous architectural awards for its unique structure. You will never grow tired of looking down at the harbor, a view that is particularly spectacular at night from sunset until 22:30.
Access: The tower is an approximately 7-minute walk south of the Minato Motomachi Station on the Kaigan Line of the subway and a 15-minute walk from Motomachi stations of JR, Hanshin, and Hankyu railways.

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Kobe Harbor Cruises

Kobe Harbor Cruises

Cruises originating from Kobe Harbor offer spectacular views of Kobe with the towering mountain range of Mt. Rokko overlooking the Seto Inland Sea and extending along the coast like a folding screen. With its beautiful scenery, Kobe, a prosperous port city that served as a gateway to Kyushu and Mainland China almost 1000 years before, developed as a harbor for international trade after the Meiji Restoration and was a site for foreign settlements. Today, Kobe maintains its international atmosphere with many exotic sightseeing places teeming with multi-cultures from other countries. A variety of cruises are available from Kobe Harbor ranging in length from 30 minutes to more than 2 hours. Those taking the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge dinner cruise will be impressed with the incredible night view that appears like a glittering white pearl necklace floating on the dark sea.
Also, in December, the "Kobe Luminarie Commemorative Cruise" and the "White Christmas Cruise" are in service for a limited time to allow visitors a chance to enjoy dinner filled with mood added by live jazz music.

VesselHours of operationTerminalTEL
Luminous Kobe-212:00-21:20Oriental Hotel (2F lobby)078-333-8414
Concerto12:00-21:05Takahama Quay in front of Mosaic078-360-5600
Fantasy10:00-20:00Naka Pier Central Terminal (Kamomeria)078-360-0731
Royal Princess10:45-every hourNaka Pier Central Terminal (Kamomeria)078-360-0039

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Kobe Harbor Land

Kobe Harbor Land
Kobe Harbor Land

Harbor Land is a fashionable area on the waterfront with a full array of amusements and shopping adjoined by the Kobe Port Tower and Naka Pier along with a promenade. Adjacent to the Naka Pier is "Mosaic," a multifaceted commercial park popular for its open mall lined with stores and the large open space looking out upon the sea. The various facilities providing enjoyment include Cinema Mosaic, a movie theater, and the Mosaic Garden, an amusement park with a marvelous view of the sea. On the second floor of Mosaic, there is a blue Christmas tree called "Marine" located in the Seaside Plaza on the 2nd floor of the Mosaic and lit up from sunset to 24:15 until December 25th. The tree stands 6m high and has approximately 10,000 blue LEDS decorating it. The sight of the vivid blue color shining against the background of the bright red Port Tower is especially romantic.
The street along the brick warehouse west of Mosaic is lit with retro Kobe gas streetlights to provide a distinct winter's interlude of pure white splendor with soft lighting from these gas streetlights along with 80,000 illuminations shining every night(17:00-23:00)in the 350m row of zelkova trees, a beautiful image that can be seen until the end of March. During this period, the lights are extinguished nightly at 19:59 for the "Harbor wink," which serves as stage direction for the lights to reappear at 20:00 for an even greater fantastical mood enhanced with background music. This special event occurs from the last ten days in November to the last ten days in December.

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Kobe Kitano Ijinkan (Western-style Houses)

Kobe Kitano Ijinkan (Western-style Houses)
Kobe Kitano Ijinkan (Western-style Houses)

If you exit the east exit of the Hankyu Sannomiya station and walk up the gentle slope (Kitano Hill) for about 15 minutes, you will reach Yamamoto Street. (also known as the "Western-style Houses). This street on the mountainside is a popular place for sightseeing, and there are many western-style houses built here.
Accompanying the opening of the Kobe Port in 1868, a foreign settlement area was created on the west side of the current city hall, but the number of foreigners coming to Japan quickly rose and there was a housing shortage. The west side of Mt. Rokko had a good view and became a popular residential place for foreigners.
Actual construction started in the 1890s and more than 200 houses were built in only fifty years, more than 200 western-style houses were built and gave the landscape an exotic view.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of houses were destroyed either by World War II or by large earthquakes, leaving approximately 60 houses left of the original Western-styled houses. The area containing the Western-styled houses was designated as an "important historical restoration area" with 34 of the houses having been designated as an "important cultural assets of Japan" or "traditional building." Some of these houses are open to the public.

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