Last Updated on August 1, 2023 by Jerardo Gomez
Going to the Kobe Herb Garden was one of the most memorable and favorite things to do during my Japan trip!
According to the official herb garden Website, As Japan’s largest herb garden, this botanical paradise has approximately 75,000 herbs and flowers, showcasing around 200 distinct plant species, all blooming in splendid harmony throughout the year. It has 12 different garden areas which you can follow along on a path, and also has a variety of different features as this is not only a garden.
In these meticulously designed spaces, seasonal herbs and flowers weave captivating narratives, arranged according to different themes, enticing visitors on a journey through different seasons.
I was not only impressed by the amount of plants, and the thought put into its design, but also by the amount of work put into maintaining the garden perfectly. Even if going to a garden is not your thing, there is unique food that can be found in the restaurant, activities, museums, shopping, and it’s famous lavender ice cream. I could not recommend this place enough.
Highlights of Kobe Nunobiki Herb Gardens
When I reached the top of Kobe Nunobiki ropeway station and stepped out, I was amazed by the main building called the View Rest House. It looked like a charming European house from the 1800s, particularly resembling a beautiful German village home.
Inside the View Rest House, I discovered that the Herb Garden had more to offer than just growing plants. They also made essential oils and other products from the herbs. The gift shop there had a wonderful variety of goods that would make anyone feel delighted. It was tough to leave behind those amazing-smelling goodies!
As you stroll through the two buildings, you find a variety of hidden treasures. I decided to visit the Fragrance Museum, where they provide informative sessions about essential oils and share the fascinating history of fragrances. They also have a very pretty bench in the back of the museum.
The flowers blooming were vibrant and made the experience relaxing compared to Tokyo.
Shopping at Herb Gardens
Shopping for souvenirs was one of my favorite things to do here because everything felt special and one-of-a-kind items can only be found there. I had fun and spent a good 30 minutes looking through everything and ended up spending 80$ worth of quality products.
Things you can find there is a variety of souvenir boxes of cookies, tea, very cute tea utensils, perfume, essential oil, room sprays, lip balm, bath bombs, seeds, beer, and much more.
I bought different boxes of cookies, a lot of tea, room sprays (forest was my favorite scent), tea utensils, etc. They sell a lot of different products including kobe beef items.
*Pro Tip* The best tea is the Refreshing tea in a green box. It is refreshing as the name suggests and I prepare it as ice-sweetened tea.
Shopping at Kobe Herb Garden:
Herb Shops: As the name suggests, Kobe Herb Garden is known for its herb-related products. You’ll find a variety of shops that specialize in selling herbs, herbal teas, essential oils, potpourri, and various herbal-infused products. These shops offer a delightful experience for anyone interested in natural remedies, aromatherapy, or simply appreciating the soothing scents of herbs.
Gift Shops: Kobe Herb Garden features gift shops where you can purchase locally-made crafts, souvenirs, and items related to herbs and gardening. It’s an excellent place to find unique gifts or keepsakes to remember your visit to the garden.
Cafes and Restaurants: While not exactly shopping, the garden area also hosts several cafes and restaurants where you can relax and enjoy a meal or some herbal-inspired treats. Many of these establishments incorporate herbs into their menus, offering dishes and beverages with herbal flavors.
Garden Accessories: Additionally, you may find shops selling garden accessories and tools for gardening enthusiasts. These stores provide an opportunity to explore and purchase items related to cultivating and caring for your own herb garden.
Overview of Kobe City and Osaka Bay
The Kobe Nunobiki Herb Gardens has the best view of the entire city of Kobe and Osaka Bay. There are many opportunities to get amazing pictures, and great views, from the lookouts in different parts of the Garden.
Here are the spectacular views of Kobe and Osaka Bay from the herb garden:
Going up or down the cable car
The second floor of the view rest house
The balcony of the glass house
Kobe Herb Dining Experience
There are two places where you can experience dining here which is the main dining area.
The first place to grab a bite to eat is the building at the top station, called The View Rest House, located on the second floor. Small bites can also be found right outside on the first and ground floor as well.
The second area is going down the Herb Garden path, next to the glass house. Its called The Veranda at Kobe, which is mostly a cafe and tea, with some meals.
The food here is really good as not only the quality of ingredients used, but also the fact that they use products from the garden itself in it’s dishes!
Best Way to Explore
There is two different ways of getting in, either by using the cable car which I recommend, or hiking up Mount Rokko which will take about 45-60 minutes that will take you to Japan’s largest herb gardens at the middle station.
How to get to Kobe Nunobiki herb gardens?
To get there first go to Shin-Kobe Station from both Osaka and Kyoto by train, follow these directions:
By Shinkansen (Bullet Train): Take the JR Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka Station to Shin-Kobe Station or the Hikari. Shin-Kobe Station is just one stop away from Shin-Osaka Station on the Sanyo Shinkansen line. The journey takes only a few minutes.
By Regular Train: Take the JR Special Rapid Service or the Hankyu Railway from Osaka Station to Sannomiya Station in Kobe. At Sannomiya Station, transfer to the JR Kobe Line and take a local train to Shin-Kobe Station. The total travel time will be around 20-30 minutes.
By Shinkansen (Bullet Train): Take the JR Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen from Kyoto Station to Shin-Kobe Station. The journey takes around 30 minutes on the Hikari or Kodama Shinkansen trains.
By Regular Train: Take the JR Special Rapid Service from Kyoto Station to Osaka Station. At Osaka Station, transfer to the JR Kobe Line and take a local train to Shin-Kobe Station. The total travel time will be around 1 hour, depending on the connection times.
Shin-Kobe Station is located in the northern part of Kobe and is convenient for visiting attractions such as the Shin-Kobe Ropeway, which takes you to the Nunobiki Herb Garden and other scenic spots. As always, it’s a good idea to check the train schedules and routes before your journey to ensure a smooth trip.
Then walk a few minutes to the ropeway station located outside the train station.
I recommend getting the round trip ticket on the ropeway station which you can buy there, I would buy it online from a 3rd party site as it is not necessary. As of 2023, the price for a round trip for an adult is 1800 Yen.
Alternatively, you can buy a one-way ticket and hike your way down which is not bad at all, it will just take 45 minutes from the bottom of the garden to Kobe Station.
Going up the ropeway of Mount Rokko is a unique experience, and you get amazing views of the city of Kobe.
Nunobiki waterfall from the Herb Garden
The Gardens offer a mountain trail that you can hike up or down. From Shin-Kobe Station to the south gate of Nunobiki Herb Gardens, it takes about an hour if you start from the bottom. To reach the mountain top, including sightseeing, it will take another 40 minutes.
If you prefer an easier route and want to see Nunobiki Falls from above, you can get a one-way, ropeway ride and ticket to the top. Then, you can walk downhill and enter the hiking trail from the herb garden which is easier since its downhill.
To start the hike, leave the garden from the south gate and follow the driveway for about 7 minutes. Look for an entrance to a narrow road on the left of the motorway leading to Nunobiki Dam. Walk down this road for 15 minutes to reach the dam.
Continue along the promenade, crossing the bridge over the dam. Keep walking, and you will arrive at Sarunokazura Bridge, then Nunobiki Falls, and finally Shin-Kobe Station at the end. Enjoy the scenic beauty along the way!
How to get to Nunobiki Falls?
Look for Nunobiki Falls’ directory sign near Shin-Kobe Station. It will guide you to the promenade of the four waterfalls of Nunobiki Falls or you can ask someone in the information center at the station! They speak English.
Then once you find the concrete trail, just outside the North side of the Kobe Station, you just follow it up Mount Rokko.
The falls consist of four waterfalls in sequence: Mentaki Falls, Tsudumigataki Falls, Meototaki Falls, and Ontaki Falls.
The trail is easy, so no full-scale hiking equipment is needed. However, we recommend wearing sneakers as the path to Ontaki Falls can be slippery and uneven.
Take your time to explore the four waterfalls before reaching Ontaki Falls.
If you have more time, consider hiking for an additional 60 minutes to reach Nunobiki Dam, which is recognized as one of the Top 100 Dams in Japan. Along the way, you’ll also pass by Miharashi Overlook, offering a panoramic view of Kobe City.
To start the hike, walk just 2 minutes from the station and cross the brick bridge known as Isagobashi, the starting point of the hiking course. Please be cautious of oncoming traffic, as there are no sidewalks from the station to the bridge.
After crossing the bridge, you’ll encounter staircases that lead to a shortcut to Ontaki Falls. For a more enjoyable experience, we recommend continuing on the flat road to see the other three waterfalls first.
By following these directions, you’ll be able to explore the beauty of Nunobiki Falls and enjoy the serene natural surroundings along the way.
10 Things to Do at the Nunobiki Herb Garden
Explore European-style Architecture: Wander through the enchanting View Rest House, designed like a picturesque German village house from the 1800s.
Enjoy Fragrant Herb Gardens: Take a leisurely stroll through beautifully scented herb gardens, featuring a variety of vibrant colors and aromatic plants.
Find your favorite essential oils
Shop for Herbal Products: Browse the gift shop filled with a delightful assortment of items made from the garden’s herbs, including essential oils, herbal products, and more.
Savor Herbal Cuisine: Treat your taste buds to unique dishes infused with fresh herbs at the on-site restaurant or café.
Capture Stunning Views: Head to the top ropeway station and enjoy breathtaking panoramas of Kobe city and the picturesque coastline.
Attend Engaging Workshops: Participate in workshops to learn about herb cultivation, and essential oil production, and even create your own herbal products.
Relax in Hammocks: Find relaxation in the garden’s hammock area, where you can unwind and soak in the serene atmosphere.
Try the herbal footbath which offers spectacular views
Experience Seasonal Events: Depending on the time of your visit, you may have the chance to enjoy various seasonal events and festivals that add extra charm to your experience.
1. What is Kobe Herb Garden? Kobe Herb Garden is a beautiful botanical treasure located in the heart of Kobe, Japan. It is one of the largest herb gardens in the country, featuring approximately 75,000 herbs and flowers of around 200 varieties that bloom throughout the year.
2. How do I get to Kobe Herb Garden? The garden is easily accessible from various parts of Kobe. You can take public transportation or drive to the location. From Shin-Kobe Station, it takes approximately 15 minutes by foot to reach the garden.
3. What are the operating hours of Kobe Herb Garden? Kobe Herb Garden typically opens its gates at 9:00 AM and closes at 5:00 PM. However, it’s essential to check the official website or call ahead for any changes in the operating hours, as they may vary seasonally.
4. Is there an admission fee to enter Kobe Herb Garden? Yes, there is an admission fee to enter Kobe Herb Garden. The fee may vary based on age and seasonal events, so it’s best to check the latest pricing information on their website.
5. What can I expect to see at Kobe Herb Garden? Kobe Herb Garden boasts twelve extensive garden areas, each showcasing seasonal herbs and flowers arranged according to different themes. You can experience breathtaking vistas, aromatic blooms, and a serene environment that will soothe your senses.
6. Are there any activities or workshops available for visitors? Yes, Kobe Herb Garden offers various activities and workshops for visitors to engage with nature and the herbal world. You can participate in workshops on essential oils, herb cultivation, and more.
7. Can I enjoy culinary delights at Kobe Herb Garden? Absolutely! On-site restaurants and cafes offer delightful menus inspired by herbs and spices. It’s a perfect opportunity to savor unique dishes infused with the essence of the garden.
8. Is Kobe Herb Garden suitable for families and children? Yes, Kobe Herb Garden is a family-friendly destination. Children can explore the gardens and appreciate the beauty of nature. The tranquil atmosphere and scenic views of seasonal garden make it an enjoyable outing for all ages.
9. Can I buy souvenirs at Kobe Herb Garden? Yes, there are gift shops within the garden where you can find a variety of souvenirs, herbal products, and locally-made crafts to take home as cherished mementos of your visit.
10. Are there any special events or festivals held at Kobe Herb Garden? Yes, Kobe Herb Garden hosts seasonal events and festivals throughout the year. Check their events calendar to see if your visit aligns with any of the many gardens these exciting celebrations.
11. Is photography allowed at Kobe Herb Garden? Yes, photography is allowed and encouraged at Kobe Herb Garden. Capture the beauty of the flora, fauna, and stunning landscapes to cherish the memories of your visit.
12. Is Kobe Herb Garden accessible for people with mobility challenges? Yes, the garden authorities prioritize accessibility. There are wheelchair-friendly paths and facilities to accommodate visitors with mobility challenges.