Kobe is one of the major cities of Japan and there are plenty of options to get around town. One notable feature is the surprisingly high number of cable car and ropeway lines.
To get in or out of the city, you’re likely to use the Tokaido Shinkansen. The trip between Kobe
and Tokyo takes about 2 hours and 40 minutes if you use the faster Nozomi shinkansen trains.
Kobe also has it’s own airport. Appropriately named Kobe Airport, it’s located on an artificial
island about 8km south of Sannomiya Station. Most of the flights handled here are domestic, although a handful of international routes are also available. Kobe Airport opened in 2006.
Get Around Kobe
To get around the city itself, there are several different train and subway lines connecting the
different parts of town with one another. Most train lines runs from east to west, due to the geography of the city center, but there are also a few lines running north towards, and through, the mountains, and a smaller automated line connecting the main hub of the city, Sannomiya Station, with the man-made Port Island and Kobe Airport to the south.
Get Around Kobe
Kobe’s hilly geography has also made it a city with has a large number of cable car and
ropeway lines. The Shin-Kobe Ropeway connects Shin-Kobe Station (where the Shinkansen trains arrive), with the Nunobiki hiking trail as well as a Herb Garden and lookout a few minutes ride to the north. Further to the east you will find the Maya Cable car, that will take you to what’s
perhaps the most spectacular lookout of them all. A bit further to the east still, and you will get to
the Mount Rokko Cable Car that connects Kobe with both it’s highest mountain peak, as well
the Rokko-Arima Ropeway which leads to one of the most popular hot spring resort towns in the entire Kansai Area, further to the north.
Get Around Kobe
All the cable car stops are serviced by buses from downtown Kobe. In fact, buses are often the most convenient way to get around Kobe, as the rail network doesn’t reach all the corners of the city. If you plan to do a lot of traveling around town, a one-day bus pass for 660 yen or the Kobe 1-Day Tour Coupon for 960 yen will most likely be the most economical option. The first gives you access to unlimited rides on the city buses, and the latter also throws in most of the subway and train lines, as well as discounts to many popular sightseeing spots. The Kobe 1-Day Tour Coupon does not, however, cover rides on any of the JR train lines.
If you plan to explore the rest of Kansai, more specifically Osaka and Kyoto, during your visit, the Hankyu Tourist Pass is a very good option. A one-day pass costs 800 yen and a two-day pass costs 1400 yen, and will give you unlimited trips between the major cities in Kansai as well as everything in between.
If you’re not sure about how much, or where, you’ll be going during your time in Kobe, a rechargeable IC card such as Suica or Pasmo is probably still your best bet however, as you will need to take at least three to four trips in a day in order to get any benefit from purchasing any of the discount tickets for the trains and subways.