Japan 2015 Day 16: exploring Kobe

Weather: sunny 20°C, high 27°C

Accommodation: Kobe Portopia Hotel.

We enjoyed a slow start to the day. When we eventually left, we took the hotel’s shuttlebus to Shin Kobe station rather than the monorail as we had seen a playground close to Shin Kobe when we’d gone past the day before. Eskil was desperately in need of a playground; we hadn’t found many in Japan. First we bought breakfast supplies at a kombini in the station, then walked to the playground. Eskil had a nice play, although the playground was a bit small for him.
Running up!
There were other children there, but they were all much younger than him. Some of the children seemed to be from a day care, and they had an interesting cart they transported the children in.
The carer loads the kidlets up in the cart! Standing room only. ☺

We walked to the Kobe Nunobiki Herb Gardens & Ropeway. We took the ropeway to the top station; Eskil LOVED it.
Glass house and Kobe
At the top station we enjoyed views over Kobe and had ice creams (and chased a cat), then walked downhill through the gardens. The gardens are beautiful and cascade down the hillside with stunning views over Kobe and Osaka Bay. The gardens are well tended; a spent flower doesn’t last long with the watchful eyes of all the gardeners!
Collecting every spent flower or dying leaf

Slightly over the top - but nice herb wall

We stopped off for rather strange drinks at The Glass House, then continued downhill through the gardens to the middle ropeway station to make our way back down to Shin Kobe. Eskil LOVED the ropeway. Have I mentioned Eskil LOVE of ropeways? This one had small cars, so each individual or small group had their own.
In the ropeway

We used the hotel’s bus to get from Shin Kobe to Sannomiya. Apparently you’re not supposed to do that: our driver held up a sign saying hotel guests travelling from Shin Kobe were not to get off at Sannomiya, however he did let us get off. At Sannomiya we had coffee at Tully, which was a yummy break and had some really nice staff, then looked through shops for another SD card. Well, the SD card was a good excuse – but we didn’t turn away from stationery and homewares shops! Eskil enjoyed trying to fit in with the cool dudes. DOOOOOOD.
Trying to fit in with the cool dudes
Scott had a great suggestion to ask for an SD card at 7-11, and they do indeed sell SD cards! However the one I stopped in was out of any with a lot of space, so I didn’t get one. No matter; at least I knew where to look. We bought dinner stuff at 7-11, then took the bus back to the Portopia.

BTW the hotel staff pronounce ‘Portopia’ as ‘Porto-Pia’, completely missing out on making it sound akin to utopia.

Some of Eskil’s vocabulary during the trip:

  • Table car = cable car (ropeway to the Japanese)
  • Minish lion = finish line (a very important phrase to encourage him to move; also there are lots of lion statues, so lots of pointing at the ‘minish lion’)
  • Pack back = back pack
  • Avocado = arigato
  • Ferry = ferris wheel
  • ‘I’m feeling ice cream-y’

We relaxed back at the hotel with our 7-11 dinner. Eskil watched some strange Japanese TV (really it’s all quite strange), Scott read, and I researched the next day and took lots of screen shots of train timetables and maps on my phone. This became how I often spent our evenings when we were at ‘home’ and had access to WiFi. The screen shots were then useful not only for our reference but also to point to if we wanted to make seat reservations. Seat reservations are not always necessary on Japanese trains, but as they are free with the Japan Rail pass and can be made moments before catching our train, if we had a long ride we usually made them to ensure we could sit together. We were too cheap to pay for a portable WiFi, so we only had access to the internet at accommodation and Starbucks. If we had portable WiFi it would could have been taken advantage for translation apps, however we got on just fine.

More photos can be viewed at https://www.flickr.com/photos/cragg-ohlsson/archives/date-taken/2015/09/28/.