By Amanda Ho
Mount Rokko is located in Kobe, and has long been famous for its "million dollar" night view. But Mount Rokko not only offers beautiful nightscapes, but also many other attractions to see and enjoy. The best way to see Mount Rokko and all that it offers is by using the Rokkosan Tourist Pass. This pass gives you many discounts, including transport and admission fees.
The Rokkosan Tourist Pass can be purchased from various information centres and tourist centres throughout the Kansai region. The full list of sale locations can be found on this page right here. This specific pass can only be bought by tourists, so make sure to have your passport with you when you go buy the pass! The pass was on special when I went, so I bought it for ¥1000. The pass is really a great deal, as it covers all transport costs from Rokkomichi Station (or Rokko Station) all the way up to the top of Mt Rokko, and then you have unlimited bus rides on the Rokkosan bus at the top too. All you have to do is show them the pass. The cable car ride up Mt Rokko is also included in this pass, so it definitely helps you to save quite a bit of money!
The attractions on top of Mt Rokko include the Rokko International Music Box Museum, Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden, Rokkosan Country House, Rokko Snow Park (only open during winter), an observatory, the Garden Terrace (from where you see the famous night view!) and the even higher Tenran Observatory. As you can see, there are definitely quite a lot of things to do up on Mt Rokko! I suggest going for a day trip. I went there for a late afternoon trip, but could not manage to visit all the attractions because I was unexpectedly much too short on time. An important thing to be aware of is that the mountain-top bus does not come very often - a bus comes once every half hour - so make sure to time your visits to each attraction well so you don't have to wait too long for the bus!
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I love Japan for its people, culture, food, scenery, and overall ambiance and never-ending list of things to explore and enjoy. I lived in Kyoto for one year as an exchange student, and was able to travel around various parts of Japan during that exchange time. Now I'm back in Auckland, NZ, but am aiming to be back in Japan soon in the future for travel or work!