Since there are so many things to do in a city like Kobe or Osaka, this section concentrates on outdoor activities.

The Nunobiki Waterfall is one of the clearest examples of how special Kobe is compared to other cities. Lots of cities have waterfalls in outlying districts - but what other one has a waterfall like this a mere ten-minute walk from the shinkansen (bullet train) station? A road passes under the station (on the right side) and from there a walking path starts up the hill - where the path divides, the steep stairway on the left is the quickest way to get there; the path on the right is more meandering and therefore less steep. You can continue on up the mountain past the falls to a small pond-like reservoir and, eventually, up Mt. Maya and Mt. Rokko.

You can also visit the Nunobiki Herb Garden, a relatively new addition to Kobe's outdoor attractions (and shown in the photo at top right). From near the Opa complex in front of the bullet train station (which includes the tall New Oriental Hotel), you take a cable car up to the mountaintop garden. Along the way, you get a spectacular view of the aforementioned waterfall. It's a good "date spot" and you're likely to see mainly couples at the top, visiting the gardens with various herbs and the shops with various herb products. You can hike down the hill if you like, although your return fare is included in the ticket (and Japan's deflationary spiral has now made the fare affordable at 1000 yen round-trip). Lastly, masochists can cycle up if they wish, although it is _very_ steep; take the tiny local road a ways to the east of Shin-Kobe Station.

Arima Onsen is said to be Japan’s oldest hot springs and is certainly the most famous in the Kobe area. It’s a nice little hot springs town, although accommodations are expensive (as in most famous hot springs resorts). If you’ve cycled up Rokko, you’ve done the hard part and it’s not far away. Otherwise, getting to it is painful if you cycle up the heavily trafficked Arima Kaido; going a more roundabout way or, even better, taking the Kobe subway system from Shin-Kobe Station to Tanigami Station to get across the mountains and then cycling from there makes it much easier. There’s a nice bikepath around a reservoir that’s not far away and will be featured in a future route on this site.

Finally, it's a bit far away, but there's a bikepath that travels along the coast from Akashi (maybe an hour west of Kobe), supposedly all the way to Himeji although I doubt that it's been completed yet. These days, as you cycle you can gaze at the relatively new Akashi Kaikyo Bridge linking Honshu with the island of Awaji (and from there with the island of Shikoku via another bridge). Although there's a nice beach, the polluted Inland Sea water is not the best for swimming - best to save the swimsuit for a Japan Sea trip.

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