With its deep reddish-orange steel frame and unusual pipe lattice design, the Kobe Port Tower is one of the city’s most distinctive buildings. From the top of this 354-foot (108-meter) sightseeing tower, enjoy views of the city, Mount Rokko, Osaka Bay and Awaji Island.
Constructed in 1963, the tower has an unusual shape inspired by tsuzumi, a traditional Japanese instrument similar to a drum. Despite the widespread damage that occurred in Kobe during the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, the tower remained standing as a result of its innovative structure.
Inside the tower, two of the floors are home to a rotating restaurant and café. Find observation decks on the other three floors. On the first level, don’t miss the section of floor that becomes transparent as visitors approach, offering stomach-churning views straight downward.
Ride the elevator to the top of the tower and enjoy the scenery from the observation deck, which offers a 360-degree panorama of the surrounding area. As one of Japan’s busiest ports, Kobe always has plenty of activity taking place along its waterfront. The views from this tower are particularly compelling because you can see the port, the city and the mountains together, with natural scenery contrasting against man-made structures.
Stop for coffee or a snack at the tower’s rotating café. Experience the views from every angle as you relax and sip your drink while the café completes a full circle in about 20 minutes. Take a look in the tower’s souvenir shop, where you’ll find gifts and memorabilia related to the cute Kobe Port Tower mascot, “Captain Tower-kun.”
Be sure to see the tower at the end of the day, when it looks especially spectacular illuminated against the night sky. The evening is also one of the best times to see the views from the tower’s observation decks because you can watch the lights of the city gradually turn on as night falls.
Kobe Port Tower is open year-round. There is an admission fee to access the observation decks inside. It’s located about a 15-minute walk away from Hanshin Motomachi Station.