This pleasant waterfront park hosts a number of interesting attractions, including a memorial, several museums and varied entertainment centers.
The green lawns and courtyards of Meriken Park make it one of the most enjoyable places in Kobe for strolling along the waterfront. Look for notable examples of contemporary architecture, shopping and dining, as well as museums that explore this area’s maritime history.
The park’s name comes from Meriken Wharf, built by Japan in the late 19th century after the country opened its ports to the world. According to local lore, when Japanese people first met Americans, they misheard their nationality as “Meriken” and chose this as the name of the new wharf in Kobe. In the 1980s, the watery area between Meriken Wharf and the pier was filled to create Meriken Park.
Watch for Earthquake Memorial Park, a modest memorial dedicated to the victims of the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995. This area was devastated by the earthquake. The memorial preserves a small section of the damaged wharf. View the display of photos in remembrance of this destructive event.
Explore the Kobe Maritime Museum and learn about the significance of this historic port. The white-steel framework on the museum’s exterior is designed to resemble a ship’s sails. The museum has models of ships, exhibits explaining port operations and retired ships on display both inside and outside the building.
Discover the interactive exhibits at Kawasaki Good Times World, a corporate museum adjacent to the Kobe Maritime Museum. This museum highlights the various machines produced by Kawasaki Heavy Industries over the years, including shinkansen (bullet) trains, planes, motorcycles, ships and helicopters. Don’t miss the hands-on exhibits, where visitors are free to pose on some of the well-known vehicles.
For a break from sightseeing, head to the small entertainment area found between Meriken Park and Kobe Harborland. Stop at one of the numerous restaurants and cafés and sip a drink while people-watching in this lively area. Take a scenic sightseeing cruise around Kobe Bay and the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, with departure points found at the nearby Nakatottei Chuo Terminal.
Meriken Park is about a 10-minute walk from Motomachi Station. The museums charge admission.