Kobe Excursion from Osaka with Hot Springs by Private Vehicle
Ride up this historic, funicular style cable car to the 493m top station, then gaze out at Osaka, the bay, and all the way to central Kobe (weather permitting). All in all, about 45 minutes with this.
Justifiable renown, the healing waters of Arima Onsen are said to be the best in the region. Soak in one of the historic bath houses, or just soak your feet at the outdoors bath. Afterwards, explore the quaint surrounding town for a few minutes, as you like.
This is where the tour day diverges. If you want to stay in the mountains, we’ll have lunch up there and also take you to Kobe Botanical Gardens, where you’ll be able to detach from the hustle and bustle of Osaka and Kobe and immerse yourself in nature. The grounds are immense, and we can spend more or less time here, as suits you.
For those wishing to experience a classic Japanese garden, we’ll head to Sorakuen for a fantastic example. Well trimmed trees and meandering paths make for a very pleasant and atmospheric stroll. Around 45 minutes at either garden, though this can vary depending on your interest level.
Here’s where we can have a Kobe Beef lunch if you like, or eat somewhere else along the way. Afterwards, there’s shopping, Chinatown, and the haunting 1995 Hanshin Earthquake Memorial on the coast. This stop only applies to the Central Kobe tour option. With lunch, this will all take around two hours, or less if you prefer.
If you’ve ever wondered how “sake” (pronounced “sah-kay”), this is the stop for you. Hakutsuru is one of Japan’s largest producers, and inside this restored brewhouse you will find a 1920s re-creation of how sake is produced, alongside displays showing how modernity has changed the process. Free tasting too! 30-45 minutes here.
There are a couple of things we’d like to mention up front.
- Please come wearing practical, comfortable shoes. It’s a car tour, but especially if we go to the Botanical Garden, there will be some walking. If you wish to avoid walking too much, just let us know (preferably in advance) and we’ll accommodate.
- You should bring two towels for the hot springs visit. One should be a medium size washcloth (like the kind hanging next to the bathroom sink at a hotel), and one for drying your body afterwards. Alternatively, you can buy/rent towels at the hot spring facility.
- Arima Onsen, and especially the lookout from the top of the mountain can often be around 4°C (around 7°F) cooler than the city below. Occasionally there is even a bit of snow. Please come dressed appropriately.
- Hotel pickup and drop-off
- All vehicle costs
- All guide costs
- Lunch, or any other food and drinks
- Admissions and cable car fee. In total, plan on around 1,000 yen/person for the cable car and garden stop, plus around 700 yen/person to go in the hot springs (if you choose to do so).