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Kobe Port Tower - A Red City Landmark Sparkling In The Sky

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Kobe Port Tower a landmark of the port city of Kobe. This tower, which is loved by locals and visitors alike, has many attractive features such as an observation deck with a 360-degree panoramic view of Kobe open day and night. This article covers all about the tower and when to visit.

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Kobe Port Tower - Standing Tall over an International Harbor

kobe port tower

2017 marked the 150th anniversary of the opening of the port of Kobe. Its symbol is the Kobe Port Tower, which was built in 1963 and has since then become one of the city's landmarks.

Standing proudly at a height of 108 meters, the red color of this impressive and beautiful steel tower sparkles overhead in the blue sky.

kobe port tower

One characteristic feature is the pipe structure, the world's first tower to feature this type of construction. The structure resembles a tsuzumi, or elongated traditional Japanese drum, and the narrow middle section of the tower looks as though it's been pinched, giving it the shape of a hyperbola. This was also the first tower in Japan to be illuminated at night, and in the categories of both architecture and lighting, it has been the recipient of many awards.

Inside the tower, there's an observation deck and visitors are free to go up and take a look. We'll give you a peek at the observation deck and show you the incredible view as well.

First Floor - Buy Tickets Here For The Observation Deck

kobe port tower

Admission to the observation deck is free of charge. First, let's buy a ticket at the counter on the first floor. You can also purchase a ticket at the ticket machine as well. The tickets for adults (high school students and up) are 700 yen, and the ones for elementary and junior high students are 300 yen.
There are also specially priced group tickets and multi-use tickets (combination Kobe Port Tower and Kobe Maritime Museum ) as well. For details please refer to the Kobe Port Tower HP.

kobe port tower

After you purchase a ticket, take the elevator on the second floor up to the observation deck. The observation area is comprised of five separate floors, and the elevator will whisk you up to the fourth floor in a mere 50 seconds.

kobe port tower

kobe port tower

On the fourth floor there's a souvenir shop. We've been told that the most popular souvenir items among our visitors from abroad are the bamboo bookmarkers (330 yen including tax) and the cute girl in kimono key holders (650 yen including tax).

kobe port tower

All levels of the observation area are connected by stairs. Now let's head up to floor five and the main observation deck.

kobe port tower

North, south, east and west. From the observation deck you can enjoy a breathtaking 360 degree panoramic view of the city. If you look north you can see the rows of skyscrapers and other buildings, and dotting the horizon not far off behind them are the Rokko Mountains. On the fifth level, points of interest and important buildings and landmarks are indicated on a picture panel and explained via an audio guide.

kobe port tower

If you look towards the south you can see the Kobe harbor, and also Kobe airport which was built atop a man made island called Port Island, which is connected to the mainland by a red colored bridge. In the far distance you can catch a glimpse of Osaka Bay and the surrounding area.

Recommended Spots In The Observation Area

kobe port tower

Our first recommendation is the Sky Lounge on the third floor. This unique cafe does one complete rotation every 20 minutes! So you can enjoy a 360 degree view without even leaving the comfort of your seat. Shall we give it a try?

kobe port tower

Our next recommendation is the Skywalk on the observation's first floor. When a person approaches, one of the floor's glass sections turns transparent, allowing visitors to see through down below. For those of you unaccustomed to such high places, this will set your heart beating.

Services Offered In Several Languages Now Available!

kobe port tower

Kobe Port Tower annually attracts up to 350,000 visitors. About 5% of that figure is comprised of visitors to Japan, with many of them coming from China and Korea. Pamphlets are provided in the English, Chinese and Korean languages.

kobe port tower

Much of the tourist information is written in both Japanese and English, and for important information and notices, Chinese and Korean are also available so that everyone can enjoy a worry free experience.

Let's Enjoy The Tower's Night Illumination!

kobe port tower
kobe port tower

When day turns to night the tower undergoes a transformation, showing off its more beautiful and elegant side to visitors, colorfully illuminated by 7040 LEDs (light-emitting diodes). The illumination's design changes with each season and there are also special versions for the different events and productions being held in the city.
When we visited, Valentine's Day was approaching and the tower was decorated with pink and red LED hearts.

Of course, by all means, head up to the observation deck and gaze out at Kobe's stunning night view, chosen as one of the top three night views in all of Japan. Different from the daytime view, a more romantic atmosphere awaits you in the evening.

kobe port tower

After you've enjoyed looking at the tower's illumination from directly down below, you can walk a little towards the west and from the wharf area near Harborland we recommend looking at the tower again, from this slightly different perspective. The red color of the tower and the white color of the Marine Museum reflecting on the surface of the water makes for an unforgettable sight.

"Kobe Port Tower, the symbol of Kobe. From any vantage point, the view of the tower's unique shape is memorable, and the inside of the tower has a retro-like feel to it, allowing visitors to have an enjoyable experience both outside and inside the tower. Please definitely come for a visit." The Kobe Port Tower staff extend a warm welcome to all of you!

The Kobe Port Tower stands serenely and elegantly, like a noble lady. After taking a photo, how about imprinting this striking image on your heart as a lasting memory of your Kobe trip?

Written by


Osawa Kumi

Kobe, Japan


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