In Hyogo, there are many spots that are for families with kids too. We are going to recommend a 1 night & 2 days travel itinerary to visit rich-in-nature Awaji Island and a zoo and an aquarium in Kobe City. Let’s make a good use of rental-car, and visit 5 spots efficiently.
<Get to Awaji Island by “Awaji Kanku line” from Kansai International Airport〉
It is one idea to rent a cat and drive to Awaji Island, but we don’t want to you get tired after 2 hours’ drive before going to have fun on the island. Instead, how about using “Awaji Kanku line” (access: get on a bus at Kansai International Airport to the port to the landing port ⇒ get to Sumoto Port on the island by a ship) so that you will be able to save your energy? If you get on a bus from Kansai International Airport at 10:00, you will be at Sumoto Port by 11:15.
|Address||1st floor Sumoto Port Terminal bldg.., 1-11-1 Kaigan-dori, Sumoto City, Hyogo|
|One-way Fare||¥2,800 for an adult/¥1,400 for a child|
① England Hill 12:00-
〈Rent a car at Sumoto Port on Awaji Island. Access ① by the car〉
Being surrounded by rich ocean and warm temperature, Awaji Island has abundant nature and therefore is a treasure box of specialties such as Awaji Beef, onions and seafood. “England Hill” is a farm-themed facility where you can experience the condensed charms of the island at one place. Here, you can taste a wide variety of local specialties including sweets made with milk of island cows, Awaji onions grown in the island, and “Island onion steak burger” with Awaji Beef patty. What’s more, you can also try a farm experience. In the greenhouse in the park where strawberries, tomatoes (not in summer), daikon radish, spinach and carrots are grown, try out seasonal fruits and vegetables picking with your child in a casual setting. There are so many to choose from, so adults might get hooked by the fun sooner than children!? Check out activity schedule on their official website in advance.
|Address||1401 Yagiyogikami, Minami-Awaji City, Hyogo|
|Hours||Check details on the website listed below|
②Uzushio Cruise 14:00-
〈Access from ①: Travel by the rental-car〉
Next, let’s get on an Uzushio Cruise and watch dynamic whirlpools from a ship. The natural phenomena of the whirlpools in the Naruto Straits are formed by the difference of high and low tides of the Pacific Ocean and the Seto Inland Sea. The tides collide with each other at the Naruto Straits. During the flood-tide in spring and fall, the diameters of the whirlpools become as large as 20m, which makes it the largest in the world! From the ship, you should be able to see many whirlpools both big and small come and go, so don’t miss them out. There are 2 ships named Kanrinmaru and Nihonmaru running for the tide-watch, and they will take you to an hour long cruise trip. Since the ships are big, they do not shake too much, which makes this a fun activity for kids too.
|Address||Nanairo-kan in Uzushio Dome, Awaji City, Hyogo|
|Hours||Check details on the website listed below|
③Nijigen no Mori 17:00-
〈Access from ②：Drive the rental-car〉
“Nijigen no Mori” is located in “Hyogo Prefectural Awaji Island Park” at the Northern part of the island. Opened in July 2017, this is a new spot where you can experience anime, manga and game themed world in the nature.
Depending on time of visit, there are multiple ways to enjoy the park. During a day between 10:00 and 17:00, you can have fun with attractions such as a huge athletic playground and a zip line course that will let you move your body in the nature and also might make you scream at times. In the evening after 18:00 when the woods start to get dark, beautifulｌｙ and magicalｌｙ made two-dimensional world then appears! The attraction is a combination of the latest technology and the new ways of expressions. Purchase a ticket for each attraction.
|Address||924-1 Iwaya, Awaji City, Hyogo|
＜Lodge for the night in Awaji Island＞
After having lots of fun at Nijigen no Mori until late, let’s return the car that you rented at Sumoto Port and get a good rest at a nearby accommodation.
＜Day 2; Get to Kobe City on a bus from Awaji Island＞
From Sumoto Port to Kobe City, you can take a bus. There are 1 to 2 busses running every hour, so check out a bus stop and departure time. If you get on a bus at 9:00, you will arrive at Maiko station by the foot of Akashi Straits Suspension Bridge (Akashi Kaikyo Ohashi) by around 10:00. From there, get to the next destination on a train.
|Address||2-43 Minato, Sumoto City, Hyogo|
④Suma Aqualife Park in Kobe 10:30-
〈Access: Get to “Suma-kaihin-koen station” from “Maiko station” by JR (Traveling time: about 10 mins/Walk for 5 minutes from “Suma-kaihin-koen station”〉
Suma Aqualife Park in Kobe is located by the ocean where you can feel sea breeze. At the facility that celebrated its 60 years anniversary in 2017, there are nearly 600 species and 13,000 animals including dolphins, penguins, sea otters and seals. If you can make to the popular dolphin show, don’t miss it out. Enjoy their dynamic and unique performance.
|Address||1-3-5 Wakamiya-cho, Suma-ku, Kobe City, Hyogo|
|Closed||Refer to the website|
⑤Kobe Animal Kingdom 14：00－
〈Access from ④: Get to “Sannomiya station” from “Suma-kaihin-koen station” by JR, and walk to “Port Liner Sannomiya station” from there (Traveling time: 20 mins) Get to “K Computer Mae station” from “Port Liner Sannomiya station” (Traveling time: 15 mins)〉
Another must-go destination in Kobe; “Kobe Animal Kingdom”. The theme of the park is interactions with animals and beautiful flowers. Though animals are usually kept in cages at many zoos, here, many of them can run free in areas spotted around the park. Kids will be surprised to see how close they can get to the animals! In addition, you can also enjoy animal shows and sceneries with flowers hung from a ceiling as if water running out of a shower head.
|Address||7-1-9 Minatojimaminamimachi, Chuo-ku, Kobe City, Hyogo|
|Business Hours||10:00-17:00 * may change seasonally|
After enjoying playing with the animals, let’s go back to JR Sannomiya station and have dinner. Then, if you get on a train around 18:30, you will be able to go back to Kansai International Airport by around 20:00.
This is one of a few locations in Japan that has so much to offer for families with kids!
Please do make a plan and go have a fun trip!