“ROKKO MEETS ART 2023 beyond” is a contemporary art festival held every autumn on Mt. We will tell you how to efficiently and satisfactorily view the artworks of the festival, including how to get to the top of the mountain, what to wear, and recommended spots.
1. What is "ROKKO MEETS ART 2023 beyond"?
This is a contemporary art festival where visitors can enjoy art works exhibited at nine facilities on Mt. Rokko in Kobe while hiking around the area.
Since 2010, a total of more than 470 artists have participated. In 2023, for the 14th time, the event was reborn as “Rokko Meets Art 2023 beyond”. This year’s theme is “Beyond Representation”. Living in an age in which we cannot escape our close connection with a diverse world, we are asked what attitude we can adopt when we encounter different values, cultures, and methodologies. We aim to create an art festival that focuses on the works of artists who attempt to connect and coexist with society through the presentation and reinterpretation of new values, without being bound by existing values, and what lies beyond them.
Date : Sat., August 26 to Thu., November 23 (nat. hol.), 2023
Hours : 10:00-17:00 (Hours vary from venue to venue)
*Open throughout the exhibition period.
Only the Rokkosan Silence Resort will be closed on Mondays between August and October (except when Monday falls on a national holiday, in which case the museum is closed the following day).
There are two major changes from this year.
The first is a new outdoor area in the courtyard of the Rokko Musical Box Museum & Gardens MORINONE. This is a limited-time event, but the four sculptures will remain on display for three years after the exhibition ends. The Rokko Musical Box Museum & Gardens MORINONE will be open during the winter months, so visitors will be able to enjoy the works under various conditions, including snow and rain.
The second point is the creation of a new trail area, with seven artworks scattered throughout the area. The trail passes through a villa area surrounded by forest, allowing visitors to feel the atmosphere of good old Rokko Mountain.
2. Access to Mt. Rokko and Ticket Deals
Mt.Rokko is conveniently accessible from both Sannomiya, Kobe and Umeda, Osaka. Get off at either Hankyu Railway Rokko Station, JR Rokko-michi Station, or Hanshin Electric Railway Mikage Station, and take Kobe City Bus No. 16 or 106 from in front of the station to Rokko Cable Shita Station, the entrance to Mt. It takes only 10 minutes to the top of the mountain by Rokko Cable.
Passports for viewing artworks and special train tickets can be purchased at the Rokko Cable Shita Station.
If you purchase an Artwork Appreciation Passport, you can enter the four paid facilities (Rokko Musical Box Museum & Gardens MORINONE, Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden, Chapel of the Wind Area, and Trail Area) for a discount compared to purchasing tickets at each facility. Passports for viewing artworks can also be purchased at the station on the mountain. Please note that there are no single tickets for the Trail Area films, and admission is not possible except with a Passport for Artwork Viewing.
●Adult (junior high school students and older) 3,000 yen
●Child (4 years old to elementary school students) 1,200 yen
On Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from September 23 to November 23, a light-up event called “Hikari no Mori – Night Art Stroll” will be held at Rokko Musical Box Museum & Gardens MORINONE and Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden. Prices with Night Pass are different.
●Adult (junior high school students and older) 4,000 yen
●Child (4 years old to elementary school students) 1,700 yen
We also recommend the Omote-Rokko Round Trip ticket, which includes both the Rokko Cable and the Rokko Sanjo Bus. Since you will need to get on and off the bus frequently to visit each facility, buying this ticket will allow you to get on and off the bus many times without the need for coins, and the fare is very economical. The ticket can be purchased only at the Rokko Cable Station, so be careful not to forget to buy it.
●Adult (junior high school students and older) 1,500 yen
●Child (4 years old to elementary school students) 750 yen
Riku SUGAWARA’s “The neighbor has you” is on display at the Rokko Cable Lower Station. Go with plenty of time to spare and take pictures with the chimpanzees.
Rokko is located near Arima Onsen, one of Japan’s “Three Famous Hot Springs.” We recommend that you incorporate a visit to the hot springs before or after your visit to Mt. Rokko Arima Ropeway, one of the venues, is available for access.
3. How to visit facilities on Mt. Rokko
The Rokko Sanjo Bus operates between the various facilities on the mountain. Bus schedules are available at each bus stop and on the MAP distributed at the site. Some areas do not have many buses, so we recommend that you check the bus schedule and decide how long you will stay. If you have trouble figuring out bus times, please refer to the model course to get around the area.
IC cards are not accepted on the Rokko Sanjo Bus. If you are not comfortable with this, we recommend you purchase a “Rokko Sanjo Bus 1-DAY Ticket”. The ticket can be purchased at the Rokko Cable Sanjo Station.
●Adult (junior high school students and older) 500 yen
●Child (4 years old to elementary school students) 250 yen
4. Recommended Clothing and What to Bring
It is about 5 degrees cooler on top of Mt. Rokko. It is fine during the hot August to early September, but from mid-September onward, it is recommended to bring a piece of clothing that is easy to put on and take off, as the weather in the mountains is changeable.
Also, please wear shoes that are easy to walk in, such as sneakers, etc., as the trail area is on forest roads and some of the paths in the facilities are hilly or difficult to walk on. A backpack or similar bag that allows you to keep both hands open is also recommended.
5. Recommended artworks and time required for each area
(1) Rokko Cable Car (Rokko Cable Shita Station, Sanjo Station, and Tenran Observatory)
The work that greets us at the Sanjo Station is “Pierrot” “roulette” by Masaomi TODOROKI. This work makes us feel a strong sense of discomfort.
Also, don’t miss the wonderful view of the city of Kobe from Mt. Rokko seen from Tenran Observatory on top of Rokko Sanjo Station. In addition, TENRAN CAFE, which is attached to the station, offers Rokko Miso Gourmet, a thick soft-serve ice cream with Rokko Miso Caramel Sauce and Rokkosanroku Milk Jam. The crunchy nuts are a delicious accent.
Approximate viewing time: 20-30 minutes
(2) Hyogo Prefectural Mt. Rokko Visitor Center (Memorial Monument)
The works submitted to “Rokko Meets Art 2023 beyond” will be awarded on August 25, the day before the opening of the event. This year’s grand prix winner is Kaoru SOTOME’s “food landscape”. The five cows made of nets look as if they are really eating. Kaoru Gogetsujo said that visitors are encouraged to look out from behind the cows, enter the cows, and try to feel how the cows feel.
*You can get close and take pictures only when the artist is there.
Approximate viewing time: 15-20 minutes
(3) Rokkosan Silence Resort (Former Rokkosan Hotel)
The artwork is displayed in the restaurant “Sora no Dining” across the street from the main building. It is possible to enter the restaurant only to view the artworks, but since this is a special opportunity, we recommend that you dine in the space where the artworks are located.
Approximate viewing time: 10 minutes
(4) Rokko Musical Box Museum & Gardens MORINONE
“Moon Plants” by YUGO KONISHI (Tama plant s) catches the eye as soon as you enter the outdoor area of the Rokko Musical Box Museum & Gardens MORINONE. The most attractive thing about this work, which was created based on the assumption that plants were born here, is that visitors can experience the space inside themselves. We invite you to enter the space and experience it for yourself. This work is made of a material with fluorescent paint kneaded into it, so it emits light at night, making it very beautiful.
The work shown here is “Princess Dorian” by Nobuo MITSUNASHI. The stone pavement beneath the work is made of paving stones from the Hanshin Electric Railway tracks. The paving stones are scheduled to remain after the closing of the exhibition, and we look forward to seeing how the work will be utilized long after Princess Dorian is gone.
In addition to the artworks scattered throughout the museum, there are many other places to enjoy the nature of Mt. Rokko, such as hammock areas and tree houses.
Lemonade with the label “Rokko Meets Art 2023 beyond” is available at the Mori no Café in the museum. The lemonade, made with natural water from Mt. Rokko, has a refreshing taste perfect for hot days.
Approximate viewing time: 90-120 minutes
Single tickets: Adults 1,500 yen, Children 750 yen
(5) Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden
After walking a little further in the park, you will see Kazuya KITAURA’s “Picnic on Circle Circus” in the middle of the pond. The motifs are based on the three monuments associated with Mt. Rokko: the pheasant monument on the Tenran Observatory at the Sanjo station, the urinating boy in the alpine botanical garden, and the character on the signboard of the Mt. If you are a first-time visitor, look for the Pissing Little Boy in the Alpine Botanical Garden.
This is “Camouflage Print” by Mao SHIBATA. The image of a beech tree on Mt. Rokko is used as the inspiration, and the actual size of the beech leaf is printed digitally on the canvas. Mr. Shibata said he created this work to blend in with the nature of Mt. Rokko, and he is looking forward to seeing how it will look in the future as the mountain changes color.
This is “overflowing” by Miisa KATO. This work is made of about 700 highly transparent and strong water blocks. The impression changes completely depending on the weather and time of day, so it is fun to visit several times at different times. Also, observe the people and scenery reflected in the blocks.
Approximate viewing time: 60-90 minutes
Single tickets: Adults 900 yen, Children 450 yen
(6) Trail Area
The new trail area is an area where visitors can walk and view the artworks on foot. Walk from Rokko Cable Yamagami Station or from Rokko Musical Box Museum & Gardens MORINONE. Please note that there are steep slopes on the way, so please be careful if you are not confident with your legs. Although the official time estimate is 120 minutes, the minimum viewing time is 60 minutes.
Tohru NAKAZAKI’s “Sunny Day Light/Haru & Teru” is a traveling installation utilizing an old mountain villa that has remained on Mt. Rokko since prewar times, and tells the story of two people, Hal and Tell, who visited the villa as a summer retreat.
Approximate viewing time: 60-120 minutes
Single tickets: None
(7) Chapel of the Wind Area
One of the works you should not miss is Noboru TSUBAKI’s “Daisy Bell” at Tadao Ando’s “Chapel of the Wind”. The Chapel of the Wind is one of a trilogy of chapeles designed by architect Tadao Ando, along with the Chapel of Water and the Chapel of Light.
The approach to the building is nice.
A large air sculpture is installed inside the church building. Its size and the movement created by the air are overwhelming. The motif is a gorilla with daisy flowers. With this work, whose title is taken from the song “Daisy Bell,” which is believed to be the world’s first song sung by a computer, Tsubaki has presented “a fundamental question about homo sapiens running amok as a pawn of technology.
You can push past the sculptures and walk deeper and deeper into the museum.
Seven other works can be viewed at the nearby Rokkosan Art Center.
Approximate viewing time: 90-120 minutes
(8) Rokko Garden Terrace Area
The Rokko Garden Terrace area has three restaurants and one food terrace, making it a convenient base for lunch and souvenir shopping. On display on the terrace overlooking not only Kobe but also Osaka is Masayoshi TAKEDA’s “case”. It is named “case” because it is hollow inside.
Although it is not included in the passport to view artworks, the Shidare Museum, a naturalistic observatory Rokko Shidare, is also a must-visit spot.
Nature Experience Observatory Rokko Shidare “Shidare Museum”
●Adult (junior high school students and older) 1,000 yen
●Child (4 years old to elementary school students) 500 yen
Scattered throughout the area are NOSEREINA’s “PYONCOS”. She says that the discomfort and inexplicable feeling of discomfort between the photographs and the scenery, when shared with others, generates new discoveries and ideas about everyday life. Please talk with people in your neighborhood about what you find strange in the works.
Approximate viewing time: 30 minutes
(9) Rokko-Arima Ropeway Sancho Station
The Rokko-Arima Ropeway Sancho Station is about a 5-minute walk from the Rokko Garden Terrace area.
On display on the first floor is “HIRAGANA CIRCUS” by Sayaka TSUCHIYA. The concept of this work is “46 poses of hiragana characters that you can’t help but want to imitate”.
On display on the second floor is Miki WANIBUCHI’s “Beyond the FUKEI”. The concept of this work is the abstraction of landscapes, and although from a distance it looks like mere dots, up close you can feel the traces of manual work and the realism of objects. They are raising the issue that although we live in a world of convenience with the development of social networking and the Internet, they want us to look and think carefully.
Approximate viewing time: 15-20 minutes
6. Recommendations for places to eat
(1) TENRAN CAFE
This relaxing mountain-top café is located on the Tenran Observatory, just a short walk from the Rokko Cable Sanjo Station. You can enjoy a meal using local ingredients while gazing at the cityscape of Kobe and Osaka spread out below. A recommended menu item is the “Yamamitsu Curry”. This mild curry is an original curry with seasonal vegetables, and the roux is flavored with honey from the Rokko Mountains (yamamitsu).
(2) Sora no Dining (Rokkosan Silence Resort)
This dining room overlooks Osaka and Kobe. Lunch is mainly courses, and is recommended for those who can take their time. It is also open until 8:00 p.m. (last entry at 7:00 p.m.), so it can be used as a dinner after sightseeing.
(3) Mori no Cafe (Rokko Musical Box Museum & Gardens MORINONE)
Located inside the Rokko Musical Box Museum & Gardens MORINONE, this café offers semi-self-service one-plate lunches and café menu items. There is also seating outside, so it is pleasant to eat on the terrace when the weather is nice.
Other plans include a reservation plan with lunch for a private use of the park’s 360-degree transparent “SIKI Dome,” which is recommended for those who want to spend a relaxing time at the Rokko Musical Box Museum & Gardens MORINONE.
(4) Cafe Edelweiss (Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden)
There are two entrances to the Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden, and Café Edelweiss is located near the east entrance. We recommend the terrace seats overlooking the trees of the botanical garden.
(5) Rokko View Palace (Rokko Garden Terrace)
This semi-self-service restaurant offers a casual Western menu of curry rice, hamburgers, stews, and other dishes. Seats by the window overlook the cityscape of Kobe.
(6) Food Terrace (Rokko Garden Terrace)
This food court is perfect for those who are hungry for a bite to eat, offering not only udon and ramen, but also local delicacies such as Yamamitsu Curry Bread and Rokko Miso Dango. You can dine outdoors on the terrace.
(7) Rokkosan Genghis Khan Palace (Rokko Garden Terrace)
Many Japanese people probably associate Mt. Rokko with Genghis Khan. It has been a specialty of Mt. Rokko since ancient times. Enjoy the view from the mountain while eating Genghis Khan.
(8) Granite Café (Rokko Garden Terrace)
This café offers chef’s special dishes and sweets made with seasonal ingredients. The view is perfect here, too.
There are not many places to eat, so all the restaurants are crowded during lunchtime on weekends and holidays. Try to eat well by staggering your meals or using take-out.
7. Model route
Finally, for those who have trouble figuring out bus connections, or would like to go but access is a bottleneck, here is a model route on the mountain.
Rokko Cable Sanjo Station (Departure: 10:35)
Memorial Monument (10:38 arrival / 10:58 departure)
Rokko Garden Terrace (11:04 arrival / 12:55 departure)
Lunch is also available here.
Alpine Botanical Garden (12:57 arrival / 13:17 departure)
Museum mae (13:18 arrival / 14:58 departure)
For those who are tired, we recommend spending a relaxing time at the Café or in a hammock.
Rokko Cable Sanjo Station (15:00 arrival)
Rokko Meets Art is an autumn-only event that can be enjoyed along with the beautiful nature of Mt. The artwork changes every year, so be sure to visit this annual autumn event.