Meriken Park in Kobe is located along the waterfront. Like many parks in Japan, its use of the word “park” might seem very liberal from a Western perspective. The grassy fields and full shade trees that come to mind from that word are not really part of the design here. Rather, it’s an open public space that doesn’t happen to have any buildings on it. Not that it’s a bad place to be – I’m just trying to set appropriate expectations.
Meriken Park is home to some of the city’s bigger tourist attractions, including the Kobe Port Tower and the Maritime Museum. There’s also a café, a large outdoor stage venue, and a memorial for the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995.
Beyond that, the reason to come to Meriken Park is for the view. It’s some prime real estate for sea-gazing, as the nearby ship port, background cityscape, and industrial shipping area offer some interesting background, and plenty of open waters to daydream in front of. There are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the waves beating against the shore. The night view is also pretty, with the lights from the Kobe Port Tower making for a beautiful night scene.