Thursday, June 3, 2010

Venus Bridge

Venus Bridge

Walk up from Sannomiya station in Kobe towards the Rokko mountainside to the northwest. On the way you'll find Ikuta shrine, a sometime popular place for wedding ceremonies. The city center ends here, and as you walk further the office buildings will give way to a residential area with apartment blocks and single homes.

Ikuta Shrine

Ikuta shrine recently became a very popular site for weddings when singer and talent Norika Fujiwara got married there in 2007. Alas, fortune is fleeting; she divorced again in 2009 and the shrine is now rumoured to be bad luck for weddings. I'm sure they'll weather it, but the wedding ceremony windfall is probably over.


Greengrocer in Nakayamate. The north-south streets here give you the forested mountainside towards one end and the Seto inland sea on the other.

Right up against the mountain lies a park of sorts by the name of Suwayama. The park is right on the steep forested mountainside with footpaths and stairs, playgrounds and a temple. The paths are dotted with warnings not to approach wild boars. Near the top is a curved, meandering foot bridge called "Venus Bridge" that leads up to the summit, with a spectacular view of Kobe. It's a favourite setting for TV dramas; you can't have a murder mystery here that does not end with the villain and the hero detective|taxi driver|pathologist|undertaker confronting each other at the top of a waterfall, high bridge, rooftop, ocean cliff or some place like that. The go-to place in Kobe is Venus Bridge, so if you watch TV dramas here you've probably seen it a few times already.

Venus Bridge

Venus Bridge.

Venus Bridge

Many a fictional villain has explained everything to the hero right on this spot before they're led off into a waiting police car. It's a beautiful place.

The name "Venus Bridge" honours an astronomical observation of Venus during the Meji era. It's a popular place for dating, with the beautiful, romantic night-time view of the city. But dating or not, it's a pleasant walk from the city center to the mountainside, up through the park and on to the bridge. There's a (fairly expensive) European-style restaurant at the top if you fancy eating something, and there's taxis and a bus line on the weekends if you don't want to return back down on foot.


Kobe from Venus Bridge. You can see Port Tower toward the right-hand side.

Lock of Love

Lovers hang padlocks on this statue thingy at the top of Venus Bridge. They write a message, lock it then throw away the key. Those steel wires are unhooked from time to time to clear out the locks. Some couples don't use the statue though; you can see padlocks hanging here and there all over the bridge and around the park. Bolt cutters are probably standard equipment for the park maintainers. It's a cute tradition.

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