Thursday, January 19, 2012

Kobe Airport on the water

Kobe Airport, “Marine Air”,  is an artificial airport island off the coast of downtown Kobe, or to be exact, off the south coast of another man-made Port Island.  It opened on February 16, 2006, after long considerable controversy.  (See “History” from the Wikipedia)   It is run by Kobe City. 

North side view from the airport deck: high rises of Port Island and downtown Kobe 
with the backdrop of the Rokko mountain ranges

As you see, Kobe is a narrow strip of land sandwiched between the mountains and the sea.

Kobe SkyBridge connecting Port Island and Kobe Airport island

Kobe Airport was constructed by the same engineering used at Kansai International Airport (KIX), which was given “Civil Engineering Monument of the Millennium” award.   Since the Island of KIX is sinking little by little, it is regularly jacked up, being supported by the cutting-edge technology with constant technological innovations.  (Read here.)  Lessons learned at Kansai Airport was applied to Kobe Airport.  The problem of sinking into the sea is fixed,  while the problem of sinking into debts must be solved sooner.

South-east view: from Nishinomiya City to Osaka City of Hanshin Industrial areas

South-west view: the Seto Inland Sea

This sort of scenery above makes up for something missing at the mechanical high tech facilities.

Kobe Airport offers only domestic flights to Haneda, Sapporo, Kumamoto, Nagasaki, Okinawa, etc. by All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Skymark Airlines.  Japan Air Lines (JAL) completely withdrew from Kobe Airport in 2010 for its reconstruction.  Jet-foil boats connect Kobe Airport with Kansai Airport for international flights.

An airplane started moving along the runway. 

 The sound of the engines gets louder.

It's always exciting to watch take-off to flying into the air.


This is the scenery I saw from the Port Liner on my way back.  Though Kobe is a busy and big indsutrial and commercial city, it still retains a small town feel with a singular flavor, style, and pace.  It's a livable city with both the mountains and the sea near at hand.

View from Nunobiki Herb Garden at twilight:
Port Island, Kobe Airport, and Osaka Bay to Key Peninshula on the opposite 

January 17th was the 17th anniversary of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. 


  1. You have made a very artistic post from this technological subject. I like the final picture with all the lights, and the romantic atmosphere when the plane takes off against the sea. And I specially like the bright red of the cranes on the water.

    There is talk of having an airport on an artificial island in London. I hadn't thought about the necesssity to constantly maintain the island.

    An interesting post - thank you.

  2. Co to jeszcze człowiek nie wymyśli, żeby sobie życie ułatwić. Ciekawy post i bardzo ładne zdjęcia. Pozdrawiam.

  3. Fantastic post, I didn-t know about this. My husband is Japanese so I will show these pictures to him. I am Sicilian but grew up in New York. I am following you!

  4. Hi,Stardust.


  5. Your last sentence also reminds me of more recent quakes and how fragile life can be, as we build industrial sites, bridges and beautiful islands amid rising waters. Mankind has the urge to expand and it has been doing so throughout time … but even in ancient Venice sinking is of concern. If we are healthy and well enough to be awe-inspired by nature and in our own creations we are fortunate, indeed. I, too, love the atmosphere of your sky captures as passengers lift off in a manmade artifact that soars above it all like a bird. Sounds as if this was a very interesting trip for you, stardust, and that you enjoyed your journey!

  6. Hi
    Very nice pictures! Love the series! It seems to be a busy trading city!
    I like to watch planes start as well, they seem to take off so effortless! And then I always wonder where they are heading to!
    Have a nice weekend..
    Yvonne & Raphael

  7. Hello Yoko:
    What amazing photography! You really have captured the most magical images here.

    Kobe is indeed very striking as it sits between mountains and the sea. It is clearly a fantastic technological achievement that the airport could be built there at all. The wonders of modern science and engineering never fail to surprise us.

    There is much debate in England currently about an airport on an island in the Thames rather than developing Heathrow. maybe they have Kobe in mind as the blueprint?

  8. Those last shots are so beautiful! It's always exciting to land on a small island so near the water.

  9. The shots are lovely Yoko. Beautiful vieuws.
    gr. Marijke

  10. It was such a brave and daring thing to do at the time. Now that lessons have been learned, others will follow suit.
    Very nicely explained.

  11. Airports are wonderful places to visit. One of my greatest joys is to feel a plane lift off the ground. I really like that! I love the shots you took from the air.

  12. It's an impressive place and your photos (especially last one) are gorgeous! You can't even imagine how much I would love to land on this airport one day!

  13. Thank you Yoko for all these photos from Kobe, it is exactly as I remember it! I even recognize some landmarks such as the bridge of course and the various buildings on your last shot! The runway reminds me also of the old Kai-Tak airport in Hong-Kong, it was fascinating landing there as every time you had the feeling of landing into someone's home!
    Well, today you took me along Memory Lane! :)

  14. A very interesting post. I did not know about this. Your photographs are great.

  15. It amazes me what engineers can do--building an island--what next! Love the shots of the plane taking off. Beautiful view of Kobe at twilight. Have a lovely weekend. Mickie :)

  16. Very different from many of your recent posts but still beautifully photographed. Although I have no plans to add to my carbon footprint by taking to the air I nevertheless feel the magnetic attraction of far-off places, which is summed up by your words and photographs.

  17. スケールの大きなポストを楽しく読みました。以前六甲から見た神戸空港は飛行機が一機も見えなくて寂しかった覚えがあります。

  18. 大好きな街の蒼い山並み、淡路島を背に穏やかな海を行く船、昔と変わらない神戸を見せて頂けて感激です。光る海に飛び立つ飛行機は、震災を希望で乗り越えた若者の後姿のようで、エールをおくりたいです。明るい神戸の街をありがとう!

  19. It's good idea that jet-foil boats connect Kobe airport with kansai airport for International flights. But a little bit inconvenient. So how will Itami airport become?
    The view from Nunobiki is gorgeous. I was enjoying the night view of Kobe on my way back home from Shikoku.

  20. Beautiful place and sky. The place has good atmosphere
    The location is good because neighbors are annoyed by noises if the airport is located in near to the city.
    Meanwhile Haneda airport is expanding the area to the sea.

  21. Hay mucha niebla en el horizonte, qué pena, ven a Extremadura... aquí el horizonte es inmenso y visible!! Bss

  22. Thank you, Yoko, for your visit to our blogs!

    This is another series of spectacular photographs. And what an interesting commentary! You've made me want to visit Kobe and the airport and Osaka Bay and Key Peninsula!

    The sinking thing bothers me and also it sounds like there may be a problem with funding for such an endeavor as the airport...

    Maybe in the future they will be flying pontoon planes into Kobe?

  23. °º✿
    º° ✿ ✿⊱╮
    Fotografias lindas.
    Bom fim de semana!
    º° ✿ ✿⊱╮

  24. lo contrapuesto de los paisajes ,tienen singular belleza
    se ve que hay mucha tecnologia,pero me quedo con la naturaleza,y el vuelo de un ave
    un abrazo desde la patagonia

  25. Thank you for the informative chat about the airport in Kobe. The photos are interesting evidence of the airport. Beautiful shots of the aircraft and its launch, nice scenery. Thank you for your comment on my blog. We wish you a great weekend, Peter.

  26. Sarah - Originally I was against the idea of Kobe Airport, but now that it has been operating about 5 years, I would like it to be competent airport to satisfy people and businesses. To think about noise pollution and safety of the townspeople, isolated island airport is much better. I hear Itami Airport has spent so much on environmental measures. Osaka governor (now Osaka City mayor), Mr. Hashimoto, suggested closing down of Itami Airport relocating all flights to KIX a few years ago. According to him, the land of Itami Airport could be used for another purpose, for example, creating an international campus where international schools and universities would be located. To think of the safety of the neighboring towns, noise pollution, and the effective reuse of the land of Itami Airport, I understand his opinion. I’d like to know what’s going on about it but it is not reported recently.

  27. Yoko-san
    Thank you for the beautiful post about Kobe Airport. I had no idea Kobe had an airport. Last time I was in the city I was attending University in Tokyo and was visiting relatives there. I have found memory of the city. If they had the airport back then it would have been a very short trip..

  28. It looks like a beautiful city, with both the sea and the mountains. Your photos are certainly excellent and capture many different aspects of the city. We've got the mountains here, but there's no sea for 1,500 km in any direction!

  29. Like you say, it’s a relief to know there’re still beautiful seascapes seen from mechanical high tech man-made facility to make up for something missing. So beautiful.
    To see aircrafts lifting and soaring into the sky stirs up the longing inside of me to explore the unfamiliar worlds.

  30. Your post was lovely and informative, Yoko, as was the link about the measures taken against unequal settlement of the Island of KIX. It's amazing how new technology is thought up to solve problems created from the results of an older technology and the wants and needs of people.

  31. Your photographs at the sky and the aircraft in the air are lovely. You made this difficult subject come alive. I enjoyed reading your post.

  32. Oh my...what a great set of photos you have got here!

  33. My dear friend Yoko, hi
    Amazing photos of the airport, by the sea!
    And your sunset, so romantic!!!
    In Greece islands, all the airports, are by the sea.
    I wish you, never again eartquake!
    Best regards and many kisses

  34. Hi! Here I come from Norway. Thank you for commenting my blogpost I gave you an answer there but don't know if you get it.
    Now I learned in your blog that you live in Kobe.
    What wonderful photos you have! Are you a professional photographer?

  35. So much to learn from your post. Thank you.

  36. Hi!
    Beautiful pictures of your town.
    I like the high mountain.

    Have a nice day.

  37. Eldbjorg – Thank you for this notice. I’ll try to return your blog after commenting. And, thanks for the too kind words, I feel so flattered. Of course, I’m not a pro. I’ll visit you and talk to you more shortly.

  38. Hi Yoko!
    Thank you for your comment at my blog. I appreciate your feedback about my try to wrote in english. :)
    Yoko is a nice name.
    Wish you a nice day.

  39. A fascinating and informative post. Your photos are dramatic and quite amazing. Hope you are well. xo

  40. Hello Yoko :) Thanks for your nice comment on my blog. I have been away from the internet for a week now, as my computer has been away for repair, and I have also been busy. Will return to my blog now soon.

    Your post is interesting, and what a fabulous series of photos. Love the sky and the mountains, so beautiful.

    Hope you are fine!
    Greetings :)

  41. Hi Yoko san,
    Great entry. I could study a lot about Kobe airport that I have never used so far.
    I remember Great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake. I used to live in Nara Prefecture then...
    Have a wonderful day,

  42. My dear friend Yoko, hi
    Many thanks for so kind words!
    We have winter, but a little...
    In the mountains there is snow.My home is near the sea, and the weather is soft!
    Many greetings
    A hug

  43. Hello, Yoko! I finally started a blog in Japanese following your suggestion :) Just wanted to let you know.

  44. An astounding piece of engineering. Looks magnificient when the plane takes off.
    The pics are truly well captured, gives a good tour of the place.
    Hope you are having a wonderful week Yoko:)

  45. Your photos are stunningly beautiful! I've heard from my sister that it is now very convenient to fly to Okinawa from the airport.

    こんなにステキな空港、私、思うのですが、国際空港のお話があったとき、みんな反対したけど、海を埋め立てて造るのであれば、いっそのこと国際空港にしてほしかったって。そう思われません? 関空、神戸から遠くて不便だし。問題は毎年出る多大な赤字ですね。私、神戸市に納税しているから、赤字の件は気になります。神戸市はもっとしっかりしたヴィジョンを持って空港を発展させてほしいですね。がんばれ!神戸!

  46. I really appreciate the comment from each of you, Friends. I tend to overflow my thoughts and emotions in my writing, so I let the photos speak instead this time. These are my love and cheers for Kobe which resurrected from the debris of the Earthquake 17 years ago. Sorry for not responding individually.

    Y.Ikeda - Please fly to Kobe next time. It takes only 12 minutes to Sannomiya from Kobe Airport and additional 30 minutes to Osaka - very convenient.

    Sapphire - 私も同感です。国際的な港町、神戸ですから、税関、検疫などの施設も完備しているのですが、これらは国の機関である一方、神戸空港は市営であるいう縦割りから難しさもあるようですね。でも、それは経営がうまくいけば協議できることなのではと思います。 関空・伊丹の統合で神戸空港はどうなっていくのでしょう。 神戸空港の存在をご存じない方も多いようですよ。 神戸市に経営を頑張ってもらうと同時に私たちも口コミで広げていきましょう。 利用者数が増えると、次に進めると信じて。

  47. I dream of going to Japan again. Soon I hope.

  48. I went to Kobe by train. I remember the little glass museum, where it was beautifull glass beads, even from Swuiss artistes I know verywell. The walk along the sea, and, the pictures of the tsunami few years ago. the Chinatown....

    hello from Lausanne.


Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. I will visit your blog shortly. Have a nice day!