Kobe Harborland is a main draw for many tourists passing through the city. It offers some magnificent views of the Kobe skyline, large shopping malls and a number of amusement opportunities. Tucked away just behind the Kobe Tower is a small bouldering gym called Rock Garden, worth a visit if you’re in need of some exercise as you’re passing through or if you happen to live in Kobe area and are looking to work on those climbing skills.
In terms of amenities the hall has changing rooms, key lockers and good showers. You’ll be able to rent shoes if you need them and there is a small supply of climbing equipment that can be purchased if you need it (clothes, shoes, chalk etc.). Climbing will require an initial registration fee of JPY 1,200 (you’ll receive a membership card) and then a day ticket (JPY 1,600 and JPY 2,000 on the weekend). There is a special Men’s Day every Monday and Ladies Day every Thursday where the price is reduced to JPY 1,300.
The bouldering consists of two areas: the first on the ground floor which features 4 vertical walls and one steep overhanging wall. The second section is upstairs and is purely roof climbing, so much so, that you’ll need to crouch as you make your way to the problems. Both areas are well protected with thick mats.
The problems have a good scale from easy to difficult, denoted by colored tape. The route setting is fantastic and the hard problems are particularly awesome to try and to watch. The routes are changed regularly, usually on a monthly cycle ensuring plenty variety to keep you busy.
Unfortunately, the hall itself looks a little unimpressive at first glance: a little run-down, not the cleanest and with very little space to stretch or wait between problems. This is not one of those glamorous newly built gyms, but rather a much grittier locale. The finger board is also badly placed, making it almost impossible to train on and the lack of warm-up and warm-down space will also put some people off. However, if you can look past the optics and the cramped spacing you’ll find some really good climbing at good value to keep you occupied.