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Rokko Island River
Tiny it may be, but Rokko Island is still big enough to have its own 'river' running down its middle. In the summer it is the island's main attaction for the younger crowd, who come from all over the Kobe area to play in the water. It's all free and unsupervised, which is rare in Japan, where everything must be organized and controlled and a fee exacted.

But the kids almost lost their summertime water playland several years ago when the island's managers first noticed the growing crowds coming to the island to play in the water. Rumor has it that these bureaucrats decided that 1) the island's city charter had no rules for controlling a free, unorganized activity, 2) no one, therefore, was making any money off these kids, and 3) the river didn't have lots of chlorine and other 'safe' chemicals that would make it official swimming pool water. So they decided to chase the kids out of the river. How? By adding chemicals to the water!

Luckily, other, more market-savvy powers, realized that all those kids had parents with them and those parents had money and wouldn't it be nice if the parents spent that money in the island's shops and restaurants before they went home? Besides, some kids were still playing in the now chemical-laden water! And so the chemicals came out and the kids went back in. Final score...Kids: 1, Bureaucrats: 0.

Rokko Island River

The adults also enjoy the river, especially since we now have an espresso bar conveniently near the water selling espresso, granita, and imported microbeer!

They also sell a fine Italian style espresso roast for those with espresso machines at home.

That's the owner, Mike, standing next to the bar. He's from Hawaii, too!



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