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Hyogo

Kobe

Port city with vibrant culture and wagyu beef heritage

About Kobe

Things to do in Kobe

Dining

Meriken Hatoba - Kobe Beef

Meriken Hatoba - Kobe Beef

If you’re going to Kobe, then you’re going to be trying the world-famous Kobe beef. That’s a given. The harder question becomes: where? Covering the region are restaurants brightly advertising the city’s specialty, with a wide..

Sake Classification

Sake Classification

Sake is classified according to the amount of the rice grain that has been polished away - the rice polishing ratio. Sake with a lower ratio (more of the grain has been polished away) is considered more premium and tends to be more expensive. This is..

Arima's Teppo Water Cider

Arima's Teppo Water Cider

Arima Onsen is one of Japan’s three oldest onsen towns, famous for its gold and silver bathing water. Equally famous is the resort town’s signature drink, Arima Teppo Water Cider. Stocked in chilled cabinets and shops all over the town..

Places to stay

Hotel Pearl City Kobe

Hotel Pearl City Kobe

Built on Port Island and very close to Kobe Airport, Hotel Pearl City Kobe is a place where making the guest feel comfortable is top priority. Opening back in 1991 as the first hotel of HMI Hotel Group's now nationwide range of hotels, ..

Seaside Hotel Maiko Villa Kobe

Seaside Hotel Maiko Villa Kobe

It was just a coincidence that we chose this hotel to stay for one night before going to Tokushima. The reason was simple, it was located at the foot of Great Akashi Strait Bridge where we would take a highway bus bound for Tokushima station. At firs..

Hotel Maiko Villa Kobe

Hotel Maiko Villa Kobe

On the way to Tokushima, we stopped over at the foot of the Great Akashi Strait Bridge in Maiko, Kobe, and stayed for the night there to enjoy the view of the beautiful bridge. Although we chose the hotel just because it was still available (we made ..

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Kobe Port Tower

Kobe Port Tower

The Kobe Port Tower is a widely-known landmark of Kobe City, in Hyogo Precture. The tall, red structure set beside the seashore functions both as a welcome mark to incoming visitors, and also serves as a domestic symbol of Kobe. The tower is 108 mete..

Meriken Park - Kobe

Meriken Park - Kobe

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..

Flower Kingdom in Kobe

Flower Kingdom in Kobe

A visit to the Kobe Animal Kingdom was by a friend’s recommendation. Looking through the leaflet, I was interested in its interior, richly decorated with flowers that were hung upside down. So, I wanted to see the place very much. My expectati..

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About Kobe

Kobe is the fifth largest city in Japan and the capitol of Hyogo Prefecture. Its long history as a port city, concentration of multi-national companies, and reputation as a cosmopolitan city make it a popular tourist destination in the Kansai Region. Kobe is bordered by Osaka Bay to the south and Mount Rokko to the north. Kobe's concentration of history, culture, natural beauty, and its world famous beef make it a worthwhile stop on any trip through Kansai.

Kobe was one of the first cities to open up to the West after Japan's long history of isolationism. The result is a city that is especially foreign-friendly to this day and one that is proud of its Kitano neighborhood, which retains a historical feel and a number of mansions built by rich foreign merchants in the nineteenth century. Kitano tends to be more popular with Asian and Japanese tourists, but the great atmosphere in this historic neighborhood at the base of Mount Rokko should really be experienced by all.

Kobe is one of only a handful of Japanese cities with international name recognition, thanks almost entirely to Kobe beef. This wagyu beef, famous for its marbled meat and fat, is considered one of the best in the world. Many restaurants that claim to sell Kobe beef outside of Japan are in fact selling "Kobe-style" beef and not the real thing. Authentic Kobe beef comes from the Tajima region of northern Hyogo but gets its name from its historical popularity in Kobe. A trip through Kobe isn't complete without a premium Kobe steak.

Kobe's other culinary treat is located in Nada, a ward of Kobe, which has been famous for hundreds of years as one of Japan's best sake producers. Age-old tradition, ideal weather conditions, and Kobe's famous spring water create a winning combination for superior sake. There are many local breweries in eastern Nada that explain their brewing techniques to the public and offer free sake tastings. Also in Nada is the Kobe Oji Zoo, known throughout the region for its resident pandas.

Just west of Nada you can find the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art. The museum has many valuable works, not least of which is the museum itself, built by famed Japanese architect, Tadao Ando. One of Ando's biggest accomplishments was in assisting with the reconstruction of Kobe after the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake that resulted in 6,434 deaths (two-thirds of which were in Kobe) and ¥10 trillion in damage. The Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum is adjacent to the Museum of Art and is worth a visit to better understand this tragic event.

For those looking to enjoy nature, Mount Rokko (actually a range of mountains) offers endless options for hiking and scenic views. The view of Kobe at night from atop Mount Rokko is considered one of the best in Japan. Various parks, gardens, and tourist spots exist on and around Mount Rokko. On the opposite side of the mountain from Kobe is Arima Onsen, one of the oldest and most famous hot springs in Japan.

Sannomiya Station, the main station in downtown Kobe, is surrounded by shopping and business high rises. Sentaa-gai, or Center Street, is a popular covered shopping street that starts just south of Sannomiya Station and runs west into the Motomachi district. Motomachi is another popular shopping area, anchored by the Daimaru Department Store. Across the street from Daimaru is Nankinmachi, Kobe's Chinatown, and one of three Chinatowns in Japan. It employs a good amount of brightly-colored, Chinese decorations and architectural elements and is definitely worth a walk-through.

Kobe's most popular seasonal festivity is a dazzling winter illumination called Kobe Luminarie that covers the city in lights. Originally created in 1995 after the Great Hanshin Earthquake, the street connecting Motomachi to Sannomiya is decorated with millions of twinkling bulbs each year in remembrance of the victims of the disaster.

One of Kobe's most often photographed areas is Harborland, home to a Ferris wheel, a number of seaside shopping centers, the Oriental Hotel, Hotel Okura, and Kobe Port Tower. Harborland is the perfect spot to take in summer fireworks.

On the western edge of Kobe is the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, which links the city to Awaji Island and on to Shikoku. The bridge has the longest central span of any suspension bridge in the world and is lit up in various colors at night.

East of Kobe, about halfway between Kobe and Osaka, is the town of Nishinomiya, the location of Koshien Stadium, home to the Hanshin Tigers baseball team. The Tigers are famous for their die-hard fans and their inability to turn good seasons into championships. While the Orix Buffaloes spend some of their time playing in Kobe, the vast majority of people in the region are Hanshin fans.

Kobe, not unlike Hyogo Prefecture, is a city that really has a little bit of everything. It's a great place to take in some wonderful sights, do some world-class shopping, or eat a great meal.

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