Kobe is surrounded by the magnificent Mount Rokko and houses over 1.5 million residents. This port city is situated right off Osaka Bay. Soak your stress away at a traditional Japanese onsen, taste the finest sake, and indulge in delectable Kobe beef.
Visit the Shu-shin-kan Brewery to learn about the origins of Fukuju sake, with knowledgeable sommeliers as tour guides.
Kobe beef is pricey on the pocket but when these thin slivers of premium cut beef are sizzling with garlic, your taste buds will be too busy enjoying to care.
Head up to the top of Mount Rokko where the trails are picturesque, lined with trees, and there are natural monuments like the Rokko-Shidare Observatory.
Kobe's Maritime Museum, Fashion Museum, and City Museum catalog the city's East-meets-West history and more.
Check out the Kobe Port Tower for panoramic, 360-degree views of the city and Mount Rokko. Relax in the tower's rotating cafe and then head to Kobe Jain Temple, located in the Kitano-Cho area.
Right in the heart of Kobe's port district is this entertainment and shopping extravaganza. With shops that vary from high end to affordable chic, there will be something for everyone. If shopping isn't really your thing, be sure to check out the manga and anime museums, take a spin on the ferris wheel or head to Renga Soko, a collection of 19th-century brick warehouses.
Perfect for a day trip or short getaway, this sleepy little hamlet just outside of Kobe will give you ample opportunities to soak in warm natural hot springs. The town has cute, winding roads reminiscent almost of medieval Europe and is also the home to a small hot spring museum, as well as many shrines and temples to explore. Come to enjoy the romantic atmosphere or enjoy a fun girls' weekend.
Covered in grassy lawns for lounging and modern art installations, there's plenty to admire. This is also home to the Kobe Port Tower, a unique red steel structure that has become a symbol of Kobe's Port. With 180-degree views of the city from it's observation deck, it's well worth the visit. At the park you'll also find a memorial for the many victims of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake.
This is the tallest peak in the Rokko mountain range and is also the beautiful backdrop to the city. If you're looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle and city lights, than Mount Rokko is the perfect stop. Along with serene pathways and beautiful views, it's also home to a botanical garden, a music box museum, Japan's first golf course and other grassy areas for relaxation. Although quieter, you're not fully cut off from civilization - as you'll find many restaurants and shops as well.
While Japan has many architectural feats, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is certainly one of the most impressive. Coming in at 1.237 mi, it is the longest suspension bridge in the world. Finished in 1998, it has remained not only a sight to admire, but also comes in as one of the busiest bridges in the world with around 23,000 cars passing over it every day.
Kobe is warm and temperate, averaging 60 degrees. There is a lot of rainfall throughout the year, with December being the driest month. Pack your galoshes if you're traveling in June.
Kobe Airport (UKB) is six miles from the city center. Kansai International Airport (KIX) is 43.5 miles from Kobe. From Kobe Airport, ride the Port Liner Light Rail to Kobe-Sannomiya Station for ¥330. From Kansai International to Sannomiya, take the Airport Limousine bus, which costs ¥1,980 one way.
Trains from Osaka, Tokyo, and Kyoto arrive at Sannomiya station via Japan Railways or the high-speed shinkansen service at Shin-Kobe station, a mile north of Sannomiya. Trips cost between ¥310-600.
Use Nippon Rent-A-Car services to travel from Osaka or Tokyo (on the Tomei and then Meishin Expressways) for ¥7000 for 12 hours. Highway tolls are approximately ¥11,000.
If you're traveling from Osaka or Tokyo to Kobe by bus, you can rely on various express services. Trips take around 9-10 hours and can cost anywhere from ¥5,000-9,100.
For luxury, try Hotel La Suite Kobe Harborland, or book a stay at Hotel Monterey Kobe. Kobe Motomachi Tokyu REI Hotel, a boutique hotel, is a comfortable mid-range option.
Nankinmachi - Kobe's Chinatown, which is always bustling with activities, people, and wafting smells of Chinese food with a Japanese twist.
Kitano-cho - the Kitano-cho district was home to many merchants and diplomats during the 19th century. Their mansions, Ijinkan, are today converted into museums that are worth a visit.
Kyu-kyoryuchi - foreign consulates and high fashion brands like Gucci and Versace are housed in this trendy district.
Public transport includes subway, light rail, and bus. There are one-day passes available if you want to explore, at ¥1000 for adults and ¥500 for children.
Get around by taxi, with fares starting at a flat rate of ¥650; it is ¥518 per mile thereafter.
Rent a car to get around in Kobe with Times Car Rental for ¥5,126 for 12 hours.
Begin at Sannomiya and check out the Kobe Sannomiya Center Gai Shopping Street. Or visit umie MOSAIC, with its restaurants, a shopping market, and harbor cruises. Luxury fashion brands live in Kyu-kyoryuchi.
In Kobe, a quart of milk costs ¥180 and a dozen eggs costs ¥223.
Enjoy Japanese-style Chinese cuisine at Gaen Shuga Chinese Restaurant for ¥1,000. Try Kobe beef at Kobe Beef Steak Ishida Kitanozaka, from ¥11,000.