Best Things To Do and See In Kobe, Japan
Kobe is considered one of the most attractive cities that Japan has to offer. Its cosmopolitan feel can be easily experienced due to the place being considerably small in size. This means that most of its main sights and activities can be reached easily, even via walking from the leading train stations.
Some of the most ideals neighborhoods to visit in Kobe include the Kitano-cho, the busy area of Sannomiya Station and the Nankinmachi Chinatown among others.
Most parts of the city have been broken by the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995 but majority of it has already seen construction. This then leads to the rounding up of the best things to do and see around Kobe.
What To See
Kobe has a lot of museums, parks and other outdoor destinations to offer to its very local and tourist visitor. This range of attractions start off with the Western designed houses that date back in 1868 with Ijinkan topping the list.
There are also several parks to tour around like the Meriken Park, Fruit Flower Park, Sorakuen Garden, Nunobiki Herb Park and even the City Hall Observation Deck which renders a pleasant bay and mountain view of the city. Other outdoor fanatics may need to drop by the Kobe Municipal Arboretum that houses about 1,200 species of plants, trees and flowers from almost every part of the world.
For traveling families to Kobe, the Oji Zoo is another must-see place as it serves as home to about 850 animals. It even comes with a tiny amusement park that offer rides within it for the kids.
In the category of temples and shrines, the Nagata Jinja Shrine and the Sumadera Temple are two of the most popular ones to check out. A ritual called Tsuinashiki was popularized in the Nagata Jinja Shrine while the Sumadera Temple has gained its fame in the world of Japanese literature and drama.
Kobe never runs out of museums. The Kobe Fashion Museum, as how it is called, is the first ever museum in the country that is devoted to fashion. It even houses a library on the third floor of the museum building. Other notable museums to unravel include the Sawa-no-Tsuru museum, the Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum and the Kobe City Museum that bears artifacts which help in remembering the ancient history and roots of the Japanese city.
What To Do
No other night time adventure can be more romantic than visiting Mt. Rokko and the Rock Garden through a convenient and safe cable car ride while enjoying the excellent views.
The Nunobiki Falls only takes about 15 minutes to walk from the Shin Kobe station and up to Mt. Rokko. It is idyllic to see one of the most valuable waterfalls of the country during daytime, either morning or afternoon.
For travelers to Kobe around the month of October, do not ignore the chance of witnessing the Kobe Jazz Street event held in different bars and hotels in the city that concentrate on the jazz genre.
On the other hand, the month of December is about the Kobe Luminarie which is recognized to be the most amazing lights display in the entire country. Such luminaries started in 1995 right after the earthquake devastation got the better of the city. Each light display represents one single life that was lost during the tragic event.
Kobe also has a good number of onsen or hot springs to experience extreme relaxation in. The Arima Hot Springs is Japan’s oldest and contains two springs named as ginseng and kinsen. A more modern onsen can be found at the Hotel Wakamizu that offers outdoor baths which are gender separated.
Shop and Eat
Majority of the shopping activities in Kobe are grouped around Sannomiya train station. There are numerous tiny cafes and vintage specialty shops that are already considered historical as some of them date back to hundred years ago.
For second hand good lovers, the Piazza Kobe and Motoko Town are the shopping spots to hit. The more modern type of shopping area is at the Harbor Land found at Kobe Bay’s edge. Other stores to check out include Junkudo, a vast bookstore, the Tokyu Hands where almost any kind of item is sold, and the MOSAIC which is recognized as the city’s playground. It has restos, bars, a tiny amusement park and all the works to entertain shoppers.
As for the dining experience part, Kobe does not lack in the restaurants that offer international dishes to suit any traveler’s taste. The city is known for its Kobe beef that is not just fatty and marbled but famed to be highly expensive.
For the more budget-friendly cuisine that the city still takes pride of is the sobameshi which is a mix of noodles and some fried rice. It is very filling and carries an accommodating cost.
The most popular names when it comes to the best of Kobe dining experience are the Sushidai whose specialty is none other than sushi, Nankinmachi and its affordable eats within the city’s Chinatown, the Sky Buffet, Alain Chapel, Grill Ippei, Gaen Shuga, Sona Rupa, Mouriya, Torikizoku, and the Medium Rare Steakhouse.
Vegan friendly dining spots include the Pars Cuisine, Baan Thai and the Modern Ark Pharm Café.