Kobe: fashion, colored waters of hot springs, and the flavor of Kobe beef

Kobe is the capital city of Japanese Hyo­go Prefecture and an important port on the main island of Honshu. Known for its hot spring resorts, Arima Onsen, Kobe is also remembered for the heavy earthquake that stroked the area in 1995. Kobe is often described as being quite cosmopolitan for Japanese standards.

  • Kobe Port Tower: the view from this 108 meters high hyperboloid structure is superb; nearby, visit also neaby Meriken Park, commemorating the 1995 earthquake.
  • Kitano Ijinkan or Barbarian Houses. 19th-century residences built by foreign traders.
  • Fruit Flower Park.
  • Chinatown.
  • Sawa-no-Tsuru Museum, a interesting sake museum.
  • A trip to Mt. Rocco and Rock Garden to admire a great view over Osaka Bay. The nearby Nunobiki Falls is one of three of Japan's most important waterfalls.
  • Chicken George, one of the most famous places with live music in Japan.

Eat & Drink
The worldwide famous Kobe beef is a "must" on the menu. Have it for instance in one of the restaurants in Harbour Land, near the Kobe Station. Have a drink in "Stand-and-drink" bars tachinomiya, Kobe's specialty.

Finding accommodation in Kobe is easy. Just make up your mind if you want to stay in authentic Japanese-style ryokan in Spa area, or in one of the many modern urban resort hotels in the centre.

Kobe is famous for its wonderful nightlife. There are many cosy bars, English-style pubs, clubs and discotheques. You will find them around Sannomiya Station.

Kobe's shopping area is concentrated around the Sannomiya train station and the nearby Center-Gai shopping arcade. The exclusive fashion boutiques are to be found in Kyu-kyoryuchi, near Motomachi station.

Getting here
By air
Kobe Airport (UKB) has only domestic flights. International traffic is handled in Kansai International Airport, which is 30-minutes ferry trip away from Kobe Airport. The bus transfer from Osaka Airport to Sannomiya Station will take about 40 minutes.

By car & bus
Kobe is a hub in a number of expressways connecting the city with Nagoya, Osaka, Yamaguchi, and Naruto. The road from Awaji Island includes a pass thru the longest suspension bridge in the world, the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge.
A number of bus companies, among them JR Bus Group, operates routes between Tokyo and Kobe. The bus terminal is attached to the railway station.

By train
Coming from Tokyo on the high-speed shinkansen network, get off on Shin-Kobe station and travel one stop by subway to get to Sannomiya Station, the main railway terminal situated in the business district of Kobe. There are also trains from Osaka, Kyoto and other places.

By boat
Kobe can be also reached by a number of domestic ferries, and one from Shanghai.

Getting around
Train, two subway lines, light rail and extensive bus network are the means of public transport in Kobe. For tourists, there is also a loop-line bus going between most interesting sights.

The average yearly temperature is about 17 degree C (the highest temperatures - up to 34 degree C occurring in August, and lowest, some -3 degree C in January). Mild winters and moderate to warm summers. It rains mostly in spring and during late-summer.

Kobe did not exist in its current form until its founding in 1889. Before, during Tokugawa period, it was controlled by Tokugawa Shogunate. In the late 19th century, after two centuries of isolation, Kobe was one of the first to open itself to the West. It soon became a quite cosmopolitan port, and the traces of this period, Western-style buildings are now attraction for the Japanese.
After the Great Hanshin Earthquake (Kobe Earthquake) in 1995, Kobe kept its position as Japan's fourth busiest container port, but lost its importance as a port city. Today, the city is completely recovered from the devastation. 

Time zone: UTC (GMT) +9
Currency: Japanese yen (JPY)

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