Japan has been on my travel bucket list for a long time, and in October 2014 I finally went.
After Hiroshima we visited Kobe, which turned out to be my favourite city.
Kobe (pronounced Ko-bay) is the sixth largest city in Japan, it was warm, attractions were aplenty, and the people were, of course, friendly.
Kobe is located on the harbour, and in 1995 was hit by an earthquake which killed 5,000+ people and destroyed tens of thousands of buildings. However, looking at the city today you’d never know as it’s been entirely rebuilt.
Here are some recommendations that I have for Kobe if you’re ever fortunate enough to visit:
We stayed at Hotel La Suite Harborland, which was walking distance to everything covered below. This hotel is absolutely gorgeous. The suites are huge, they have large bathrooms with a spa facing a TV, and the view from the balcony is of the Harborland.
Kobe has something to suit everyone’s tastes with a wide variety of local and international cuisines.
Mosaic – Harborland
As well as shopping, Mosaic has a lot of food options from simple to more elaborate. There’s Indian, Italian, French and much more.
Sandaya Steakhouse – Mosaic
Kobe is known for Kobe beef, there was no way I was going to go to Kobe and not try some.
We decided to try Kobe beef at Sandaya Steakhouse in Mosaic as they offered a five course meal, which cost $175 for two people including drinks.
This place was amazing, our five courses, all in typical small sizes. but so delicious were:
Tomato and vegetable soup
Kobe beef with rice, potatoes, onion and cabbage, which you cooked on a hot plate to your liking
Chocolate brownie, with ice cream and a mandarin segment
If you are after good quality Kobe beef then definitely come here, you will not regret it. The service was amazing, there was a lady playing the piano to create a relaxed vibe, and each course was given to you in the right amount of time.
The Harborland is the reason why this city was my favourite. It’s tranquil, beautiful, has heaps of restaurants, great shopping, interesting attractions, and is walking distance to practically everything.
A newbie to the Kobe shopping scene opening in 2013, it has approximately 225 shops that are a mix of fashion, lifestyle goods, services and restaurants. International stores include H&M, Old Navy, Gap, The Body Shop, Zara, Uniqlo, Sega, Godiva, Subway, Baskin and Robbins, Starbucks, and Tony Roma’s. This is a great place to shop and eat.
Sannomiya Town Centre
Sannomiya Town Centre consists of streets with covered and non-covered shops, cafés, and restaurants. You could spend an entire day just walking around and taking it all in.
This is the area where I noticed cakes and parfaits! There were cakes, parfaits, waffles and pancakes everywhere – perfect for a sweet tooth like me.
There is also a Chinatown in this area – Nankinmachi packed with shops, restaurants and food stands selling everything from steam buns, ramen, rice, fried goodness, drinks, and other Chinese meals.
Kobe has a wide variety of things to do, some of which are:
Situated in Harborland this park has relaxation areas, art installations, and fountains. Attractions here include Kawasaki Good Times World, Kobe Maritime Museum, and Kobe Port Tower.
Kawasaki Good Times World
I wasn’t interested in visiting here, but I’m glad I did. I didn’t realise that Kawasaki developed so many different types of products.
There were trains, aircraft, tunnel borers, jet skis, ships, and motorbikes on display, some of which you could enter.
Kobe Maritime Museum
Located in the same building as Kawasaki Good Times World, here you learn about Kobe’s shipping history, and the role the Port plays.
If you’re short on time you can miss this attraction and head for the Port Tower.
Kobe Port Tower
You can’t miss this red kaleidoscope structure that lights up Harborland at night.
When you buy your Kawasaki Good Times Museum ticket you have the option of paying a little more to include this attraction as well, or you can buy a ticket at the Tower.
We visited the 360° observation deck during the day; however I think night would have been better.
Again, if you’re short on time skip this and visit the Nunobiki Herb Gardens and Ropeway instead, as the view from there is just as good.
Nunobiki Herb Gardens and Ropeway
Located away from Harborland is Japan’s largest herb garden with approximately 75,000 herbs and 200 types of flowers. There’s 14 different areas you can explore and learn about the herbs and flowers. There’s also a glasshouse with gorgeous sculptures, sitting areas, and plants.
It costs $14 for a return ropeway cable ticket, which includes entry into the gardens. On the ropeway you have great views of the sea, land, city, and Nunobiki No Taki Waterfall.
This is a great way to spend a relaxing afternoon.
Located close to Nunobiki Herb Gardens and Ropeway is the quaint area of Kitano, an old foreign residential area with small boutiques, food stalls, and the Kitano Tenman Shrine.
It doesn’t take long to have a look around. It’s quite a nice area to sit in and take some time out.
I hope this encourages you to add Kobe onto your list of cities to visit if you’re ever in Japan.
It’s a city you won’t regret spending some time in.
If you’d like to see my other Japan posts, here’s the links:
Please also feel free to visit my Japan Pinterest board.
(This blog’s previous name was The Creative Canvass, hence why some of the images in this post are labelled www.thecreativecanvass.com)