Kobe travel experience: explore a unique city with 'thousand dollar' beef

A major port city in western Japan, home to fascinating landscape, boasts many stylish cafes and historic buildings. Kobe travel experience will help you get a great trip.

About Kobe city

Kobe is a stylish city in western Japan, not too far from Osaka and Kyoto . It is also very popular for Kobe beef and for shopping along its port. Not stopping there, it offers an interesting mix of different cultures, which has flourished as a port town long ago. That is why a blend of Western and Japanese culture created the exquisite cityscape that is still found here to this day. 


Kobe travel experience - unique city check inPhoto: @rinstaglam_official


Kobe travel experience: guide to travel

From Osaka : go fast vessels JR Kobe (21 minutes - 410 yen).

From Kyoto : JR Kyoto Line Especially on (52 minutes - 1,080 yen) to JR Sannomiya. Use your JR Pass while traveling to save more.

From Kansai International Airport (Kankuu) : it is recommended to use the bus. Fares: One-way 2,000 yen (for adults). 1,000 yen (children). Round trip price: 3,140 yen (adult).

  • From Kansai Terminal 1: leave the International Arrival Hall and go to bus stop 6, take bus Kobe Sannomiya - Rokko Island. Travel time is about 65 minutes.
  • From Kansai Terminal 2: leave Arrival Hall and go to bus stop 4, take bus Kobe Sannomiya - Rokko Island Travel time is about 1 hour 20 minutes.


Kobe travel experience - transportationPhoto: @aukikoj


Must-do activities in Kobe


1. Take in the breathtaking view of Kobe from Port Tower

Port Tower is a 108 meter high observation tower and is the symbol of Kobe. The bright red hyperboloid structure with its spiral center looks especially beautiful against a blue sky. At night, the tower is lit up, giving it a different beauty from the day. If you go to the observatory at this time, you will be able to catch a beautiful night view of Kobe.


Kobe tourist experience - night view of Port towerPhoto: @aono_akane


2. Try street food at Nankinmachi

A five-minute walk from Motomachi Station, Western Japan's most famous Chinatown - Nankinmachi can be found. There are over a hundred stores in this small area. Kobe travel experience on your own , enjoying your lunch at one of the restaurants is a great option you should try.


Kobe travel experience - check in Nankinmachi ChinatownPhoto: @ yasuda.seiji

A typical example is Beijing roast duck from a food stall. Crispy Beijing roast duck skin covered in a sweet sauce and coated with scallions gives an irresistible taste and deliciousness. Or Kakuniman, a soft braised pork dish wrapped in a soft steamed bread. Prices vary depending on the store, but most dishes cost a few hundred yen each.


Kobe travel experience - Kakuniman cakePhoto: @mr_michaelcharles


3. Take a walk at the number one shopping district in Kobe

Located about a five-minute walk south of Sannomiya Station is the central Sannomiya Street. According to Japanese manual experience , this is a 600 m long historical shopping district. It was a wide street with a wide variety of stores including major brands: electronics, clothing stores, cafes on either side. Always busy, is a place where you can shop as much as you want. 


Kobe travel experience - Sannomiya shopping mallPhoto: @minthfahsfilm


4. Check in love request at Ikuta Shrine

Although Kobe may have its image of a stylish port town, historic temples can also be found here. A goddess named Wakahirumeno Mikoto is worshiped at Ikuta Shrine. She is the goddess of cloth and it is believed that she holds everyone's destiny together. Currently, Ikuta Shrine is becoming famous as a place to pray for love.


Kobe travel experience - visit Ikuta ShrinePhoto: @ anh.ha.522

Experience Kobe , the Inari Shrine in the northeast is a particularly popular photo spot. The millions of dollars lacquered tori gates there are for those whose prayers have been answered to show their gratitude. As when visiting Fushimi Inari Kyoto Shrine you will find that it is believed that the more gates you have, the more likely it is that your prayers at this shrine will be answered.


Kobe travel experience - visit Fushimi Inari ShrinePhoto: @sayphan_jubjub


5. Enjoy the unforgettable night view

Kobe's night view is dubbed one of the three great night views of Japan. Especially the night view from an observation point near the top of Mt. Maya Kikuseidai. The easy access to downtown Kobe makes it a popular spot, especially for dating.


Kobe travel experience - sightseeingPhoto: @ cafe702

You can even see Osaka from here if the weather is clear or all the way to Kansai International Airport in winter. Kobe's Night Sight is also known as the "Ten Million Dollar Night View", referring to the cost people spend maintaining the amount of lights you can see from the observatory.


Kobe travel experience - night view Mt.  Maya KikuseidaiPhoto: @ reomaru1208


6. Enjoy the famous Kobe beef

This is the hometown of premium Kobe beef that is famous all over the world. Kobe beef is a special type of meat of "Tajima cattle" in Hyogo Prefecture. It must be certified by the "Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Promotion Association" to be called genuine Kobe beef. Misono is the birthplace of Teppanyaki steak and is where you can enjoy the best steak. 


Kobe travel experience - try Teppanyaki steakPhoto: @haxfood

Kobe Tanryu is a Kobe beef specialty restaurant located in Sannomiya-Motomachi operated by Kissho Group. Kobe travel experience , here you can enjoy this premium beef at a low cost. It costs around 3,000 yen for a set lunch and if you want to try something different, Hiroshige Gyudon is a good suggestion. Or try the luxurious Kobe Beef version of the classic Japanese beef bowl.


Kobe travel experience - try Kobe beef at the Kobe Tanryu restaurantPhoto: @nnnimmmm


7. Relax at a trendy cafe

There are plenty of cafes around Kobe, perfect for the subtle city atmosphere. Cafe Freundlieb, for example, is a cafe located inside the building that used to be a church. Built for Christians visiting from the port, it has survived both World War II and the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995.


Kobe travel experience - relax at Cafe FreundliebPhoto: @my_teatime_stories

There is also Injinkan, one of the beautiful check-in cafes in Japan , the Kitano Injinkan branch of Starbucks Coffee. Here you can experience drinking coffee in a centuries-old Injinkan. Many cafes in Kobe are not only trendy, but many also have a long history.


Kobe travel experience - check in Cafe InjinkanPhoto: @Japanvisitor


8. Try fresh Sake

Kobe's Hyogo prefecture produces the largest amount of sake in Japan. Many sake factories are located in an area called Nada. Established over 270 years ago, the Hakutsuru Sake Brewery includes a unique Museum. The warehouse was previously used for sake production and now holds a follow-up exhibition on the sake making process. Admission is free and at the tasting area you can sample and buy freshly brewed wines.


Kobe travel experience - visit Sake Hakutsuru wineryPhoto: @camtu_bts


Kobe travel experience - try fresh sakePhoto: @Pinterest


9. Relax in Japan's oldest hot spring town

Arima Onsen is Japan's oldest hot spring town, dating back more than 1,000 years. According to Kobe Japan travel experience , although this hot spring town is only 1km wide and very compact, it includes a variety of hot spring inns, restaurants and souvenir shops. Feel free to take the time to recuperate after a day of exciting travel here.


Kobe travel experience - visit Arima OnsenPhoto: @jiaweikai

The famous Golden Stream of Arima Onsen has a unique reddish-brown color. The source of this hot spring is high in iron, which oxidizes and changes color when exposed to the air. It is said to heal problems like poor circulation, lower back pain, muscles and joints. If you put some in your mouth, you will find it extremely salty, and due to its high salt content it has a lasting moisturizing effect.


Kobe travel experience - relaxing foot baths in Arima OnsenPhoto: @irisbrodski


10. Explore Nunobiki waterfall

Traveling in Japan on a trek to Nunobiki Falls is another highlight during your time in Kobe to explore beautiful natural spots near the city center. There are several waterfalls to see, of which the Ontaki Falls is the largest. Alternatively you can proceed to a spectacular viewpoint of Kobe, a reservoir area. If you don't like to walk up or down, you can take the Shin Kobe cable car that links some of the spots around Mount Rokko.


Kobe travel experience - visit Nunobiki waterfallPhoto: @ vibeshot87


Recommended accommodation in Kobe

Kobe has many hotels and motels. "Guesthouse Maya" is located near Nada Station, 1 stop from Sannomiya Station. With a local shopping district nearby, it is a popular spot for those looking to experience everyday life in Kobe. Or the Kobe's Peanuts hotel near Sannomiya Station with different styles in each room, you can feel like you are entering the world of Snoopy and your friends.


Kobe travel experience - rest at the Hotel Kobes Peanuts
Photo: @Live Japan

Recommended 2-day Kobe tour

Kobe is very compact and many of the main locations are located in the Sannomiya-Motomachi area, so a  two-day Kobe travel experience might be more than enough for a one-round walk.

On the morning of the first day, starting with going to Injinkan in Kitano. The area is full of hills, so it's best to go while still having energy. You can have some Kobe beef for lunch and in the afternoon head to Torwest or Sannomiya Central Street.


Kobe tourism experience - visit Injinkan neighborhoodPhoto: @ emanuel_kobe3


If you decide to go shopping around Sakaemachi and Nankinmachi, remember not to miss the romantic night view of the bay area at night.

- On the second day, go to Arima Onsen. Enjoy the public hot springs and spend some time in one of Arima's long standing cafes or bars.


Kobe travel experience - enjoy Arima OnsenPhoto: @chanmoigooray


Many experiences for this exciting city trip are waiting for you to explore. Check in Kobe for more memories of a truly different Japan here.