Kōbe (神戸) is one of Japan's largest cities and the capital of Hyogo Prefecture on the country's main island of Honshu. The cities of Osaka and Kyoto are its major neighbours, and together the three cities form a metropolitan area called "Keihanshin" (after each city's initial character in Japanese) that is home to nearly 19 million people.
Kobe is a port city and was in fact one of the first Japanese cities to open up to trade with western powers in the middle of the 19th century. As they say about other cities that were involved in that right from the start (Yokohama is an example that comes to mind), the city has a "cosmopolitan" feel to it. What that really means is hard to pin down, but let's just say that for whatever reason, foreign tourists tend to feel at ease here.
The heart of Kobe, including its business district, surrounds the Sannomiya train station. One of the most interesting sights that can be reached from here are the foreign houses (Ijinkan), a series of European-style houses built against the hills that used to belong to traders. The views of the old houses with the skyline of the city in the background is pretty magnificent. For even better views head up to Mount Rokko by cable car.
Other attractions include the Ikuta Jinja shrine, the Chinatown and the waterfront Meriken Park which is home to a memorial remembering the 6,433 people that lost their lives in the 1995 earthquake.
When combining the above with great shopping, eating and drinking (all around Sannomiya) there is enough here to spend a few days. Oh, and of course make sure to try some of that fabled Kobe beef. [Review by travelindicator]
You can find the best hotel deals in Kobe here.
- Kobe is a city in Japan's region of Hyogo. It has a population of 1,545,410, is situated at an altitude of 20ft and the best airport to fly into is UKB (Kobe, Kobe)
- The main spoken language here is Japanese, and the average English skill is low
- The currency used in Japan is the Japanese yen (JPY)
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More Kobe travel resources
There are a few good Japan travel websites covering Kobe, such as Japan Guide with a list of attractions and a similar one from Go Japan Go. Both of these are trumped by the official Kobe tourism site.
Other more standard sources are of course Wikitravel on Kobe, Lonely Planet and Fodor's.
Kobe Attractions (Foursquare)
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