Kobe is an attractive, cosmopolitan city that sits on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Devastated by an earthquake in 1995, Kobe has been completely rebuilt. Visit its bustling waterfront, monuments and fascinating neighborhoods.
After two centuries of isolation, Kobe was one of the first Japanese cities to open its doors to the West. Explore Kobe’s port, also known as the Bay Area, one of Japan’s busiest trading ports, which also serves as a shopping and entertainment district. Visit the department stores of Harborland, ride the giant Ferris wheel and take a boat cruise around the bay.
Visit the waterfront Meriken Park and its memorial to the earthquake victims. Learn about the port’s history at the Kobe Maritime Museum. See the city from the top-floor viewing platform of Kobe Port Tower. This 335-foot (108-meter) red steel structure resembles a large twisted tube and is illuminated by colored lights at night. From the tower, enjoy the view of majestic Mount Rokkō. Ride a gondola up the mountain to find walking trails, a botanical garden and hot springs.
When foreign traders first came to Kobe in the early 20th century, they built houses and mansions in the Kitano district. These former residences are now public museums. Inspect the intricately carved bars in England House and explore its Sherlock Holmes Room, a representation of the fictional detective’s headquarters. Admire French artwork and beautiful antique furniture inside France House.
Enjoy Kobe’s cultural events, including the biannual Kobe Fashion Week and Kobe Jazz Street, a jazz festival held every October. Try some of the renowned Kobe beef, a delicious marbled meat from local wagyu cattle. Visit Chinatown, a lively tourist area with restaurants, food stalls and souvenir stores.
Fly into Kansai International Airport, which is 40 miles (64.4 kilometers) south of Kobe. Get around on foot, by public transportation or by renting a car. Kobe experiences hot, humid summers and cool winters. With historic character and plenty of attractions, Kobe is an irresistible addition to your travel itinerary for Japan.