10 Wonderful Attractions in the Underrated Kobe, Japan

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  • If you mention Japan, many people’s first thoughts may be the most famous cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. Although these are all great places to visit with their own unique charms, there are many other great cities in this country that are well worth a visit. Kobe is an underrated city, great for travelers with its own beauty and attractiveness.

    Located between the sea and Rokko mountain range, the capital of Hyogo Prefecture is a very interesting spot to visit in Japan. With its own special food, “million-dollar landscape”, and sake breweries, not to mention its many sightseeing spots, Kobe remains unknown to many except for its famous beef. So what can you see and do in there? Here are ten fantastic spots to visit in this great city that you should not miss if you decide to visit.

    1. Kobe Harborland


    Kobe Harborland is a huge shopping and entertainment district in Kobe and the location of the much loved Kobe Port Tower. It is also a popular dating spot for people looking for romantic cafes, restaurants, and other amusements. For people looking for a good day of shopping, there are two big shopping complexes, namely the Mosaic and Canal Garden.

    Kobe Harborland website

    2. Shin-Kobe Ropeway


    Shin-Kobe Ropeway attracts tourists to the southern part of Rokko Mountain. The departure is near Shin-Kobe Station and takes you on a breathtaking ride past the Nunobiki Waterfall and the Nunobiki Herb Garden. When you reach the top, you can have a spectacular view of the city.


    3. Mt. Rokko


    Mt. Rokko offers a stunning beautiful panoramic view. It is possible to shop and dine while enjoying the view from the observatory, as the area also boasts a restaurant and several souvenir shops. There are also some other attractions that you can enjoy around Mount Rokko, such as Rokko Snow Park, Rokko International Musical Box Museum, Rokko Garden Terrace, and Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden. It is the perfect place to visit if you are looking for a little exercise on a cool day.

    Mt. Rokko website

    4. Kobe Suma Marine Aquarium

    Kobe Suma Marine Aquarium is worth a visit too. It has been a popular spot for families and groups since it opened in 1957. You can see many marine animals such as sharks, stingrays, and dolphins. Ones of the most famous species in the aquarium are pirarucu and piranha from the Amazon. This is a great choice if the weather is too cold or rainy to visit the ropeway, or if you simply love marine animals!

    Kobe Suma Marine Aquarium Website

    5. Akashi Kaikyo Bridge


    This bridge is considered to be the longest suspension bridge in the world. It links Kobe City and Awaji Island. Nearby are the Bridge Exhibition Center and the Maiko Marine Promenade, which consist of observatory hallways. Even those afraid of heights won’t want to miss this impressive example of human achievement.

    Akashi Kaikyo Bridge website

    6. Arima Onsen


    You can find Arima Onsen, the most famous hot spring in Kobe, on the opposite side of Rokko Mountain. Around that area, there are also some ryokan (traditional Japanese inns) and public bathhouses in the city. This place has become a popular weekend gateway for people from Osaka and Kobe, and should not be missed if you are a fan of Japan’s hot spring culture.

    Arima Onsen website

    7. Kobe Luminarie

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    If you are going to be in Kobe during December, then you are in luck! Kobe Luminarie is the Kobe’s biggest annual event held in the middle of December, usually for just over a week. The aim of this event is to commemorate the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995, which killed over 6000 people and caused around $200 billion US dollars in damage.

    This huge illumination event will surely take your breath away with the thousands of beautiful lights designed to look like the stained glass of a cathedral. Be sure to attend if you are going to be in Kobe near Christmas.

    Kobe Luminarie website *Japanese Only

    8. Kitano-Cho

    Kitano-Cho is a historical city district located at the bottom of Rokko Mountain. There are many Japanese residences from the Meiji era of Japan to see there. Many residences are open for tourists which makes this one of the best attractions in the city for those interested in old Japanese architecture.

    Kitano-Cho website

    9. Kobe Maritime Museum & Kawasaki Good Times World


    Many people want to explore the history of a city when they visit. If this sounds like you, be sure to add the Kobe Maritime Museum and Kawasaki Good Times World to your itinerary. This interesting museum focuses on the history of Kobe including its role as a port. The building features a collection of high-quality ships and exhibition of the old-school maritime museum. The museum is located in Meriken Park near the seaside of Kobe.

    Kobe Maritime Museum website

    Kawasaki Good Times World website

    10. Kobe Beef


    This is one of the best types of beef in Japan, perhaps the whole world. For meat lovers, you simply cannot miss this delectable dish during your visit to Kobe. Kobe beef, or “wagyu” in Japanese, comes from Tajima strain of wagyu cattle in Hyogo prefecture, which are carefully bred and produce only the best quality of meat. Kobe beef can be served as shabu-shabu (meat to dip in broth), teppanyaki, sashimi (raw), sukiyaki (winter hotpot) and steak. This marbled meat that melts in your mouth is of excellent quality and although it can be enjoyed all over Japan. However, to fulfill the perfection, its homeland is the best place to try it.

    During your visit to Kobe, be sure to try these ten fantastic things to do to really get the most out of your trip and experience this great city has to offer. Feast on “wagyu” Kobe beef, explore the fascinating history of the city, and see marvelous views from the top of Mt. Rokko! This city is great for families, groups, couples, and solo travelers, so be sure to give it a try while you are in the Kansai area.

    Would you like to stay in Kobe? Check out all the hotels in the area here!
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