Imagine a place with a picturesque mountain view on one side and a stunning sea view on the other. Add to the image mouth watering food, ice cold beer, and a relaxing hot spring resort. Package these thoughts with a good dose of serenity and you get the city of Kobe. With so much to see and do, we’re going to give you the top 5 things to do to in Kobe to help you get a taste of everything this beautiful port town has to offer.
Meriken Park is a beautiful seaside park containing some of Kobe’s most well-known structures such as Kobe Port Tower and Kobe Maritime Museum. Situated within the park is also an earthquake memorial to honor the victims of the Great Hanshin Earthquake that hit in 1995. Aside from the attractions, the sea breeze, the sound of the waves and the serenity makes it an ideal place to unwind. Sitting by Meriken Park and watching the sea is a good way to recharge and who knows, you might even think of your next big idea.
With over 1,300 years of history, Arima Hot Spring is Japan’s oldest hot spring town. Arima Hot Spring boasts legendary healing properties after a story in which three injured crows were miraculously healed after bathing in the waters of Arima Hot Spring. In addition, Arima Hot Spring is said to have connections to Buddhist culture which made it a popular place for emperors, samurai and the noble class to frequent in the past.
In Arima, there are two types of water with different benefits:
The Golden Spring
The golden spring has a high concentration of iron and sodium chloride which moisturizes the skin and keeps the body warm. The golden spring is also known to heal joints and skin diseases.
The Silver Spring
The silver spring can be sub-classified into the carbon dioxide spring and the radioactive spring containing radon. The carbonated water is known to prevent conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease while inhaling the steam from the water enhances the natural healing ability of the human body.
With direct highway buses set up in recent years, access to Arima Hot Spring has never been easier making day trips possible. However, it is highly recommended to stay overnight at one of the many rejuvenating hot spring resorts to fully experience the healing effects of Arima. Arima Hot Spring is surrounded by nature providing all the conditions necessary for the body, mind and soul to relax.
Mount Rokko is a mountain towering above the city of Kobe with a height of 932m. On a clear day, it is the perfect place to enjoy a panoramic view of Kobe. Mount Rokko offers many attractions such as a music box museum, an alpine botanical garden etc. If time is on your side, I would recommend purchasing the Rokko Tourist Pass and visiting all the attractions. However, if you do not have time, I would recommend just visiting the ranch on Mount Rokko.
At the ranch, you will get an authentic farm experience and will get to enjoy the famous Kobe beef as well as locally produced cheese and milk products. The wide green pastures also soothe the mind and eyes making it a place that should not be missed.
Kanefuku Mentai Park in Sanda offers visitors the chance to learn about how the delicious mentaiko is prepared. For those who enjoy mentaiko, you get to sample free mentaiko products and purchase mentaiko products at a special price, while for those who have never tasted mentaiko, it is almost guaranteed that you will fall in love with it after the first bite. With an opportunity to learn about something special, taste and even purchase mentaiko at a good price, Mentaiko Park in Sanda should be on your itinerary. From the JR Sanda Station there is a free shuttle bus to the facility.
After a delicious mentaiko meal in Kanefuku Mentai park, it is time to visit the Kirin Beer Kobe Factory to learn about the most delicious beer in Japan (in my opinion). The Kirin Beer Kobe Factory typically offers three different free tours. Although these tours take place in Japanese, the staff do a good job to make it an enjoyable experience for non-Japanese speakers as well. The first tour covers the secrets of Kirin beer’s taste. The second is a biotope tour and the third is a factory tour that changes based on the season. For all tours, reservation is required.
In addition to tours, the factory sells Kirin products that cannot be found outside the Kirin Beer factories. Even for those who don’t understand the Japanese explanations, you can look forward to the free beer tasting session at the end of the tours. Just be sure that you’re not drinking if you are the driver.
To access Kirin Beer Park, take the “Larger Bus” from JR Sanda Station. It is recommended to visit both Kanefuku Mentai Park and Kirin Beer Park on the same day as they are close to each other.
Overshadowed by the ancient capital of Kyoto and the food capital of Osaka, many people end up missing out on what Kobe has to offer. Whether you are looking for food, unique experiences or just a place to relax, Kobe has it all. So why not take a trip to Kobe and experience it for yourself? If you don’t make it, you might regret it.