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Travel In Kobe And Hyogo - Hot Spot, Shopping, And Food Guide

Hyogo 2019.06.24 Bookmark

The port city of Kobe, the World Heritage Himeji Castle, the nature-rich Mt. Rokko, renowned night views, trendy shopping spots, and the local food are just some of the things to enjoy in Hyogo. This complete guide includes all the essential information you’ll need when visiting this part of Japan.

Translated by Sandy Lau

Written by Kousuke DEKI

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Hyogo Travel - Visit Kobe and Many Other Beautiful Places!

Hyogo

Picture courtesy of KOBE TOURISM BUREAU (top left photo)

Hyogo is located in the Kansai region of Japan. While it is located at an easily accessible distance from Osaka and Kyoto, it is a prefecture that possesses a unique culture.

There’s the port city of Kobe, the pearly-white Himeji Castle, which is a registered World Heritage Site, the nature-rich Mt. Rokko, renowned night views, heaps of shopping spots, and loads of local food. In this article, we’ll introduce a comprehensive guide filled with recommended Hyogo spots, food, and the essential information you’ll need for your Hyogo sightseeing!

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Table of Contents

5 Classic Spots to Visit in Hyogo

1. Kobe Port Tower

Kobe

Picture from Kobe Port Tower – The Red Symbol Of The City Sparkling In The Sky

The most famous city in Hyogo is likely to be Kobe. As Kobe prospered as a port city, it simultaneously integrated various international cultures.

Kobe Port Tower, a 108-meter-tall observation tower, is the symbol of Kobe. This iconic red tower—with its characteristically curved structure and narrowed center—is illuminated at night. You can take in a panoramic view of Kobe coined the “Ten Million Dollar Night View” simply by going up to the observation deck.

Kobe Port Tower
Address: Hyogo, Kobe, Chuo, Hatobacho 5-5 Google Map
Official Website: http://www.kobe-port-tower.com/language/english.html

2. The Dazzling Night View at Mt. Maya Kikuseidai

Hyogo

Picture courtesy of KOBE TOURISM BUREAU

Alongside Nagasaki and Hakodate, Kobe is ranked as one of Japan’s top three night views. Mt. Maya Kikuseidai is where you can take in an especially stunning view of the illuminated cityscape.

This vista is referred to as the “Ten Million Dollar Night View" because it’s said that when the energy consumption of all the lights seen from the observation deck is converted into currency, it would amount to ten million dollars.

Mt. Maya Kikuseidai
Address: Hyogo, Kobe, Nada, Mayasancho 2-2 Google Map

3. Kitano Ijinkan Street

Kobe

Since Kobe Port opened to trade in 1868, foreign nationals—such as the Americans, British, French, and Russians—have resided in Kobe, which, in turn, led to the cultivation of a new culture within the city.

Ijinkan refers to the Western-style residences that the foreign nationals lived in at the time. There are currently 30 remaining ijinkan in the Kitano area and more than a dozen of these historical houses are open to the general public.

Kobe

Ijinkan Street is located in the hilly neighborhood of Kitano district. Why not have fun "losing your way” down these narrow roads that few cars drive through and enjoy a stroll in this sophisticated area?

Kitano Ijinkan Street
Address: Hyogo, Kobe, Chuo, Kitanomachi Google Map
Official Website: https://www.kobeijinkan.com/en/

4. Himeji Castle

Hyogo

Picture courtesy of Himeji City

Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of Japan’s famous castles.

The castle's construction began around 1346. It was reconstructed several times following its initial construction before reaching its present configuration. While some Japanese castles have been restored to their original states during the 20th century, Himeji Castle's large tower built in 1609 still remains intact today.

Hyogo

Picture courtesy of Himeji City

One stunning feature of Himeji Castle is its beautiful, white tower. At one point, the tower became slightly gray from deterioration over time. During major repairs that were completed in 2015, the castle was restored to its former beauty after repainting the plaster and replacing the tiles.

The castle can get extremely crowded during consecutive holidays. You can check how congested the castle is on any given day via this website below. English tours are also conducted by professional guides twice a day.

Himeji Castle
Address: Hyogo, Himeji, Honmachi 68 Google Map
Website: http://www.himejicastle.jp/en/

5. Arima Onsen

Hyogo

Picture courtesy of KOBE TOURISM BUREAU

Boasting a history spanning over 1,000 years, Arima Onsen is said to be Japan’s oldest onsen.

On this compact street, measuring a kilometer long in each direction, are a cluster of buildings that include hot spring hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops.

Hyogo

Picture from Arima Onsen Day Trip – Top 3 Recommended Hot Springs

Arima Onsen is known for their characteristic auburn waters befittingly named the “Golden Spring.” Although the water source is naturally transparent, when it comes in contact with oxygen, it oxidizes and changes color due to its high iron content. The water is said to possess therapeutic properties to alleviate those with cold sensitivity and pain in the lower back, muscles, and joints.

In addition, bathers are left with longstanding moisture due to the hot spring’s high salt content. Here, you can take time to wash away your daily fatigue.

Arima Onsen (Arima Hot Springs Tourism Association)
Address: Hyogo, Kobe, Kita, Arimacho 790-3 Google Map
Official Website: https://visit.arima-onsen.com/

7 Additional Spots To Further Enjoy Hyogo

1. Mt. Rokko

Hyogo

Rokkosan Pasture. Picture courtesy of KOBE TOURISM BUREAU

Mt. Rokko is a popular spot for all ages because of its idyllic pasture and activity facilities located in the mountains.

When visiting the Rokkosan Pasture (Japanese), you should definitely try the soft serve ice cream made from fresh milk. In addition, Rokko Garden Terrace is where you can sample dishes made with local ingredients at the onsite cafés and restaurants while gazing at the stunning scenery. Souvenirs can also be purchased here.

Hyogo

Rokko Garden Terrace. Picture courtesy of KOBE TOURISM BUREAU

You can also immerse yourself outdoors in the crisp, clean air with athletic activities at the Rokkosan Field Athletic area (Japanese) or barbecuing at the Rokkosan Country House.

2. Kinosaki Onsen

Hyogo

Picture courtesy of Kinosaki Onsen Free Photo Collection (Japanese)

Kinosaki Onsen is a hot spring said to have 1,300 years of history. Old wooden buildings lie along the Otani River, which flows through the center of the town.

Kinosaki

Picture courtesy of Kinosaki Onsen Free Photo Collection (Japanese)

There are seven open-air baths (public bathhouses) in town. Going hot spring hopping while sporting a yukata (a summer kimono) is one unique way to enjoy yourself at Kinosaki Onsen. Try visiting several of the hot spring facilities such as Ichino-yu at the center of town or the charming wooden bath house Yanagi-yu.

There are also plenty of yukata rental shops, so why not wander around this elegant hot spring town while adorned in an authentic yukata?

Kinosaki Onsen (Kinosaki Tourist Information Center)
Address: Hyogo, Toyooka, Kinosakicho, Yushima 357-1 Google Map
Official Website: http://www.kinosaki-spa.gr.jp/global/index.html

3. Tanba Sasayama

Hyogo

Picture from A Stroll Through The 400-Year-Old Castle Town of Tanba Sasayama

The 400-year-old Tanba Sasayama area will have you seeing traditional wooden Japanese houses wherever you go. The Kawaramachi Merchant Housing District pictured above is a shopping district about 500 meters long that is lined with traditional houses from the Edo period.

Kawaramachi Merchant Housing District
Address: Hyogo, Sasayama, Kawaramachi Google Map

4. Takeda Castle Ruins

Hyogo

The Takeda Castle Ruins are located on a 350-meter-high mountain summit. Known for its mystical appearance that arises in the morning mist, it is also called "Japan's Machu Picchu."

Currently, while only the stone walls remain, this "floating fortress" is believed to have once been a large castle.

Hyogo

The fog has a tendency to appear from daybreak to around 8 a.m. during October and November. While the Takeda Castle Ruins can be seen within this sea of clouds, if you wish to see the entire ruins, then make your way to Ritsuun Gorge or Fujiwa Pass. Ritsuun Gorge has three observation decks in the area along with 50 parking spots. By car or taxi, it is about ten minutes from Takeda Station.

Takeda Castle Ruins
Address: Hyogo, Asago, Wadayamacho, Takeda Google Map
Official Website: http://www.city.asago.hyogo.jp/takeda/ (Japanese)

5. Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge

Hyogo

Picture courtesy of KOBE TOURISM BUREAU

The Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge is the world’s longest suspension bridge spanning 3,911 meters in length and took ten years to complete.

This is an important bridge that connects Honshu (the main island of Japan) to Awaji Island as well as Awaji Island to Shikoku. Illumination lamps have been installed on the bridge, which also create a captivating night view during the evenings.

Tours are conducted through Bridge World for Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge. Tour participants will be able to walk through maintenance pathways that are normally off-limits and see a superb 360° panoramic view from the main tower sitting 300 meters above sea level. The tour’s rendezvous point is at a science museum called the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge Exhibition Center.

The exhibition center introduces construction technology, such as those used to build the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge. In addition, it's located near the bridge’s entrance, so you’ll also be able to see the suspicion bridge at a close distance.

Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge (Exhibition Center)
Kobe, Tarumi, Higashi-Maikocho 4-114 Google Map
Exhibition Center Website: http://www.hashinokagakukan.jp/ (Japanese)
Tour Website: https://www.jb-honshi.co.jp/english/bridgeworld/index.html

6. Awaji Island

Awaji Island

Rapeseed flowers in Awaji Hanasajiki, a famed park on the island. These beautiful seasonal flowers are one of the highlights of Awaji Island

Once you cross Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge from Hyogo, you’ll find Awaji Island on the other side. There is a multitude of gourmet food on Awaji Island, including fresh seafood, Awaji beef, sweet onions, and other locally produced vegetables.

Hyogo

Fukura Marche

Fukura Marche is a market where you can select fresh sashimi to build your own Self-Made Seafood Bowl. This recommended tourist stop has a souvenir shop next door, as well as a popular gelato shop, G.ELM, that specializes in local ingredients.

The Awaji Puppet Theatre Company, located just across the road, is a facility where you can watch daily puppet shows rooted in Awaji Island. There are four performances per day—just under an hour long—and allows theatre-goers to admire traditional performing arts for a price ranging between 1,000 and 1,500 yen!

Awaji Island
Official Website: https://www.awajishima-kanko.jp/ (Japanese)

7. Tetsujin 28-go Monument

Hyogo

Picture courtesy of KOBE TOURISM BUREAU

The Tetsujin 28-go Monument is a one-of-a-kind spot near Shin-Nagata Station in Kobe.

“Tetsujin 28-go” is a manga and TV anime that was popular during the 1950s to 60s. The story is about a young male protagonist that operates a giant robot named Tetsujin 28, who fights against criminals and enemy robots to restore peace.

Hyogo

Picture courtesy of KOBE TOURISM BUREAU

Because the series creator Mitsuteru Yokoyama is from Kobe, a giant Tetsujin 28-go monument is installed in Wakamatsu Park just south of JR Shin-Nagata Station. The towering monument is fifteen meters tall and weighs approximately 50 tons. The measurements are almost the same size as the robot in the story, which will certainly impress you with its impressive appearance.

Tetsujin 28-go Monument
Address: Kobe, Nagata, Wakamatsucho 6-3 Wakamatsu Park Google Map

5 Spots Where You Can Shop Till You Drop

If shopping is on your travel agenda, then head to Hyogo! For those who love to shop till you drop, there are even two outlet malls and a high-fashion district lined with many stores.

1. Outlet Malls

Hyogo

Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets. Picture courtesy of KOBE TOURISM BUREAU

There are two outlet malls in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture: Kobe-Sando Premium Outlets and Mitsui Outlet Park Marine Pia Kobe.

Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets is the second largest outlet mall in Japan and boasts the largest sales floor in western Japan with over 200 stores.

Hyogo

Mitsui Outlet Park Marine Pia Kobe. Picture courtesy of KOBE TOURISM BUREAU

Mitsui Outlet Park Marine Pia Kobe is an outlet along the sea. Approximately 140 stores line this Southern European-style open mall.

Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets
Hyogo, Kobe, Kita, Kozudai 7-3 Google Map
Official Website: https://www.premiumoutlets.co.jp/en/kobesanda/

Mitsui Outlet Park Marine Pia Kobe
Address: Hyogo, Kobe, Tarumi, Kaigandori 12-2 Google Map
Official Website: https://mitsui-shopping-park.com/mop/kobe/english/

2. Sakaemachi and Torwest

Hyogo

Sakaemachi

In the Sakaemachi area—one of Kobe’s town centers about a ten minute walk from Motomachi—you’ll find a concentration of general goods stores, apparel shops, galleries, and cafés renovated from retro buildings.

Hyogo

Torwest

In Torwest—a shopping area between Sannomiya and Motomachi Station—there are clothing stores, thrift shops, and cafés snugly hidden in a back street alley. You'll have fun just strolling through the streets of both shopping areas.

Sakaemachi: Google Map
Torwest: Google Map

3. Uonotana Shotengai

Hyogo

Picture from Enjoy Fresh Seafood and More At Uo-no-tana Shotengai In Akashi

Uonotana Shotengai is a shopping district in the Akashi area that is often frequented by locals. This district is said to have first opened roughly 400 years ago. It is abundantly stocked with common foods consumed daily in Japan, such as fresh seafood, tsukemono (pickled vegetables), and ready-to-eat side dishes.

Uonotana Shotengai
Address: Hyogo, Akashi, Honmachi Google Map
Official Website: http://www.uonotana.or.jp/index.html (Japanese)

4. Kobe Brick Warehouse and Umie

Hyogo

Picture from Stylish Kobe Spots – Café And Unique Stationery At Kobe Brick Warehouse!

There are many commercial complexes huddled in the Kobe Bay Area. One recommended spot here is the Kobe Brick Warehouse. Built in the late 1890s, you’ll find cafés and restaurants inside this massive brick building.

Among these shops, NAGASAWA Kobe Brick Warehouse has a collection of exclusively selected stationery purchased from across the country by its stationery-loving staff. Even if you’re not a self-professed stationery lover, the shop will undoubtedly make you feel excited.

Kobe Brick Warehouse
Address: Hyogo, Kobe, Chuo, Higashi-Kawasakicho 1-5-5 Google Map
Official Website: http://www.kobe-renga.jp/ (Japanese)

Hyogo

Kobe Harborland umie

A five-minute walk from Kobe Brick Warehouse lies another shopping mall called Kobe Harborland umie. You can also get your shopping fix here as well.

Kobe Harborland umie
Address: Hyogo, Kobe, Chuo, Higashi-Kawasakicho 1-7-2 Google Map
Official Website: https://en.umie.global/

5. Sannomiya Center Gai Shopping Street

Hyogo

Sannomiya Center Gai Shopping Street is a shopping arcade that is roughly 600 meters long near Sannomiya Station in Kobe. There are all kinds of shops—from electronic stores to apparel shops and cafés—lining both sides of this spacious street.

Sannomiya Center Gai Shopping Street
Address: Hyogo, Kobe, Chuo, Sannomiyacho Google Map
Official Website: https://en.kobe-sc.jp/

Top 5 Must-Eat Local Dishes

1. Kobe Beef

Hyogo

Picture from Decadent Kobe Beef For A Reasonable Price At Tanryu in Sannomiya

When you come to Kobe, you should definitely eat authentic Kobe Beef! Kobe Beef refers to beef selected from Tajima cattle—a Hyogo wagyu brand—which has been certified by the Kobe Beef Marketing & Distribution Promotion Association. Additionally, the standards for Kobe Beef have been strictly outlined.

If you're looking for the highest grade of steak, head over to Misono, a restaurant where teppan (cooked on an iron griddle) steak is said to have originated. Kobe Tanryu is where you can enjoy a Kobe Beef lunch starting from around 3,000 yen.

Another recommended restaurant is Hiroshige, where you can savor a luxurious gyudon bowl—a beloved Japanese fast food dish—made with more Kobe Beef than you could imagine!

2. Bread

Hyogo

Ça Marche’s Black Tea Cream Bread Picture from Top 4 Select Bakeries in Japan’s Unknown Bread Town, Kobe

Historically, Kobe has been a city that established its own unique culture through the influence of other foreign cultures. Following World War I, a German baker opened a bakery in Kobe, which marked the moment bread culture began to flourish in the city.

Some unique bread include the Black Tea Cream Bread, filled with copious amounts of black tea leaves, that can be eaten at a popular bakery in Kitano called Ça Marche. There’s also the Red Bean Bread, with a swirl of anko rolled up inside, which is a signature item at Tommy’s. Please give this unique bread culture a try!

3. Nankinmachi’s Chinese Cuisine

Hyogo

Peking duck. CrispIy baked Peking duck skin and green onions sandwiched together and topped with a sweet sauce. Picture from Kobe – 15 Things To Do And Area Guide

Nankinmachi, western Japan’s Chinatown, is located about five minutes away by foot from Motomachi Station. Over 100 stores can be found in this area, measuring 270 meters from east to west and about 110 meters from north to south.

Although you can enjoy lunch or dinner at any restaurant, there are many food stalls on the streets of Nankinmachi. Definitely grab a quick bite to eat while sampling a variety of snacks at these stalls!

Nankinmachi
Address: Hyogo, Kobe, Chuo, Sakaemachidori Google Map
Official Website: https://www.nankinmachi.or.jp/ (Japanese)

4. Akashiyaki

Hyogo

Akashiyaki is a food similar to takoyaki and is made with octopus mainly caught in Akashi, Hyogo.

Takoyaki consists of octopus, green onions, and other such ingredients mixed inside a wheat flour batter that is cooked, then eaten with a sauce on top. On the other hand, Akashiyaki is made with large amount of eggs in the batter compared to takoyaki and is dipped in dashi stock as opposed to sauce. The egg-rich batter is fluffy while the dumpling is gooey inside. You’ll be able to eat up as many pieces you want.

5. Kobe's Famous Souvenir Sweets

Hyogo

Picture from Five Souvenirs From Hyogo – Sweet Treats to Soothe Your Soul

Kobe is filled with shops where you can sample trendy sweets. Lastly, we’ll introduce sweets that would make ideal souvenirs.

Kobe Frantz’s Kobe Magic Pot Pudding is one of the most popular sweets in Kobe. Inside the pot is three decadent layers of cream, custard, and caramel. The small pot’s design is also adorable.

Hyogo

Picture from Five Souvenirs From Hyogo – Sweet Treats to Soothe Your Soul

Gaufre consists of sweet cream sandwiched between two thin senbei wafers. This delicate sweet was originally created as a Japanese version of a French baked confection. It is also as large as the palm of an adult male.

Access to Kobe

Kobe

Hankyu Kobe-Sannomiya Station Picture from Kobe – 15 Things To Do And Area Guide

We’ll introduce how to access Kobe, the central area of Hyogo.

From Osaka and Kyoto

To arrive at JR Sannomiya Station, it will take 21 minutes (JR Kobe Line Limited Express, 410 yen) aboard the fastest train line from Osaka or 52 minutes (JR Kyoto Line Limited Express, 1080 yen) from Kyoto to arrive.

From Kansai International Airport

If you’ll be heading to the city from Kansai International Airport (Kanku), we recommend using the bus.

Kanku Terminal 1
Exit the International Arrival Lobby and take the bus bound for Kobe-Sannomiya/Rokko Island at Bus Stop 6 outside. It will take approximately 65 minutes.

Kanku Terminal 2
Exit the Departure/Arrival Lobby and take the bus bound for Kobe-Sannomiya/Rokko Island at Bus Stop 4 outside. It will take one hour and 20 minutes.

*Please purchase your tickets at the ticket machines outside the bus stops.

Destination: Kobe-Sannomiya Google Map

Transportation Fare: One-way: 1,950 yen (adults) / 980 yen (children)
Roundtrip discount: 3,080 yen (adults)

Enjoy Hyogo!

Hyogo has many tourist attractions raging from World Heritage Sites to a trendy port city, shopping spots, and scrumptious food. Please thoroughly enjoy your time in Hyogo!

Main image courtesy of KOBE TOURISM BUREAU

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The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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