Photo via Flickr by JohnnyLCY

Located between the sea and the Rokko mountain range, Kobe is Japan’s sixth largest city and one of the most cosmopolitan destinations in the country. Kobe has been one of Japan’s most important ports for centuries, and in the 19th century it was one of the first to open for foreign trade. Kobe is often ranked as Japan’s best city for expats, but it remains relatively small and easy to navigate.

If you are traveling on the high-speed Shinkansen network, the ANA Crowne Plaza Kobe is your top option for accommodation, given its convenient location near the Shin-Kobe Station. Make the most of your trip to Kobe by discovering the city’s many highlights.

Sample the Flavors of Kobe

Kobe beef is arguably the city’s most famous export. This fine Japanese delicacy is produced from pedigreed Tajima cattle, one of several breeds of Wagyu cattle. They must be born and raised in the Hyogo Prefecture in order to receive certification. Their meat is special because of its tenderness, distinctive flavor, and high level of fat marbling. It can be expensive, but it’s well worth the splurge. One of the best ways to enjoy Kobe beef is at a teppanyaki restaurant, where a skilled chef grills your food right at your table.

Another treasure of this region is its crisp and pure sake. In fact, the Nada district in Kobe is Japan’s top sake producer. The area stretches for 3 kilometers, covering the eastern part of Kobe and extending all the way to the city of Nishiyomiya. Many breweries operate in the Nada district, and some of them offer tours and exhibitions to the public. The sake brewing season runs from October through April, and that’s the best time to take a tour. If you’re in the area, don’t miss visiting the Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum.

Marvel at the Architecture

After the port opened to foreign trade in the 19th century, many foreign merchants and diplomats settled on the Kitano area at the foot of Kobe’s hills. Today, several of those former mansions, known as Ijinkan, are still standing. The area is full of charming cafés, nice restaurants, and hip boutiques. Some of the highlights in the area include the Uroko House and Museum, the England House, and the Platon Decorative Arts Museum.

Explore the Top Attractions in Kobe

In 1995, Kobe was greatly affected by a major earthquake. Over 6,000 people died and thousands of buildings were destroyed. Thankfully, the city has fully recovered. To learn more about this devastating event, visit the Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution.

To enjoy some spectacular panoramic views of the city, check out the observation deck at Kobe City Hall, take the cable car or hike to the top of Mt. Maya, or visit Mount Rokko and its Rock Garden. Other highlights you should see during your trip include the Kobe City Oji Zoo, the Ikuta Shrine, and Nunobiki Falls.

With its world-class culinary heritage and rich cosmopolitan history, Kobe is a thriving metropolitan destination that will appeal to most travelers.

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