The city of Kobe in Hyogo Prefecture is a major world port and was the busiest port in Japan at one time. Kobe experienced a major earthquake which rated 7.5 on the Richter Scale in 1995; causing major disruption and loss of life. Today there are monuments around Kobe remnant of the damage and loss suffered which can be viewed by the general public. Despite this tragedy, Kobe has recovered and is now a very cosmopolitan city. It is said in Japanese that if you cannot go to Paris, go to Kobe instead!
The city has both cultural and tourist attractions within its boundaries. Kobe has so much to offer that perhaps one night is not enough to fully experience what the area has to offer!
Arima Onsen is a Hot Springs Resort town in the Kita ward of Kobe. It is one of the oldest hot spring resort areas in Japan. The water is divided into two types; Kinsen (Gold) which is a yellow-brown coloured water from the natural iron and salt and Kinsen (Silver) which is clear but contains radium and carbonate. The relaxing bathhouses have therapeutic properties for your skin and whole body, and also have such a peaceful atmosphere that any unpleasant thoughts that you may have harboured before entering will be washed away.
Although there are various Ryokan (Traditional Japanese Inns) offering various accommodation rates, the oldest of these is Tosen Goshobo which offers luxurious rooms and serves Yamaga cuisine which is said to be simple, delicious and healthy. As this establishment was built in 1191 for the Japanese nobility, it holds historical signifiance and is still a popular to this day as a place to stay.
This central part of Kobe has many different Gourmet delights to try. Besides sobamashi (rice fried to taste like yakisoba) and okonomiyaki (cabbage pancake with many toppings), this area also has Nankinmachi- Kobe's Chinatown. You will not know what to eat because you will be spoilt for choice!
The nearby Motomachi has many old buildings and shops that have a unique character to them. The shopping in this area is also excellent; with the Center Gai shopping district nearby which leads to the Motomachi Shopping Street. These areas are excellent places to take a walk and experience a variety of shops and surroundings; adding a cosmopolitan feel to your stay in Japan.
Suma is a ward in Kobe that is famous for its seaside location. The beach alone attracts domestic tourists in summer for sunbathing and swimming. With an aquarium and an amusement park nearby, this area of Kobe provides fun for groups who are seeking a fun day out in one location. Cultural attractions include Sumadera temple and Suma Rikyuu Park for those who would like to see the natural and spiritual side of the area.
Tarumi is a seaside area that is famous for the shopping opportunities that Marine Pia Kobe Mitsui Outlet Park has to offer. However, the nearby Maiko area has the Akashi Kaikyo (Pearl) Bridge that connects to Awaji Island and is considered to be the world's longest suspension bridge and an amazing feat of engineering! Under the bridge, there are some magnificent whirlpools that can be seen!These whirlpools can also be seen from Awaji Island.
The Maiko Marine Promenade near the suspension bridge shows spectacular views of the sea and the bridge itself. This part of Kobe is definitely the place to go if you wish to add some amazing photos to your collection.