Kobe

kobe_tn

Kobe (神戸) is a stylish city not far from Kyoto and Osaka, that is known as one of the first ports in Japan to open up to foreigners.  It therefore has lots of unique architecture for a Japanese city, making for an interesting, cheap trip.  For budget travelers Kobe can all be done in a one day trip.

Top tips

  • Get a tourist map here, from Shin-Kobe station or Kobe station (see map below).

  • If you are on a Tourist Visa, make sure you also pick up a copy of the Kobe Welcome Coupon for a load of discounts!
  • You can do Chinatown and Merikan Park together all on foot.

Places of interest

kitanoKitano Foreigners Town

This was the area where foreigners where first allowed to stay when Kobe opened to them.  Have a stroll around and you will see lots of nice European-style architecture.  Entrance to buildings costs a bit, but you only need to go in if you have a strong interest in it.

kobe_shrineKitano Tenman Jinja Shrine (FREE)

Go up to the top of this for a nice view over the city. Price: Free Open: All day

kobe_chinaChinatown

A very tourist friendly Chinatown, which is great for a nice walk-around.  Best to eat dinner elsewhere though, to avoid the tourist prices.

kobe_parkMeriken Park (FREE)

Full of all sorts of strange sculptures, architecture and some cool powerboats on display. Price: Free Open: All day

How to get there

With the Japan Rail Pass

From Kyoto station, take the Shinkansen (JR bullet train) to Shin-Kobe station (28 mins).

From Osaka station, take the JR Special Rapid to Sannomiya station (22 mins).

From Tokyo station, take the Shinkansen (JR bullet train) to Shin-Kobe station (about 3 hours).

Without the Japan Rail Pass

From Kyoto station, take the JR Special Rapid to Osaka station, then the JR Special Rapid to Sannomiya station (58 mins, 105o yen).

From Osaka station, take the JR Special Rapid to Sannomiya station (22 mins, 390 yen).

From Tokyo, get an overnight bus with Willer Express (click link at the top for English) or use the Japan Bus Pass.

How to get around

The best way is to use the City Loop Bus.  See the official Tourist Map for the route.

Map


Recommended Hostels and Cheap Hotels

Yume Nomad

A cool guesthouse with nice communal areas to meet people and get some good travel advice. Check prices at Agoda or HostelWorld.

Compare prices at HostelWorldBooking.com and Agoda.

Free Volunteer Guides

Kobe SGG club

Kobe Voluntary Good-Will Guides – chiko-i-kvgg@kcc.zaq.ne.jp

Links

FeelKOBE – Official Kobe Tourism Site

Hyogo Tourism Guide 

Got a comment, a tip or some advice?