Kobe is the sixth-largest city in Japan and the capital city of Hyōgo Prefecture. It is located on the southern side of the main island of Japan and about 30 km (19 mi) west of Osaka. With a population around 1.5 million, the city is part of the Keihanshin (“Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe”) metropolitan area along with Osaka and Kyoto. Located between the Osaka bay and the Rokko mountain range, Kobe is considered one of Japan’s most attractive cities.
Kobe Harborland & Meriken Park
Kobe Harborland is a shopping and entertainment district between JR Kobe Station and the waterfront of Kobe’s port area. The district offers a large selection of shops, restaurants, cafes and other amusements, which, together with the romantic evening atmosphere, have made it a popular spot for couples and tourists alike. Meriken Park is an also a nice waterfront park in Kobe’s port area and a short walk from Harborland. It is home to some of the city’s more iconic contemporary architecture such as the red Kobe Port Tower and the Kobe Maritime Museum. The Kobe Port Tower offers great views.
Kitano-cho, one of the major tourist attractions in Kobe, is a historical district at the foot of the Rokko mountain range known for its western style architecture. European and American traders settled in this area after Kobe opened its port for foreign trade in 1869.
These old houses are now recognized as National Important Cultural Properties. Many of the buildings (known as Ijinkan) are accessible to the public.(Most of them charge an admission fee between 550 to 750 yen.) The entire district is pleasant to walk through and offers a variety of cafes, restaurants and boutiques, making it a favorite among young Japanese people.
Nankin-Machi (China Town)
Nankin-machi is a compact China town in central Kobe. It is a popular tourist attraction and shopping and dining district. Two main streets run through the district, meeting each other at a small plaza in the center. They are packed with shops, restaurants and food stands that sell popular items such as steamed buns (manju), ramen, tapioca drinks and various other Chinese dishes, many of which have been Japanized to a certain degree.
Mount Rokko (931meters) is the highest peak in the Rokko mountain range, which provides the pleasant green backdrop to the city of Kobe. Panoramic views of the heavily urbanized Kobe-Osaka area can be enjoyed from the mountain and are particularly spectacular around sunset.