Kobe (rhymes with sorbet), like many cities in Japan, makes for a great day trip. From Shin-Osaka station, you can get to Kobe in 10-15 minutes by bullet train.
Beyond all the castles, shrines, and temples that Japan has to offer, the land of the famous (and expensive) Kobe beef has enough to keep one occupied and full for an entire day. While there are efficient transportation systems in place like buses and a subway, all the main attractions can easily be reached by foot. Plus, walking the entire city will pull you in different directions you might otherwise miss by using the mass transit systems.
So without further adieu, in the words of Tom Riddle, instead of telling you what to do with one day in Kobe, I’m going to show you.
From Shin-Kobe station, you can walk along Kitano promenade and into the European-esque neighborhood where you’ll find some cute eateries, Japanese treats, and different shops. If you come during November/December, you’ll find a bunch of santas taking over the village, and it’s quite humorous to say the least.
For 1,400 YEN, you can take the Kobe Ropeway up to the top of the hill for a view over the city. There are also a couple of trails that make for a great hike through the greenery and gardens. For the best of both worlds, hike your way up and take the ropeway back down or vice versa.
Don’t go anywhere else in the city for lunch or a snack. Chinatown is the place to be for all things cheap, delicious, and pandas?
Meriken Park is home to some architectural beauties including one of Christopher Columbus’ ships, great waterfront views, and if you’re lucky, wedding parties being photographed in various locations throughout the park.
Kobe Port Tower
On the other side of town from the Kobe Ropeway, located in Meriken Park, you can go to the top of Kobe Port Tower (600 YEN admission), for a different view of the city with a mountainous backdrop.
There are a lot of Japanese style gardens throughout the country, but I’d have to say that Sorakuen is my favorite. Makes me want one in my backyard.
Kobe is also said to be the second best city in Japan, after Nagasaki, with the most breathtaking nightscape. So if you stay after sunset, enjoy the city lights.