Hyogo 兵庫

Kobe

Hyogo Prefecture is the largest prefecture in the Kansai region. The prefectural capital Kobe is the sixth largest city of Japan with a population of about 1,530,000 people. Kobe is located between the Rokko mountain range and the coast, making the city long and narrow with steep streets going up the mountain side. It was and still is an important port city as one of the few ports that opened up for foreign trade in the 19th century. It was also Kobe that was most hardly struck by the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995. Completely destroying large parts of the city and killing over 6,000 people.

Things to see in Hyogo

Some of the most visited sightseeing spots in Hyogo.

  1. Kitano-cho

    Ijinkan in kitano-cho

    A city district located on the hillside of the Rokko mountain where foreign traders and officials settled in the late 19th century. Today many of that times foreign residents mansions, known as Ijikan, remain in the area and are now open as museums and restaurants. Each of the houses are build in the architectural style of its original inhabitants nationality, making the area a popular tourist spot. While most houses charges entry separately, there are also combination tickets to see multiple mansions.

    How to get there

    10-15 minutes on foot from either Sannomiya or Shin-Kobe Stations.

  2. Kobe City Museum

    Kobe City Museum exhibition

    Opened in Kobe in 1982 in an old bank building, the Kobe City Museum has about 40,000 items in its collection. Many of which was merged from former Kobe Archaeological Museum and Namban Art Museum. Its large collection consists of national treasures, historical materials and old regional maps of Japan. It permanent exhibition also displays artifacts related to the cultural exchange that took place in Kobe.

    How to get there

    A 10 minute walk from either Motomachi or Sannomiya Stations.

  3. Nada Sake Brewery Museums

    Sake brewery tour in Kobes Nada district

    One of the most famous sake brewing areas in Japan is the Nada area in Kobe. The area is filled with historic sake breweries still producing some of the finest sake in Japan. And the reason being attributed to the "Miyamizu" water, from the mineral rich surrounding Rokko Mountains, and the nearby harvested high quality rice used in the brewing process. Many of the breweries are also open for visitors, letting you tour the grounds learning how traditional sake is made. Some of the breweries even offer free sake tasting after the tours and gift shops, making for nice souvenirs.

    How to get there

    The closest way to the Nada area is to ride the Hanshin Line, getting off at the Hanshin Sumiyoshi Station and a short 5 minute walk.

  4. Arima Onsen

    Kinsen bath in Arima

    Arima Onsen is one of the "Three Ancient Springs", and a history of over thousand years making it one of the oldest hot spring area of Japan. Its located on the other side of the Rokko Mountain from Kobe. The are two different types of spring water in Arima Onsen, Kinsen (Gold Water) and Ginsen (Silver Water).

    The Kinsen is colored yellow-brown from iron and salt and is said to be effective in curing back problems, muscle and joint pain, eczema and other skin conditions. The Ginsen which is colorless and contains carbonate and radium, and is believed to be good for high blood pressure, circulation disorder and rheumatism.

    There are two public bath houses, the Kin-no-yu with the Kinsen spring water and the Gin-no-yu with the Ginsen type of spring water. Moreover most of the hotels and Ryokans also allow daytime use of their baths for non-staying customers.

    How to get there

    There are many ways to reach Arima Onsen. With the most spectacular being the cabel car up Rokko Mountain and from there riding the Arima Ropeway down the other side to Arima Onsen. Or the faster and cheaper way by train. First take the subway to Tanigami station and from there the Shintetsu Arima-Sanda Line for Arima-guchi station. Then transfer from there to the Arima Line riding to the Arima Onsen station, all in all taking around 30-40 minutes.