Kobe might not be the best-known destination in Japan, but the city sure has a lot to offer. From museums to nature to wellness, there’s something for everyone. Don’t know what to do first? These 32 things will get you started.
The Best Activities in Kobe
- 1. Kobe Nunobiki Herb Gardens
- 2. Nunobiki Falls
- 3. Angsana Spa
- 4. Museums and amusement
- 5. Umie Kobe Harborland
- 6. Fisherman’s Market
- 7. Kobe City Hall Observation Deck
- 8. Mount Maya
- 9. Oji Zoo
- 10. Kobe Animal Kingdom
- 11. Tenran Observatory
- 12. Hot springs
- 13. Nada-Gogō
- 14. Ikuta Shrine
- 15. Akashi Kaikyō Bridhe
- 16. Authentic food
- 17. Kitano-cho
- 18. Naninmachi
- 19. Modernark
- 20. Salsa in Kobe
- 21. Sumadera Temple
- 22. Pirate Ship
- 23. Cheesecake in Kobe
- 24. Kobe Fashion Museum
- 25. Nofukuji Temple
- 26. Kobe Suma Marine Aquarium
- 27. Kobe Luminarie
- 28. Cooking class
- 29. Himeji Castle
- 30. Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art
- 31. Baseball in Kobe
- 32. GTetsujin Street
- How to get to Kobe, Japan
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The Best Activities in Kobe
1. Kobe Nunobiki Herb Gardens
Ride one of the gondola cars at the Kobe Nunobiki Herb Gardens to enjoy the picturesque view of the gardens and the port city of Kobe. You can take the gondola to the top of the gardens and then walk back down. This is a great place to grab a bite or have some tea as well.
2. Nunobiki Falls
Start the trail behind Shin Kobe Station and follow it up to the Nunobiki Falls. The entire hike should take you about an hour and you’ll be rewarded with some nice views from the top.
3. Angsana Spa
Enjoy a relaxing massage at Angsana Spa in ANA Crowne Plaza Kobe on Rokko Mountain, with its gorgeous views of the city.
4. Museums and amusement
Explore the Kobe Maritime Museum and Kawasaki Good Times World, and ride the Ferris Wheel at the waterfront Meriken Park.
5. Umie Kobe Harborland
Take a stroll at Umie Kobe Harborland and see the Ball Machine Din Don, Soten Tower, the Elvis Presley statue, Gaslight, 19th-century brick warehouses, life-size mannequins on display, and the Love’s Post Box.
6. Fisherman’s Market
Have an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet at the Fisherman’s Market at Umie Kobe Harborland.
7. Kobe City Hall Observation Deck
View the city at night from Kobe City Hall’s Observation Deck. Located on the 24th floor, entry is free of charge and you can take the elevator up.
8. Mount Maya
Take a hike or ride a cable car up to Mount Maya and catch the stunning sunset view of the city. The hike takes around two hours, after which you can join a meal at the restaurant at the top. You can also bring your own picnic.
9. Oji Zoo
See the giant panda, koalas, and other animals at Oji Zoo, which is best visited during the Sakura season (spring), when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.
10. Kobe Animal Kingdom
Pet and interact with various animals such as cats, dogs, rabbits, birds, capybaras, deer, and kangaroos at Kobe Animal Kingdom.
11. Tenran Observatory
Catch the panoramic view of Osaka Bay at night from Tenran Observatory at Mount Rokko.
12. Hot springs
Take a dip in either the kinsen (golden spring) or ginsen (silver spring) — two kinds of hot springs in Arima Onsen which are located a bit away from the center, reminding of a place that attracts lots of locals. This is where you need to be for a traditional naked dip.
Take a walking tour in Nada-Gogō, the sake brewing area, and sample an authentic sake at the Hakatsuru Sake Brewery.
14. Ikuta Shrine
Visit the Ikuta Shrine, one of the oldest shrines in Japan supposedly dating back to 3 AD. Entrance to the shrine is free, making it the perfect refuge for those needing a break from the bustling city.
15. Akashi Kaikyō Bridhe
Take a photo of the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge (Pearl Bridge), the longest suspension bridge in the world.
16. Authentic food
Savor authentic Japanese dishes in Kobe Plaisir, especially the Kobe Beef, Teppan-yaki Steak, and Shabu-shabu.
See the well-preserved Western-style houses built in the 1900s, called “ijinkan,” at Kitano-cho.
Visit Nankinmachi, Japan’s Chinatown.
Hang out and have vegetarian dishes at the old-school Modernark.
20. Salsa in Kobe
Enjoy a night of drinks and salsa dancing at Izn’t.
21. Sumadera Temple
Visit the Sumadera Temple, a Buddhist temple built in 886. Access to the temple is free and visitors can also enjoy the large temple park, which is particularly beautiful in April when the trees blossom.
22. Pirate Ship
Go on a cruise aboard the Villaggio Italia, a pirate ship.
23. Cheesecake in Kobe
Try a bite of the delicious cheesecakes at Yamagen in Kitano.
24. Kobe Fashion Museum
Visit the Kobe Fashion Museum, Japan’s first fashion museum, which resembles the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek.
25. Nofukuji Temple
See the giant Buddha statue at Nofukuji Temple. The 36-feet tall statue is one of three giant Buddha statues in Japan.
26. Kobe Suma Marine Aquarium
See sharks, stingrays, dolphins and other marine animals at Kobe Suma Marine Aquarium.
27. Kobe Luminarie
Catch the Kobe Luminarie in December, where beautiful light displays are featured to commemorate the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995.
28. Cooking class
Join a traditional cooking class with a Japanese chef.
29. Himeji Castle
Take the train to visit Himeji Castle, also known as Shirasagi-jo (White Egret Castle). You can easily spend two hours roaming the castle and its grounds.
30. Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art
Visit the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art and see thousands of sculptures, paintings and other artwork by Japanese artists.
31. Baseball in Kobe
Watch a baseball game at Koshien Stadium.
32. GTetsujin Street
Take a photo with the giant robot statue on Tetsujin Street, which is a replica of the cartoon character from the 1960s show Tetsuji-28-go.
How to get to Kobe, Japan
You can fly to Tokyo and from there take a transfer flight to Kobe.
Check Skyscanner for an overview of flights and prices
Alternatively, you can one of the direct fast trains (between 160 and 195 minutes), one of the local trains (around 10 hours and 4 transfers), or an overnight bus from Tokyo (8 to 9 hours). On Omio, you can find the best connections and immediately book your ticket as well.
The final options is to rent a car.
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