To Kobe Or Not To Be

Wow. It feels like I have not blogged for ages!

September marked my 1st year anniversary of being in Japan but ironically I spent it in the Philippines.  It was the summer break and my birthday month as well so I was left with not much of a choice.  Anyway I’m back in Japan!

Two of my friends came over to Kyoto for a week and I grabbed the opportunity to visit new places with them.  Kobe was always on my Japan travel bucket list but for some reason it always gets bumped off.  It’s not so far off from Kyoto at just an hour’s train ride.

Access from Kyoto: 

a) Take JR from Kyoto Station – buy 1080 yen ticket and take the Tokaido Sanyo line bound for Himeji.  Get off at Kobe-Sannomiya.  Travel time is about 50 minutes.

b) Take Hankyu Line – buy 620 yen ticket and take train bound for Umeda.  Get off at Juso station and transfer to Hankyu Kobe line bound for Shinkaichi.  Get off at Kobe-Sannomiya.  Travel time is about 65 minutes.

I’ve heard a lot of feedback from tourists saying that Kobe is such a wonderful city.  But I was more interested in the places that locals visit there and I stumbled upon the majestic Nunobiki Falls.

From Kobe-Sannomiya, I highly recommend walking towards Shin-Kobe (northwest) to Nunobikiyama.  It is a great way to get acquainted with the city and only requires a 30-minute leisurely walk.  If you’re in a rush, you can take the Seishin-Yamate line to Shin-Kobe(210 yen), where you will be conveniently located at the foot of the Nunobikiyama in 10 minutes.

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There will be a trail leading to the waterfalls as you go down at Shin-Kobe.  You may also ask the counters if you cannot see the signs.  The 30-minute hike involves a steep but gradual incline.  It is also lined with signs in English so that you can find the falls easily.  I assure you it will be worth it!

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After the falls, go up 5 minutes and you will see the best view of Kobe from above!

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The hike will surely make you hungry.  As you make your way around, head back to Shin-Kobe and take the Seishin-Yamate line to Motomachi (210 yen).  Head down south to Nankingmachi, which is Japan’s 2nd largest Chinatown.

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Here you will find the best Chinese-Japanese streetfood and the cheapest authentic Kobe beef!  The whole street different from the others and imparts a Chinese vibe to it.  Just walk straight until you arrive at the plaza.  Lots of stalls are located here and everything tastes very well and have good value.  There will be a 2-3 stalls selling authentic Kobe beef.  They offer it in a variety of sets: beef only, with rice, with ramen, with ramen and rice.  The price ranges from 350 – 1500 yen which is very reasonable.  This is ideal for people who just want to eat the best food without having to shed huge sums of money in restaurants.  A Kobe beef set in an average Japanese restaurant will cost you around 3000-10,000 yen.  Best to go here during lunch and dinner.

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After filling up with that awesome Kobe beef, it is time to head south and see the famous Kobe Port.  Kobe was one of the first cities to open its borders for business after the formal ending of sakoku which was kind-of-like a policy of seclusion to world trade.  I also noticed a lot of half-Japanese (hafus) which was kind of interesting.  After about 15 minutes of walking southwest from Nankingmachi, you will already see the Kobe Port Tower.  We didn’t bother to head up since it costs 2000 yen to do so.

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We were here during nighttime so we were able to see the whole harbor in its full lighting glory.  This also meant that we were unable to experience the 40-minute Kobe Bay Cruise which runs from 10am-7pm(1100 yen).  There is also a giant mall (Mosaic) that is located here if you are feeling hungry or want to do some shopping.

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That’s it for my Kobe blog.  Personally, I think an overnight stay would be best if you really want the full Kobe experience.  It is such a big city with lots of places to see and activities to do.  Credits to my friends Geryl and Lady for some of the wonderful photos!

Don’t forget to check-out my travel video of Kobe below.  Let me know if you have any questions or feedback.

Cheers!

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