Kobe is probably one of my favourite cities so far in Japan. It’s a city that’s been destroyed several times (American firebombing during and after WWII and the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995) but it’s beautiful and modern. There’s a lot of Western-looking buildings, due to the fact that it’s a port city and one of the few that were open to trade with the West after 1868.
I also just have a thing for cities with ocean views.
It’s about 30 minutes to get to Kobe from Osaka (Osaka Station to Sannomiya Station). But you get to ride a nice commuter train — it only costs $4 and you get cushy seats and more legroom than your average economy seat on an airplane.
Downtown Kobe is pretty. It kind of reminds me of San Francisco.
The main stretch of the shopping street near Sannomiya Station.
Since we were in Kobe, of course we had to have some Kobe beef. If you think you’ve had Kobe beef, you probably haven’t, unless you’ve been to Japan. Kobe beef HAS to come from cows from Hyogo prefecture, and Japan doesn’t export it to Canada. (That restaurant that serves “Kobe beef burgers” is lying to you. ANY restaurant in Canada with Kobe beef on the menu is lying to you.)
Cute bear mascot.
Another shopping street.
Chinatown in Kobe is a pretty big tourist attraction. It’s near Motomachi Station and is easy to find. As I wandered around and admired all the stalls selling delicious-looking food, I regretted my Kobe beef lunch. I had no room to eat panda nikuman.
Panda vending machines in Chinatown.
Doesn’t this look like San Francisco?
Heading over to the port area.
The port of Kobe.
The Great Hanshin Earthquake destroyed a lot of Kobe, including this wharf. The city has preserved the wharf as it looked after the earthquake as a powerful reminder. It’s part of a larger exhibit called the Earthquake Memorial Park. It was a bit weird, because a 6.3 earthquake recently hit Kobe, which is the strongest earthquake to hit the Kobe area since the 1995 quake.
Living somewhere untouched by earthquakes, it’s pretty surreal to see the damage they can cause.
Near the port is Kobe Tower. We decided to ride to the top, because why not?
Views from the tower.
The glass floor. (Every tower needs one, right?)
This is Mike making fun of me because I think glass floors are scary.
Cute Kobe Tower mascot!
Yet another Gotochi Kitty for me.
I think it’s the law that every Japanese city must have a tower and a ferris wheel.
Another shot of the tower.
Lifeguard statue. (I thought he was real from far away!)
There’s an Anpanman museum in Kobe, but it wasn’t yet open when we were there. (It opened at the end of April.) Wah!
But at least I got to see Anpanman.
Me posing on this comically large bench.
No fake dining here.
I just thought this old building looked cool.
Japan’s ability to rebuild after great tragedies always amazes me. Kobe is just one of many examples. I wish I’d spent more time there, but it’s good to have an excuse to go back somewhere. (And next time, I can visit the Anpanman museum!)