Kobe is the capital of the Hyogo Prefecture and is located in the Kansai (Western) region of Japan.
It is actually very convenient place. I would recommend you stay in Kobe rather than Osaka or Kyoto.
Kobe City is the capital Hyogo Prefecture. It has a population of about 1.52 million (about 1/6 of Tokyo) within its nine wards (Higashi-Nada, Nada-ku, Chuo-ku, Hyogo-ku, Nagata-ku, Suma-ku, Tarumi-ku, Nishi-ku, Kita-ku).
With the opening of Kobe Port in 1868, Western culture was quickly adopted. As a result, Kobe became a city known for its foreign influence. Kobe is known for its many bakeries and Pastries but most of all, for its Kobe beef restaurants.
When I lived overseas, someone asked me which part of Japan I came from. When I told them I am from Kobe, everyone would reply “KOBE BEEEEEEEEF!!!!”
There is Chinatown in Kobe called (南京町) Nankin Machi. Of all the Chinatowns in Japan it is one of the third largest in the country. Like all Chinatown’s, there are many Chinese restaurants and Gyoza (dumpling) restaurants. You will never go hungry.
Kobe is a very easy city to travel to and from. Kobe has its own airport, shinkansen station and international port. You can even travel by ship to Kyushu’s Oita City. For example, from Tokyo it is about 3 hours by Shinkansen, an hour by plane or you can travel overnight by coach (arriving in the morning).
Kobe (Hyogo Prefecture) is located almost in the middle of Japan’s Honshu Island thus making it very easy to go travel from. As an example, you can travel to Shikoku through Awaji Island in about two hours. As an adult, I came to realize how livable Kobe city really is.
Directionally, Kobe is a very easy town to understand. Because there is a mountain on the north side and the sea on the south side, Kobe citizens often refer to north as the mountain side and the south as the sea side. If you ever have an opportunity to see a Kobe Daimaru Kobe Map, you will notice this way of referencing Kobe’s locations.
As an example, if you are ever near Kobe’s Sannomiya station and happen to ask a local for directions to the popular Kitano Starbucks, they are more likely to reply “…..head towards the mountain”.
Kobe is also well known as a city often used as film locations in movie making.
There are many delicious restaurants, shops, as well as sake breweries and hot springs in Kobe City. There is even an Anpanman Museum!
Born and raised in Kobe, I will try to introduce my view of Kobe’s warmth and charm.