You’ve dreamed of going to Japan, and here you are! Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto… Discover the best districts to stay in Kobe!
A major metropolis on the Keihanshin axis – the conurbation concentrating the cities of Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe – Kobe is one of the major cities on the island of Honshu, Japan. The town itself is populated by 1,545,410 inhabitants, but the population of the entire metropolitan area is three million. The traces of human occupation in Kobe are multi-millennial and date back to 10,000 BC.
A leading port city since feudal times, Kobe was a strategic platform for trade in the Japanese archipelago from the Middle Ages. Today, Kobe is known worldwide for its cuisine (with beef as the main ingredient), its international port, its famous red tower, the vast Chinatown district, Meriken Park – the city’s emblematic waterfront park. The city is also infamous for the earthquake that took place on 17 January 1995, during which 6,437 people died.
Kobe is one of the most visited cities in Japan: 10.36 million travelers visited the city in 2012. Today, Kobe is subdivided into 9 districts and features many neighborhoods: we’ve selected our four favorite areas to stay in Kobe.
Sannomiya is Kobe’s most central district, and it is also the city’s most bustling, shop-filled area. This is the quintessential place to go on a shopping spree: Sannomiya is packed with shopping centers, restaurants, and shops of all kinds. It also houses an essential stopover for all travelers: Sannomiya Central Station. Featuring an array of nightlife venues, Sannomiya is a great place to go out and party the night away. Those looking to stay in Sannomiya will find many hotels rooms on offer. However, accommodation rates in this trendy neighborhood are quite expensive. If you’re keen to stay in a lively and festive area that never sleeps, you should definitely choose this area to stay in Kobe.
Kitano is one of Kobe’s most fashionable districts: it was here, on the hills perched north of Sannomiya and at the foot of Mount Rokko, that expatriates and wealthy Europeans took up residence and erected western-style buildings. Dotted with many trendy cafés and restaurants, the district consists of a maze of winding streets that meander towards the center. Many residences dating from the late 19th or early 20th centuries have become symbols of Kobe: Kazamidori no Yakata, Moegi House, the Uroko Museum, Yamate Hachibankan, Yokan Nagaya, or the former Chinese Consulate. Several of these edifices are open to the public and are listed as “important cultural property.” Sometimes they have been revamped and transformed into cafés and restaurants. Kitano is an excellent area to stay in Kobe, provided you have the necessary budget!
Harborland and the port of Kobe
The port of Kobe is Japan’s second largest commercial port. Not far away, Meriken Park is what makes the port district one of the city’s most popular areas, especially if you add the interest of visiting the 355-feet high Port Tower. This towering edifice offers a beautiful panoramic view of the city below. By the sea and near the port, the Harborland district is an area designed primarily for leisure and entertainment: the “Mosaic” leisure and shopping complex is located there, a great place to go shopping if you’re traveling with children. Many cafés, bars, and restaurants dot the area.
Another interesting neighborhood in Kobe is Motomachi, a shop-filled, lively area where you can stroll and get yourself acquainted with delicious Japanese cuisine in the area’s many restaurants. Not far away, discover Kobe’s Chinatown. You will appreciate the liveliness, scents, and colors of Nankinmachi Street, especially if you come to Kobe during the Chinese New Year. It is a lively area to stay in Kobe.
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