Adventures in Kobe: Sannomiya and Maiko
It was a wonderful day, so I decided to take a stroll up the back streets of Kitano, behind Sannomiya station. Kitano is a lovely, quiet neighborhood on the side of a sprawling hill (or perhaps I should call it a mountain?), with tiny cafes, restaurants and stores. It’s perfect for a wander.
My destination was the Sweets and Bakery Le Pan Kobe Kitano, a small bakery owned by Hotel la Suite.
I bought a variety of bread (everything is so delicious and of such a high-quality!), and decided to sit outside in the comfortable lounging seats in front of the store. The bakery provides black coffee for free, so I helped myself to a cup and took my tray outside, where I enjoyed the late-morning autumn sun and watched the people go by.
After brunch, I took a stroll down the back streets of Kitano, Sannomiya and Motomachi.
I wandered through the Motomachi shopping arcade, took a shortcut through Kobe’s Chinatown…
After leaving Chinatown, I reached my next destination – a small, independent café in the backstreets of Motomachi.
It’s called Coffee Labo Frank, and it’s on the second floor of a small building, above a secondhand bookshop. I sat by the window and drank my latte, at one of four window seats inside. The latte was delicious, and the latte art was really pretty (the backlight in the photo is conspiring against showing it, however).
After relaxing there for a while, I headed over to Motomachi station to catch the JR line to Maiko, which is about a twenty minute train ride away. Approximately five of the stations on the line are directly opposite the ocean, so it was a lovely experience to look out the train window and see the open expanse of ocean in front of me, glittering with the rays of the afternoon sun.
When I arrived at Maiko, I walked along Maiko Park, which is a long expanse of park and footpaths along the ocean and directly under the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge - which is, incidentally, the world’s longest suspension bridge. The bridge itself stretches for nearly four kilometres, connecting Kobe with Awaji Island and Shikoku, and the area around the bridge has an exhibition center, as well as a Marine Promenade above the water. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to walk along the Promenade, which is something that I’d really love to do one day.
The bridge was so long and the sun was so bright that I couldn’t take a good photo of it… The sunlight was dazzling.
After checking out Maiko, I went over to the Maiko Starbucks, which is located about a ten minute walk from Maiko station, and has terrace seats on the second floor that overlook the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge and Awaji Island. I arrived just in time to meet up with my friend on the terrace, right as the sun was setting.
The view was breathtaking.
The bridge even lights up at night! The transition from late afternoon – sunset – dusk – twilight – evening is mesmerizing.
And next – dinner. We headed to a restaurant called N’ocean a few doors down. Boasting similarly spectacular views, it’s a cosy restaurant with lots of windows for enjoying the view, and a candle-lit, romantic atmosphere. There was even a huge Christmas tree!
Wanting to wind down after the busy day, we relaxed over drinks and appetizers.
Our table was by the window, so we could look out and watch the light show on the bridge.
After a relaxing time, we decided to call it a night and head back to the hotel.