Kobe, a beautiful port city in West Japan home to 1.5 million, lies just 20 minutes or so from Osaka and an hour's flight from Tokyo. Synonymous with style, mountains and its seafront setting, it is perhaps most famous for its namesake beef and offers a wealth of attractions for all visitors. Getting here is also a breeze, thanks to three major train lines, a dedicated airport and a high-speed ferry service that can reach Kansai Airport in just 30 minutes.
The name Kobe, literally 'God's Door', was derived from the original name of 'Kanbe', the family protecting the god of Ikuta Shrine, in the heart of the present-day city. Kobe began to truly thrive as a city when the port opened up to the Western world back in 1868 and a foreign settlement was established up until 1899. Ever since the opening of its port in 1868, Kobe has blossomed into a thriving cosmopolitan city; incorporating Western customs, cultures and industries.
Kobe has an enviable number of must-visit attractions. The Nada area, for example, is famous as one of the best areas nationwide for producing Japanese sake. Surrounded by the beautiful backdrop of the Rokko mountain range, conditions are perfect for the many breweries here. Kobe is also an ideal place to enjoy the very Japanese pastime of hot-spring bathing, at Japan's oldest hot spring resort, Arima Onsen.
Kobe's two most famous mountains, Maya and Rokko, can be accessed by road, hiking up or a combination of funicular train and cable car, the reward for which is Kobe's renowned "10 million dollar night view".
Alongside this natural beauty, enjoy urban cityscapes and all a major city home to 1.5 million can offer. All visitors are urged to sample its most famous attraction - world-beating Kobe beef - while in town! With more than enough to keep foodies, nature lovers and sports fans happy, a visit to Kobe should be on everyone's itinerary.