Kobe is just 1 hour drive away from Osaka, one of the most vibrant cities in Japan. This port city is really dynamic with many shopping streets. We had a day trip from Osaka with Himeji Castle, let’s find out the attractive streets in Kobe!
We had a lunch at a restaurant in Sannomiya district. It’s time to taste Kobe beef — the most famous and premium beef in Japan! Not only in Japan, but all over the world, the phrase “Kobe beef” is very well-known. Kobe beef is top of Wagyu (Japanese cow) that achieves an A4 or A5 rating and passes many strict requirements. The marbled meat was so tender, tasteful, sweet! There is a rumor that Kobe beef cattle are fed with beer and receive massages by sake. I don’t know if it is true but these cows must be raised with lots of care and love!
After lunch, we walked northwards to Kitano town, which is used to be a district of foreign merchants and diplomats. It is located right at the foot of Mt Rokko so you have to go up some slopes. There are many cute souvenir shops on the way. It would be interesting to have a look and find your favorite stuff.
We came across the famous two-story mansion Starbucks, which is registered as national property! You can find Starbucks coffee shop everywhere but this one is unique with Western-style, painted in white and green color, which is referred to “concept store”. This historical building is called Kitano Monogatari-kan, built in 1907 and damaged by the earthquake in 1995. Then it was rebuilt in 2001 and re-opened as Starbucks concept store in 2009. Well, the slopes might be tough for you in the summer weather, but it is worth getting here for a cup of coffee!
The area is very quiet, well-preserved and lovely with street lamps and old Western-style houses called Ijinkan House (foreign residents). Some of the houses are museums and open to tourists. We visited the Weathercock House built in red brick.
This was used to be the house of a German trader named G. Thomas around 1909, now registered as national property. As its name, there is a weathercock on the roof to show the wind direction and it is believed to make evil go away. The house consists of two wooden floors with traditional style of the owner’s home country but if you look carefully, you can recognize that the window frames are built in Japanese style. The first floor is for welcoming visitors with living room and dining room, study room.
The second floor is private room of the family. I was impressed by the room of Mr. Thomas’s daughter, very large with many cute decorations and gets the most sunlight.
If you are tired of walking, you can relax at some cafes nearby or just buy ice-cream, eating while walking in this peaceful area is a good idea. We tried famous Rokko soft cream, very delicious and can’t stop eating!
Before returning back to Osaka, we visited the last destination: Kobe Harborland!
This is a shopping and entertainment complex, always crowded with tourists. I am sure this attraction has enough facilities for your one day tour, from fashion stores, cinema, department stores to restaurants, cafes. And Anpanman Children’s Museum, Donburi shop will satisfy your kids. The building faces to Kobe Port where you can enjoy ocean breeze and have good view of Kobe Port Tower!
If you are interested in visiting Kobe, or Kobe and Himeji Castle from Osaka for a day, please contact us!
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