Travel, Teach, Live in Japan
Situated in the mid of Honshu, the main island of Japan, Kobe is the capital city of the Hyogo prefecture, and is accessible easily by air, sea and land. It is approximately a three hour ride from Tokyo by the Shinkansen (bullet train), making it a worthy candidate for a daytrip from Tokyo. Along with Kyoto and Osaka, it creates a central hub for the wealth of Western regions of Japan. With most of the houses in semi-Japanese and semi-Western style, the city is opulent in exotic atmosphere. Some houses, known as 'ijinkan,' which were occupied by foreign traders in the 19th century, are now open to the public to see and are used sometimes as boutiques or restaurants.
An exciting thing to do in Kobe is to visit the Arima Spas. It is one of oldest spa resorts of Japan. Its mineral rich silver and gold water is said to treat various skin diseases and digestive ailments. Situated around the spa resort are a wide variety of tourist attractions like Zuihoji Park where a popular warlord, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, held a tea ceremony in the fifteenth century. The Onsen Shrine is dedicated to priests who are considered to be the creators of the spa and Tsuzumigataki Fall. Many souvenir shops and luxurious Japanese style hotels inhabit the premises of the resort.
There is no dearth of historical monuments in Kobe. The exceptional architectural design of the Earthquake Museum is sure to leave you mesmerized for a while. You will also definitely wish to enjoy the panoramic views of Kobe and Osaka Bay from Mount Rokko. It's easy to get to the peak with the use of cable cars. Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is infamous for being the largest suspension bridge, while the Nada district is famous for its Japanese sake. Top it all off with a quiet stroll alongside Kobe's shiny white harbor and Meriken Park, where you will also find the Kobe Tower that offers panoramic views of the city.
Some other tourist destinations that you would not want to miss on your Kobe trip are Arima Onsen, Sorakuen Garden, Kobe Harborland, Kitano, and Chinatown.
Finally, you can't go to Kobe without trying some Kobe Beef. But that's for a whole other article...
Josh Shulman, Author of All-You-Can Japan http://smartjapantravel.wordpress.com.