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Kobe

One of the first cities to open to outside trade in the 1860s, Kobe has long been a prominent port. Though the city suffered extensive damage in the 1995 earthquake, it has since rebuilt much of what was lost, though it did drop to fourth busiest port in Japan (prior to the earthquake, it was the busiest port). Today, Kobe is a cosmopolitan, cultured city, home not only to relaxing hot springs, Kobe beef (derived from Japanese Wagyu cattle), but also a wealth of historical and cultural attractions - the best of which may well be Himeji Castle, widely regarded by experts as the last, finest remaining example of Japanese castle design.

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Our co-founder & CEO Catherine Heald loves Japan's beautiful gardens, especially when covered in winter snow. Her favourite? Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa.
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