Visit the state-of-the-art Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Memorial Museum, whose several floors of interactive, multimedia exhibits include a theatrical recreation – not for the faint of heart – of 5:46 a.m. on January 17, 1995, the moment the earthquake struck.
Visit Himeji Castle, located in Hyogo Prefecture about one hour west of Kobe. Comprising 83 wooden buildings, it is occasionally known as Shirasagijo ("White Heron Castle") because of its brilliant white exterior. Explore the castle grounds and learn about Japan's feudal era, when shoguns and samurai held sway.
Sample Kobe’s most famous export – its beef. Raised from a special strain of Japanese Wagyu cattle, Kobe beef is famous for its distinct flavor, tenderness, and its fatty, marbled texture. This meat can be prepared a number of ways, either in stews like sukiyaki and shabu-shabu, raw in sashimi or grilled on teppanyaki. Pair the meat with an assortment of Japanese beverages, from umeshu, or plum wine, to shochu, a distilled liquor native to Japan.
Visit a small batch sake brewery. Besides its ubiquitous beer brands such as Sapporo and Asahi, Japan's most famous alcoholic export is sake. There are varying grades of sake based on the polishing of the rice; the more the rice is polished, the stronger the flavor. Have a private tasting with a sake sommelier and learn more about the intricacies of sake making and the culture of sake drinking.