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.


A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.

Earthquake Memorial Museum

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.

Himeji Castle

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.

Kobe Beef

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.

Sake Brewery

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.

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