As the sixth largest city in Japan, a sparkling large port city and commercial center, Kobe is most known and well-loved for its hearty food scene, modern architecture, urban jungle of shopping malls and fun nightlife. With a great choice of neighborhoods to explore, you might be wondering where to stay in Kobe. The city is home to pulsing entertainment districts, quiet, artsy areas, ancient neighborhoods, alternative villages of sub-culture and an impeccable culinary scene. In most Kobe areas, there is an easy atmosphere and a sophisticated and elegant vibe. Here is my Kobe area guide of the best neighborhoods in Kobe, so you can discover the areas that encompass the ideal mix of the city’s quirky side, historic temples and natural havens. Wondering where to stay in Kobe? The city has something for everyone, from peaceful and historic to quirky and lively, check out this Kobe map to figure out what’s best for you.
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For prime shopping, a great nightlife scene and plenty of hotels, check out Sannomiya in the heart of Kobe. Wanting to stay somewhere where there are lots of things to do at night, that’s full of restaurants, cafes and bars? Sannomiya is the spot for you. Stroll down Sannomiya Center-gai; a shopping street which stretches on and on. The major shopping area for locals, especially young people, Sannomiya is home to many of the best things to do in Kobe; cool shops, a fun vibe, and a great culinary scene. Try Japanese style curry and rice, omelet, sobameshi (stir-fried noodles and rice cooked together with meats and vegetables), takoyaki, or ramen. An ideal starting point for sightseeing in Kobe, in Sannomiya, you can experience see the north side which leads towards the mountains, and the south side which presents the beauty of the sea. While the north side of the city is buzzing with bars, cafes, and restaurants, Sannomiya is also home to the traditional. The Ikuta Shrine; a must-see Shinto shrine dedicated to love and relationships is also located in the area. Don’t miss Sannomiya; one of the best places to stay in Kobe while adventuring.
Spa Terrace Shisui
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A hidden gem towards the mountains for nature lovers is the scenic Spa Terrace Shisui. Welcoming you with tea and sweets in a bright and colorful area which reflect the history of Arima, the Spa Terrace Shisui is a hot springs hotel. With two types of hot spring waters: the Kinsen or “gold water” is brown with iron deposits and is said to be good for skin ailments and muscle pain, while the clear Ginsen or “silver water” is an aroma mist sauna with silver springs, which has an antioxidative, detoxifying effect. It contains radium and carbonate and is said to ease and cure various muscle and joint ailments. The onsen is a hidden treasure of modern Kobe, for those who like tranquility with serene natural surroundings. For dinner, try a dish with fresh, locally sourced ingredients and a Japanese fusion of rich flavor for a true Kobe food experience. Seeking beautiful places to stay in Kobe? Be sure to check out the Spa Terrace Shisui.
Photo Credit: Just an ordinary girl
One of my favorite neighborhoods in Kobe, the tightly-packed Chinatown is a busy hub for the Chinese community in the Kansai Region, with delicious aromas and colorful sights, exciting every sense. One of the best Kobe neighborhoods, Nankinmachi is a great Kobe attraction; home to shopping, restaurants and food stalls serving up the best of Kobe cuisine. Try the delicious steamed buns manju, ramen, tapioca drinks or any must-eat Chinese-Japanese fusion dishes, which are great for experiencing a glimpse of local Kobe culture. Visiting Kobe between the middle of January and the end of February? Don’t miss the Chinese New Year Festival; where you can witness the “Parade of Chinese Historical Figures” consisting of people in Beijing Opera in costume and makeup. Visiting mid-September to mid-October? Check out the “Mid-autumn Harvest Festival” where the gods of the earth are celebrated at autumn harvest. Kids in Kobe can take part in mochituki (rice-cake making). There’s always lots going on in Nankinmachi; one of the three most major Chinatowns of Japan.
Experience everyday life in the retro area of Shinkaichi. Historically one of Kobe’s busiest and most vibrant areas, once home to an array of cinemas and theaters, Shinkaichi is perfect for anyone wanting to experience local everyday life in Kobe. With lots of retro buildings, locally loved cafes and cool shopping areas, Shinkaichi is a colorful area with a lot of history. See another side to Kobe as you wander the streets of the quirky downtown entertainment districts. Visit izakaya pubs, karaoke bars, or casual restaurants serving ramen and gyoza. The streets themselves have a buzzing energy with young musicians performing and fun rock bars to suck into. Eccentric shops specialize in Japanese pop culture, and the Kobe Art Village Center shows and sells work by contemporary local talents. One of the most fun Kobe Japan points of interest, Shinkaichi has a bit of everything.
With an elegant port city skyline, promising classy cafes, historic attractions and great nightlife, the port area is one of the best things to do in Kobe. With an iconic bright red twisting structure, the Kobe Port Tower is a big observatory tower and the symbol of Kobe, with great city views. A modern port with large, open, leafy green spaces for live music, art performances and festivals, Kobe’s Harbor is well worth a visit when exploring the city. A cool place to walk around, enjoy the night views, do some shopping, and take a boat tour, Port Town is worth stopping by. For anyone seeking trendy, hipster areas with an artsy vibe and arty people and culture on the Kobe map, Port Town is the place to be.
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