Kobe Day Trip Guide – Things to Do and Places to Visit in Kobe!

Kobe Skyline Kobe

Kobe is the capital city of Hyogo prefecture that has the seventh largest population in Japan. Kobe is located in the Kansai region and it takes only 30 minutes to get there from Osaka by train, which makes it really attractive for tourists to visit these two cities. Kobe is one of the largest port cities in Japan along with Yokohama, and has been an important place for trade since Japan reopened the port in 1868 after isolation for over 200 years.

Because of its history, Kobe has a unique atmosphere that has been influenced by other cultures. You will see western influenced architecture in the city but also Asian influences like Chinatown. Kobe also has several tourist spots such as Ikuta shrine, which represent a beautiful mixture of foreign and own cultures. In this article, we will give you some ideas of what you can see and things to do in Kobe.

Book our Private walking tour in Kobe!

Kobe 1–Day Highlights Private Walking Tour [Customizable, 7 Hours]
Kobe is one of the largest port towns in Japan, along with Yokohama. Kobe has been an important trade city since Japan's...

How to get to Kobe?

Travel to Kobe from Kyoto

From Kyoto you can take the Shinkansen to Shin-Kobe station, one direct Hikari train between Kyoto and Shin-Kobe departs each hour. The other option is the JR special rapid train that will bring you in only 50 minutes to Sannomiya station. Sannomiya station is located in the heart of Kobe. It may seem strange to exit at a station that doesn’t have “Kobe” in its name, but Sannomiya station is definitely the best place to start your trip. It is the most central station, well located and all the public transport lines start there!

Travel to Kobe from Tokyo

From Tokyo, taking the bullet train (Shinkansen) is your fastest and most comfortable option to reach Kobe. There are three Shinkansen you can take; Nozomi, Hikari, and Kodama. All the trains stop at Shin-Kobe station but make sure that you take the one which is bound for Okayama, Hiroshima, or Hakata. Otherwise, you’ll need to get off at Shin-Osaka station in order to change trains! From Shin-Kobe you can take the Local Seishinchuo train that will bring you to Sannomiya station in 2 minutes. The total trip will take you a bit over 3 hrs.

If you have the Japan Rail Pass, the journey from Kyoto is completely covered and most of the Kobe trip too.
Read more about the JR Pass.

How to Get to Osaka/Kyoto from Kansai International Airport
Kansai International Airport (KIX) is located about 50 km from Osaka's center on a man-made island. In this blog we will explain the different options to access the airport.

Best things to do in Kobe

1. Ikuta Shrine – enshrines a deity of marriage and love

Ikuta shrine is one of the oldest shrines in the Kobe area and it dates back to 201. It is only a 10-minute walk from Sannomiya station, and now a popular place amongst the younger generation as it enshrines a God of marriage and love. At the shrine several kinds of lucky charms are sold. Just seeing and comparing all the different designs of them is fun to do, even if you are not looking for a romantic relationship at the moment!

Official website Ikuta Shrine (Japanese only)
9am – 5pm
No admission fee

2. Kobe China Town – one of the biggest China towns in Japan

Kobe Chinatown (also known as Nankinmachi, 南京町) is a long street with many Chinese restaurants and shops selling all different kind of things including Japanese Chinese food such steamed buns (nikuman), ramen, tapioca drinks at an affordable price. You can choose either going into one of the restaurants and enjoy the food there, or you can opt for take out and eat them while walking around. Not only the food but also the buildings and the atmosphere are quite unique, which makes Nankinmachi a must-visit for tourists!

Motomachi area, Nankinmachi, Chinatown, Kobe

3. Kobe Harborland – see the iconic Kobe Port Tower

Kobe Harborland is a shopping and entertainment district located between Kobe station and the waterfront area. On its ground there used to be some factories and old stations, but it was redeveloped as a new tourist attraction in 1992. The name Kobe Harborland doesn’t indicate a specific building, but it covers the whole area including its buildings, hotels, and even a cruise ship. It is a popular spot for couples (to be) at night also, because of its decorative lights and romantic atmosphere. Also, if you would like to have a 360° view of Kobe, you can visit the observation deck of the Kobe Port Tower.

Official website Kobe Harborland

4. Kobe Animal Kingdom – kid’s favorite zoo

Kobe Animal Kingdom is a zoo located on Port Island (an artificial island) in Kobe. Visitors are allowed to pet several kinds of animals including kangaroos, sheep, and capybaras! In addition, they frequently plan fun events and special exhibits, so you can find out something new every time you go, and never get bored!

Official website Kobe Animal Kingdom
10am – 5pm
Admission ¥1,800 (adult)

5. Rokkosan (Mt. Rokko) – breathtaking view over Kobe

If you want to visit nature within an accessible distance from Kobe, Rokkosan (Mt. Rokko) is the perfect option for you! It’s not just a mountain itself, but also offers a variety of leisure facilities including a botanical garden, cafes, observatory, music box museum, and more. Visit the Rokkosan website for more details. Official website Rokkosan


Book One-day Mt. Rokko hiking tour!
Hiking at Mt. Rokko is suggested as a way to exercise after indulging in Japanese cuisine. The tour offers professional guides, a visit to Arima Onsen hot spring, and the opportunity to try craft beer.


6. Kobe Nunobiki Herb Gardens – seasonal flowers and ropeway ride

This huge herb garden is located in the vicinity of Sin-Kobe station. You can get to the ropeway platform from the station in roughly 5 minutes, and then take the ropeway up to the top of the mountain where the herb garden is located. During your ride to the top of the mountain and the herb garden you can enjoy the impressive, amazing view of Kobe city. The garden at the top is divided into 12 areas with different themes, and about 200 types of herbs and flowers are enjoyed by visitors throughout the year. 

Official website Kobe Nunobiki Herb Gardens
10am – 5pm (winter, every day, & spring and autumn, weekdays)
10am – 20.30 pm (summer, every day & spring and autumn, weekends)
Round-way ticket ¥1,500 (including ropeway).

7. Kobe Kitano Ijinkan (Kitano-cho) – foreign influenced architectures from 19th century

In 1858, Japan agreed to sign a treaty that required the country to open 5 ports, including the port of Kobe. As a result, the number of foreigners living in Japan drastically increased. The government allowed them to live in some designated areas, including Kobe Kitano Ijinkan. Kobe Kitano Ijinkan is a district, located at the foot of Rokkosan, where in the 19th century a number of western-style designed buildings and residences were constructed. These mansions (Ijikan), were used as residences for diplomats and international merchants. Even though Japan experienced several wars in the 20th century, some of these old buildings still remain and attract visitors from all over the world.

Official website Kobe Kitano Ijinkan

8. Kobe Luminarie – winter illumination commemorating Kobe earthquake of 1995

Kobe Luminarie is an annual light festival held every winter since 1995, to commemorate a big earthquake that caused some serious damage in the same year. The event takes place in the vicinity of Motomachi Station, where you can watch several places and structures being illuminated. The dates and schedule are subject to change each year, so you should check the latest updates on their website. If you are planning to visit Kobe in winter, definitely consider including it on your itinerary.
Official website Kobe Luminarie (Japanese only)

Kobe Luminarie

9. Try Kobe beef – the best quality beef in the world

You can’t spend time in Kobe and not try the famous Kobe beef, one of the most delicious and expensive types of wagyu beef in Japan! Only cattle that meet the very strict criteria by the Kobe Beef Marketing & Distribution Association can call themselves and be served as Kobe beef. You will definitely be surprised how tender and flavorful the beef is!

Kobe Beef

There is of course a great number of restaurants serving Kobe beef in Kobe. Our recommendation is “TOR ROAD STEAK AOYAMA”, a small but welcoming restaurant with friendly and hospitable staff. Here you can enjoy Kobe beef at an affordable price. We recommend reserving your table as they get really crowded even on weekdays.


All you need to know about Japanese Wagyu Beef
Wagyu refers to the 4 breeds of purebred Japanese cattle. In this article we explain everything there is to know about this delicious type of meat and why it is so special. Itadakimasu!

10. Maya-san (Mt. Maya) – incomparable night view

Maya-san or Mt. Maya is one of the major peaks of the Rokko mountains. The Kikuseidai Observation Platform on the top of the mountain can be reached in two ways; you can hike your way to the summit or take the cable car ropeway system. The hiking trails start just north of Shin-Kobe station and will lead you to the summit in 3-5 hrs, depending on the trails (and your pace). You can find a map of the hiking trails here.

The other option is going by public transport. From Sannomiya station you need to take a bus, a cable car, and a ropeway to reach the top. This may sound like a bit of a hustle, but the (night)view of Kobe and Osaka is definitely worth it! 


11. Nada Sake District – visit some Japanese sake brewery

If you like Japanese Sake, you should definitely go to the Nada District. Nada is the top sake producing region in Japan. They have great resources to make delicious sake because of the availability of high quality rice, suitable water and favorable weather conditions in this area. There are many Sake breweries operating in this district but Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum is our recommendation. They depict the sake making process in an interesting way at the exhibition and of course, you can try freshly brewed Sake at the tasting area. 

Official website Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum
9.30am – 4.30pm
No admission fee


When you visit the Nada Sake District, there’s no better way to explore the area than having a knowledgeable guide with you!
Book a sake brewery tour in Nada District
This tour will not only introduce a sake brewery and tasting but will also introduce you to the food culture using sake, and strolling through local shopping streets.



Join the guided tours – discover hidden gems!

You can discover hidden gems and learn the history of the area only when you walk with a knowledgeable guide. If it’s your first time or not, you can always discover new things with a guide. Here are the recommended tours in Kobe!

Kobe 1-Day Highlights Private Walking Tour (7 hours)
This tour will cover all the must-visit spots in Kobe. The itinerary is flexible and can be changed depending on your request!

Japan Wonder Travel Tours in Osaka

If you are planning on visiting Osaka and need some help organizing your trip, you came to the right place! We would be more than happy to help make your trip the best it possibly could be. We can advise you on where to go, or even better, hook you up with a local English speaking guide that can show you all of the best spots. Let us help you make fun, safe, and unforgettable memories in Osaka!

Osaka Highlights Private Walking Tour
On this full-day private tour of Osaka, we will take you to Osaka’s highlights that include Osaka Castle, Kuromon Market, the popular Dotonbori area, etc. Learn about the rich history of the area, local lifestyle, and of course delicious Osaka food!

Osaka tour

Kyoto Food and Drink Tour @Nishiki Street & Gion
If you’re planning on visiting Kyoto along with Osaka and are looking to learn more about the culture and local cuisine, this is definitely the perfect tour for you! Take part in this fun food and drink tour and explore the 400-year-old market and the famous Gion district.

Kimono Experience

Kimono Rental
Explore the exciting city of Osaka with a kimono, Japanese traditional clothing. You can choose the one you like the most from several patterns and colors at the rental shop. In Osaka, it’s located at the center of the city, accessible from the main tourist attractions which makes it easy to try it on and explore the city for a day!

If you have time, visit Awajishima for fun activities!

Awajishima is a small island which sits between Hyogo prefecture and Tokushima prefecture. There are many activities that you can do such as cycling in Awajishima. But if you are an anime fan, visit Nijigen no Mori! It can be literally translated as ‘the forest of 2D’, and there are some different theme parks at the site featuring Godzilla, NARUTO and Dragon Quest and so on. At The Godzilla Interception Operation Awaji, which was newly opened in 2020, you can enjoy the zip lining into the mouse of Godzilla. If you like NARUTO, the theme park called NARUTO x BORUTO Shinobi will get you excited – you can see Hokage Rock, do some missions (quiz solving) and eat the iconic ramen from the anime & manga!

The 10 Best Things To Do in Awajishima
Awajishima is a popular spot for both vacationers and tourists alike. Located in the Hyogo prefecture of Japan, it sits ...

Other things to do in Hyogo prefecture

Hyogo prefecture has more to offer such as Arima Onsen (hot spring town) and one of the most famous castles of Japan, Himeji castle. If you are planning to stay in Kobe and want to explore the extended area, check out the article below for more places to visit in Hyogo prefecture.

The Best Places to Visit in Hyogo
Kobe is the most known area in Hyogo prefecture but there are more attractions you can enjoy! Here are 10 best places to visit in Hyogo other than Kobe.

Where to stay in Kobe

As we mentioned before, the night view of Kobe is one of the highlights of Kobe. So we strongly recommend staying 1 night in Kobe. Our top picks are:

Hotel nameDescription
Hotel La Suite Kobe HarborlandBayfront area, Ocean view hotel.
Member of SLH (Small luxury hotels of the world)
Oriental HotelLuxury hotel near Sannomiya station.
Founded in 1870.
Minato Onsen RenBayfront area, Ocean view hotel.
A group of Hotel La Suite Kobe Harborland
They have a private open-air bath in room.
ANA Crowne Plaza KobeHotel near JR Shinkobe station.
Hotel Isago KobeRyokan near JR Shinkobe station.
Galo Hostel KobeHostel near JR Shinkobe station
Kobe Guesthouse MAYAGuesthouse near JR Nada station.

Compared to other big cities, Kobe is relatively small and easy to explore either on foot or by public transportation. If you are interested in traveling to a city less crowded than Tokyo or Osaka, but still enjoyable, Kobe is always there to offer you new excitements and discoveries! Will you visit Kobe next time you are visiting Japan?

Follow us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook for more travel inspiration. Or tag us to get featured! 

Happy traveling!

Other articles you might like

How to Get to Osaka/Kyoto from Kansai International Airport
Kansai International Airport (KIX) is located about 50 km from Osaka's center on a man-made island. In this blog we will explain the different options to access the airport.
25 Best Things to do in Kyoto
Kyoto is one of Japan's most historic cities in the entire country. From temples to shops to scenic views, there isn't anything this city doesn't have. Here are some of the best things to do in Kyoto.
All you need to know about Japanese Wagyu Beef
Wagyu refers to the 4 breeds of purebred Japanese cattle. In this article we explain everything there is to know about this delicious type of meat and why it is so special. Itadakimasu!

This post may contain some affiliate links. When you click through and make a purchase we may receive some commission, at no extra costs to you.


Sponsored links
Share this article on your social media
Japan Wonder TravelFollow


  1. Sasti says:

    Great itinerary, includes all my ‘must to go’ list in Kobe..

    I want to ask you something, the night view from (11), is it from Rokko Garden Terrace or Mount Maya? In other reference, I saw that view is taken from Mount Maya, but many other references say that view is taken from Mount Rokko, I really want see that view, thanks in advance..

    • shou says:

      I am Japanese and I live in Kobe. Rokko mountainrange is very long. So there are many place to see night view. Both of them,Rokko Garden Terrace and Mount Maya,are very famous place to see it.and these mountains is next to each other.
      It is little difficult for visiter to know ,there are many mountains in Rokko mountain range ,and Mount Maya and Rokko are one of them. Inside that Rokko mount is the highest in this mountainrange,so this mountainrange is named “Rokko mountain range” . So Rokko Garden Terrace is in mount Rokko. Please don’t misunderstand Rokko mountainrange and mount Rokko.

  2. Japan Wonder Travel says:

    Hello Sasti-san,

    Sorry for slow reply.
    This was taken from Rokko Garden Terrace!

    Hope you enjoyed Kobe!

  3. Rachel Tan says:


    For the night view from Rokko Garden Terrace, will it be freezing there? I am planning for day trip to Kobe from Osaka and believe sunset is early now, before 5pm?

  4. Yuna Tamura says:

    Thank you for the content. Very useful information for those who want to travel to Kobe.

Copied title and URL