Things to Do in Kobe
In 1995, Kobe was devastated by an earthquake that leveled entire blocks and took the lives of more than 6,000 people. Today, it’s hard to imagine you’re even in the same city. It’s a compact city that’s easily navigable on foot, and while you won’t find as many big ticket attractions as in Tokyo or Kyoto, you will find a very livable city with one of Japan’s best food scenes and a thriving nightlife.
At the end of the day, most people still come here for the beef, and for good reason. The city is filled with local and international steakhouses, all grilling up the tender, fat-marbled beef, though it comes at a steep price. If you want to sample Kobe beef while in Kobe, but your Japanese skills aren’t great, your best bet is to head to one of the major hotels where nearly all the restaurants will have English menus.
Most visitors to Japan have likely tried some coffee from the Ueshima Coffee Company (UCC), renowned for having introduced the world’s first canned coffee. At the UCC Coffee Museum, you can immerse yourself in coffee culture, learn about how coffee is made, and experience it with all five senses.
Topped with commanding white steel framework in the shape of ship sails, the Kobe Maritime Museum stands at the center of Meriken Park in Kobe's port area. Travelers can visit to learn about the early history of the Port of Kobe and see historical artifacts and displays on the development over the years, as well as the port's latest features.
Half of the building is devoted to shipping, with a vast collection of model ships, from small to extra large. The outdoor Yamato 1, the first working prototype of its kind, is another special feature, having first successfully operated in the Port of Kobe in June 1992. Meanwhile, the Kawasaki Good Times World section focuses solely on the history, design and manufacturing of products produced by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, a Japanese company with more than 100 years of history. This section is an interactive way for children and adults to experience the technology and manufacturing behind a wide range of products used for land, sea and air.
Kobe Port Tower—nicknamed “Steel Tower Beauty—is a crimson tower built in an hourglass shape resembling a Japanese hand drum, called a tsuzumi. Situated in the Central District, the tower rises 354 feet (108 meters) above the city, and is known as the symbol of Kobe. Visitors come here for the panoramic sightseeing decks and rotating bar.