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Hyogo | 7.0h
A Tour to Learn all about the international port city, Kobe!
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Explore a city that has developed by taking in diverse cultures


Kobe is one of Japan's most fashionable areas and known for having an unusual mix of cultures. This walking tour will take you to some of the must-visit places in Kobe alongside a private guide who will help you to better understand Kobe’s cultural background.

Kobe's diverse culture is rooted in its history as a cosmopolitan city that has always adopted and developed new things. Kobe has prospered since the Middle Ages as a key point for domestic shipping, but its role as a residential area was limited and, consequently, there was no indigenous culture to speak of. The opening of the country to the outside world in 1853 led to the establishment of foreign settlements and the influx of Western culture. Due to the lack of its own indigenous culture, it absorbed and mixed the foreign cultures that came in with the opening of the country, and nurtured its own unique culture as Haikara culture (the name given to dressing in fashionable Western clothing). Today, the city thrives as one of the leading international cities in Japan, thanks to its abundant flow of international cultural exchange.

Kitano-cho, the area you will visit on this tour, was home to many foreigners after the opening of the country, and is now, with its Western-style architecture, a popular place to walk around in the city. Also, in the Port Island area, Kobe's landmark towers and buildings have been built on the harbour, and you can enjoy the cutting-edge scenery of a mix of foreign and Japanese cultures. In addition, there are many other places in Kobe that you should not miss. Let's visit together the many spots that one person alone cannot visit in one day, and enjoy Kobe sightseeing fully!

Highlights


・By learning about the cultural background of Kobe, you can have a more profound travel experience.
・You will visit the historic shrine associated with the origin of the name Kobe. It is also adored as a god of marriage.
・In the Kitano area, which still retains its Western atmosphere, you will be impressed by the beautiful buildings that incorporate Western-style architectural techniques from different countries.
・“Nankinmachi", a Chinatown reminiscent of an authentic Chinese market, offers “Japanese-Chinese” cuisine symbolising the fusion of Japanese and Chinese cultures.
・ Experience the harbour views at Kobe Port Tower and Meriken Park, and see the city of Kobe from the sea with a cruise ship ride.

Attractions


・Ikuta Shrine: This is a magnificent shrine in the city that is visited by everyone who comes to Kobe. It is also the origin of Kobe's name, and is dedicated to the god of marriage, with hundreds of couples getting married here every year. Be sure to try the water fortune-telling service, which can tell your fortune about your relationships.
・Moegi no Yakata: Let's take a stroll through Kitano-cho, an area of beautiful Western-style buildings where foreigners lived when the port of Kobe was opened in the 19th century. In particular, the "Moegi no Yakata" is a colonial-style building with distinctive yellow-green walls and lavish interior decoration. This house is located on a hill, so you can also enjoy the beautiful cityscape of Kobe from the skylight on the second floor.
・Weathercock House: The Weathercock House is one of the most iconic buildings in Kobe, along with the Kobe Port Tower and the Kobe Maritime Museum. It was built in the German classical style, and its beautiful brickwork attracts visitors from all over. Inside the museum, there are permanent exhibits that show how people lived in back those days, and is a perfect place to spend a relaxed afternoon.
・Kobe Nunobiki Herb Garden: 10 minutes by ropeway to the top of a 400-meter-high mountain, this is one of the largest herb gardens in Japan, with architecture reminiscent of medieval European castles. More than 75,000 plants, of over 200 different kinds of herbs, are planted here, and visitors can enjoy them in every all year round. You can also try dishes made with these herbs, and take a foot bath with herbal waters.
・Nankinmachi: One of the three major Chinatowns in Japan, along with Yokohama and Nagasaki, Nankinmachi is an area with gorgeous traditional Chinese-style streets. There is a wide variety of Japanese-style Chinese food available, so feel free to enjoy casual Chinese-style dishes. This is also a great place to learn about how Chinese people and culture are integrated into Japanese society today.
・Port Tower: Widely known as the symbol of the Port of Kobe, this bright red tower offers a 360° view of the city of Kobe, from the port all the way to Mount Rokko. The shape of the tower is inspired by traditional Japanese instruments and the shape of Dutch towers, reflecting Kobe's deep-rooted spirit of mixing various cultures to create its own unique culture.
・Kobe Maritime Museum (Kawasaki World): This museum has a unique appearance, reminiscent of waves and sails of a sailing ship. The museum features a permanent exhibition on the history of the port of Kobe as an international port city, and is an essential place if you want to learn more about Kobe. The technology that has supported Japan's maritime industry can be seen up close and is a sight to behold. You can also experience riding a variety of vehicles, as well as a real cockpit experience, at the Kawasaki World.
・Meriken Park: This park was created by reclaiming a former wharf, and offers the true atmosphere of a port town. It is a place where you can relax and enjoy the scenery of the ships passing by, contemplate the old city monuments, or simply take a break at a cafe.
・Kobe Bay Cruise (Ocean Prince/Royal Princess): Board a cruise ship and enjoy the views of Kobe Harborland and Port Island from the ship. This 45-minute cruise around the harbour is a romantic experience.

Notes

・The tour begins and ends in different locations. If you would like to change the location of where the tour ends, please consult with your tour guide.

Expenses Not Included

The travel expense is not included in the tour fee. Please bring extra money to experience this tour to its fullest.
(Entrance fees, transportation fees, activity fees, etc. - at least about JPY4,800 /person)

Meeting Point

JR Sannomiya Station Midori-no-Madoguchi (Ticket office)



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