After numerous day trips to Kobe, which is only a half hour train ride from Osaka, I can now say that it is one of my absolute favourite cities in Japan. This list is highly subject to change, depending on my mood, or who I'm talking to (tip: when talking to an Osakan, Osaka is without a doubt your favourite city). But Kobe is a city I could live in. It reminds me of New Zealand in many ways, and some areas and landscapes are so familiar that we would keep saying things like 'I feel like we're in Queenstown', or 'doesn't this remind you of Wellington?' Being able to see the mountains, as well as the gorgeous harbour, may be some reasons for these waves of sentimentalism for home.
|Kobe harbour (complete with Kobe tower) on a sunny day|
|Coke machine, Nankinmachi style|
|The colours of Chinatown|
For a European flavour, all you have to do is walk up the hill from Sannomiya Station, past an old-style Starbucks that looks like a home out of Anne of Green Gables, and you'll soon find yourself in Kitano-cho, a picturesque area that contains western-style houses, once the homes of foreign settlers. You can pay a fee to enter many of the houses, where they've restored some of the original interior designs. There are also a number of little cafes and restaurants. Best enjoyed on a sunny day, strolling lazily through the village with a purin (custard pudding) flavoured ice cream.
|View of Kobe from Kitano-cho on the hill|
|The 'Austrian' house|
|Outside the Holland, Denmark and Austrian houses|
|Inside the Rokko Cable Car|
|Dusk view of Kobe from Mt Rokko|
|Tribute to the earthquake in Meriken park|