Kōbe (神戸) is one of Japan’s underappreciated cities. A cosmopolitan port city with an international flavor, hemmed in by Mt. Rokko, it constantly comes up number one in expatriate rankings of the best place to live in Japan. …WikiTravel
Ijinkan (異人館) (walking distance from either Sannomiya or Shin-Kobe stations) Kōbe’s number-one attraction is the Ijinkan or Foreign Houses. These are 19th-century residences of Kobe’s foreign traders, clustered in the Kitano area.…WikiTravel
Kyu-kyoryuchi (旧居留地), near Motomachi station (Hanshin Line or JR Line). This is where foreign consulates and trading companies built their offices. Several 19th-century buildings have been converted into restaurants and shops. Notable buildings include Chartered Square, once the Chartered Bank branch and the 15th Building (十五番館), once the American consulate. The area is also packed full of high-fashion boutiques like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada and Fendi.
Meriken Park (メリケンパーク) near the harborfront has a poignant memorial to the devastating Hanshin Earthquake in 1995, which killed 6,433 people. Kobe Tower nearby is the unofficial symbol of the city and offers a viewing pavilion (¥600).
City Hall Observation Deck near the Kyu-kyoryuchi area; see a tourist map for location, walking distance from Sannoyima Stn. Could be a good alternative to Kobe Tower for people who are on a budget. Offers nice bayside and mountainside views of Kobe. Closes at 9:00pm. No charge.
Fruit Flower Park (フルーツ・フラワーパーク), 35 min by bus from Sannomiya, Open daily is 10 AM to 6 PM (except on holidays). Phone: 078-954-1000. This park is surrounded by a lot of flowers and greenery. Many people hold their wedding ceremonies here every year. In spring, the park becomes even more beautiful as about 10,000 tulips bloom. The Hotel Fruit Flower is near the park, which is visited by many families.
Chinatown (南京町 nankinmachi) was the original settlement of Chinese merchants. Today, it is rather touristy though it offfers some “Japanised” versions of Chinese food such as pork buns (豚饅頭 buta-manjū). Its architecture is still rather pleasant though.
Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum (竹中大工道具館), (3 blocks North of JR Motomachi station. 1 block west from Coop store. A 10 minute walk.), ☎ (078)242-0216, . 9:30-16:30. A very nice exploration of hand carpentry tools, from the stone axes of Jomon age to the Western influenced tools of yesterday. Hands on exhibits and English language descriptions make this a pleasant place to spend the afternoon. 300 yen. edit
Sorakuen Garden, (10 minute walk from Motomachi Stn; 15-20 minutes from Sannomiya Stn), ☎ (078)351-4680, . 9:30-16:30. A nice Japanese-style garden in the middle of the city. Very good value and a great attraction to see after going through the Ijinkan area. 300 yen; 260 yen with discount coupon available from tourist information booths. edit
Nunobiki Herb Park (布引ハーブ園) is a 40-acre garden located on Mount Rokko. It is accessible by the Shin-Kobe Ropeway, located near Shin-Kobe station. It features over 200 varieties of herbs, as well as greenhouses, exhibitions, and a restaurant. Admission for adults before 5pm is ¥1400 (including round-trip ropeway tickets), ¥900 (including one-way ropeway), and ¥800 after 5pm (in the summer). …WikiTravel
Investigative sources with the Hyogo Prefectural Police have revealed that the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi organized crime group likely vacated its headquarters in Awaji City on Monday, a move that comes after the issuing of a complaint by citizens, reports TBS News (tokyoreporter.com)
The Kobe Municipal Government earlier this year evicted a woman from a municipally run apartment after it received numerous complaints regarding the dozens of cats she kept inside, reports TBS News (tokyoreporter.com)
Japan’s Kobe Steel Ltd. said Friday that it has confirmed misconduct including data falsification on nine more products including mainstay steels, in its internal investigation following the initial revelations of data fraud cases. (Jiji)
The husband of lawmaker Seiko Noda, the newly appointed Internal Affairs and Communications Minister, is a former member of a criminal syndicate based in Kyoto, claims a weekly magazine. (tokyoreporter.com)
Hyogo Prefectural Police have launched a manhunt after a shooting incident in Kobe left a man believed to be a bodyguard of the boss of a rival gang to the Yamaguchi-gumi dead, likely the result of a yakuza feud, reports NHK (tokyoreporter.com)
One woman fell into a coma and 13 others were injured Wednesday night after a passenger boat rammed into a facility of Kobe Airport in Hyogo Prefecture in western Japan, firefighters said. (Japan Today)
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Tuesday raided the headquarters of the Yamaguchi-gumi organized crime group as a part of an investigation into the extortion of entertainment establishments in the capital, reports TV Asahi. (tokyoreporter.com)