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
Despite Japan’s efforts to carry out more testing for the new coronavirus, medical experts have cast doubt on whether the country can provide adequate testing for citizens and promote effective policies to contain the outbreak. (Japan Today)
Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested another suspect — bringing the total to 20 — for participation in the alleged robbery of more than 80 million yen from two employees of a precious metals dealer in Minato Ward last year, reports the Sankei Shimbun. (tokyoreporter.com)
A Japanese infection control expert removed YouTube videos Thursday in which he criticized the handling of the coronavirus outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama, saying the situation had improved.
Police on Sunday arrested a man for allegedly firing several shots with a handgun at a home belonging to the second-in-command of the Yamaguchi-gumi, the nation’s largest yakuza group, in Kuwana, Mie Prefecture. (Japan Times)
Two warring yakuza groups will face stronger crackdowns after public safety commissions in six prefectures designated them Tuesday as “crime syndicates at war” in an effort to weaken them and stop their escalating battles. (Japan Times)
Osaka Prefectural Police arrested a member of a criminal syndicate over the alleged attempted stabbing of a rival gangster in Osaka City on Monday, reports Fuji News Network (Dec. 17). (tokyoreporter.com)
A senior member of a splinter group from Japan’s largest crime syndicate has been arrested for allegedly shooting a member of the parent group in Kobe in August amid a gang feud, police said. (Japan Today)
A 52-year-old in Hyogo Prefecture filed a claim on Tuesday over the constitutionality of a law that blocks those with children who are minors from changing their sex in the official family registry. (Japan Times)
In the month of October Japan celebrates “Sports Day” which is the anniversary of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and a holiday to inspire exercise for all. Around this time, schools all over the country hold Sports Festivals where they take part in a variety of physical activities from dancing to relay races. (soranews24.com)
A male teacher at an elementary school in western Japan has complained of being bullied by four senior colleagues, claiming they daubed curry on his body and rubbed spicy soup against his eyes, a local education board said Friday. (Japan Today)
A man affiliated with Japan’s largest crime syndicate was shot Wednesday in Kobe apparently in connection with a feud among factions of the Yamaguchi-gumi organization in the western Japan city and surrounding areas, police said. (Japan Today)
Japan’s new supercomputer Fugaku is set to begin operations around 2021 with the country aiming to regain the title of building the world’s fastest computer, replacing its current supercomputer K, government-backed research institute Riken said Thursday. (Japan Times)