Kansai is one of the most popular areas in Japan, and for good reason. You have perhaps the most visited city in Japan, Kyoto, Shiga, as well as Osaka and Japan’s largest lake: Biwa.
Over in the west of Kansai, there is Okayama, the beautiful town of Kurashiki, and the first half of the Seto-inland sea.
However, central to Kansai is Hyogo prefecture, a prefecture you should not overlook.
Hyogo prefecture has something for everyone. Cities for shopaholics (Kobe, especially in Sannomiya and the Kobe Harbourland) as well as cities for those interested in Japan’s history (Himeji.) Of course, Himeji is world-famous for its white castle – perhaps the most recognizable castle in the whole of Japan.
Places to Visit in Hyogo: Arima Onsen
We will come back to some of Hyogo prefecture’s spots that are more famous later. For now, let’s look at some of the lesser-known gems of Kansai.
Arima Onsen is a must-visit for anyone interested in soaking in hot springs and is one of our favorite places to visit in Hyogo. This tiny town perched on the back of Rokko mountain is packed full of onsens.
Whilst it is known for its natural beauty and tranquil atmosphere, those who prefer being close to the city need not worry. Arima is easily accessible from central Kobe and can be accessed in half an hour by bus.
Apartments might be hard to come by in Arima, but you could leave a Kobe apartment and be soaking in an Arima hot spring in less than an hour! Isn’t that a great excuse to consider moving to Hyogo?
Places to Visit in Hyogo: Kobe and Mount Rokko
Kobe is the busiest city in Hyogo prefecture, whilst Rokko is the biggest mountain. The two come as a package. Many people visit Kobe to climb the mountain in the morning, then shop in Kobe’s grand shopping areas in the afternoon and evening. Rokko can be accessed via ropeway for those who do not fancy the climb.
Sannomiya is Kobe’s most popular shopping area. With multiple multi-story shopping centers and countless eateries, you really can spend all day in Sannomiya. This area is especially nice in the Christmas and New Years’ periods when illuminations are installed on the main walkway!
Whilst in Kobe, why not sample the world-renowned wagyu beef?
The second most popular place in the city is Kobe Harborland. Another shopping district to add to your list is where most people spend their days here shopping, eating, and playing in arcades.
However, unlike Sannomiya, Kobe Harborland is also popular for people to take boat cruises around the bay. If you do not enjoy boat rides, then you should at least visit Kobe Harborland to soak in the view. On clear days you might even be able to see Shikoku island!
Kobe sits between the coast and the foot of the great mountain. This means the city is of great convenience to those wanting to see nature and feel the convenience of living in the city.
Places to Visit in Hyogo: Himeji City and Himeji Castle
Himeji may not be the apex-shopping city that Kobe has become, but Himeji is the city in Hyogo prefecture you should visit to get your cultural fix. Situated at the heart of the city is the world-famous Himeji castle.
Known as the ‘white heron castle’ (Shirasagi-jo), we think the castle is best seen in Spring, in cherry blossom season. The castle is surrounded by a park, a great spot to see the Sakura and enjoy hanami. The great white castle looks especially impressive set against clear blue skies and the pink of the blossoms.
Built in 1609, it is one of Japan’s most famous national treasures. You can enter the castle grounds and the inner sections of the castle for 1000 yen. Climb up to the top floor and you will be treated with a panoramic view of the city and Himeji’s mountainside.
If you are interested in moving to Hyogo and renting apartments in Himeji, follow this link.
Places to Visit in Hyogo: Himeji’s Mount Shosha
Just as Kobe is twinned with mount Rokko, Himeji is twinned with mount Shosha. This mountain also has a ropeway for easy access.
On top of Mount Shosha is a collection of Buddhist temples, the largest of which is called Shoshazan Engyo-Ji. Set on the mountainside, lost in ancient woodland, this is a must-see for nature lovers.
People who want to get out of the touristy areas will especially love Mount Shosha. Unlike Rokko, this mountainside and temple are still rarely visited when compared to a city like Kyoto.
Walk along the woodland and soak in the atmosphere.
Rent Apartments in Hyogo
To rent apartment in Hyogo is not difficult. If you are considering moving to Hyogo, then please check our apartments in Hyogo. We frequently have rental apartments in Kobe, in Himeji, and many other locations all over Hyogo prefecture.
Hyogo is well linked up by train lines, so you can also consider renting apartments in commuter towns like Amagasaki or Kakogawa, both linked by JR lines.
This is just a small selection that Hyogo prefecture has to offer. Why not get out into Hyogo and explore? After all, we think the best places might just be those that you discover yourself.