Kobe City is Japan’s seventh-largest city and the capital of Hyogo Prefecture. It’s located on the coast in central Kansai, with easy access to Osaka, Kyoto, and Himeji. Kobe, the place famed for arguably the world’s most delicious beef, is also somewhere many people dream of moving to for a variety of reasons.
Chuo-ku and Kita-ku are two of the most popular neighborhoods. Here you can find points of interest like the Kobe Port Tower, Nankinmachi, Mount Rokko, and the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge. Since Kobe is one of the largest port towns in Japan, it is home to an exciting mix of cultures.
Chuo-ku makes up central Kobe. The Chuo ward is where you will find Sannomiya and Motomachi, the tourist area of the city, as well as the bay area and harbor. Kita-ku is Kobe’s largest ward and contains Mount Rokko and Arima Onsen town.
Please check out our available apartments in Kobe if you’re considering moving to Kobe! We currently have apartments available in Suzurandai (in Kita-ku, close to Mount Rokko), and in Minatojima in Chuo-ku.
Nakinmachi is Kansai’s biggest Chinatown, located just a five-minute walk away from Motomachi station. Nankinmachi was formed by Chinese merchants who settled near Kobe Port after it opened for trade in 1868.
Nakinmachi has tons of Chinese restaurants as well as a variety of Chinese street food and popular snacks available along the streets. This is the place to come to find things to snack on! Visitors often enjoy the array of manju (steamed buns), bubble tea, and ramen. It’s also a popular area for shopping.
Kobe Port Tower (Chuo-ku)
Kobe Port Tower, standing 108 meters tall, is one of the most iconic landmarks of the city. It was designed by Nikken Sekkei, the architecture company behind the Tokyo Skytree, and the redesigned Barcelona Camp Nou.
There is a 360-degree panoramic observation deck with views of both the harbor and the city, as well as the Rokko mountains. The view from Kobe Port Tower is spectacular on both bright sunny days and sparkling nights.
The Kobe Port Tower is located a 15-minute walk south of Motomachi station. It’s closed until 2023 for renovations.
Mount Rokko (Kita-ku)
The Kita ward is a delight for hikers and it is surprisingly rich in nature trails for somewhere so close to a major city. Standing at 931 meters tall, Mount Rokko is one of the most popular spots for day-hikes in Kansai.
Walkers can challenge themselves to various levels of difficulty with some hikes taking around 8 hours to complete. Whilst on the hike, you may be able to catch a glimpse of some wild boar, as well as waterfalls and other Mount Rokko attractions. For more hiking information, please have a look at our information on hiking spots in Kansai.
For those who wish for an easier way to enjoy Mount Rokko there is a cable car that goes from central Kobe, and a ropeway that goes from Arima onsen.
Mount Rokko has various sights and attractions including a botanical garden, a golf course, a small ski resort, a music box museum, a herb garden, and restaurants and shops.
As well as Kobe Port Tower, Mount Rokko offers the best night view of Kobe City. We recommend being at the top of Mount Rokko to catch the starry view of the city lights at least once – you can then get the cable car or ropeway back down for a safe descent!
Akashi Kaikyo Bridge (Tarumi-ku)
Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is one of the major landmarks of Kobe City. It’s located to the west of Kobe, heading towards Akashi. From Maiko in Tarumi-ku, visitors can pass over the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge to Awaji Island, which can then connect visitors to Shikoku Island. Awaji makes a wonderful day trip from Kobe. Having Awaji so close to Kobe city means that there is a beautiful holiday destination right on your doorstep!
Perhaps it is worth making a small detour on your return to stop by Akashi and pick up some delicious Akashiyaki. Or visitors could pass by Kobe’s popular Suma Beach to enjoy a day of sunshine and fun by the sea.
Making the trip to Awaji may even be worth it simply to experience crossing Akashi Kaikyo Bridge. The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, an iconic suspension bridge, has the second-longest central span of any suspension bridge.
Awaji has an array of attractions for any visitor. From glamping sites and luxury hotels to beaches and theme parks – there is something for everyone. On the West coast of the island, you will find a trail of restaurants, cafes, and bars with beautiful sea views and delicious food and drinks.
Suzurandai and Places to Live in Kobe
Many people opt to live in Chuo-ku so that they can enjoy the busy city-center life. Though Chuo-ku is desirable due to its central location, with fun areas such as Sannomiya, Motomachi, the bay area, and Minatojima (the port island), prices can be expensive.
Nevertheless, it is possible to find apartments in this area at competitive rates and we do have affordable apartments available for rent in Minatojima.
Another popular neighborhood to live in Kobe is Suzurandai. Suzurandai has the perfect mix of nature and city life. It is located in the Kita-ku area with easy access to Mount Rokko and Chuo-ku. Suzurandai is a popular commuter town and you can often find cheaper apartments available for rent.
Some other popular places to live in Kobe include Higashimachi, Nakamachi, and Nishi-ku.
Kobe is one of the most exciting cities in Japan with a rich culture and history and a variety of different attractions to suit everyone. If you are moving to Kobe or considering a visit, it’s worth getting more information on the surrounding areas in the prefecture! Please have a look at our Hyogo Prefecture Local Area Guide.