Takeda Castle Ruins

KANSAI Hyogo Castles and Kobe beef on Osaka's doorstep

Ancient castles, a vibrant port city and renowned onsen beckon visitors to conveniently located Hyogo Prefecture

Located on the Pacific coast of Hyogo Prefecture is the key port city of Kobe—a longtime hub of international trade—and the majestic World Heritage site of Himeji Castle. Head further inland and you’ll find the mountainside ruins of Takeda Castle, also known as "Japan’s Machu Picchu." For the ultimate hot spring experience, check out nationally famous Arima Onsen or Kinosaki Onsen. Sample perfectly marbled Kobe beef and akashiyaki—the local take on takoyaki octopus balls.

How to Get There

Hyogo Prefecture’s two largest cities are Kobe and Himeji and are easily accessed by bullet train.

Travel to and from Tokyo, Nagoya, Hiroshima and Fukuoka is an easy journey on the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen to Shin-Kobe Station or Himeji Station. Hyogo is a short ride on commuter rail from Osaka and Kyoto. For access by air, Kobe is about an hour from Kansai International Airport, while Kobe Airport handles domestic flights. If you're traveling by car, the prefecture is well-linked by road. The world’s longest suspension bridge, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, links mainland Hyogo to Awaji Island and onward to Shikoku.

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Don’t Miss

  • Himeji Castle, Japan’s most iconic and best-preserved castle
  • Kobe’s nighttime views, best observed from the port tower and the Shin-Kobe Ropeway
  • Takeda Castle Ruins, also known as the "castle floating in the sky"
  • Kinosaki Onsen, a hot spring resort town frozen in time

Local Specialties

  • Akashi Sea Bream

    The sea bream flourishes in the waters off the coast of Akashi, and the ones caught here have an exceptional depth of flavor and a texture that is suited for both sashimi and grilling. Sea bream is a traditional dish at celebrations in Japan, so celebrate by trying it here.

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  • Kobe Beef

    Within Japan, the term "Kobe beef" is only used to refer to the Tajima strain of wagyu cattle. A delicacy renowned for its marbling, flavor and fat that has a melting point lower than human body temperature.

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  • Toyooka Willow Basketry

    Willow basketry in Toyooka has stood the test of time—it's been around for more than 1,000 years. Originally used for household baskets and bento boxes back in the 9th century, today these time-honored weaving techniques are used to make stylish overnight bags and handbags.

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  • Tamba Tachikui Ware

    Tamba Tachikui yaki is produced in one of Japan’s six ancient potting centers. This 800-year-old ceramic tradition is focused on functional vessels, including jars and urns. Early forms were stylized with natural ash glazes, while slip glazes were introduced later.

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  • Botan Nabe

    The mountains and forests of Hyogo are home to many wild boar. In the months leading up to winter, hunters would bring home their tusked prizes and make a hot pot dish known as botan nabe that you can still enjoy in the region today.

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  • Kuromame

    Tamba black beans, known as kuromame, are grown in the Kyoto area and used in several ways in local cuisine. That includes being mashed with sugar and used to make sweets, or roasted until crunchy and served as a snack alongside ice-cold beer.

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  • Banshu Miki Forged Blades

    Centuries ago, tragedy turned into opportunity—rebuilding the razed Miki Castle transformed this region into a bladesmithing center. Custom-crafted saws, knives, chisels and other tools hand-forged in Miki are used and treasured by carpenters and others across Japan.

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  • Izushi Ware

    Izushi yaki porcelain dates back to the 18th century discovery of kaolin-rich clay in Izushi. A high-contrast white ceramic, it is used as the base for imaginative reliefs, patterns, underglazes, overglaze decorations and lavishly ornate cartouche details.

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Seasonal Highlights

  • Spring

    During cherry blossom season, the prefecture turns pink and the area surrounding Himeji Castle is particularly breathtaking. Enjoy the Kobe Festival and witness the yearly mountain burnoff in the Tonomine Highlands.

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  • Summer

    The hotter months are a time for outdoor adventures and festivals. Head to the cooler climes of some of Hyogo’s mountains, or down to the beaches of Suma, Ieshima or Awaji Island for fun and fireworks.

    shin-kobe ropeway
  • Autumn

    Autumn in Hyogo means spectacular events such as the Nada Fighting Festival, Kobe Jazz Street and the Tamba Fall Colors Festival, as well as cool temperatures for the Kobe Marathon.

    sorakuen garden
  • Winter

    The cold winter months are perfect for a ski trip and onsen getaway, and the Kinosaki area is perfect for both.

    arima onsen

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