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Takeda Castle Ruins Takeda Castle Ruins

Kansai Hyogo Castles and Kobe beef on Osaka's doorstep

Cherry Blossoms

Forecast of first bloom

25 Mar 2022

Forecast of full bloom

31 Mar 2022

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

  • iv class="mod-wysiwyg__lead-wrapper"><h2 class="mod-wysiwyg__lead mod-wysiwyg__lead">A cosmopolitan but compact port city that boasts some of the country's best beef</h2></div>
  • iv class="mod-wysiwyg__text-wrapper"><p class="mod-wysiwyg__text">Located across the bay from <a class="mod-wysiwyg__textlink" href="https://www.japan.travel/en/destinations/kansai/osaka/" target="_blank">Osaka</a> <span class = "mod-table-simple__link-icon"><img src = "//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1515582005/static/svg/common/external_link.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--gray svg-fit"><img src="//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1516699673/static/svg/common/external_link_red.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--red svg-fit"></span>, Kobe is Japan's sixth largest city and the capital of <a class="mod-wysiwyg__textlink" href="https://www.japan.travel/en/destinations/kansai/hyogo/" target="_blank">Hyogo Prefecture</a> <span class = "mod-table-simple__link-icon"><img src = "//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1515582005/static/svg/common/external_link.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--gray svg-fit"><img src="//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1516699673/static/svg/common/external_link_red.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--red svg-fit"></span>. </p></div><div class="mod-wysiwyg__text-wrapper"><p class="mod-wysiwyg__text">Long home to the bulk of Japan's international trade, cosmopolitan Kobe has a unique history and distinct architecture.</p></div><div class="mod-wysiwyg__dontmiss-wrapper"><div class="mod-wysiwyg__dontmiss"><div class="mod-wysiwyg__dontmiss-inner"><div class="mod-wysiwyg__dontmiss-header"><h3 class="mod-wysiwyg__dontmiss-heading">Don't Miss</h3></div><div class="mod-wysiwyg__dontmiss-body"><ul class="mod-wysiwyg__dontmiss-list">
  • i class="mod-wysiwyg__dontmiss-list-item">Exploring the bustling waterfront area of Kobe Harborland and scaling Kobe Port Tower</li>
  • i class="mod-wysiwyg__dontmiss-list-item">Trying a Kobe beef steak</li>
  • i class="mod-wysiwyg__dontmiss-list-item">Nearby Arima Onsen, one of Japan's oldest hot spring areas</li>
  • ul></div></div></div></div>
  • iv class="mod-wysiwyg__howto-get-there-header mgt-pc--25 mgt-sp--25"><h2 class="mod-wysiwyg__howto-get-there-heading">How to Get There</h2></div>
  • iv class="mod-wysiwyg__text-wrapper"><p class="mod-wysiwyg__text">Kobe is directly connected with Tokyo via the JR Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen line. </p></div><div class="mod-wysiwyg__text-wrapper"><p class="mod-wysiwyg__text">The journey between Tokyo and Shin-Kobe Station takes between 160 and 195 minutes depending on the train and is covered by the <a class="mod-wysiwyg__textlink" href="https://www.japan.travel/en/plan/jr-rail-passes/" target="_blank">Japan Rail Pass</a> <span class = "mod-table-simple__link-icon"><img src = "//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1515582005/static/svg/common/external_link.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--gray svg-fit"><img src="//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1516699673/static/svg/common/external_link_red.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--red svg-fit"></span> if taking a Hikari train. There are also multiple ANA and Skymark Airlines flights between Tokyo's <a class="mod-wysiwyg__textlink" href="https://www.japan.travel/en/plan/airport-access/haneda-airport/" target="_blank">Haneda Airport</a> <span class = "mod-table-simple__link-icon"><img src = "//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1515582005/static/svg/common/external_link.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--gray svg-fit"><img src="//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1516699673/static/svg/common/external_link_red.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--red svg-fit"></span> and Kobe Airport. The cheapest way to get to Kobe is by overnight bus. There are a number of companies that offer the eight to nine-hour journey from Tokyo to the wider Osaka area, with prices varying from around 5,000 to 8,500 yen each way.</p></div><div class="mod-wysiwyg__quickfacts-heading-independent-wrapper"><h3 class="mod-wysiwyg__quickfacts-heading-independent">Quick Facts</h3></div>
  • iv class="mod-wysiwyg__bullet-wrapper"><p class="mod-wysiwyg__bullet">Kobe is home to one of Japan's three Chinatown districts, Nankinmachi</p></div>
  • iv class="mod-wysiwyg__bullet-wrapper"><p class="mod-wysiwyg__bullet">You can eat world-famous Kobe beef</p></div>
  • iv class="mod-wysiwyg__bullet-wrapper"><p class="mod-wysiwyg__bullet">In 1995, the city was devastated by the Great Hanshin Earthquake</p></div>
  • iv class="mod-wysiwyg__text-wrapper"><p class="mod-wysiwyg__text"><div class="mod-wysiwyg__images-wrapper"><figure class="mod-wysiwyg__images"><div class="mod-wysiwyg__image"><div class="mod-wysiwyg__image-inner">
  • iv class="mod-wysiwyg__image"><div class="mod-wysiwyg__image-inner"><img class="lazyload" src="//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/w_750,h_503,fl_lossy,f_auto/v1516745065/lazyload-placeholder_muhsz3.jpg" data-src="https://res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/w_750,h_503,fl_lossy,f_auto/v1514380443/hyogo/Hyogo746_10"></div></div>
  • div></div></figure></div></p></div><div class="mod-wysiwyg__subheading-wrapper"><h3 class="mod-wysiwyg__subheading">Home of the famous beef</h3></div>
  • iv class="mod-wysiwyg__text-wrapper"><p class="mod-wysiwyg__text">If there's one dish that represents the city, it has to be Kobe beef. Coming from locally bred and raised Tajima cattle, this marbled, tender, and flavor-rich beef is internationally recognized and revered. </p></div><div class="mod-wysiwyg__text-wrapper"><p class="mod-wysiwyg__text">Though there are a number of theories as to how the area produces such great beef, such as the cattle are massaged and given beer, this isn't actually the case. Instead, Kobe beef must meet a strict set of standards to ensure only the highest grade of beef is given the Kobe stamp of approval.</p></div><div class="mod-wysiwyg__text-wrapper"><p class="mod-wysiwyg__text">The most common way to enjoy Kobe beef here in the city is, of course, the classic steak. You can also try shabu shabu, where thin slices of meat are quickly dipped in boiling broth, or try sukiyaki, which is a hotpot style of cooking.</p></div><div class="mod-wysiwyg__subheading-wrapper"><h3 class="mod-wysiwyg__subheading">Checking out the night sights</h3></div>
  • iv class="mod-wysiwyg__text-wrapper"><p class="mod-wysiwyg__text">Kobe's central location between the mountains and the sea offers you an eclectic collection of sightseeing and day trip opportunities. </p></div><div class="mod-wysiwyg__text-wrapper"><p class="mod-wysiwyg__text">If you are interested in getting a different perspective on the city, you can scale <a class="mod-wysiwyg__textlink" href="https://www.japan.travel/en/spot/1039" target="_blank">Kobe Port Tower</a> <span class = "mod-table-simple__link-icon"><img src = "//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1515582005/static/svg/common/external_link.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--gray svg-fit"><img src="//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1516699673/static/svg/common/external_link_red.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--red svg-fit"></span>, a 108-meter-high observation tower located on the city's waterfront between the <a class="mod-wysiwyg__textlink" href="https://www.japan.travel/en/spot/1041" target="_blank">Kobe Harborland</a> <span class = "mod-table-simple__link-icon"><img src = "//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1515582005/static/svg/common/external_link.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--gray svg-fit"><img src="//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1516699673/static/svg/common/external_link_red.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--red svg-fit"></span> entertainment and shopping district and <a class="mod-wysiwyg__textlink" href="https://www.japan.travel/en/spot/1038" target="_blank">Meriken Park</a> <span class = "mod-table-simple__link-icon"><img src = "//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1515582005/static/svg/common/external_link.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--gray svg-fit"><img src="//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1516699673/static/svg/common/external_link_red.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--red svg-fit"></span>. You can also take in what many consider Japan's best nighttime view by swinging up the <a class="mod-wysiwyg__textlink" href="https://www.japan.travel/en/spot/1034" target="_blank">Kobe-Nunobiki Ropeway</a> <span class = "mod-table-simple__link-icon"><img src = "//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1515582005/static/svg/common/external_link.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--gray svg-fit"><img src="//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1516699673/static/svg/common/external_link_red.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--red svg-fit"></span>, which scales the side of the Rokko mountain chain, to a breathtaking panorama of the city lights at night.</p></div><div class="mod-wysiwyg__text-wrapper"><p class="mod-wysiwyg__text">For a completely different view of the city, there's also lunch and dinner cruises that launch from Nakatottei Chuo Terminal on the bay.</p></div><div class="mod-wysiwyg__text-wrapper"><p class="mod-wysiwyg__text"><div class="mod-wysiwyg__images-wrapper"><figure class="mod-wysiwyg__images"><div class="mod-wysiwyg__image"><div class="mod-wysiwyg__image-inner">
  • iv class="mod-wysiwyg__image"><div class="mod-wysiwyg__image-inner"><img class="lazyload" src="//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/w_750,h_503,fl_lossy,f_auto/v1516745065/lazyload-placeholder_muhsz3.jpg" data-src="https://res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/w_750,h_503,fl_lossy,f_auto/v1514380649/hyogo/Hyogo750_3"></div></div>
  • div></div></figure></div></p></div><div class="mod-wysiwyg__subheading-wrapper"><h3 class="mod-wysiwyg__subheading">Scenic walks and seaside parks</h3></div>
  • iv class="mod-wysiwyg__text-wrapper"><p class="mod-wysiwyg__text">Kobe also boasts a number of impressive parks and waterfront hotspots. Check out the famous <a class="mod-wysiwyg__textlink" href="https://www.japan.travel/en/spot/1033" target="_blank">Sorakuen Garden</a> <span class = "mod-table-simple__link-icon"><img src = "//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1515582005/static/svg/common/external_link.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--gray svg-fit"><img src="//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1516699673/static/svg/common/external_link_red.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--red svg-fit"></span>, a traditional Japanese landscape garden in the middle of the city, or consider a 40-minute hike from Shin-Kobe Station up to the Kobe Nunobiki Herb Garden, passing <a class="mod-wysiwyg__textlink" href="https://www.japan.travel/en/spot/1035" target="_blank">Nunobiki Falls</a> <span class = "mod-table-simple__link-icon"><img src = "//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1515582005/static/svg/common/external_link.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--gray svg-fit"><img src="//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1516699673/static/svg/common/external_link_red.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--red svg-fit"></span> along the way.</p></div><div class="mod-wysiwyg__subheading-wrapper"><h3 class="mod-wysiwyg__subheading">Chinatown</h3></div>
  • iv class="mod-wysiwyg__text-wrapper"><p class="mod-wysiwyg__text">Kobe is home to <a class="mod-wysiwyg__textlink" href="https://www.japan.travel/en/spot/1037" target="_blank">Nankinmachi</a> <span class = "mod-table-simple__link-icon"><img src = "//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1515582005/static/svg/common/external_link.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--gray svg-fit"><img src="//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1516699673/static/svg/common/external_link_red.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--red svg-fit"></span>, one of Japan's three main Chinatown districts, which offers plenty of street food and bubble tea. It is about a 5-minute walk from JR Motomachi Station. </p></div><div class="mod-wysiwyg__subheading-wrapper"><h3 class="mod-wysiwyg__subheading">Day trips</h3></div>
  • iv class="mod-wysiwyg__text-wrapper"><p class="mod-wysiwyg__text">The city is also perfectly located for day trips to <a class="mod-wysiwyg__textlink" href="https://www.japan.travel/en/destinations/kansai/osaka/" target="_blank">Osaka</a> <span class = "mod-table-simple__link-icon"><img src = "//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1515582005/static/svg/common/external_link.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--gray svg-fit"><img src="//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1516699673/static/svg/common/external_link_red.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--red svg-fit"></span> and beyond. Scale Mt. Rokko's 931-meter-tall peak to get a panoramic view of both Kobe and neighboring Osaka at once. Alternatively, visit <a class="mod-wysiwyg__textlink" href="https://www.japan.travel/en/spot/1025" target="_blank">Arima Onsen</a> <span class = "mod-table-simple__link-icon"><img src = "//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1515582005/static/svg/common/external_link.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--gray svg-fit"><img src="//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1516699673/static/svg/common/external_link_red.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--red svg-fit"></span>—one of Japan's oldest hot spring towns—to soak in the natural and healing waters.</p></div><div class="mod-wysiwyg__subheading-wrapper"><h3 class="mod-wysiwyg__subheading">The earthquake</h3></div>
  • iv class="mod-wysiwyg__text-wrapper"><p class="mod-wysiwyg__text">In 1995, the city was devastated by the Great Hanshin Earthquake—also known as the Kobe Earthquake—which led to the death of 6,434 people. It also reportedly caused injury to more than 43,000 people and destroyed 100,000 homes. This magnitude 7.3 earthquake, and the destruction it left in its wake, has since shaped the city's identity.</p></div><div class="mod-wysiwyg__text-wrapper"><p class="mod-wysiwyg__text">Numerous events and memorials are hosted across the city to remind visitors of what the city overcame and how to prevent any major future devastation. In 2002, the <a class="mod-wysiwyg__textlink" href="https://www.japan.travel/en/spot/1042" target="_blank">Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum</a> <span class = "mod-table-simple__link-icon"><img src = "//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1515582005/static/svg/common/external_link.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--gray svg-fit"><img src="//res.cloudinary.com/jnto/image/upload/fl_lossy,f_auto/v1516699673/static/svg/common/external_link_red.svg" width="100%" class="mod-table-simple__link-icon-content mod-table-simple__link-icon-content--red svg-fit"></span> was opened to commemorate those lost in the tragedy and to educate about earthquake and disaster preparedness.</p></div>

Local Specialties

  • 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.

    food-craft
  • 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.

    food-craft
  • Kobe Beef

    Within Japan, "Kobe beef" refers to beef cattle from Tajima. It is characterized by its marbling, flavor and fat that has a melting point lower than human body temperature.

    food-craft
  • 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.

    food-craft
  • 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.

    food-craft
  • 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.

    food-craft
  • 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.

    food-craft
  • 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.

    food-craft

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.

    akashi castle akashi park
  • 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 Momiji Meguri (Maple Leaf Tour), 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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