We fell in love with Kobe. It took awhile for me to have the inspiration to write this post, as I was afraid I couldn't convey into words on how much we love Kobe. So why do we love Kobe so much? We love any city that fulfills the following:
- Comprehensive but cheap public transport system
- Easy to navigate maps showing all the must-see attractions
- A huge variety of things to see/do
- Food that is super yummy and varied
- A clean and cheerful city
|The City Loop bus that goes in a loop all day long, for 650¥ per person|
|Inside the bus, there are clear directions in English and a very helpful conductor|
|This is a very long Flower Street, and it's loaded with flowers the whole way!|
If you're curious on where else I think fulfills all of the above, it's Paris and Sydney. Kobe had everything we wanted in a holiday. For starters, there is a splendid transport system here in terms of a City Loop Bus. For 650¥, you get to ride on it for the whole day, and it stops at all the interesting tourist stops. Their map is lovely and one can easily decide where to visit from that map. An online version of the map is available here.
As most told us, there is "nothing to do in Kobe". Just go there to eat the beef and go back to Osaka. So we had done our research and picked Plaisir Restaurant for their immaculate Kobe Beef. This restaurant closes on Monday, so we scheduled our trip for a Tuesday instead. We timed our journey to arrive Kobe for lunch at 11:30am, and had planned to leave after lunch around 2pm. The train was pretty easy, just find the Hanshin train from Osaka Namba to Sannomiya station. The train station was sparkling new, yet with an old colonial design. This was a hint as to how pretty the city is.
|Inside Plaisir Restaurant. Privacy is very important to Japanese when dining, thus the curtains between tables|
|The teppanyaki area in a private room. Photos were not allowed where guests are dining|
We found our way to Plaisir Restaurant, and were given the bad news - it's fully booked for teppanyaki! Our choices were to have it as shabu-shabu or steamed in bamboo trays. Having come all the way, we went ahead to have shabu-shabu. The price was 3150¥ per person for a set meal, which includes the Kobe Beef. This was our meal:
|Your sauces and condiments to accompany the meal|
|Tea, Vinegar (Choya of some kind), and 2 appetizers|
|The pot with PLAIN WATER came, along with 14 slices of beef and wild vegetables|
|AFTER FINISHING the beef, rice + miso soup and pickles were served. Drinking of soup from the beef pot is not allowed|
|Finally dessert. The drink was redeemed from an online coupon on their website|
We first walked and saw Ikuta shrine by chance. This shrine was quite good for us, as it wasn't too small nor too big, and had a lovely garden at the back. Though we have seen so many shrines in Kyoto, we love this the best.
|Entrance to Ikuta Shrine|
|The pond at the gardens inside Ikuta Shrine|
|A different type of Cherry Blossom|
We next headed to Kitano. This is an artsy area where the buildings were all colonial, and they had a mini London here. For a small fee, you can even enter the House of Sherlock Holmes. Weddings are very popular in Kitano due to the feel of the place. We spent a good 2 hours here!
|We chanced upon a wedding. I think they didn't like their photo taken :)|
|Many quaint shops in Kitano area, lovely!|
|These are facial oil blotters in varied designs|
|Flowers were everywhere in Kitano, so pretty!|
|Even the manhole covers have different designs|
Next, we took the city loop bus to the port area to see Kobe tower. But the last bus was at 5:43pm, our plan to take a night shot with Kobe tower didn't realize as we were afraid to miss the city loop bus to go back to Sannomiya and back to Osaka. The Kobe tower area was very pretty again next to the water, with the shopping centre called Harbourland beside it.
|This was the famous Chinatown in Kobe, which we didn't have time for!|
This was a good day to end our trip, as the following day was just making our way to the Osaka Kansai airport at 6am. We have unfinished business in Japan, and will return in due time!
Japan2012: Top 5 Favourite Restaurants in Kyoto - Part 1
Japan2012: Top 5 Favourite Restaurants in Kyoto - Part 2
Review: Super Hotel Lohas JR Nara, Japan
Japan2012: What Did I Buy Back?
Review: Hana Hostel, Kyoto
Japan2012: Kyoto 5D/4N Itinerary - Day 1
Japan2012: Kyoto 5D/4N Itinerary - Day 2
Japan2012: Kyoto 5D/4N Itinerary - Day 3
Japan2012: Kyoto 5D/4N Itinerary - Day 4
Japan2012: Kyoto 5D/4N Itinerary - Day 5
Japan2012: Nara 3D/2N Itinerary - Day 5,6,7
Japan 2012: Osaka 4D/3N Itinerary - Day 7
Japan 2012: Osaka 4D/3N Itinerary - Day 8
Japan 2012: Kobe Day Trip - Day 9 & 10 (Final)