Monday, October 17, 2005


Kobe isn't usually at the top of most travellers "must see" lists. The
nearby cities of Kyoto and Osaka far outshine Kobe in terms of culture
and nightlife, so it's easy to see why most people rarely take the
trouble to make a trip into the Other Big K. Whilst Kyoto is famous
for its temples and Osaka is famous for its food and late night
clubbing culture, Kobe is probably most famous for the massive
earthquake that occurred there in 1995. Not exactly the greatest
advertisement for a city.

Having said that, I found Kobe to be one of the most enjoyable cities
I've been to so far. The very fact that it's not so popular with
tourists is one of its greatest assets - anyone who's joined the crush
of people straining to get a look at one of the famous temples in
Kyoto will know what I mean.

In terms of sightseeing attractions the city doesn't have a huge
amount to offer. There's a cable car which climbs the mountains behind
the city, as well as a "foreign quarter" filled with replicas of
mostly European houses, but we didn't have time to visit either of
these. Apart from that there's the Chinatown and the harbour and
that's...well, that's about it really.

So why did I enjoy it so much? I guess the atmosphere was a major
factor - it's just such a pleasant city to wander around. It's
difficult to describe exactly why, but I think the top class
restaurants, bars and shops have a lot to do with it. When it came to
eating out we were spoiled for choice, constantly stumbling across
great restaurants and bars. We even found an organic vegetarian cafe,
and I can't even begin to describe how rare a find that is in Japan.

I think if I was only visiting Japan for a short while I might be
disappointed by Kobe's lack of historical sights and its slow pace,
but as a long-term resident from deep in the Japanese countryside it
was a welcome change. In fact, it's one of the few Japanese cities I
wouldn't mind living in myself... mostly for the organic vegetarian
cafe of course.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bring on that brown organic rice anytime!!!

8:45 am  

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