There are bright lights and great heights in the Hyogo Prefecture
Rugby World Cup 2019 Travel Guide: Kobe
At almost four kilometres, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is the world’s longest suspension bridge. It goes between Kobe and Awaji Island, spanning the Akashi Strait, and Maiko Marine Promenade provides viewing walkways under the bridge to see the construction about 50 metres above the water.
Kobe’s waterfront has a vibrant culture and there are interesting landmarks in Meriken Park, such as the red Kobe Port Tower and Kobe Maritime Museum.
Take in the panoramic views from Mount Rokko by either taking the cable car or, for the more adventurous, hiking. The popular hiking route to Rokko Garden Terrace will take at least a couple of hours and is very steep at the start, but there is plenty to see. Taking the cable car once it’s got dark also offers one of the top three night views in Japan.
If you do make a trek up Rokko, reward yourself with a relaxing soak at Arima Onsen (hot spring), which is close to the mountain. There are two public baths in the town or visit the baths at a local ryokan.
Only cows that have passed a rigorous examination can be labelled as ‘Kobe Beef’ – their muscle fibres are finely marbled with fat, making for soft meat with a mellow, well-rounded texture. It originated in the north of Hyogo Prefecture and is the original beef cattle of Wagyu all over Japan.
Head to the Nada district to find out about the history of brewing sake in the area – and, of course, try the produce!
WORLD CUP VISIT
Four World Cup matches will be played at Kobe Misaki Stadium next year – England v USA on 26 September, Scotland v Samoa on 30 September, Ireland v Russia on 3 October and South Africa v Repêchage winner on 8 October.
Related: Rugby World Cup venues
Kobe is just 12 minutes by bullet train from Osaka. From Tokyo, you can take a bullet train (two hours 40 minutes) or fly (one hour 15 minutes).
DID YOU KNOW?
Former basketball player Kobe Bryant is named after the famous beef of Kobe – his parents saw it on a restaurant menu. World Cup winner and former All Black Dan Carter now plays for Kobelco Steelers in Kobe.
Download and print the Kobe Welcome Coupon from the website if you’re going to the city – it has special discounts on more than 50 tourism destinations in Kobe.