4 day itinerary of things to do, see, and eat in Kobe

Sunset at Akashi Kaikyo Bridge

After visiting Kobe, I realized that there’s a lot more to the city than just its famous wagyu. The following is my 4 day itinerary of Kobe, where I enjoyed some of the best views, food, and experiences that Japan has to offer. 

Architecture at Kitanocho​ European village in Kobe
Fried vegetables at Steak Aoyama
Coffee at Steak Aoyama

Where to Stay

Rokko Mounta Area – For those who are in Kobe to enjoy a relaxing time away from crowds or to have some quiet time with a significant other. Near here, you can find the most famous onsen in Kobe, Arima Onsen, which is renowned for the variety of baths they offer. There is also plenty of activities that allow tourists to enjoy the nature and wildlife here.

Bay Area – For those who mainly want to shop and eat while they’re in Kobe. Not only do they have Harborland and the Kobe Tower which have many shops, restaurant, and great views, but also Meriken Park for some leisure activities.

Sannomiya-Motomachi Area – For those want easy access to the main attractions in Kobe. Some of my favourites were Kitano-cho for its European inspired architecture, Nankinmachi (Chinatown), and Ikuta-shrine. Overall Sannomiya-Motomachi has a lot more to offer for those who want to take in as much culture and history as possible on their trip.

When to Travel

Kobe, located in Hyogo prefecture, doesn’t really have a high season because it follows the logic of many other central cities in Japan. You can visit all year round depending on what you’d like to enjoy. If you’re just coming to enjoy the city’s foods and attractions, any time is okay, though the milder weather and in spring and fall are best.

How to Get around

Kobe has a well-developed metro system like most major cities in Japan.The train system was cheap and easy to navigate to get around the city, and access the main attractions. In my opinion, the only thing that would make a car rental worthwhile would be a day trip or overnight stay in the Rokko Mountain area.


Relax and take in some culture in Kobe

Miacis Café

I have no idea how the food and drinks are here but this recommendation is mainly for people who want to start their day with some furry company. This cafe is rare for managing to be popular and yet conscious of animal welfare. Located in Motomachi’s shopping area, Miacis café has a large windows and a big open space for the cats to freely roam around and interact with visitors. Unlike many other animal cafes, while they offer food and drinks, entrance is by fee only. On weekdays its 1000 yen and on weekends its 1200 yen.

Ninkinmachi (Chinatown)

Nankinmachi has developed as a result of the Chinese immigrants who arrived in this area in 1868. They settled in this area and since then, it has developed into a popular tourist destination that offers great shopping and dining options. In terms of food, you can find fried dumplings, steamed buns, ramen and much more. A note of caution: while you can see what you’re getting with the food stalls and there’s no surprises, be informed before choosing a restaurant. There’s plenty of great ones, but there are some hard misses here so google reviews are your friend

Kobe Tower in Harbourland


The must do, see, and eat in Kobe, all in one day. 


Part of Kobe’s rich cultural history, the architecture in this district reflects the Europeans who settled in this area in the 19th century. The mansions that these families lived in have since been transformed into museums to serve as a tourist attraction for Kobe visitors. The fees for entering the mansions range from 550 yen to 750 yen, though the most expensive mansion’s entrance fee is 1,050 yen. My favourite building was the beautiful Starbucks, which was free to enter of course, and a good spot for some breakfast.

Starbucks at Kitanocho​ European village in Kobe
Architecture at Kitanocho​ European village in Kobe
Architecture at Kitanocho​ European village in Kobe

Ikuta Shrine

If you haven’t made it to Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine yet, Ikuta can serve as a temporary fix. The tori gates at this temple are similar in color and a little similar in set up as well, to Fushimi. These, along with the grounds of the temple, offer some great photo opportunities. The miko (shrine maidens) at Ikuta were really welcoming and also gave off huge Kikyo vibes. Fun story: when I mentioned this to my Japanese junior high school students, they had no idea what I was talking about because Inu Yasha is old and apparently uncool. This whole interaction ending up serving as a painful reminder of how I am really old in comparison to my kiddies. 

Tori gates at Ikuta Shrine in Kobe
Tori gates at Ikuta Shrine in Kobe

Despite it making me a dork, I still geeked out over the Kikyos (pictured below).

Ikuta Shrine in Kobe
Miko shrine maidens at Ikuta Shrine in Kobe

Aoyama Steak

This restaurant, takes the steak (dad joke alert) when it comes to an authentic kobe wagyu experience. When trying to decide where to eat, I headed to TA’s list of 10 Best Restaurants in Kobe. From this list, I chose Steak Aoyama which ranked at #3 simply because of the price point and the sheer number of reviews claiming that it was a very personalized experience. After eating at this restaurant I can guarantee that it delivers on all counts. The food was amazing, the service and experience were amazing, and this was all delivered at an insanely cheap price. What more can you ask for? For more on Aoyama Steak and my experience at the restaurant, read this post.

Kobe wagyu beef at Steak Aoyama
Kobe wagyu beef at Steak Aoyama
Kobe wagyu beef at Steak Aoyama

Kobe City Hall

The observation deck on the 24th floor of Kobe City Hall is known for providing an amazing panoramic view of Kobe city. The deck is open from 8:15-22:00 on weekdays, and 10:00-22:00 on Saturdays, Sundays, and Bank Holidays. If you are visiting in early December, this location provides a great vantage over Kobe Luminarie. This annual light festival is in honor of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake.


Enjoy some great shopping and sunset views.

Meriken Park

Sustaining a lot of damage during the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, the park has since been restored. The park wasn’t a huge draw for me and I skipped it but its well suited for those who want to take it slow after a few jam-packed days. It’s a popular spot for visitors to enjoy the water and the contemporary art spread throughout the park. There are also some great Chinese and Japanese restaurants nearby for food.

Akashi Kaikyo Bridge (Sunset)

Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is not only the longest suspension bridge in the world but also hands down, one of the best places that I have done sunset photography at. While it was freezing to catch the sunset in February, it was nonetheless, absolutely amazing. Pro tip: At certain times of the year, you can arrange for a tour of the bridge. This involves some snooze worthy history of the bridge but also climbing up to the 300 meter high bridge towers. From there, you can catch a heart stopping view of the traffic passing below. The tour costs 3,000 yen for an adult and 1,500 for children aged 13-15. You can get more information and book tours through their website.

Sunset at Akashi Kaikyo Bridge

Starbucks Kobe Nishi Maiko

I know, there’s nothing more basic than recommending a regular Starbucks. They’re so standardized that even the Japanese ones look like any regular one in your neighbourhood. This Starbucks though, while not pretty on the outside like the one in Kitanicho, is pretty outside. The only draw this location had for me was the view it offered of Akashi Kaikyo Bridge at night. The view from the second floor balcony is best. It’s also a great spot to catch the sun as it sets behind the bridge if you’re not interested in catching it from outside.


This area offers many shopping options, including big names like Uniclo and Zara. There is really no end to the shopping and entertainment available in this area and you can easily spend a few hours here. I recommend dinner here in one of the many restaurants which face the water and offer great views of Kobe Port Tower. While there, I ate at Tony Roma’s and the view was amazing.

Kobe Tower in Harbourland


Wrap it up with a day trip or a day spa.

Rokko Mountain

If you don’t want the heavy price tag that comes with staying in the Rokko Mountain areas or want to just stay closer to central Kobe, a day trip to Rokko lets you enjoy the best of both worlds. You can easily spend a day out in the Rokko Mountain to enjoy some nature and hiking. There also many activities and dining options at Rokkonsan Field. Another option is going to the Rokkosan Pasture to enjoy some time with farm animals, as well as the variety of dairy products that are produced here.

Arima Onsen Town

The Arima Onsen area can offer a truly unique experience. The town offers some amazing options for stay and if you have the budget for it, you really can go all out. You won’t go hungry here either with almost 30 restaurants options in the area which serve everything from traditional Japanese foods to bakeries that serve freshly baked goods. If you need to walk off the food, you can do so at the many shops, or even at the galleries and museums in town. If you’d prefer a more challenging physical pastime, you can arrange for guided treks or even the unique experience of fishing for rainbow trout. If you’d like a less commercial but still physical experience, you can enjoy a solo hike to nearby temples and waterfalls. At the end of all this, you can finally enjoy the main attraction of the town; Arima Onsen. The onsen has two buildings with two different water sources. Each source of water has its own unique properties which are associated with different health benefits.

Kobe Harborland Onsen Manyo Club

If you still want an amazing onsen experience but don’t want to do the day trip, then this is it. The facilities at Manyo Onsen span 10 floors and include the usual public baths, saunas, and even stone sauna rooms. They also offer massages, dining options, and free movies in their cinema. There is also a footbath on the 18th floor, which is the perfect place to relax while enjoying the night view of Kobe. Though this isn’t the same as an onsen town, you can still spend a whole day here just to enjoy a luxurious onsen experience.

4 day itinerary of things to do, see, and eat in Kobe - A Hassan.- 4 day itinerary of kobe

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