Kobe Questions


Kobe (騾セ讓願匳, K・・抜e), the capital of Hyogo Prefecture, is among Japan's top ten most populous cities and considered to be one of the most picturesque.

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About Kobe

Kobe (騾セ讓願匳, K・・抜e), the capital of Hyogo Prefecture, is among Japan's top ten most populous cities and considered to be one of the most picturesque. The city is located between the scenic Rokko mountain range and the sea, offering stunning natural vistas. For centuries, Kobe has been a vital port city with a history of foreign trade. During the 19th century, its port was among the first in the country to open up to international trade alongside Yokohama, Nagasaki, Hakodate, and Niigata.

Kobe's port continues to play a crucial role in its economy, with its urban waterfront district featuring a wide range of activities, including shopping, dining, and entertainment. One of the city's most iconic landmarks is the Kobe Port Tower, a 108-meter-tall tower that provides breathtaking views of the port and surrounding areas. In addition, Kobe's international character is reflected in its diverse food scene, with many restaurants specializing in foreign cuisines such as Chinese, Korean, and Western.

Kobe has faced some adversity in the past, notably the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake of 1995 that devastated the city, leading to thousands of fatalities and the destruction of many buildings. Today, however, the city has fully recovered from this tragedy, and visitors to Kobe can enjoy a vibrant, modern city with a rich history and stunning natural surroundings.

Getting around in Kobe

Kobe's bustling railway hub lies not at Kobe Station but at Sannomiya Station, situated in the heart of the city. Sannomiya Station caters to various railway companies, including Japan Railways (JR), Hankyu Railway, and Hanshin Railway. Meanwhile, the shinkansen (bullet train) makes a stop at Shin-Kobe Station, a brief subway journey north of Sannomiya Station.

The central attractions of Kobe are conveniently close to each other, facilitating exploration on foot for avid walkers. Alternatively, a tourist-oriented loop bus service links key sites such as Kitano-cho, Nankinmachi, Meriken Park, and Harborland with Shin-Kobe and Sannomiya Stations. This bus offers rides for 260 yen per trip, with a day pass available for 700 yen. Furthermore, Kobe Airport rests on a man-made island just off the city's coast and is easily accessible via the Port Liner from Sannomiya Station, completing the journey in under 20 minutes for a fare of 340 yen.

Additionally, Kobe offers special ticket options for visitors keen on exploring the city's attractions with ease and savings. The Kobe Meguri 1 Day Coupon, priced at 1000 yen, provides unlimited access to subways, non-JR trains, and select buses across Kobe for one calendar day, coupled with an 800 yen coupon for admission to designated tourist sites. Moreover, extended versions of this ticket are available, such as the Hanshin version for 1650 yen, granting unlimited use of Hanshin trains from Osaka, or the Hankyu version for 1800 yen, allowing access to Kobe from as far as Kyoto via Hankyu trains. For those keen on exploring via public transport, the City Loop - Day Pass offers unlimited rides on the Kobe City Loop bus for one calendar day, priced at 700 yen, with a 2-day pass available for 1000 yen. Additionally, the Subway and Bus Day Pass, priced at 1040 yen, grants unlimited usage of Kobe's subway lines and city buses (excluding the City Loop) for one calendar day.

Getting to Kobe
  • From Tokyo 遯カ繝サTokyo and Kobe boast a direct connection via the JR Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen. Nozomi trains complete the journey to Shin-Kobe Station in approximately 160 minutes from Tokyo, while the direct Hikari trains take around 195 minutes. The standard one-way fare for a non-reserved seat from Tokyo to Shin-Kobe is 14,420 yen, rising to about 15,000 yen for a reserved seat. While the Japan Rail Pass applies to Hikari trains, a supplement is required for Nozomi trains.

    For those opting for a more budget-friendly travel option, overnight buses offer a convenient route from Tokyo to Kobe, albeit with a longer journey time of 8-9 hours. Intense competition among bus operators on the Tokyo-Osaka-Kobe route has led to various discount offers. Fares by discount operators like Willer Express start at approximately 5000 yen, with effective use of the Japan Bus Pass potentially reducing the cost to around 3000 yen. However, these budget options typically entail standard buses with limited comfort. For a more comfortable journey, travelers can expect to pay around 8500 yen. Online reservations are available through platforms like Willer and Japan Bus Online.

    Moreover, ANA and Skymark Airlines operate multiple flights daily between Tokyo's Haneda Airport and Kobe Airport. ANA offers a regular one-way fare of about 25,000 yen, with discount tickets typically available for around 10,000 yen. Meanwhile, Skymark Airlines offers a regular one-way fare of approximately 15,000 yen, often with discount fares available for less than 10,000 yen. Alternatively, by local trains, the journey from Tokyo to Kobe spans approximately ten hours, involving around four train transfers. While the regular fare is relatively steep at 9460 yen, travelers can significantly reduce costs to as little as 2410 yen with a Seishun 18 Kippu.

  • From Osaka 遯カ繝サTraveling between Osaka and Kobe offers several convenient options. JR special rapid trains provide a swift journey, taking only 20 minutes and costing 420 yen for a one-way trip from Osaka Station to Kobe's Sannomiya Station. Alternatively, the Sanyo Shinkansen offers even quicker travel, completing the trip in less than 15 minutes; however, both the shinkansen stations in Osaka (Shin-Osaka Station) and Kobe (Shin-Kobe Station) are not centrally located. For a non-reserved seat on the shinkansen, the one-way fare is 1530 yen.

    For those seeking alternative routes, limited express trains on the Hankyu Kobe Line offer a convenient option. These trains require 25 minutes and cost 330 yen for a journey from Osaka-Umeda Station to Kobe-Sannomiya Station. Similarly, Hanshin operates direct trains from Osaka-Umeda Station, taking 30 minutes and costing 330 yen, as well as from Osaka-Namba Station, which require 45 minutes and cost 420 yen to reach Kobe-Sannomiya Station. Osaka-Umeda Station serves as a central point, conveniently located adjacent to JR Osaka Station, facilitating easy access to both cities.

  • From Kyoto 遯カ繝サTraveling between Kyoto and Kobe offers several efficient options. The shinkansen provides a swift journey, taking only 30 minutes from Kyoto Station to Shin-Kobe Station, albeit the latter's less central location. The one-way fare for a non-reserved seat is 2870 yen, with frequent direct Nozomi trains and one direct Hikari train available each hour. Notably, the trip is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass when utilizing Hikari trains.

    For a more economical yet slightly longer journey, direct JR special rapid trains on the JR Tokaido Line offer convenience, requiring 50 minutes to reach Sannomiya Station in central Kobe from Kyoto Station. The one-way fare for this trip is 1110 yen. Alternatively, limited express trains on the Hankyu Kyoto/Kobe Lines take about an hour, costing only 640 yen for a one-way trip between Kyoto-Kawaramachi Station in central Kyoto and Kobe-Sannomiya Station. A transfer of trains is necessary at Juso Station along this route.

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