If you like coffee, why not head over to UCC’s musuem? A 20 minute train ride from central Kobe, the museum showcases UCC’s history, as well as the culture and interesting facts of coffee. Admission fee includes a freshly brewed cup of UCC coffee.
Opposite UCC Museum is IKEA, the world’s largest furniture retailer founded in Sweden. First established in Japan in 1974 but pulled out in 1986, IKEA returned in 2006 and has been thriving since.
Mount Maya and Mount Rokko are Kobe’s best known mountains for their stunning night views. Both have ropeways for tourists to get to the top. For the adventurous, both peaks are accessible by foot.
Starting from Shin-Kobe station, a 15 minute hike through the woods takes you to Nunobiki Falls. A further 20 minute hike leads to Nunobiki Herb Garden, one of Japan’s largest herb gardens with hundreds of herb species and seasonal flowers. A glasshouse in the garden makes growing flowers and fruits such as guavas and papayas possible throughout the year.
Various small tourist attractions can be found on Mount Rokko, including a botanical garden, a music box museum, a pasture with flowers and sheep, Japan’s first golf course and Rokko Garden Terrace, restaurants, shops and an observation deck.
Arima Onsen is a famous hot spring town with more than a thousand years history, and is considered one of Japan’s oldest hot spring resorts. Due to its compact size, the small town can be explored entirely on foot. The town has two types of hot spring waters which spring up at various sources around town: the Kinsen (“gold water”) is colored brown with iron deposits and is said to be good for skin ailments and muscle pain, while the clear Ginsen (“silver water”) contains radium and carbonate and is said to cure various muscle and joint ailments.
Kobe Luminarie is a light festival held every December since 1995, to commemorate the Great Hanshin Earthquake. Lights are turned on every evening for about two weeks.
Nankinmachi (“Nanjing town”) is one of three Chinatowns in Japan. There are over a hundred Chinese restaurants, shops, three traditional Chinese-style gates, a pavillion, and a Chinese temple.
Ikuta Shrine is an ancient shrine with over 1800 years of history. It has suffered both natural and man-made disasters in the form of heavy flooding from the river in 1938, the World War Two air raids on Kobe in 1945, and the damage from the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995. But each time it has risen from the ashes, leading people to venerate it as the god of resurrection.
Kobe Port Tower is a unique, red-painted steel structure at 108 metres. Two floors of the tower house a restaurant and a rotating cafe, while the other three house observation decks that provide 360-degree views of the city from approximately 100 metres above ground.
Meriken Park is a waterfront park in Kobe’s port area. Built on reclaimed land, the park is covered in grassy lawn and open courtyards dotted with a collection of modern art installations and fountains. A small memorial in the park commemorates the many victims who were killed in the port during the Great Hanshin Earthquake. A section of the damage has been left unrepaired as a reminder of the earthquake’s tremendous destructive power.