Since I have only a little time to live in Kobe, I’m trying to make the most of it by doing touristy stuff in this city as often as possible. Recently, I went to Kobe Harborland. Kobe Harborland is about a 10 minute walk from Kobe station.
Kobe is a city in the Kansai area, around 35 km west of Osaka, or 500 km west of Tokyo. It is the 6th biggest city in Japan in terms of population. Together with Osaka and Kyoto, this area is often called 京阪神 (“Kei-han-shin”, taking one character each from Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe respectively).
Although Kobe is the capital of Hyogo prefecture, Kobe station is not the major “downtown” train station here. The major train station is Sannomiya station (三ノ宮 or 三宮, “Third Temple”, in this case meaning the third branch of Ikuta Shrine. More on Ikuta Shrine in a separate post).
Kobe is a port city, and there are several malls located along the ocean near Kobe station. This is very similar to the Motomachi area of Yokohama.
Mosaic Mall is an open air mall which is really directly on the waterfront. There are 3 levels of stores, restaurants, etc. The highlight is definitely the beautiful view.
Kobe is a city surrounded by the ocean to the south and mountains to the north. Because of this, many people in Kobe will point out directions by saying “Ocean side” (meaning south) and “Mountain side” (meaning north). You will find signs pointing to “Ocean side” and “Mountain side” even in some maps or along the streets. This also makes it super convenient to know which direction you are headed, because you can see the mountains from just about anywhere in Kobe!
From the mountain side picture above, I turned around in the same spot and took this ocean side picture.
I turned towards the right after taking the above picture and took this one:
(The mountains you see in the background are a VERY EXPENSIVE residential district.)
Mosaic Mall is made to resemble Mediterranean architecture, or at least, what Japanese people think is Mediterranean. Disney Sea also has some areas like this.
There are lots of different stores, from chain retail stores that I can find anywhere, to stores selling Kobe souvenirs, to kiosks selling one of a kind jewelry.
If you come to Kobe, I highly recommend you buy some Kobe Pudding to take home!