Kobe is well-known for many things especially for its Kobe beef, with Kikuisedai being a terrific viewpoint beside the top of Mount Maya. At 700 meters above the sea level, Kikuisedai has a wonderful night view of the city lights, being included among the Three Major Night View of Japan. Kobe has been found since 1889 and is the capital city of Hyogo Prefecture, being part of the Keihanshin metropolitan area along with Osaka and Kyoto which is the second most populated urban region in Japan after the Greater Tokyo area. Together with the prefectures of Mie, Nara, Wakayama and Shiga in addition to Kyoto and Osaka, these areas would form the Kansai region on the southern-central side of Honshu. Kobe is among the earliest cities to open for trade with the West after the end of seclusion policy and has been known as an important port city even after the Great Hanshin earthquake.
Kobe Airport is the main airport in Japan serving the Kobe area, being located at Chuo-ku, an artificial island just off the coast of Kobe. Opens since February 2006 after several challenges since the first proposal issued in 1976, the Kobe Airport would predominantly handle domestic flights, though some international charter flights are also supported. The airport has a single terminal for passengers with a total of four gates allowing it to support wide-body aircraft. At an elevation of 7 meters, Kobe Airport has a runway that is 2,500 meters long which is made of asphalt concrete, being the hub for Skymark Airlines. There are various connecting flights to Kobe from Manila via Philippine Airlines, Cathay Pacific and many more.
Also known as Itami Airport commonly, the airport is located in Itami, Hyogo Prefecture, which is 35 kilometers away from Kobe city. Osaka International Airport once opened as the No. 2 Osaka Airport since its establishment in 1939 and was used by the Japanese Imperial Army until 1959 before focusing on local flights and then long-haul international flights. Later in 1994, after the opening of the Kansai International Airport, Osaka International Airport ceased from offering international flights and only focusing on local flights. It is the third busiest airport in Japan as well as the busiest airport for Kansai Region. It has a single terminal building divided into “North Terminal” and “South Terminal” with a total of 21 gates. While being the hub for Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways, Osaka International Airport also has connecting flights for trips to and from Manila.
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The off-peak season is during July because of the much hotter weather. If you do not mind anyway, accommodation prices can be lower around this time but do not expect it to go down too much. Peak season in Kobe is during March, May and October which is when the weather is not too hot or too cold, which is great for people to go out. The best time to visit Kobe is certainly around spring to early summer, which is from April to June, being the time when the cherry blossom blooms which can be a mesmerizing sight to behold.
Kobe has a humid subtropical climate which implies hot, humid summers and generally cool winters with higher precipitation in summer than in winter. Just like the rest of Japan, Kobe too experiences seasonal lag, with the hottest month being August and the coldest month being January. Snow is much rarer and does not happen heavily.
There are a lot of festivals you can look forward to enjoy in Kobe throughout the year just like the locals. There is the Kobe Festival which is held annually during the third Sunday of May, being an international parade with a lot of things including stage performances, markets, musical bands as well as a handful of food stalls. Kobe Fashion Week or Kobe Collection is held biannually during spring and autumn to showcase the best fashion trends of the season. Minato Kobe Fireworks Festival is the most prominent fireworks display in Kobe, held in August with 10,000 fireworks lighting up the night sky over Kobe Port. Last but not least is the Kobe Jazz Street in October which is the pinnacle of the autumn season in Kobe.
1. Kobe Port Tower - Found in the Central District of Kobe, the Kobe Port Tower is among the prominent landmark in Kobe. It is open to the public since 1963 and has been renovated once in 2010. At the height of 108 meters, it is designed by Nikken Sekkei Company to look like Tsuzumi, a Japanese drum.
2. Arima Onsen - Located behind Mount Rokko, Arima Onsen is considered a hidden treasure in Kobe, attracting visitors who wanted peace and tranquility with nature surroundings. Being one of the oldest onsens in Japan, it has been mentioned in the historical documents dating back to 8th century AD including a famous Heian book named “The Pillow Book”.
3. Ikuta Shrine - A Shinto shrine found in the Chuo Ward, it is among the oldest shrines in Japan, said by Nihon Shoki to be established by Empress Jingu in the early 3rd Century AD to be dedicated to the god Wakahirume. In fact, it is around the shrine that the city is built.