We spent the last week and a half of our Japan trip using Kobe as a home base while taking day trips to visit various sites. We also spent time visiting various sites in Kobe.
Meriken Park and Harborland
One day we walked back down to Meriken Park where we spent some time looking at the Earthquake Damage. We continued on to Harborland. This is a view of Kobe Port Tower and Okura Hotel from Harborland.
Apparently Halloween is really big in Japan. This is a Halloween display at Harborland.
We took the Ropeway up to the Kobe Nunobiki Herb Garden. Ironically this was just a few steps from the ANA Crowne Plaza where we stayed when we first arrived in Kobe. At the time we didn’t know about the Herb Garden.
There were some beautiful views of Kobe from the Herb Garden.
The Herb Garden also had a Halloween display.
There were some beautiful flowers at the Herb Garden.
As we were walking back down the mountain to catch the Ropeway an older gentleman was walking along with us and he kept wanting to take our photo so we have quite a few photos of us at the Gardens. Apparently one of his hobbies is talking to tourists and finding out where they live. He has his map along so we could point out where we were from so he could mark our home on his map.
This is a photo of him.
Disaster Reduction Museum
It was a rainy day so we were looking for things we could do inside. We took the Train out to the Disaster Reduction Museum. The train station was a few blocks from the museum so we had to walk a ways in the rain. This is the location we thought we were going to on the first day we were in Kobe. The Museum documents the earthquake and spends a lot of time discussing the reconstruction and the lessons learned from the Reconstruction. We spent most of the morning in the Museum.
When we emerged we decided to take the bus back because it was raining hard. When we arrived at the bus stop we were able to decipher the schedule and determined the bus would arrive in about a half an hour. The bus stop happened to be in front of a McDonalds so we stopped in for some coffee and ice cream while we were waiting for the bus. The ice cream was the same but the coffee was not up to U.S. standards.
When we went out to catch the bus this gentleman was also waiting to catch it. Turns out he was one of the tour guides in the museum. We had a long chat with him. He was in his 80’s and was in Kobe during the war. As I recall he said the U.S. bombed Kobe 26 times. He also rode the bus to our stop and when we got off of the bus he gave us a batch of bananas.
After visiting the Museum we stopped at one of the large shopping malls to look around while it was raining.
Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum
One of the places we wanted to tour was a Sake Brewery. We had tried to find this place on another day but when we exited the train station we couldn’t find it. It started to rain so we decided to get back on the train and try it again later. As it turned out the directions we had were not good. One person on Trip Adviser gave up and took a taxi. Later that evening Linda found some great directions on the Lonely Planet Website.
The Lonely Planet directions were very detailed and we had no problem finding the Brewery Museum. Unfortunately there were no tours of the Brewery but the Brewery Museum did provide a good overview of the process.
When we finished they were offering samples. We tried them all. I’ve never had sake and found it to my liking. We decided to wait until we returned home to buy some.
I had been wanting to visit Ikea in Kobe. Part of the reason for the visit was to have an excuse to take the Portliner from Sannomiya station. The Portliner was worth the trip on its own because it offered some great views of the harbor area. Ikea is my favorite place to eat when I’m home so I wanted to see what it was like in Japan. It was interesting to see what they had for furniture etc. The merchandise was much different than it is in the U.S.
On one of our last days in Kobe we stopped at Motomachi Station and walked up to Sorakuen Gardens. It looked like they were getting ready for a fall display at the gardens.
On our last day in Kobe we took a harbor tour on the Royal Princess. I was a well appointed boat and far better than any tour boat I’ve been on in the U.S.
After the Harbor Tour we decided to ride the Kobe Tourist Bus around town making stops along the way.
When we were finished with the tours we headed back to our Airbnb. We were scheduled to meet Justin at Sannomiya station and catch a late bus for Osaka. We were flying out Osaka early in the morning so we had him book a hotel for us near the airport. This interesting sign was on the hotel door.
More photos from our visit to Japan can be found on my website.