As far as sightseeing in Hyogo goes, places like Old Foreign Settlement in Yamate, Chinatown, found directly by Motomachi Station, and the area around Harborland, where you can stroll by the sea, are commonly seen in travel guides. Without a doubt, these places have plenty of things to see, as well as restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy tea and great food. However, outside of those, Hyogo has a great variety of little-known spots where locals often travel to spend their days off. Today we’re going to introduce three such places.
1. Kobe – Okamoto Area
First is the Okamoto area of Kobe. Okamoto refers to the area around Okamoto station, a mere ten minutes on the Hankyuu Railway from Sannomiya, the heart of Hyogo Prefecture. Because of its convenience, the area is known across the country as a luxurious residential area. Both Konan University and Kobe Pharmaceutical University are close by, as well many reasonably priced cafés and shops catering to the many young people who spend time in the area.
Okamoto Shopping District, near the station, is paved entirely with cobblestones and not only has a wonderful atmosphere, but plays host to many unique seasonal events. We recommend the Japanese sweets shop “Yuddy.” At Yuddy, you can enjoy curry and healthy lunches made with plenty of vegetables, as well as cakes and parfaits filled with Japanese ingredients such as matcha and brown sugar syrup, and anmitsu, a Japanese dessert. There are also around thirty different varieties of Chinese tea available. As a spot where you can spend a relaxing time after walking around the shopping district, this is a great place for couples or groups of female friends.
2. Suma Area
Next, we have the Suma area, famous for the beautiful Suma Beach. You can also find the Suma Sea Life Park next to Sumakaihinkoen Station. Opened in 1957, this park has a lot of history. Especially popular are the dolphin shows! Humorous performances featuring six live dolphins doing dynamic tricks, there is no doubt they will put a smile on any child’s face. With charming events like souvenir photos with penguins, handshake sessions with dolphins and seals, and opportunities to feed tortoises, this is a highly recommended attraction for families. Couples can also enjoy the illuminations at night, offered during limited times.
3. Akashi Area
Lastly we have the Akashi Area. Akashi Park, a large park, is located on the north side of the Akashi Station. Many locals flock here for picnics for the cherry blossom viewing of spring and the bright leaves of autumn on weekdays and weekends alike. Young children can safely be let loose to play on the event lawn, and there is a small lake where you can ride swan boats. On the station’s south side there is a shopping district called Uontana, where fresh seafood is displayed and there are many restaurants to enjoy. Akashi is known for Akashiyaki, a local food, which you can also have here.
How about it? With all three of these places reachable in 30 minutes from the center of Kobe, why not stop by during your Kobe travels?
This post is also available in: Japanese