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Perfect for Couples! 1-Day Model Sightseeing Course for Kobe (from Osaka Station)

Kobe – the port city that was introduced to Western culture early on – has an exotic vibe to it. The city is filled with spots that are great for couples, including ones with romantic nightscapes. Below is a model sightseeing course that starts at Osaka Station!

9:00 am: Osaka Station

This sightseeing course begins at Osaka Station – a terminal station in Umeda where many train lines that head to neighboring cities like the JR, Hanshin, and Hankyu come and go (the name of the station varies depending on the train line). The travel time to Kobe is short if you take the JR line, but the fares are lower on the Hanshin and Hankyu lines. There are slight differences in the locations of stations, too, so choose the train line according to your destination. This model course will use the JR line that connects Osaka Station with Kobe Station, which is the station that is closest to the first destination of this course: Kobe Harborland.

Transit ▶ Osaka Station → Kobe Station
Ride for about 25 minutes on the JR Kobe Line from Osaka Station and then get off at Kobe Station. Kobe Harborland will be just south of the station.

9:00 am: Osaka Station

3-1-1 Umeda, Kita-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

9:30 am: Stroll and Shop at Kobe Harborland

Kobe Harborland is an area located in the southwest part of the city center. It is filled with large-scale facilities, such as shopping and dining spots, movie theaters, and entertainment spaces.
If you want to go shopping, then Kobe Harborland umie is where you must go, as it houses 225 different shops for fashion, miscellaneous goods, and food. The MOSAIC Grande Ferris Wheel (800 JPY) offers a 360-degree view of Kobe’s landscape and is popular among couples. If you feel like going for a stroll, then head to Harbor Walk – the seaside promenade that stretches from Kobe Harbor Stores, which has rows of brick warehouses, up to the former signal station of Kobe Port. There are gas lamps and benches there, so you can leisurely gaze at the sea while enjoying the smell of the sea breeze, the tides, and the retro atmosphere.

▼Duration (approximate): 120 minutes

9:30 am: Stroll and Shop at Kobe Harborland

1 Higashikawasaki-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo

11:30 am: Enjoy Lunch

Concerto

Those who want to eat a luxurious lunch need to try the food at Concerto – a cruise ship that goes around Osaka Bay. Enjoy a sumptuous meal while marveling at the landscape created by the blue sky and sea, the town, and the Rokko mountain range. You’ll be able to eat a course meal consisting of French cuisine and teppanyaki (food cooked on an iron plate). When you’re done, head to the lounge or sun deck for a quiet moment. English menus are available, along with English-speaking staff.

Price (fare + meal): From 6,800 JPY (excl. tax)
※Sailing time is from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm, so you may need to adjust your schedule accordingly

Concerto

1-6-1 Higashikawasaki-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo

Rokko

Another recommended spot is Rokko – the restaurant located at the top floor (18th floor) of a building. Here, you can savor Japanese cuisine while gazing at the sea. From its huge windows, you can enjoy an eye-catching view of Kobe Port Tower, which has become the symbol of the city. Why not have lunch while staring at the fantastic view right in front of you? Try the Rokko Irodori Bento (1,800 JPY (incl. tax), which comes with dishes made with seasonal ingredients, such as sashimi, boiled food, and tempura! If you want it on a weekday, you’ll need to reserve it at least a day in advance. English menus are available, along with English-speaking staff.

▼Duration (approximate): 60 minutes

Transit ▶ 10-minute walk to Kobe Port Tower

Rokko

CULMENI 18F, 1-5-7 Higashikawasaki-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo

1:00 pm: Marvel at the Town from the Observation Room of Kobe Port Tower

After lunch, head to Kobe Port Tower in Naka-tottei, which is located at the center of the bay area. You will surely be impressed by its beautiful form that makes it look like a Japanese drum, and its red color that adds a spark to the port’s scenery. From the top three floors (3rd - 5th floors of the observation platform), you will get see a panoramic view of the port, the city, and the Rokko mountain range. There is a souvenir shop on the 4th floor of the observation deck, where you can buy goods and sweets that represent Kobe while looking at the gorgeous view. There are also two Skywalks on the 1st floor of the observation deck, where you can enjoy a walk 75m above the ground. When the sensors detect a person coming, the floor becomes transparent, guaranteeing you a thrilling sight!

▼Duration (approximate): 60 minutes

Transit ▶ 10-minute walk to Nankinmachi

1:00 pm: Marvel at the Town from the Observation Room of Kobe Port Tower

5-5 Hatoba-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo

2:10 pm: Sightseeing and Eating While Strolling Around Chinatown (Nankinmachi)

Nankinmachi, one of the biggest Chinatowns in Japan, is another spot you have to visit if you ever go to Kobe. Measuring about 270m east to west and around 110m north to south, this town is filled with more than 100 restaurants, general merchandise shops, and other establishments. Many shops have stalls in front of them, so you can walk around while eating snacks like nikuman (pork bun) and xiaolongbao (soup dumpling). There’s lots of goods in general goods stores that’d be perfect as souvenirs – such as local Hello Kitty goods – so you can go wild with your shopping! There’s also a wide array of sweets like Kobe Pudding – a staple Kobe souvenir – and KitKat variants that are only available in the region (such as Uji matcha and Kobe Pudding). Even just strolling around the area is sure to be exciting! After you’re done exploring, go to Kitano Ijinkan – an area filled with Western-style residences – by boarding the City Loop bus, which connects major sightseeing spots in the city center.

▼Duration (approximate): 90 minutes

Transit ▶ Get on the Nankinmachi (Chinatown) Station of the City Loop bus, ride for about 25 minutes, and then get off at the Kitano Ijinkan bus stop

2:10 pm: Sightseeing and Eating While Strolling Around Chinatown (Nankinmachi)

1-3-18 Sakaemachi-dori, Chuo-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo

4:10 pm: Tour Kitano Ijinkan-gai

Perched on a hill overlooking the sea, Kitano Ijinkan-gai is an area that houses residences built by foreigners who moved to Kobe after Kobe Port opened. There are similar areas in other port towns, such as Hakodate in Hokkaido Prefecture and Nagasaki, but Kitano has the highest number of preserved foreign residences in all of Japan. One particularly famous residence is the Kazamidori no Yakata (the house with a weathercock) (500 JPY), which has been designated as an important cultural property of Japan. Its brick exterior and weathercock at the steeple have become symbols of the town! Around 20 other mansions are open to the public and visitors are allowed to enter them, so why not explore them while getting a feel for this town’s unique vibe?

▼ Duration (approximate): 90 minutes

4:10 pm: Tour Kitano Ijinkan-gai

3-13-3 Kitano-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo

6:00 pm: Have Dinner at Paradis KITANO

For dinner, visit Paradis KITANO, which is located in Kitano Ijinkai-gai. You’ll get to enjoy authentic French cuisine in an exotic building that was once a place for foreign trade, surrounded by flowers and greenery. You can choose what to eat according to your preferences and budget. There’s a wide variety of courses available, from the light course (4,104 JPY (incl. tax)) that requires a reservation by 4:00 pm on the day of your visit, up to the full course (16,200 JPY (incl. tax)) that uses luxurious ingredients like abalone and Kobe beef. Note that the full course requires a reservation at least two days before your visit! English menus are available, along with staff who can speak English, Chinese, and French.

▼Duration (approximate): 60 minutes

Transit ▶ It takes approximately 20 minutes to get to Maya Cable Car Station by taxi. Take the Maya Cable Car for 5 minutes to go to Nijinoeki Station. Transfer to Maya Ropeway and then ride for 5 minutes to Hoshinoeki Station.

※ The cable/ropeway also operates every night during the summer, but it only runs on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays in the winter and autumn. The last train from Hoshinoeki Station to Maya Cable Car Station leaves at 8:50 pm during the spring and summer, and at 7:50 pm during the winter.

6:00 pm: Have Dinner at Paradis KITANO

2-16-8 Kitano-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo

6:30 pm: Savor the Night View from Mt. Maya Kikusei-dai

The last spot you must visit is Kikusei-dai – a viewing platform at Mt. Maya. From here, you can enjoy a dynamic nightscape that is listed as one of the best night views in Japan. Situated at a spot that is about 700m above sea level, this platform treats guests to a panoramic view of the bay area from Osaka to Kobe. There is also a path studded with luminous stones that looks like the galaxy, creating a romantic atmosphere. For those who do not have much time, the view from the observation space at Maya Cable Car Station or Nijinoeki Station is worth a shot. Located 451m above the sea, you are sure to get a thrilling night view!

Fare (roundtrip):
Maya Cable Car (Maya Cable Car Station - Nijinoeki Station): 770 JPY
Maya Ropeway (Nijinoeki Station - Hoshinoeki Station): 770 JPY

▼ Duration (approximate): 60 minutes

Transit ▶ Ride the Maya Ropeway for about 5 minutes from Hoshinoeki Station to Nijinoeki Station. Transfer to the Maya Cable Car and ride for 5 minutes to Maya Cable Car Station. Get on a taxi and then ride for about 10 minutes until you reach Oji-koen Station.

6:30 pm: Savor the Night View from Mt. Maya Kikusei-dai

Mayasan, Nada-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo

8:00 pm: Head Back to Osaka Station from Oji-koen Station

Go back to Osaka Station by taking Hankyu’s Kobe Line. JR and Hanshin also have lines that you can use, but the nearest station from Mt. Maya is Oji-koen Station on the Hankyu line that runs through Yamate. This line does not stop at Osaka Station, which is the starting point in this course, but you can get off at Umeda Station.

Transit ▶ Get on the Kobe Line from Hankyu’s Oji-koen Station, ride for about 35 minutes, and then get off at Umeda Station. Walk for 6 minutes to get to Osaka Station.

8:00 pm: Head Back to Osaka Station from Oji-koen Station

1 Oji-cho, Nada-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo

It only takes 30 minutes by train to get to Kobe from Osaka. You can fully enjoy the city even if you just go for a day trip, so if you happen to be traveling around the Kansai region, try to go a little farther to Kobe!

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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