Kobe is a city located in western Hyogo Prefecture.
Kobe is dotted with little towns that have exotic atmospheres, such as Kitano Ijinkan and Nankinmachi. The background behind these exotic locales is historic: in 1868 when Japan reopened itself to the world, Kobe’s port was opened and as a result Kobe was exposed to a broad variety of foreign culture and lifestyles. Every February the Chinese Lunar New Year is celebrated spectacularly in Nankinmachi, featuring parades full of people dressed up like characters from classical Chinese operas.
The mountainside area of Kobe is host to Japan’s oldest onsen area, Arima Onsen. This onsen is so old that it is even recorded in the Nihon-shoki. (a chronicle of Japanese history) According to the Nihon-shoki, in the year 631 the emperor Jomei stayed at this onsen for 3 months. Arima Onsen has two different types of hot springs: one is the colorless and transparent “Ginsen” hot spring, and the other is the yellow “Kinsen” hot spring, which has high amounts of salt and iron in its yellow water.
To get to Kobe, you can take a 30 minute train ride from Osaka. You can take the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Osaka, and from there you can conveniently access Kobe by train. You can also use an overnight or high speed bus to get to Kobe.