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Kobe One Day Itinerary | How to Enjoy Kobe like a local | Kobe | Japan

I highly recommend Kobe as a day trip from either Osaka or Kyoto during your visit to Japan. It's a simple and convenient day trip, as it's under one hour on the train from Osaka, or a little over an hour on the train from Kyoto. If you're planning to stay a night or two in Kobe I recommend staying in the Sannomiya area, which is the most convenient location for shopping, eating and sightseeing in Kobe.

Let's take a look at my most recent day trip to Kobe, which will hopefully give you some ideas about possible things to do in Kobe when visiting. I live in Osaka, so I took the Hankyu train from Umeda to Kobe-Sannomiya station. During my day in Kobe I didn't use public transport or taxis at all. You'll find Kobe city isn't very big, so I believe most people should be fine to walk the route as described - just make sure you're wearing comfortable shoes. If you get tired just pop into a cafe or take a rest at a nearby park.

A Kobe day trip from Osaka or Kyoto should definitely not be overlooked if you itinerary allows for it. It's a great place to escape the crowds and take it easy for a day. Hopefully this blog post will help you decide what to do in Kobe on your daytrip.

Let's get started!

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Pray for love at Ikuta Jinja - Kobe's most famous shrine!

Ikuta Jinja is located around a five to ten minute walk from Kobe-Sannomiya station, so it's a great place to start the day. It's Kobe's most famous shrine, so you should have no issues finding plenty of signs pointing you in the right direction.

The shrine is impressive with it's large orange torii gates at the entrance. Once you've had a look around, head to the back of the shrine where you can find a small forest area and place for reading water fortunes. There's also a mini shrine at the back, plus an area for posting "ema" or what some people might know as prayer boards.

In addition to being famous as of the oldest shrines in Japan, Ikuta Jinja is also famous for being a shrine where you can pray for love and relationships that last forever. Why not buy an amulet for success in love while you're here?

Ikuta Shrine is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, and I highly recommend adding it to your list of things to do in Kobe. Entry to the temple grounds is free, so it's a great place for those who are on a budget. The open hours are currently 7am to 5pm, but be sure to check the hours online before visiting.

Name in English: Ikuta Shrine

Address in English: 1 Chome-2-1 Shimoyamatedori, Chuo Ward, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0011

Name in Japanese: 生田神社

Address in Japanese: 〒650-0011 兵庫県神戸市中央区下山手通1丁目2−1

An apple a day keeps the doctor away at A La Ringo

Take a break at A La Ringo before heading to your next destination.

A La Ringo offers eat-in or take-out options, and has something for everyone (as long as you're an apple lover!) This store sells apple pastries, apple ice-cream, candied apples (or toffee apples, as we call them in Australia), apple sodas, and other sweet treats. There are also some drinks for sale that aren't apple based, such as teas and coffees.

After you order and pay at the counter, take your food and drinks up the stairs to the second floor. There's a small cafe area with a view overlooking the intersection where you can enjoy your snack and refuel before the walk to Sorakuen Garden.

Name in English: A La Ringo

Address in English: 〒650-0011 Hyogo, Kobe, Chuo Ward, Shimoyamatedori, 3 Chome−10−1 1階~2階 Trsx

Address in Japanese: 〒650-0011 兵庫県神戸市中央区下山手通3丁目10−1 1階~2階 Trsx

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Admire the koi fish Sorakuen Garden

Sorakuen Garden in Kobe is only small, but it's worth a visit if you're if the area. The garden has English brochures and signs, so you'll be able to enjoy the garden while reading a little about its history.

The Japanese garden area seems to be where visitors were spending most of their time, taking in the view and admiring the koi fish swimming in the pond.

Those who visit in spring can expect to see the garden covered in Azaleas. The early blooming varieties will bloom from around early April, and the late blooming varieties generally bloom around early June, so if you're a fan of Azaleas you have a nice big window in which to catch them blooming.

I actually visited Sorakuen Garden toward the end of October and was lucky to see the annual chrysanthemum exhibit. The exhibit is held every year from October 20-November 23.

At the back of the garden you can see The Hassam House and The Kodera Stable, both built in the early 1900s. The chimney on display in the front yard of The Hassam House fell during the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995.

It was a little too early for the garden to be filled autumn leaves when I visited, although as you can see from my photos, the Japanese Maples were just beginning to turn. I suggest visiting sometime between mid November and early December for the best chance to see autumn leaves in Kobe.

Entry to Sorakuen Garden in Kobe cost 300 yen for adults at the time of my visit, less for children. The open hours are generally 9am-4:30pm, and the garden is usually closed on Thursdays. Be sure to check the hours online before visiting to avoid disappointment!


Name in English: Sorakuen Garden

Address in English: 5 Chome-3-1 Nakayamatedori, Chuo Ward, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0004

Name in Japanese: 相楽園

Address in Japanese: 〒650-0004 兵庫県神戸市中央区中山手通5丁目3−1

Get Your Fill of Veggies at Days Kitchen Vegetable House

Feel free to grab lunch wherever takes your fancy, but Days Kitchen Vegetable House is on the way to our next couple of destinations, and I love a pizza so I couldn't resist stopping by!

This store and Nankinmachi (mentioned below) are within a few minutes walk of each other, so feel free to visit them in whichever order you'd like. If you're not so hungry , I suggest heading to Nankinmachi for a snack instead, or perhaps straight to Meriken Park to relax for a while, and then coming back up for lunch when you're ready.

Days Kitchen Vegetable House has a great lunch deal where you can order a pizza or pasta dish that comes with a drink bar and salad bar included. I ordered the pizza with 10 vegetables which was 1800 yen on the day I visited (including the drink bar and salad bar). I'd highly recommend this place if you're in need of some fresh vegetables!


Name in English: Days Kitchen Vegetable House

Address in English: 2 Chome-1-3 Sakaemachidori, Chuo Ward, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0023

Name in Japanese: デイズキッチンベジタブルハウス

Address in Japanese: 〒650-0023 兵庫県神戸市中央区栄町通2丁目1−3

Grab a Bite to eat at the Famous Nankinmachi - Kobe's Chinatown

I've mentioned Kobe Chinatown previously on my blog, so I won't talk too much about it today.

Basically, Kobe Chinatown (also called Nankinmachi) is a good place to try Chinese street food in Kobe. It's popular with locals and also international visitors. Some people stop by for a snack, while others eat lunch or dinner here. Either way, the Chinatown in Kobe is worth a wander through whether you plan to grab something to eat or not. It's centrally located, so you won't have to go out of your way to visit.

Below are some of the foods on offer in Nankinmachi. I was very tempted by the shaved ice, but was a little full after my big lunch!

Relax at Meriken Park while taking in the ocean views

Kobe is a port town, so it's about time we visited the ocean. Walk down the hill to Meriken Park where you can find some of Kobe's most famous sights. Lots of people like to hang out in Meriken Park, with a drink or a snack, and admire the view of the water. It's a great place to take a rest after exploring Kobe on foot.

"Be Kobe" sign in Meriken Park with Oriental Hotel in background. Kobe, Japan

Other things to do in Meriken Park include:

Visiting Kobe Port Tower

Construction of the Kobe Port Tower was completed in 1963. The tower stands at a height of 108 metres (around 354 feet), and is easily recognisable due to it's interesting structure and bright red color. Unfortunately the tower was undergoing renovations during the last couple of times I visited.

The Kobe Port Tower has several observation decks that can be enjoyed during day or night. Lower floors include souvenir shops, places to eat, and a ticket booth for the observation deck.

Fun fact: The Kobe Port Tower was designed by the same architecture firm that designed the Tokyo Skytree! If you plan to visit Tokyo during your stay in Japan, be sure to buy your tickets in advance for Tokyo Skytree.

Learning about the history of Kobe at Kobe Maritime Museum

The Kobe Maritime Museum (visible in the photos above) focuses on the history of the port of Kobe. The Museum opened in 1987, as a way of commemorating Kobe opening up to foreign trade some 120 years earlier.

Expect to see information about the history of the port of Kobe, information about Kobe's sister cities, plus information on ship construction. The museum is easily recognisable from a distance due to it's white color and modern sail-like structure.

Taking a look at the past at the Port of Kobe Earthquake Memorial Park

Meriken Park is home to a preserved section of the wharf that stood in Kobe until the time of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995.

Here you can observe the damage caused by the earthquake for yourself. It serves as a reminder of the power of nature.

Admiring the Kobe-themed Artwork

Meriken Park has some lovely wall art and tile art that can be found while exploring the area. Be sure to stop by for that perfect Instagram selfie!

Shop 'til you Drop in Kobe's Shopping Arcades

In addition to the big department stores, Kobe has a number of undercover shopping arcades. These arcades are brilliant on a rainy day!

Take your time wandering the arcades, and feel free to stop for a rest if needed. You really could spend hours exploring all of the little shops and cafes here. Even if you think you've run out of arcades to explore, there's probably another one waiting for you just across the road.

You'll likely stumble across lots of these shopping arcades during your one day trip to Kobe. Hopefully you can find yourself something special to buy to remind you of your time in Kobe.

Stop for a Sweet Treat at Cacao Sampaka

Cacao Sampaka is a specialist chocolate store located conveniently close to Hankyu Kobe-Sannomiya station. Cacao Sampaka originated in Barcelona, Spain in 1999, and is famous for being the official supplier of chocolate to the Spanish royal family. Store locations in Japan include Kobe, Osaka and Tokyo.

Ice-cream cones are only available for take-out, but if it's not busy you can sit at the tables outside the store. The store also sells chocolates and other sweets which I haven't had the chance to sample yet!

Name in English: Cacao Sampaka

Address in English: 〒650-0012 Hyogo, Kobe, Chuo Ward, Kitanagasadori, 1 Chome−1−1 EKIZO神戸三宮

Name in Japanese: カカオサンパカ 神戸三宮店

Address in Japanese: 〒650-0012 兵庫県神戸市中央区北長狭通1丁目1−1 EKIZO神戸三宮

That's it!

If you feel like spending more time in Kobe, why not stay for dinner? Kobe is the home of the famous Kobe Beef, so if you're in town it would be a shame to miss it!

Have you visited Kobe before? If so, do you have any other recommendations for our readers? Do you think one day in Kobe is enough, or would you allow for more time in this waterfront city?

If you've never been to Kobe before, are you interested in visiting? Let's connect down in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

​​Recommendations for booking accommodation, day trip tours and travel related needs.

Accommodation: Agoda,, HostelWorld

Short tours, activities and day trips: Get Your Guide, Viator

Reviews (restaurants, accommodation, local attractions etc.): Trip Advisor

Travel Insurance: Visitors Coverage

Learn the language: i-talki

Access airport lounges worldwide: Priority Pass

Cheap travel essentials: Daiso, Amazon

Like this post? Save it on Pinterest!

Pinterest pin. Top: Sorakuen Garden pond in Kobe. Bottom: Apple pie from A La Ringo in Kobe. Text reads: 1 day in Kobe. Easy one day itinerary for Kobe.

Pinterest pin. Top: Ikuta Jinja Shrine in Kobe. Bottom: Tile art at Meriken Park in Kobe. Text reads: Kobe 1 day trip. Easy one day itinerary for Kobe.

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Mar 06, 2023

A La Ringo looks adorable! I've always loved quirky lil eateries with a theme - and this looks right up my alley!

Mar 12, 2023
Replying to

I loved it!


Mar 05, 2023

Fabulous guide! adding this one to my Japan wishlist also. Thanks for the inspiration as alway.

Mar 05, 2023
Replying to

Thank you for the lovely comment :)


Mar 05, 2023

A great post about Kobe. I love the Japanese architecture and I would enjoy sitting in Sorakuen Garden, watching the Koi, they are beautiful fish.

Mar 05, 2023
Replying to

Sorakuen Garden was definitely a highlight of my day 😊


Feb 26, 2023

I'm actually going to Japan in October! We are mainly staying in Tokyo with a day trip or two to Kyoto and Osaka. Not sure if we'll have time to go to Kobe but if we had more time I'd want to go!

Feb 27, 2023
Replying to

Will you be making the daytrips from Tokyo to Kyoto and Osaka? If so it'll be a long day for you! Definitely not impossible, but very exhausting.


Feb 25, 2023

I've never been to Japan, but this really makes me want to go! And I'm really hungry now, too haha

Feb 26, 2023
Replying to

Add it to the list!! It's a great place for a holiday, and the transport system makes it super easy to get around the country.


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