Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Kobe 1-Day Itinerary

Kobe is very well known for its Kobe beef. Advertisements for restaurants serving the meat is everywhere in the city. We began our day checking that off on our bucket list.

We went to Steakland, which is a restaurant near to Sannomiya Station and started lining up at 10:30am. Lunch hour doesn't begin until 11:00am but there is always a long queue so we joined the 10 or so people who were already waiting.

At 11:00am an employee led us to the elevator to go up to the second-floor restaurant. To my surprise, most of the seats were already filled and there was another queue at the entrance. We wrote down our names and waited for another 10 minutes before we were seated.

Kobe beef teppanyaki style
We sat in seats surrounding a teppanyaki grill and the chef brought out the raw meat and grilled it in front of us. I have had high quality Kobe beef before that melted like butter in the mouth. This wasn't quite to that level but the taste was good and the meat was tender. It was good value for the lunch hour price.

Steakland lunch set. Not pictured: salad and coffee
Upon leaving the restaurant we were met with crowds of people waiting from the elevator to the front door. It was quite chaotic and we were glad that we queued even before it opened to avoid waiting like this in the cramped space.

After a satisfying lunch, we made our way towards Mount Rokko. We took a Hankyu train to Rokko Station, then the city bus 16 towards the Rokko Cable Car Station. The cable car ride was about 10 minutes long and brought us to Sanjo station where the observation deck was.

Rokko Cable Car
View from observation deck
It was a rather cloudy day so we couldn't see the cityscape very clearly. Next we rode the Rokko mountaintop bus to Kobe Shiritsu Rokkosan Farm. There were many farm animals from pigs to cows to horses. As well, the sheep grazed freely on the grassy hills. It was a good relaxing spot away from the city and some people brought blankets with them to lie down on the grass.

Rokkosan farm
Sheep grazing
We took the  bus back to Rokko Station and took the train to Motomachi Station where Kobe's Chinatown is. It is not that big but it is one of the bigger ones in Japan. There were food stalls in addition to many restaurants. We tried some food from the stalls and honestly it wasn't very good Chinese food.

Kobe Chinatown
The last stop of the day was to Harbourland. We took the train to Kobe Station then walked to the port to see the night view. I found it prettier at night all lit up than in the daytime.

Kobe Port Tower and Maritime Museum
This is quite a lot to pack into a day because transportation to and from Mount Rokko can be slow if you miss one of the infrequent buses. Otherwise, the spots in the city are easy to get to via train or subway.
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Update: I recently went back to Mount Rokko to see the famous million dollar view of Japan. We went to the Garden Terrace and it was very cold and windy in the early January weather but the view was worth it.

Night view from Mount Rokko
We went to a cafe at Garden Terrace and it featured tables all facing windows looking out on the view. It's a great place to keep warm and see the view if you're going in wintertime.

Cafe at Garden Terrace
We got a dessert and almond cream drink at the cafe and it was pretty good! Please note that the last bus from Garden Terrace to the cable car is at 8:45pm and the last cable car down is at 9:10pm. I was surprised that a place famous for its night view had public transport that finished so early.

Dessert at the cafe
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