The history of Kobe (神戸) goes back to the 7th century. As one of the ports open to international visitors – along with Hakodate, Nagasaki, Yokohama, and Niigata – Kobe has had a long history of international influence.
While the ports that opened to international trade entirely cut off foreign settlements from local residences, Kobe created foreign areas that had no real physical restrictions.
There were also mixed areas, where foreigners and Kobe locals could live next door or down the street from their foreign neighbors, leading to a natural sharing of customs, foods, and fashion.
After visiting Kobe’s main sites, the visitor can easily find something to delight the palate. Kobe beef is said to be one of the highest-grade brands of wagyu, or Japanese-produced beef. And Hyogo is also the country’s largest sake-producing prefecture, with Kobe at the core.
Sake produced in Kobe’s Nada district is known as some of the best in the world. A mix of high-quality rice, a perfect brewing climate, easy access to natural mountain water and centuries of practice have made Nada’s name in the production of rice wine.
Kobe can also be combined with visits in Osaka and Himeji.