10 amazing things to do in Hyogo, Japan!

Mar 25, 2021

Hyogo Prefecture is in Kansai Region, and it is located next to Kyoto and Osaka. This prefecture is a home to Kobe, one of the most important port cities in Japan, which is also home to Kobe Beef, one of the top 3 Wagyu brands of Japan.

Hyogo is also a home to many amazing hot spring cities, including the legendary Kinosaki Onsen and Arima Onsen. There are a lot of things you can do in Hyogo, including visiting the Himeji Castle, one of the most important castles in Japan, and also Kobe Harborland, one of the most famous landmarks of Kobe City.

Brimming with beautiful nature and interesting tourist destinations, how about visiting Hyogo to have both, an extraordinary, yet a novel adventure?


How to get there
Recommended sightseeing spots in Hyogo:
    1. Himeji Castle
    2. Kinosaki Onsen
    3. Engyoji Temple
    4. Kobe Harborland
    5. China Town (Nankinmachi)
    6. Kitano Ijinkan
    7. Mt. Rokko
    8. Nunobiki Waterfall
    9. Arima Onsen
    10. Kobe Mosaic
Hyogo’s best local treats:
    1. Kobe Beef
    2. Akashiyaki
    3. Sobameshi
    4. Butaman
    5. Takomeshi

How to get there

Hyogo Prefecture is accessible by several different transportation methods, including trains, highway buses, and airplanes. The two largest cities in Hyogo are Kobe and Himeji, and the main transportation hubs in Kobe are Shin-Kobe Station and Himeji Station.

The most convenient way to get to Hyogo from Tokyo is by taking the JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen to Shin-Kobe Station or Himeji Station, and the prefecture is a short ride on commuter rail from Osaka and Kyoto.

Domestic flights from and to Kobe Airport are available on daily basis.

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Recommended sightseeing spots in Hyogo

Hyogo is a prefecture in Kansai Region, it is bordered by seas to the north and south, with mountains in the middle. Kobe is the port city and the capital city of this prefecture, and this city is a home to Kobe Beef, one of the top 3 Wagyu brands of Japan.

In addition to Kobe, Hyogo is a home to many amazing sightseeing spots, including Himeji Castle, one of the best castles in Japan, and Kinosaki Onsen and Arima Onsen, two of the most important hot spring cities in Japan.

Ready to take yourself to Hyogo? Here are our picks for the best things to do in Hyogo, Japan!

1. Enjoy the seasonal view of Himeji Castle!

Himeji Castle is considered as one of the most beautiful castles in Japan, and it is one of the top 3 premier castles in Japan, along with Kumamoto Castle and Matsumoto Castle. The castle is also known worldwide as it became a filming location for one of James Bond movies.

This castle was originally built as a fort by the samurai Akamatsu Norimura, but it was later redesigned as a castle in the late 1300s, and it has since remained standing for over 400 years since the 1600s. Himeji Castle was later listed as a World Heritage Site in 1993, and these days, the castle has become a popular cherry blossoms viewing spot and fall foliage spot in Hyogo!

Himeji Castle

Business hours : 9:00 – 16:00
Closed from December 29 to 30
Admissions : 1,000 yen (age 18 & above), 300 yen (age 6-17), free for age 6 and under
Website (Japanese)

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2. Visit Hyogo’s legendary hot springs, Kinosaki Onsen!

Hyogo Prefecture is home to many amazing hot spring cities, and Kinosaki Onsen is one of them. Kinosaki Onsen is the legendary hot spring city of Hyogo, which was discovered in the 8th Century. There are around seven public baths staggered throughout the city.

The public baths at Kinosaki Onsen offer saunas as well as indoor and outdoor baths, and all of them are tattoo-friendly, and no matter how big your tattoo is, you can still relax at the public baths here as they allow visitors with tattoos to use the facility.

Kinosaki Onsen

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3. Find your peace at Engyoji Temple!

Engyoji Temple is an atmospheric temple complex with the history of more than 1000 years. The temple is in Mt. Shosa, which can be access in only 30 minutes from Himeji City by bus and ropeway. This temple buildings are spread over a spacious forested area on the mountain top, and it takes a 10 to 15-minute walk uphill to reach the Niomon Gate from the ropeway station, and it takes another 10-15 minutes to reach the Maniden, a beautiful wooden temple hall, constructed on pillars on a steep slope. If you walk for another 5 minutes, you will reach the three massive wooden temple halls, known as Mitsunodo: the Daikodo (main hall), Jikido (lodging and dining hall), and Jogyodo (gymnasium).

Engyoji is best known for its appearance in the Hollywood movie “The Last Samurai”, which was partially shot on Mt. Shoza, featuring scenes taken around and inside the halls of Mitsunodo.

Engyoji Temple

Business hours : 8:30 – 17:00

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4. Enjoy the night view of Kobe Harborland!

How about stopping by the Kobe Harborland for its amazing night scenery?

Kobe Harborland is a popular shopping and entertainment district between JR Kobe Station and the waterfront of Kobe’s port area, and it offers a large selection of shops, restaurants, cafes, and other amusements.

Kobe Harborland is best known for its romantic evening atmosphere, making it a popular spot for couples and tourists visiting Kansai.

Kobe Harborland

Business hours : 10:00 – 21:00

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5. Visit Kobe’s China Town for its amazing street food!

Kobe is a Port Town, and one of the most popular sightseeing spots in the area is the China Town, which is called Nankinmachi.

Nankinmachi is a small Chinatown in central Kobe, and it has been serving as the center of the Chinese community in the Kansai Region since a long time ago.

Nankinmachi is a popular tourist attraction in Kobe, and many foodie visits this area to try its local treats, like the Peking Duck wraps, which you can purchase for few hundreds yen only.

In addition to the Peking Duck Wrap, the China Town is also famous for its strawberries skewers, which are coated in sweet syrup.

China Town (Nankinmachi)

Website (Japanese)

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6. Travel back in time at The Kitano Ijinkan!

Kitano Ijinkan is located on the foothills of Kobe’s Rokko Mountains, it provides a glimpse into a period of Japan’s history. Kitano Ijinkan was the place where foreign traders, diplomats, and businessmen built their houses for the first time, particularly when the overseas trade relations were restored in the Meiji Era.

Kitano Ijinkan represents the multicultural and elegant spirit of Kobe, and you can see many different European-style buildings in this area, including the iconic Weathercock House, which was built by a German tradesman, and Moegi House, the residence of the fomer U.S. Counsel Hunter Sharp.

Kitano Ijinkan


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7. Enjoy the great scenery of Mt. Rokko!

Mt. Rokko, or also known as Rokkosan, is a mountain located near Kobe. The mountain is a popular sight for the spectacular over-look view of the city, and the summit can be easily reached by cable car, and there are a lot of tourist attractions to visit, including the observation deck, museum, park, restaurants, and shops.

The best time to visit Mt. Rokko is at night, when you can enjoy the panoramic night view of Kobe City, which is considered to be one of the best night views all across Japan.

Mt. Rokko

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8. Find your “Zen” at Nunobiki Waterfall!

Japan has a lot of beautiful waterfalls, but most of them are too far away from tourist-friendly transport. However, Nunobiki Waterfall, which is near Kobe City and not so far from the train station, is best known for its scenic view of the waterfall, and its panoramic view over Kobe City. The waterfall is a brisk hike from Shin-Kobe Station.

Nunobiki Waterfall

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9. Explore Arima Onsen, a famous hot spring city in Hyogo

Arima Onsen is a historical hot spring city in Hyogo, and it is best known for its gold and silver waters, which are apparently good for your health. The kinsen gold water is a dark brown hot spring water that is rich in iron deposits, and ginsen silver water is a hot spring water that is rich in radium and carbonate.

The hot spring city is located behind the Mt. Rokko, and it is considered as one of the oldest hot spring cities in Japan, founded in the 8th Century. Arima Onsen is an ideal weekend getaway for visitors to the Kansai region.

As you enter the area, you can feel the old-world resort charm, and there are a lot of things to explore in Arima Onsen, starting from the main Taiko-dori shopping streets, to the Edo-style wooden houses and free ashi-yu (foot bath) spots.

Arima Onsen

Google Map

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10. Get on the Ferris Wheel at Kobe Mosaic

How about visiting Kobe Mosaic for some shopping and fun?

Kobe Mosaic is a four-story shopping mall in the Harborland district, and it is a home to many shops selling handmade goods and local sweets. The shopping mall also features a big Ferris Wheel, which is located by the seaside.

The best time to visit Kobe Mosaic is during sunset, or during night time, when the Ferris Wheel and the buildings surround it are lit up with the colorful LED lights.

Kobe Mosaic

Business hours : 10:00  -22:00

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Hyogo’s best local treats

Hyogo Prefecture is a home to many quality cuisines, including Kobe Beef, Akashiyaki, and Sobameshi.

Ready to fill your tummy with Hyogo’s local treats? Here are our picks for the best foods to eat when visiting the prefecture!

1. Kobe Beef

Japan is best known for its delicious melting-in-the-mouth Wagyu beef, and Hyogo Prefecture is a home to Kobe Beef, one of the three most famous Wagyu brands in Japan. Kobe Beef is loved by celebrities around the world, particularly for its fine-grained texture and its incredible flavor.

The most typical way to enjoy Kobe Beef is to eat it as a steak, but you can also enjoy it as a shabu-shabu or sukiyaki in a hotpot.

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2. Akashiyaki

Akashiyaki is a local specialty of Akashi, Hyogo. At a glance, it looks a lot like takoyaki balls. Akashiyaki is made by mixing a special broth with ingredients like bonito and kelp with a fluffy, moist batter. Akashiyaki has a soft texture, so it’s difficult to eat it with a toothpick.

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3. Sobameshi

Sobameshi was invented in an okonomiyaki shop in Kobe, when a repeated customer requested the shop to fry up the rice from his lunch box along with yakisoba noodles. Sobameshi is a local specialty of Kobe, and it is made by mixing and frying yaki soba noodles, rice, and stewed beef tendon with a sweet and salty sauce on an iron plate.

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4. Butaman

One of the most popular sightseeing spots in Kobe is the China Town, and Butaman is a popular food to pick up and eat while strolling around the area. Butaman is a fluffy steamed buns filled with thick and flavorful pork meat fillings, and you must try this amazing pork buns when you’re in Kobe.

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5. Takomeshi

Takomeshi was invented by a busy fisherman who wanted something quick to prepare beside the sea, and apparently, he chose the octopus taken from the Akashi area as it has sweet flavor and chewy texture.

Matched perfectly with the freshly cooked rice, why don’t you try this amazing dish when you’re in Hyogo!


Now that you have an idea of how many fabulous spots are in Hyogo, all you must do is plan your itinerary to enjoy unforgettable experiences in Hyogo!


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