The area around Osaka to Kyoto and Kobe is a high point of any visit to Japan. Due to the closeness of the three cities, it is possible to stay in one of them and travel between them at will. Obviously having a rail pass is an advantage. Last time we visited Japan we stayed in Kyoto, so this time we decided to try Kobe.
Port of Kobe at Night
We looked at Airbnb places during our stay in Nagasaki, but couldn’t find the right price in the right place at an acceptable standard, but we did find a special on Hotels.com for a four star room on the harbor at a comparable price.
As Hotels.com gives you a free night for every ten booked we decided to go with this, as we had enough previous bookings to get over the mark. We booked four nights in Kobe at the Hotel Okura, paying 11000 yen per night, which was pretty good for a four star place at Haborland.
We arrived at Shin-Kobe station after dark so caught a taxi to the hotel for convenience. Every taxi ride we took in Japan seemed to cost the same, around 1000 yen. We checked into the hotel and felt spoilt after our previous ventures, the room was big, the fittings luxurious, the view was existent and once I got scolded for walking in the lobby in bare feet. It was a class establishment, in an interesting area of Kobe.
Kobe Herb Gardens
Harborland is an interesting area, probably more so in warmer conditions when activities such as morning tea cruises would be more pleasurable. There is a large mall with a small amusement park attached nearby, which includes a range of boutique restaurants. The local signature dish is of course Kobe Beef, a world famous variety of Wagyu that can be very expensive, even hundreds of dollars per kilo, depending on the marbling.
We walked around the Harborland area finally finding a restaurant that we liked with a view of the water. We purchased a set meal for $140 for two, which included different cuts of beef such as beef sashimi. The beef was worthy of its reputation.
Third Station and I wanted to included the amazing Shinkansen train in this one, which was challenging to frame with the station name in the shot and not get told off bye the platform manager for being too close to the barrier.
Themed cafe’s are trending in Japan. There are cat cafe’s, puppy cafe’s and cafe’s where the waitresses dress up as maids and act cute. We had seen an Owl Cafe featured on a Korean variety show located in Kobe which happened to be within walking distance of our hotel.
It was closed for New Years break when we arrived but luckily re-opened on our last day in Kobe. There is another Owl Cafe in Osaka we could have visited, but we had heard tales of long queues and waiting times, so decided to take our chance with our local one.
On the morning of our fourth day we made the short walk to Bibi and George Owl Cafe and were happy to find it empty.
Owl Cafe Kobe
To enter the cafe we needed to buy a 1000 yen drink from a ticket machine outside, this got us a coffee and an hour with the owls, which was a pretty good deal. After finishing our drinks on the 1st floor we climbed the narrow staircase to the 2nd floor where all the owls were.
They are all basically pets, well looked after by their owner. Apparently they are very demanding to look after and more than a full time job. We could tell from our brief visit they all had individual personalities and some of them were fairly precocious.
Beautiful Kobe City
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