Japan is a popular destination for travelers seeking out its cuisine, ancient culture, and advanced public transport systems. Most visitors include Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto on their itineraries, but another prefecture also deserves a place on everyone’s list.
Hyogo is in the Kansai region and shares a border with Kyoto, Osaka, and Okayama. The prefecture’s capital is Kobe, one of the largest cities and busiest container ports in Japan. The commercial and entertainment center of the city is in Chūō-ku, which means “center”. Stay at the Crowne Plaza Kobe in Hyogo or other centrally located Kobe hotels, and get ready to explore Hyogo’s major attractions.
Kobe Port Tower
The 108-meter lattice tower is an icon of the city and a 15-minute walk from Kobe Station. You can marvel at the structure from the harbor or from a prime table at some restaurants in the area. The view becomes more impressive at night when city lights add a stunning touch to the view. If you have spare time and some yen to spend, you can scale the tower to enjoy a 360-degree view of Kobe.
In the nearby city of Himeji, travelers visit the Himeji Castle, one of the nation’s oldest structures with architecture typical of early modern Japan. In addition, the castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can walk around the castle on your own or take advantage of the minimal entrance fee to get inside, visit the upper floors, and check out the great interiors. If you’re lucky, you can find an English guided tour for free.
Takeda Castle Ruins
About two hours away from Kobe, the Takeda Castle Ruins is a popular mountaintop attraction. During autumn, when fog covers the area, the castle ruins seem to float in a sea of clouds. This is the reason it was also called “the castle floating in the sky.” Adventurous travelers can hike one of the three tracks to the castle. The ruins are closed between January 4 and the end of February, so plan accordingly.
During the day, Kinosaki is perfect for an outdoor stroll, and you can find locals in their yukatas or kimonos. The sound of wooden getas on the streets produces a harmonious sound that’s soothing to the ears. Kinosaki is also known as one of the best hot spring resort towns. For the best hot springs experience, try one of the seven public onsens: Satono-yu, Jizou-yu, Yanagi-yu, Ichino-yu, Goshono-yu, Mandara-yu, and Kouno-yu.
Hyogo Prefecture isn’t a typical stop for travelers visiting Japan, since attractions like Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Taisha and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Osaka’s Universal Studios Japan usually dominate everyone’s itinerary. In contrast to busier destinations, Hyogo has an old-world charm that offers the preserved Japanese culture that travelers often miss. When drafting an itinerary for your next trip to Japan, don’t miss Hyogo and its many attractions.