Hyogo Prefecture is home to some of the most beautiful attractions in Japan, famous for its premium Kobe beef and many busy shopping spots. Coming here, visitors can freely explore the majestic ancient castles, enjoy the wonderful beauty of the natural scenery, or more interestingly learn about Japanese culture, life and people. So, is Hyogo worth visiting, how to visit Hyogo, what to do in Hyogo? Let’s check out our Hyogo travel blog with the fullest Hyogo travel guide (Hyogo japan guide) from how to get to Hyogo, best places to visit as well as top things to do in Hyogo to help you maximize your trip as follows!
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Overview of Hyogo Prefecture (#hyogo japan guide)
Hyogo is the largest prefecture in the Kinki region (or Kansai region) on the island of Honshu, bordered to the north by the Sea of Japan and to the south by the Seto Inland Sea, to the west by Kyoto, Tottori and Osaka prefectures. Hyogo Prefecture has many attractive places such as the busy port of Kobe, which has long been considered an international trading post, or Awaji Island, the largest island in the Seto Inland Sea.
The administrative center of Hyogo is the city of Kobe. The prefecture consists of 5 provinces: Hanshin, Harima, Tanba, Tajima, Awaji, each with its own characteristics, divided into 29 cities and 12 towns.
Hyogo is not only possessing a lot of potential for economic development, this land is also famous for its attractive tourist sites and culinary culture.
In 1180, the city of Kobe, then called Fukuhara, was the capital of Japan for 5 months.
Hyogo along with Osaka and Kyoto made up the Kansai region. This was the heart of Japan for more than a thousand years, until the capital was moved to Tokyo in 1868. Today, this land is recognized for its distinctive and unique properties: the land of commercial, international and cultural.
On January 17, 1995, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake occurred in the Hanshin and Awaji areas, causing serious damage to people and property. The prefecture had to spend a lot of effort to overcome the consequences of the earthquake.
When to come? (#hyogo japan guide)
In general, the climate of Hyogo is quite similar to Vietnam. Summer is hot and humid, winter in the north is cold and snowy, and in the south, it is warm all year round. Each time of the year brings you unique experiences, so visitors can travel to Hyogo at any time they like.
How to get to Hyogo? (#hyogo guide)
To get to Hyogo, you can go to Kobe city – the administrative center of Hyogo and then go to other places in the prefecture.
Take a flight from Haneda Airport to Kobe Airport in about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Kobe Airport is about 10 km from the center of Kobe. Airfares from Tokyo to Kobe range from 8,000 to 13,000 yen/way.
From Tokyo by JR train: Take the JR Tokaido Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Shin-Kobe Station in 2 hours and 40 minutes (JR Pass can be used when traveling by Hikari and Kodama trains, not for Nozomi trains). One-way fare is about 15,000 yen.
The bus route between Tokyo and Kobe takes about 9 hours, one-way tickets from 4,000 – 9,000 yen.
From Osaka (#hyogo japan guide)
Take the JR Tokaido Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka Station to Shin-Kobe Station in about 12 minutes (JR Pass can be used). One-way fare is about 1,500 yen.
Where to stay in Hyogo? (#hyogo japan guide)
As one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Japan, Hyogo Prefecture has a diverse resorts and hotels system with a wide rage of prices for visitors to choose from. For convenience of sightseeing and travel, you should stay at a hotel in Kobe city.
Hotel La Suite Kobe Harborland
Hotel La Suite Kobe Harborland is the first hotel in Japan in the group of global hotel brands, promising to bring guests the most luxurious resort experiences. The system of rooms here is decorated in a luxurious European style, with a large balcony facing the sea. In particular, the hotel also has 2 large restaurants specializing in authentic French dishes and local cuisine. Price: from $355/night. (Agoda, Booking)
Nishimuraya Honkan is an upscale hotel, belonging to the group “Relais & Châteaux” – a carefully selected association of restaurants and hotels from around the world. With over 160 years old and traditional Japanese architectural style, this hotel is chosen by many tourists when traveling to Hyogo. In addition to the excellent quality of the resort, Kuromame Kitsuba Hotel also impresses visitors with its green and enchanting campus. Price: from $361/night. (Agoda, Booking)
Kobe Meriken Park Oriental Hotel
Kobe MerikenPark Oriental Hotel owns a prime location, close to famous attractions in Kobe city. The hotel has more than 300 well-equipped rooms with direct view of the bay. In addition, the hotel also provides convenient services such as restaurant, lounge bar, swimming pool, playground… Price: from $115/night. (Agoda, Booking)
Below we recommend more best cheap, budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- Hotel Okura Kobe, a top rated 5-star hotel with room rates from $95/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Hotel Piena Kobe, a top rated 4-star hotel with room rates from $81/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Kobe Portopia Hotel, a top rated 5-star hotel with room rates from $68/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Kobe Meriken Park Oriental Hotel, a top rated 5-star hotel with room rates from $131/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- ANA Crowne Plaza Kobe, a top rated 5-star hotel with room rates from $103/night (Check rates on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
What to do in Hyogo and where to go in Hyogo? (#hyogo travel guide)
Hyogo Prefecture is famous for its busy port of Kobe, temples, ancient castles, old hot springs, and vast fields of canola flowers. Visiting this land, visitors must definitely experience all the tourist coordinates below.
It is the second most populous city in Hyogo Prefecture after Kobe. It is famous for landmarks such as Himeji Castle, which is both a national treasure of Japan and a world heritage site, or Engyo Temple on Mount Shosha – which is likened to Mount Hiei in the west, in addition, the city is also famous for its temples. Autumn festivals like Nada No Kenka, one of Japan’s 3 biggest festivals.
Address: 68 Honmachi, Himeji, Hyogo 670-0012, Japan
Hours: 9 AM–4 PM
Himeji is a white magnificent ancient castle, located on the top of Himeyama hill for more than 400 years. This is one of the most famous ancient castles in the world, known as the “White Heron” of Japan. The castle walls are applied with a layer of fireproof soil, including 83 buildings with advanced defense systems, the structure is like a labyrinth. Not only is the typical work of 17th-century Japanese castle architecture, Himeji Castle also attracts visitors by the cherry blossom season and the dreamy red leaves season.
Recognized as a national treasure of Japan and a world heritage site, Himeji Castle was reopened on March 27, after five years of remodeling the watch tower. The repainted walls have restored the pure white color with the original title of “White Heron Castle”.
Shoshazan Engyoji Temple
Address: 2968 Shosha, Himeji, Hyogo 671-2201, Japan
Hours: 8:30 AM–5 PM
Shoshazan Engyoji Temple is a Buddhist architectural complex in Himeji, which appeared in the blockbuster movie “The last Samurai”. The temple has a long history, unique architecture and beautiful surroundings. Built in 966, up to now, Shoshazan Engyoji Temple still retains its inherent ancient features and is a destination not to be missed when traveling to Hyogo.
Kobe in Hyogo Prefecture is an ideal destination to have fun and see the beautiful scenery here. To the Japanese, Kobe is a symbol of Japan’s contact with the West. In Kobe, there are still many old Western-style houses of Westerners who came here to live and trade centuries ago.
Kobe port is the gateway to import Western culture into Japan. Every street here makes us feel the breath of the West. In addition, on Rokko mountain with rich nature, there is a planetarium tower, from which you can see the shimmering nightscape, so Kobe night view is also considered one of the three most beautiful night scenes in Japan.
Kobe is the 5th largest city in Japan, and also the center of the prefecture. This place is both a busy commercial port and an attractive tourist destination with countless attractions for sightseeing, shopping and dining.
Coming to Kobe city, visitors will have the opportunity to visit Kobe port tower, Nankinmachi Chinatown, Ikuta Jinja temple, Sentaa – gai shopping street… And finally, don’t forget to enjoy the premium Kobe beef – the dish that makes a name for Kobe cuisine.
Kobe Harborland Shopping Street
Kobe Harborland is a famous shopping and entertainment district in the port of Kobe. In the neighborhood there are more than 200 fashion shops, eateries and souvenir stalls. The most notable is the Umie shopping complex, which consists of 3 parts: Mosaic, Mall South and Mall North. After hours of exploring the beautiful scenery, you can come here to recharge, shop and buy souvenirs for relatives and friends.
Address: 2 Hatobacho, Chuo Ward, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0042, Japan
As a coastal attraction with prominent, brilliant buildings, typically “Kobe Port Tower” – the symbol of Kobe city. At night, when the lights are on, this place will become a beautiful destination.
Akashi Kaikyo Bridge and Maiko Marine Promenade
Address: 2051 Higashimaikocho, Tarumi Ward, Kobe, Hyogo 655-0047, Japan
Hours: 9 AM–6 PM
This is the longest suspension bridge in the world with a total length of 3,911m, the distance between the spans is 1,991m.
You can also enjoy leisurely views of the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, the Port of Kobe, or the Seto Inland Sea while walking on the Maiko Marine Promenade, a walking path built in conjunction with the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge.
Arima Onsen is one of the three oldest hot springs in Japan, and has been loved by many historical celebrities since ancient times. Arima Onsen hot spring is located in Kita district, Kobe city, is one of the oldest hot spring areas in Japan. Arima Onsen has a natural underground hot water source that springs up from the ground, without using drilling technology.
A hot spring with a history of 1300 years, known since the Heian era. There is also a hot spring pool for drinking and a hot spring for soaking your feet. In particular, the Onsen festival is a gathering place for many tourists to visit, having the opportunity to wear Heian era costumes to participate in the festival, and there are also the participation of poor children in the festival, brightly colored clothes, beautiful face makeup. There is also a festival “Kani Okoku Zekkyo Taikai”, after the saying: Kamisama Arigato (Thank You GOD) those who are participating in this festival will have to compete with each other to shout out their favorite sayings.
According to the announcement, the spring water here contains 7 types of minerals that help restore health and support the treatment of diseases. In Arima Onsen, there are 2 types of hot springs for you to choose from: Golden Onsen – hot springs containing a lot of salt and iron, Silver Onsen – transparent hot springs.
Tachikui Pottery Village (#things to do in hyogo)
Address: 669-2135, 3 Kamitachikui, Konda-cho, Sasayama-shi, Hyogo
Located in the center of town where Tamba-yaki pottery originates, also known as Tachikui pottery. Tamba-yaki is one of the oldest forms of pottery in Japan. While visiting the village, you can experience clay modeling and pottery painting. There is also a museum inside to learn the history and techniques of Tambayaki. You can buy Tambayaki from 55 pottery workshops in Kamamoto-Yokocho. If you have plenty of time to visit, you should take a walk around the village on a path lined with pottery to enjoy the peaceful, quiet beauty of the countryside.
Address: 4 Chome-6-8 Sumaderacho, Suma Ward, Kobe, Hyogo 654-0071, Japan
Hours: 8:30 AM–5 PM
Sumadera is a Buddhist temple with a history of more than 1,100 years, located in the western part of Kobe city, Hyogo prefecture. In the temple grounds, there is a “giant wish-granting beads rosary”, you just need to put it on your shoulder and make a wish, then the Master will help you achieve your wish.
The 20th and 21st of every month are called Ennichi Day, the atmosphere of the temple becomes more bustling than ever by the appearance of stalls. In addition, when coming to Sumadera Pagoda, do not forget to take pictures and pray with hands folded in front of the prayer wheel with the image of 7 happy gods on the turtle shell.
Address: 2805-7 Kusumoto, Awaji, Hyogo 656-2301, Japan
Hours: 9 AM–5 PM
Awaji Hana Sajiki Park is located in the north of Awajishima Island, Awaji City, is a large green space. In the park, there are many areas for entertainment, from the water square, the slide zone, the green forest to the hydrangea valley. In particular, this is also an ideal place to enjoy the night view and starry sky of Awaji Island.
Located in the north of Hyogo Prefecture, it has the largest area in the prefecture. The city is surrounded by nature, here in the winter you can enjoy skiing, swimming in the summer and challenging with sports games. In addition, you can also enjoy delicious seasonal specialties in the sea and the mountains.
Nada sake district
Nada Gogo is a common term used to refer to the area that includes Nada, Higashinada area of Kobe city and Nishinomiya city of Hyogo prefecture. Thanks to the excellent source of mineral water, high-quality rice materials suitable for winemaking, and favorable terrain with a trading port that easily transports goods, this place has developed into an area specializing in sake production in Japan. Up to now, Nada has become an industrial sake production area with famous breweries located close together.
What to eat?
Referring to Hyogo, people will immediately think of premium Kobe beef with excellent taste and super expensive price. However, few people know that this land also has a very unique culinary culture with many delicious dishes waiting for you to discover.
The number one champion of the Hyogo Prefectural Food Rankings is none other than Kobe beef! The price of fresh and beautiful marbling beef is so high because they have been taken care of very carefully during the breeding process. Cows listen to music to relieve stress, get a massage with sake and take a warm bath every day. Especially on hot days, the cows feel anorexia and will skip meals, then they will be given beer to eat better. Therefore, when coming to Hyogo, don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy the taste of beef that is as smooth as velvet and melts in your mouth. The greasy taste of the meat will give you an explosion of taste but not be fed up. Whether you choose Kobe beef marinated in pepper sauce, Kobe beef sashimi or beef hot pot, you will always feel the sweetness of this famous premium beef.
With strict breeding process, Kobe beef makes tourists from all over the world fall in love with its scrumptious taste, the blend of fat and lean to create a distinctive fatty aroma. Coming to Kobe city, you can enjoy Kobe beef at any restaurant with a much cheaper price than other places.
If you want to change your taste to a seafood dish, Matsuba snow crab is not a bad choice. Large snow crabs caught in the northern sea near Nara Prefecture are called Matsuba crabs because they look like small pine needles (Matsuba means “pine needle” in Japanese). Connoisseurs believe that the perfect time to enjoy this crab dish is from November to March next year because then the crab meat will have a strong sweetness, thick and firm flesh. You can enjoy the taste of the ocean through crab hotpot, grilled or boiled crab with soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, etc. Eating this luxurious crab dish is definitely a culinary experience you must have in your list of must-haves. things to do when visiting Hyogo.
Mille – feuille
Mille-feuille is a thousand sheets pastry originating from France, which is extremely loved by Japanese people. The taste of the cake here is considered to be much different from the original French cake. If you are a fan of sweets, you must try this pastry.
Mentioned many times in the Hyogo travel guide sharing articles, caramel in a crock pot is a dish that makes visitors flutter because of its special taste. Inside the crock pot are 3 separate layers including cream, custard and caramel. When enjoying, you will immediately feel the rich and greasy egg cream taste, accompanied by the sweet aroma of the super eye-catching cockroach-colored caramel.
Ikanago no Kugini
Here’s another seafood dish that appeared in the Hyogo Sea Specialties chart! But contrary to the glamor of Matsuba crab, Ikanago is a dried fish sauce dish commonly found in Japanese meals in the spring. These 2-3cm small fish will be cooked in rice wine, ginger, soy sauce and sugar to give them a beautiful iridescent brown color. The salty taste mixed with sweet and spicy when eaten with white rice and sake brings the perfect combination that is extremely popular. To this day, there are still many skillful housewives who want to make their own Ikanago instead of buying them at convenience stores. This is also a dish that is often chosen as a gift because of the sweet taste it brings to people to enjoy.
Kuromame Kitsuba is a cake with a red bean paste, the filling is spread out in a layer of flour and rice flour. In the red bean filling layer, there is also a whole black bean part, the moderate sweetness adds to the flavor of the dish.
In the next spot is sobameshi, the dish is delicious when served on a hot iron plate with a sweet, fragrant sauce. This dish was born in an okonomiyaki shop in Nagata area after many times customers requested fried rice from their bento box along with yakisoba noodles. The name of this dish also suggests that it is a simple mixture of rice and fried soba noodles, in a sweet sauce, usually mixed with chicken or pork, green onions and sometimes toss on top. An omelet with a melted peach in the noodles. The crispiness of the noodles adds to the charm of this dish.
Surely you are no stranger to grilled Takoyaki octopus balls, right? But have you heard of Takoyaki’s cousin Akashiyaki? The exact ingredients of akashiyaki vary from place to place, there is almost no fixed recipe for this dish, you can taste it in various stores to find your own favorite akashiyaki flavor. At first glance, it is easy to mistake this dish for takoyaki but in fact akashiyaki is softer and has a more delicate flavor than takoyaki. This is a dish made by mixing a pure-tasting broth with other ingredients like tuna or mackerel with kelp and a fine powder. When eating you need to be patient because this dish is easy to break when you try to pick them up and put them in your mouth, but they will melt in your mouth and become a delicious taste.
The beautiful land of Hyogo is the coordinates not to be missed for those who are fascinated by the land of the rising sun. Countless beautiful sights and exciting experiences are waiting for you here, pack your bags and go!
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Kobe you can refer to
- Private Kansai Airport (KIX) Transfers for Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, or Nara
- Private Kansai International Airport Transfers (KIX) for Osaka, Nara, & Kobe
- Kyoto Arashiyama, Golden Pavilion Temple, and Kobe MOSAIC Day Tour
- Todaiji Temple, Kobe Kitano-chō Ijinkan, & Kobe Harborland Day Tour from Osaka
- Naruto Whirlpool, England Hill, and Kobe Full Day Tour from Osaka
- Kobe Travel Smart passport
- Kobe Day Tour with Hotel Pick Up from Osaka
- Kickstart your trip to Kobe
- Kobe Nunobiki Herb Gardens Ticket & Ropeway Ticket
- Todaiji Temple, Kobe Kitano-chō Ijinkan, & Kobe Harborland Day Tour from Osaka
- Full Day in Kobe with a Local
- Fascinating Night Cruise Aboard Luminous Kobe 2
- [KLOOK Exclusive] Kobe Private Day Tour from Osaka
- Kobe-Sanda Premium Outlets & Arima Onsen & Mount Rokko Tour From Osaka
- Kobe Panoramic Sightseeing Bus Trip (Open-Top)
- Sake Tasting Tour in Kobe
- 4G Prepaid Sim Card (JP Airports Pick Up) for Japan
- 4G WiFi (Japan Pick Up) for Japan
- JR Pass for Whole Japan (7, 14, or 21 Days)