The Japanese city of Kobe needs no introduction. The name is synonymous with its home grown superstar. We are not talking of its stunning shrines, cherry trees laden with blossom during sakura or effervescent city, buzzing with life 24/7. We are of course talking of a much more grass roots hero – its eponymous beef. The delicacy might have put the city on the map, but there is far more to Kobe than its meat.
Naturally, Kobe wears its cuisine as a badge of honour. Its port history has given it a gastronomy that is quite different from its neighbours. Seafood and sushi is naturally some of the freshest and most diverse you can find, but Kobe’s multi-cultural nature (the city is home to 98 different nationalities) means that it has one of the most diverse gastronomic cultures in Japan. Bread and bakeries are also an (unexpected) delicacy. Additionally, Sake is taken very seriously – Kobe even has its own museum dedicated to the national spirit.
Historically, Kobe has always been a key city for Japan. Renamed in 1889, it was known as Owada no Tomari during the Nara Period (710-784 C.E.). Kobe’s location on the calm Inland Sea between Osaka and Kyoto has proven to be pivotal in Japanese history; it is mentioned in famous literary works such as The Tale of Genji (from approximately late 9th century) and the Taiheiki (14th century). The city and region are home to many attractions including the Himeji Castle (widely considered to be Japan's most beautiful feudal castle), a short ride away.