I was in Kobe over the weekend to run the first Kobe Marathon. I really enjoyed my 36-hours in this very fashionable city. Although it rained for most of the first day, I was still able to do a little sightseeing. I arrived at Shin-Kobe by Shinkansen from Yokohama, which took about two and a half hours. It was raining very hard. Since it was too early to check into my hotel, I went to Sannomiya Station, which is the main district in Kobe. I stopped by Starbucks to have a soy latte, then proceeded to the marathon expo at Port Island via the Port Liner to pick up my number at the convention center.
After picking up my marathon stuff and enjoying a little of the festivities, I visited the ASICS and UCC coffee museums, that were in the vicinity. The ASICS museum also had Ryan Hall and Deena Kastor’s shoes on display, so I found that pretty neat. It was still raining cats and dogs and my shoes and pants were soak and wet, so I didn’t want to venture too far. Both museums were interesting and free — although my umbrella was missing when I finished going through the ASICS museum. So I ended up having to find a convenience store to buy and umbrella. Fortunately, the rain was starting to ease up.
After the museums, I stopped by the Ikea store. Never been in one, pretty impressive. However, I hated the store design layout – you had to walk through the entire store to exit. Seems like a fire hazard to me. But anyway, I was pretty tired walking around at this point and went to check into my hotel room, the ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel. The hotel was very nice (and quiet) and the view from my room was great, they even upgraded me to a double room for free. It is in a nice location and I ended up getting a great night sleep there.
That evening I ate dinner at a tofu restaurant located at the shopping center below the hotel which had a buffet dinner offering. The food was great with a lot of variety – tofu, pasta, salads, sushi, udon, various meat dishes, veggies, fruits, deserts, chocolate fondue, and various drinks. Cost was 2,300 yen (US$30).
After dinner, I took the Shin-Kobe Ropeway up to the Nunobiki Herb Garden – cost 800 yen (US$11). Although an enjoyable ride, we were unable to see the view of the city since there was too much fog at those heights. Then I called it a night, wanted to get a good sleep before running the marathon the next morning.
Sunday morning was all about the marathon, which is a separate post. After finishing the marathon around 1 pm, I headed to the Kobe Sauna & Spa. I can’t think of a better place to go after a marathon – the baths and relaxation rooms were heavenly. The cost was 2,000 yen (US$27) for two hours. After recuperating, I walked around Sannomiya, Motomachi, and Chinatown. The place was pretty lively and the people dressed very fashionably. I had a Kobe steak dinner at a restaurant in Motomachi. Although a bit pricey (about US$90 for a 120 gram steak), the beef melted in your mouth. I’m not a big red meat eater, but I’ll make an exception for Kobe beef.
To cap the day off, I headed toward the Kitano area and walked around this historic neighborhood. Unfortunately, I only had about 30 minutes to check this area out, so I wasn’t able to see much. Also, I was unable to get to the waterfront area and only saw the Kobe Port Tower and Haborland from a distance. I’ll have to save these for my next visit.
I really enjoyed my time in Kobe, 36 hours was not enough time to take everything in. It’s very beautiful, relaxing, and was rather easy to get around via public transportation. Highly recommended as a place to put on your list for visiting.