Some people might think that I’m a little crazy for traveling halfway across the world for one week. And maybe I am, but it was so worth the 58 hours spent on an airplane. I absolutely loved Japan. The Kansai region of Japan is absolutely beautiful. During my stay in Kobe, I visited several places around the city, like the Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, Kyoto, the Himeji castle and other places. Here is a short description of my experiences from each place, but click through each location to learn more!
This was the first place I visited in Japan. That might seem a little odd, but it was definitely a fun place to go. Luckily we got some express passes, so we didn’t have to spend most of the day waiting in different lines for the rides. We went to all the big rides that were open that day (sadly, Jaws was closed for maintenance and Jurassic World didn’t open for another two weeks), everything from Hollywood Dream to the Spiderman Ride, the Terminator show (which was in Japanese), to Harry Potter the Forbidden Journey. It was all so much fun and they are building more rides, that are opening this year! So it is definitely worth a visit!
Kyoto is about an hour and half car ride from Kobe. We were there only for half a day, so we were very restricted and didn’t manage to see all that we wanted to, like the Imperial Palace. We did go on a tour of the Sento Imperial gardens, which was beautiful, and then we walked around the city a little. You could spend hours just walking through the center of the city or just along the river, because there’s something to see on every corner.
Himeji Castle was built in the 14th century. It is a beautiful castle and definitely worth walking through. However, just so you know, you have to take your shoes off when entering the castle. You get a plastic bag for your shoes and slippers to wear inside. Also, a little bit of a warning, there is a lot of stairs, so be prepared to climb up five floors. At the top you will be rewarded with an amazing view of the city.
When you are visiting the Himeji Castle, make sure you also go to Koko-en gardens that you can just walk through. There is a tea room in one of the gardens, where you can go to a tea ceremony.
From the top of Mount Rokko you can see all of Kobe and Osaka, so I recommend you either drive up there or take the cable car up. There are multiple places you can go to including the botanical gardens, music box museum and the observatory. By the observatory you can either grab lunch at the buffet style restaurant or you can go to a Korean BBQ.
We went to Arima for about an hour and a half after our trip up Mt. Rokko. It is an adorable little town with hot springs. We just walked around for a little bit, saw one of the big temples in the town and even put our feet into the hot spring outside, which felt great in the cold weather.
There are so many places you can visit on the island that I did not have time to see. We did go on a short hike up Kannojiyama, for lunch in Sumoto and we even made it to the ferris wheel, with a view of the Akashi bridge. I wish we had more time to see everything, well hopefully next time.
My nine day trip to Japan was a lot of fun, even though it was short. I have a long list of things I still want to see, so hopefully next time. Here are some quick tips for when you go to Japan:
TIP 1: bring cash! In a lot of places you won’t be able to pay with a card so make sure you have cash!
TIP 2: Google Translate and Google Maps on your phone are a necessity!
Hope this helps! Click through each location to find out more about each trip and see more photos. Come back for more detailed stories from my trip!