About half a week before going to Kobe, I asked around what people in my laboratory and dormitory suggested. After giving me a “why are you going there” look, all people could suggest was Kobe beef and Nankinmachi, Kobe Chinatown. Taking these suggestions, and a thorough google search, I realized it might only be an afternoon trip.
Setting off at 3, an hour later I found myself in the bustling metropolis of Kobe. There were clothe shops everywhere, and I became consumed for over an hour in a street that seemed like a mall directly under the train track line. One thing I have been searching for a long time but had not discovered until Kobe are the highly talked about Japanese thrift stores.
They have so many unique finds, including bomber jackets, oversized sweaters, knock off Supreme clothing and I even found a Minnesota Vikings jacket! I was probably in these thrift stores far too long because when I reached the outside once again it was already dusk!
Quite near the train line, I found Nankinmachi decoratively lit up with Japanese lanterns. While quite beautiful, it only spanned a couple blocks with every vendor selling the same Chinese food and gifts. Interestingly, unlike all the places I have visited so far in Japan, the vendors would actually try to talk to you and lure you into their store (perhaps because of the increased competition from everyone selling the same things).
The food was delicious, and after sampling the best Nankinmachi had to offer, I wandered through street to find the “terminal park” as I had been told it was named. Side note, it is actually called the Port of Kobe Earthquake Memorial Park. On my walk through the streets, every open shop seemed to be a Kobe beef restaurant! Fortunately I have already tried Kobe beef, and I didn’t have enough money to afford buying it, so I was not tempted.
Eventually, I reached the park, and it was fantastically lit and all your could see were the skyscrapers and the ocean!
One hotel had even been designed to look like a cruise ship, and an actual cruise ship pulled up alongside!
It was spectacular, but eventually it became too cold and so I eventured back to the train to take me home. Kobe is a wonderful city, perhaps not Japanese in the traditional sense, but it was a great day trip and I highly recommend visiting when it is dark so you can take in the beautiful lights of Nankinmachi and the Kobe Earthquake Memorial Park.