Why go to Kobe in the first place? When I first told people I was starting my journey in Kobe a lot of people asked me where it was and why I didn't wasn't going to Tokyo. Apparently, that's the only city in all of Japan to visit. I can assure you that there are many inner cities to go to, country towns near the mountains, as well as fishing villages along the coast. Many people are not aware but Kobe is Seattle's sister city.
I initially had the opportunity to go here for an exchange program through Seafair (an organization based in Seattle that centers on making memories city-wide). I was selected and paired with another student in Kobe, Japan. We spent one week in each other's cities and experience life in another country. I was able to get a tour of the city by a person who has lived here her whole life. We got along so well that I returned to the same city two years later.
We headed to this gorgeous park called Suma Rikyu that had greenhouses, iris gardens, and fun trails that made you want to get lost in this park.
Japan is known for its wide-spread appreciation for both nature and art. As they overlap each other, besides checking out this park I would highly recommend visiting Yokoo Tadanori Museum of Contemporary Art
Inside of the museum, photography is extremely prohibited. I was basically followed the entire hour I was there to make sure I didn't take any photos. That was a huge culture difference, it is not uncommon for service workers to more or less "shadow" the customer. As this happened to me in the art museum and while I was shopping for clothes at a major mall.
The museum focused on the works of everything Yokoo ever created, a lot of which included album art for major bands such as The Beatles.
How could I not talk about the amazing food I ate while on my trip to Kobe. I still remember how fresh, tasty and inexpensive this meal was. The nigiri was by far the most delicious fish I have ever eaten, and I'm from Seattle. When we sat down in the restaurant there was a small computer monitor that allowed us to select whatever we wanted to eat. My friend's father also selected an Asahi beer and there was a beer-pouring machine to cut down on labor. It blew my mind how technology-based a city could be.