After the wonderful visit to Himeji Castle, we are on our way to meet Kobe. Hello Bryant!!
Huh…not the NBA Superstar? Haha…this blogpost is of course talking about the Japanese city well known for its legendary Kobe Beef, but a Google search on Kobe will fetch you results of both the hoop star and the harbour city anyhow.
Kobe (神戸市) is commonly known to be among the few pioneer Japanese ports to open up its door to foreigners. The foreign ships that berth not only trade commodities but a great cultural exchange also took place, shaping Kobe in becoming a cosmopolitan port city with an international flavour.
And so, the first place we visited in Kobe is its charming HarborLand.
Harborland in Kobe
Harborland is a shopping and entertainment district which boosts a nice promenade overlooking the port. The most notable and iconic symbol of Kobe is of course the bright red Kobe Port Tower. But…but the tower was covered by scaffold and undergoing some maintenance while we were there…sigh…why like that.
Else I would make it a point to stay around the promenade until it lights up brilliantly in the darker sky. Better luck next time I guess…so we went back to check out Mosaic mall.
Kobe Brand in Mosaic Mall
The two nearby shopping malls are Canal Garden and Mosaic but we only visited the later. Mosaic is one pleasant looking shopping mall with wide selections of fashion boutiques, cafes and restaurants. There is also a Ferris wheel at the end of the mall.
But the majority time was spent in this Kobe Brand shop where we browsed through the different variety of Kobe related products and souvenirs.
WARNING!! You may end up splurging like us. Like all well packaged Japanese gifts and souvenirs – they make people empty their pockets willingly…
There’s one thing in the shop you gotta try, and that’s Kobe Pudding.
Really really good!!!
Chinatown in Kobe
We wanted to soak in the festive mood of Chinese New Year while away from home, so we make our way to the bustling and fully themed Chinatown, located within walking distance from Motomachi station.
Also known as Nankinmachi, the whole Chinatown area was filled with festive crowd during our visit. It was so darn crowded until walking became a chore.
The streets are home to Chinese restaurants, food stalls, shops selling anything from handicrafts, clothing to novelty items. The food stalls are selling takeaways like steamed buns, fried chicken, noodles and many more.
There was some scheduled lion dance performance near the pavilion with stone carvings but it was mission impossible to get near it. Not a deal breaker since we got to experience the wonderful festive atmosphere in Kobe Chinatown while having a great time.