Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture ー Summer break is finally here, and with more free time, I’m hoping to update my blog a few times this month. For the past few weeks, the temperature has been well over 30 degrees every day (it often reaches 40). Paired with humidity of at least 60-70 percent, it’s really, really hot. Nevertheless, sunscreen and water in hand, I’ve been facing the heat to see as much as I can while I have time off.
On Wednesday I travelled to Kobe City with a couple of friends to do some sightseeing. We left campus in the morning and within an hour and a half by bus and train we made it to the city. Our first stop was Nankinmachi (China Town) where we ate at a famous gyoza (Chinese dumpling) restaurant. The restaurant wasn’t fancy by any means, but the food was really good! The streets in Nankinmachi are lined with vendors selling all different types of Chinese food and yelling out in Japanese, Chinese, and English to try and attract customers.
The next stop was Meriken Park which is on the waterfront by Kobe Port. Despite the heat, there was a slight breeze off the ocean which made walking around outside slightly more bearable. The port suffered significant damage from the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, but has since been rebuilt. There is a now a monument dedicated to all the lives lost because of the earthquake.
After walking around the port, we made our way back through the city and took a train to Shin-Kobe Station. From there we walked to the Kobe Herb Garden cable car station and took a gondola to the top of the mountain. The European-style buildings on the top of the mountain were quite the contrast to those in China town that we had seen earlier that day. The view of the city from the mountain top was really nice and there were a bunch of little restaurants and rest areas all surrounded by huge gardens.
The final stop in Kobe was city hall, where we went to the 24 floor lookout for one last view of the harbour.
On the way back to Osaka, we stopped at Senri-Chuo station for dinner and found a really nice Italian restaurant. I hadn’t had pizza in a really long time so it was a nice treat after a long day of walking.
Later this month I will be going back to Nobeoka where I spent a year on exchange as a high school student. I’m looking forward to seeing my host families and friends again after more than a year. I happen to be going back during the Rotary Exchange Student Orientation so I’ll be travelling to Kagoshima to help out with that too. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we have exams at the start of September and that between all this travelling I’ll have to do a lot of studying…