Traveling to Japan: Experiencing Hyogo Prefecture with All Senses
Japan is a colorful, diverse, historically rich country. There is plenty of ground to cover. Let’s begin with Hyogo Prefecture, one of the 47 prefectures, located by the Sea of Japan. Kobe, which also happens to be one of the largest seaports in the country, is the capital of this prefecture. It is situated by Osaka Bay and prides itself with a stunning mountain scenery. Wondering where to begin when booking a Hyogo hotel for the very first time? Find must-sees and must-tries below.
Essential Sights to Cover in Hyogo
Hyogo’s capital Kobe features numerous areas where you can get a good taste of this city. A good starting point - as it is close to many sights - is the ANA Crowne Plaza Kobe near Nunobiki Falls. For those interested in the history of the city, Kobe City Museum is the place to go. Visitors will have stunning views from Mt. Maya and Mt. Rocco. Also, the UNESCO World Heritage Himeji Castle is not to miss. A real architectural highlight is Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, with the longest central span of all bridges in the world. Also, visit Kobe City Oji Zoo or Kobe City Suma Marine Aquarium. Furthermore, Arima Onsen (close to Mt. Rocco and situated by the Kobe city limit) is known for its hot springs.
Traditional Foods to Try and Where to Go
Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture’s capital, is described as the most cosmopolitan of all Japanese cities. Therefore, the cuisine is widely influenced. Nonetheless, traditional foods are still big, such as the infamous Kobe beef. Hotpot dishes with meat are called sukiyaki-ya and shabu-shabu-ya. Pan-fried noodles and rice are also common (sobameshi), and so are ramen-ya (egg noodles). Additionally, dumplings are a dish best tried at a place called Hyotan, which has been around for more than four decades. To cure a sweet tooth, visit the Kobe-Hanshin area for its many patisseries. If you fancy a traditional, upscale dining experience, go to a place specializing in ryōtei (haute cuisine).
Festivals and Traditions Not to Miss
There is an array of celebrations throughout the year in Hyogo. For instance, in January, several water and fire festivals are held in celebration of the new year, which symbolize purification. On March 3rd, the annual Doll Festival takes place. People believe that all evil should be transferred from girls to the dolls, which are then sent to sea. Buddha’s birthday is celebrated April 8th. Being the birthplace of Japanese jazz, Kobe’s streets are filled with music at the beginning of October for Kobe Jazz Street. This is also the largest fall festival. The Kobe Tourism Week is happening at about the same time, allowing for many free entries or for discount admission. In December, experience the Kobe Luminarie (light festival), which has attracted many visitors since 1995.
Japan is a beautiful country, and Hygo Prefecture is the ideal place to experience an array of Japanese traditions, try a variety of foods, and visit a range of historical and cultural sites. Be enchanted by Japanese history, traditions, and culture, and don’t miss out on the unique festivals and celebrations.
This was written in cooperation with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).