12 Best Day Trips From Kobe, Japan

day trips from kobe
Contributing Writer
| 5 min read

Sandwiched between the blue sea and the verdant Rokko Mountains, the bustling city of Kobe is a must-visit destination in Japan. From the majestic Meriken Park to the bustling Nankin-machi or “Chinatown” and Kobe Port Tower, there’s always something here to keep you entertained. And for accommodations, you can go the traditional route and book a stay in the ryokans in Kobe. While those who are inclined to atypical lodging can take refuge at the Airbnb vacation rentals. Stroll around the busy streets and easily find attractions that are just stunning. But, if you have ample time to spend, then keep reading because we have made a comprehensive list of attractions to visit from Kobe. Think of places such as fast-paced Osaka, sublime Himeji Castle, and beautiful Nara, where you’ll be able to see some marvelous temples. Here are the best day trips from Kobe, Japan.

1. Osaka, Japan

Osaka skyline
Source: Photo by Flickr user a.canvas.of.light used under CC BY 2.0

When it comes to big cities in Japan, Tokyo might come first in your mind. But besides Tokyo, there’s also Osaka, which is slowly gaining more attention from visitors who want to experience a different side of the country. This metropolitan city is also the financial hub of Japan. It has a fast-paced setting and a skyline cloaked with neon billboards. What makes this place so popular is the food culture.

On most corners, you will find everything from typical street food dishes to exquisite cuisine. So if a fun food crawl is what you’re looking for, then choose to visit Osaka. A day trip from Kobe to Osaka is convenient as the central hubs of these two locations are only about 36 km (22 mi) apart.

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2. Nara, Japan

Todai-Ji Temple, Nara
Source: Pixabay

Located on the north side of Nara Prefecture, Nara is a bustling city that borders Kyoto Prefecture. One of the many reasons to consider visiting Nara is its rich history, as it flourished during the Edo and Meiji periods. From a commercial town, it is now a buzzing tourist attraction. Here, you’ll find a bewildering array of ancient temples, shrines, national monuments, palaces, traditional merchant houses, and galleries. While visiting this sublime city, do try to attend traditional festivals like Kemari Festival and Neri-kuyo Eshiki, both of which take place annually. The distance between Kobe and Nara is 62.7 km (38.9 mi).

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3. Kyoto, Japan

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
Source: Photo by Flickr user Leng Cheng used under CC BY 2.0

Kyoto is definitely one of the best places to visit in Kobe, Japan. Touted as the cultural capital of the county, Kyoto has welcomed many tourists from around the world over the years. It is known for its bewildering list of traditional Buddhist temples, palaces, Shinto shrines, and well-manicured gardens. Many of its tourist attractions are listed under the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Apart from the historic sites, Kyoto is also home to the beautiful bamboo grove at Arashiyama, which has been featured in many photography portfolios. Kobe is 73.9 km (45.9 mi) away from Kyoto, or less than a 30-minute train ride.

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4. Kakogawa, Japan

Kakogawa Line
Source: Photo by Flickr user rok1966 used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Kakogawa is not only a convenient place where you can get easy access to popular places like Osaka or Himeji, but it is also a wonderful attraction to spend time in while traveling around Japan. There are verdant landscapes, and you’ll find splendid parks such as Hiokayama Park touted for its epic view of the cherry blossoms. But there is also a Medieval side, where you will find historic structures. This city is the birthplace of veteran singer Yoichi Sugawara. One of the must-visit attractions is Kakurin-ji, a temple that lies some minutes away from Kakogawa Station. The distance between Kobe and Kakogawa is 43 km (26 mi).

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5. Tatsuno, Japan

Tatsuno castle03s1960
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user 663highland used under CC BY 2.5

Another interesting spot to visit from Kobe is the splendid Tatsuno, a city praised for its spectacular cherry blossoms. There are several parks here, but the most popular one is Tatsuno Park, located on the west side of the city. This is the ultimate place to feast your eyes on the magnificent cherry blossoms, as there is said to be about 3,000 cherry blossom trees here, as well as the historic Tatsuno Castle. The distance between Kobe and Tatsuno is 72.6 km (45 mi).

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6. Himeji, Japan

Best day trips from Kobe, Japan
Source: Photo by Flickr user dconvertini used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Himeji is another popular tourist attraction in Japan that you can’t miss if you’re in Kobe. Sure, being the second-largest city in Hyogo Prefecture doesn’t only make it convenient to travel around - like Kyoto or Osaka - but it is also a place where you can visit some incredible attractions. For instance, the city is primarily known for the 17-century Himeji Castle. Perched majestically at the top of Himeyama hill, this white castle has welcomed visitors for years. The architecture is outstanding, and it dates back to the feudal period. Plan to visit during the cherry blossom season in spring, when the pink flowers surround the castle. The distance between Kobe and Himeji is 58 km (36 mi).

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7. Kato, Japan

Ankokuji (Iki), sanmon
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Saigen Jiro used under CC0

Another interesting destination to check out from Kobe is the modern city of Kato. Normally it takes about an hour’s drive to reach Kato from Kobe. This beautiful place has several majestic attractions, including the 14th-century Zen Buddhist temple, Ankokuji, and the 100-year-old Dodan-Tsutsuji trees on the premises. Train enthusiasts, on the other hand, will find a plethora of interesting model trains at Hobby Center Kato.

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8. Awaji Island

Awaji Island
Source: Photo by Flickr user pinboke_planet used under CC BY 2.0

Make your visit to Kobe, Japan, more memorable by visiting Awaji Island - a destination where you can learn more about the legacy of the Japanese Imperial Family while also enjoying the island lifestyle. Visitors can find a long coastline that stretches out for 200 km (124 mi), where secluded beaches are ever-present.

Besides the pristine coasts, there are also hot springs where tourists can relax and rejuvenate. Check out Minamiawaji Hot Spring, where you’ll find numerous hot spring sources. And make sure not to miss the delicious seafood dishes before leaving the island. The distance between Kobe and Awaji Island is 68.9 km (42 mi).

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9. Akashi, Japan

Akashi Castle ruins
Source: Photo by Flickr user Bill White used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Overlooking the Seto Inland Sea, this sublime city is an excellent destination for tourists who are looking for a seafood culinary experience. There are many restaurants where visitors can appease their tastebuds. But, Akashi City is not only known for its seafood cuisine. Visitors can also check out the remains of Akashi Castle, which was the epicenter of the city during the Edo period. Today, visitors can marvel at the architectural designs and feast their eyes on the magnificent cherry blossom during springtime. The distance between Kobe and Akashi is a short 23.6 km (14.6 mi).

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10. Takarazuka, Japan

Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum
Source: Photo by Flickr user Hideyuki KAMON used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Located in Hyogo Prefecture, this city hasn’t stopped wooing die-hard manga fans over the years. Thanks to the Tezuka Osamu Manga Museum, fans can marvel at the creative works of Japan’s most celebrated manga artist. Another interesting must-see here is Takarazuka Revue, an all-female theater group, where audiences will find Japanese women playing different roles in opulent productions of Broadway musicals.

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11. Mount Rokkō, Japan

Mt rokko01s2816
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user 663highland used under CC BY 2.5

Mount Rokkō in Japan is a breathtaking retreat that offers a harmonious blend of natural beauty and cultural richness. Located near Kobe, this majestic mountain range is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and seekers of tranquility.

Embark on invigorating hikes along well-marked trails, surrounded by lush forests, meandering streams, and panoramic vistas. Reach the summit and be rewarded with sweeping views of Kobe city, the shimmering Seto Inland Sea, and even Mount Fuji on clear days. Discover the mountain’s hidden gems, such as enchanting waterfalls and serene mountain lakes, where you can immerse yourself in the serenity of nature. During winter, Mount Rokkō transforms into a winter wonderland, offering opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, and other snow activities.

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12. Shodoshima Island, Japan

Shodoshima Olive Park Shodo Island Japan21bs3
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user 663highland used under CC BY 2.5

Shodoshima Island in Japan is a hidden gem that entices with its natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and tranquil atmosphere. Located in the Seto Inland Sea, this island paradise offers a unique escape from the bustling city life.

Explore the island’s diverse landscapes, from pristine sandy beaches and rugged coastlines to lush mountains and terraced olive groves. Discover hidden coves, stunning viewpoints, and breathtaking sunsets that will leave you in awe. Immerse yourself in the island’s cultural offerings by visiting traditional soy sauce factories, art galleries, and the iconic Olive Park, which pays tribute to the island’s olive production.

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Discover the best day trips from Kobe

The bustling city of Kobe is a destination where you will find a plethora of attractions, restaurants, shopping complexes, and vibrant nightlife. But there’s much more to do from Kobe. Make sure to include these day tours from Kobe in your travel itinerary in Japan for yet another unforgettable escapade.

Frequently asked questions about the day trips from Kobe, Japan

  • Which big cities can tourists visit from Kobe?

    For an immersive urban experience around Kobe, one must visit the largest cities in the region. Some of the great options that you can consider are: i) Osaka, ii) Himeji, iii) Kyoto, and iv) Nara.

  • Which historical sites can travelers visit around Kobe?

    Some of the places near Kobe that delight tourists with their storied past and rich heritage include: i) Kyoto which is home to many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, ii) Kakogawa and its multitude of historic structures, and iii) the majestic Tatsuno Castle.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Heyleena is a passionate travel writer who enjoys writing travel articles for people who seek to explore new places in a more conscious way. From travel guides to recommended vacation rentals, get...Read more

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