A foodie trip to Hyogo often includes a visit to Nankin-machi, one of Japan’s 3 main Chinatowns. When it comes to dining, Kobe has so much to offer, from Western-style cooking to Kobe beef steaks. If you’re wondering where to go, start by heading to the Sannomiya/Motomachi area. Okamoto and Ashiya are the go-to destinations if you want to sample and compare different Kobe sweets.

    If you don’t mind taking a short trip in pursuit of some great dining experiences, the town of Izushi and Kinosaki Onsen is well worth a visit. Flanked on the north side by the Seto Inland Sea and the south side by the Sea of Japan, delicious encounters are guaranteed here in Hyogo Prefecture. Check out our guide to popular food and dining areas in Hyogo.



    Kitanozaka is a slope that leads straight from Sannomiya, the downtown part of Kobe, to Kitano Ijinkan, the Former Foreign Residences. This area has a really exotic vibe and is fun just to walk around, with stylish cafés, restaurants, bistros, and shops at every turn. There are many popular photogenic spots such as chain coffee shops and old-time cafés established in classic western-style buildings. Many popular Kobe-specific shops are famous for their delicious pastries and bread.

    Location: Kitanocho, Chuo Ward, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0002, Japan


    photo by 663highland (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Sannomiya Motomachi

    Sannomiya Motomachi is one of the most vibrant areas in Kobe. This distinctive shopping area, located beneath the elevated train tracks, has countless restaurants where you can casually stop by for something to eat. Tor Road is a stylish street that was loved by westerners who once lived in the foreign settlement. It has many well-established restaurants, which are great for a nice and relaxed dinner.

    Motomachi Shopping Street offers a wide variety of attractive restaurants such as western-style restaurants unique to Kobe, Chinese eateries where you can feel the atmosphere of the port town, as well as fusion cuisine restaurants. This is a great area in which to explore Kobe’s delicious food.


    photo by DVMG (CC BY 3.0) modified



    Nankinmachi in Kobe is one of Japan's biggest Chinatowns. Your mission here is, of course, to explore the streets and try cheap but authentic Chinese food. Just make sure you don't eat before coming to this part of the city. Walking around the neighborhood – with its stalls of pan-fried dumplings (yaki-gyoza), Chinese steamed buns (xiaolongbao), braised pork belly burger (kakuni baga), roasted pork (char siu), steamed pork buns (butaman), ramen, and freshly fried potato croquette (korokke) – is a real adventure for foodies.

    Nankinmachi is within a 10-minute walk from JR Sannomiya Station and a 5-minute walk from JR Motomachi Station and Subway Minato Motomachi Station.

    Location: 1 Chome-3-18 Sakaemachidori, Chuo Ward, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0023, Japan

    photo by Mti (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Kobe Bay Area

    Kobe’s Bay Area is mostly famous for housing the city's symbol, the 108-meter-tall Port Tower. This is also an excellent location for romantic dining – many couples can enjoy a luxurious meal with beautiful night views of Harborland at Meriken Park Oriental Hotel. Alternately, on the many cruise ships leaving from Kobe Port, you can have lunch or dinner and take in the spectacular sunset.

    The Kobe Harborland Umie mall is a great choice for casual dining as it has many family-friendly restaurants, cafes, and pastry shops – basically something for everyone. The Bay Area of Kobe is just a 10-minute walk from JR Kobe Station and Subway Harborland Station.



    Okamoto is a small and cozy area between Hankyu Okamoto Station and JR Settsu-Motoyama Station. One of Kansai’s most high-end residential areas, it has many cake shops, bakeries and stylish general stores, together with a nature-rich townscape with Mount Rokko in the background

    Okamoto is a great area for strolling its cobblestone streets, which are lined with cafes with an uptown ambience. Kobe has a wealth of well-known cafés and bakeries to enjoy. There are also many delicious traditional restaurants and Japanese-style bars (izakaya), where you can enjoy dinner in a calm and relaxed atmosphere.



    Arima Onsen is a spa town located around 21 km northeast of Kobe. After relaxing and warming up in a hot spring, it’s time to enjoy a delicious meal. Be sure to make a reservation if you fancy some high-end dining in the refined setting of a Kobe beef steak restaurant, French restaurant, or traditional Japanese restaurant specializing in multi-course meals (kaiseki).

    If you prefer a more casual lunch option, some restaurants serve curry, mixed rice in iron pots (kamameshi), or pizza. Arima Onsen is also popular for its famous soba restaurants. Bathing in hot springs tends to stimulate the appetite, and one of the best ways to satisfy your hunger is with a bowl of fragrant soba noodles. A classic souvenir to get in Arima is carbonated rice crackers (tansan senbei), which originated during the Meiji era.

    photo by 663highland (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified



    Somen (thin wheat noodles) is an essential summertime dish in Japan. You can check out the somen production process and try some freshly made somen at Somen-no-Sato Ibonoito Museum, a dedicated museum in Tatsuno City, Hyogo Prefecture. There’s a restaurant next to the museum that offers a wide variety of dishes at reasonable prices. Besides the usual cold somen (zaru somen) and hot somen (nyumen), you can try set menus with sashimi, fried noodle dishes, somen sushi rolls (somen makizushi), and somen salad.

    From spring to summer, you can take part in a popular family activity called flowing somen (somen nagashi), where the noodles are propelled down a bamboo chute before they’re picked up and eaten. Somen-no-Sato Ibonoito Museum is a 15-minute walk from JR Higashi-Hashisaki Station.

    Location: 56 Kamiokacho Okumura, Tatsuno, Hyogo 679-4101, Japan

    Open: Museum: daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Restaurant: Tuesday–Sunday from 11 am to 9 pm (closed on Mondays)

    photo by Mti (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Kinosaki Onsen

    Kinosaki Onsen is in the northern part of Hyogo Prefecture, facing the Sea of Japan. It’s known as the setting for the novel At Kinosaki by Naoya Shiga, one of Japan’s greatest literary figures. Kinosaki Onsen is one of the prefecture’s major hot spring towns, alongside Arima Onsen and Yumura Onsen. The rich seafood from the Sea of Japan is not to be missed – its snow crab season (November to March) is particularly famous. During this period, you can purchase a ‘Kingdom of Yukata and Crab’ (Yukata to Kani Okoku) passport which offers various benefits.

    Kinosaki also offers delicious Tajima beef dishes. This is an excellent spot to enjoy different outdoor baths while sampling delicious local foods. It’s possible to visit here on a day trip, by taking a direct bus from Sannomiya in Kobe.



    Izushi is a castle town in Toyooka City, nicknamed the 'Little Kyoto of Tamba'. Its local dish is called Izushi sara soba (plated buckwheat noodle), which is famous throughout Japan. Izushi also is one of Kansai’s leading soba noodle destinations, with more than 50 soba restaurants in the town. You can enjoy mini portions served on little plates with condiments of your choice. A serving typically consists of 5 plates of soba noodles, but you can also order as many plates as you want and pile up the used plates to see who can eat the most.

    If you want to try a wide range of soba dishes, you can sign up for the 'Eating Izushi Soba Tour' at Izushi Tourist Center. This option gives you a money pouch containing 3 old coins, which you can use to redeem 3 plates of soba. This is an economical way to sample Izushi soba at various restaurants. It takes about 30 minutes to get to Izushi from JR Toyooka Station, Ebara Station, or Yoka Station on the Zentan bus bound for Izushi.

    photo by 663highland (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified



    Ashiya is famous as a high-end residential area in Hyogo Prefecture. The elegant cityscape is excellent for strolling around and enjoying delicious pastries. There are many restaurants, cafes and pastry shops frequented by affluent locals, especially well-dressed ladies.

    You can find the main branch of a pastry shop that locals claim to be responsible for the pastry culture of Ashiya. It’s renowned for its crepe Suzette, served on trolleys. Ashiya is full of charm, and aside from its pastry shops, there is also a well-known Italian restaurant, a specialty tea shop, and popular coffee shops that serve beautiful cakes and parfaits.

    photo by kcomiida (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

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