Kobe has always been one of Japan’s most cosmopolitan cities, with a culinary scene reflecting its international influences. Yet Kobe is also no slouch when it comes to Japanese cuisine, with numerous restaurants cooking up the city’s biggest claim to fame: Kobe beef. Here’s some of our favorites.
This no-frills restaurant has been packing in customers for more than 40 years with a single dish: gyoza (Japanese-style dumplings). Hyotan’s dumplings are known for the light texture of their wrappers, which are filled with savory cabbage, minced pork and leek. Tucked beneath the tracks of Hanshin Sannomiya Station, Hyotan has no English sign, but look for the red noren curtains hanging in front of the entrance.
Find places to stay with our partner, Hotels.com
Located on a hillside overlooking Kobe, Kitano Club is one of the city’s most popular fine-dining restaurants, known for its panoramic views and exceptional French cuisine. Open for more than 50 years, the restaurant’s menu changes monthly, with typical offerings including foie gras, escargot, and dishes featuring fresh fish, roast beef, duck or lamb with seasonal vegetables. The restaurant’s stylish interior is a great spot for people-watching and the separate bar and lounge area is a relaxing place to linger after dinner, offering views of Kobe in the valley below.
For many people, the name ‘Kobe’ is inextricably linked to its world-famous beef, and Wakkoqu is one of the best places in the city to give it a try. There are several set menus featuring various cuts of beef, which is cooked directly in front of dinners on large iron griddles. The beef is served alongside side dishes like soup and fried vegetables, and the chefs provide guidance on which sauces and seasonings to add for different flavor experiences.
Opened in 1948, Nishimura is a timeless café that offers more than 20 different blends of coffee, all of which are roasted on-site. Set in a German-style house, its distinct half-timbered exterior has helped to establish it as a well-known Kobe landmark. The interior exudes the same elegant charm, decorated with antiques and beautiful wooden furniture. It was one of the first places in Japan to serve now-popular cappuccinos, Vienna coffees and coffee jelly, earning it a lasting place in Kobe’s coffee culture. Aside from coffee, the café offers a light menu of sandwiches, cakes, and other snacks.
Totenkaku is set in the 19th century F.Bishop House, one of the oldest Western-style houses in the city. Open since 1945, this restaurant is well-known for its Peking duck, which is regularly flown in from China. Totenkaku also offers both a la carte and set menus of Chinese cuisine, including traditional floral teas that seem to bloom when served inside transparent pots. The interior lives up to the restaurant’s royal name, with high ceilings, deep red carpets, along with Chinese artifacts and artwork.
Set in the former Kobe Union Church, Café Freundlieb offers one of the city’s most unusual dining settings. The German owners were married in the church and later purchased the building to save it from demolition, subsequently making the decision to convert it into a café. The design takes advantage of the church’s distinct architectural features, including its arched windows, exposed wooden beams and sky-high ceilings. The menu features salads, sandwiches, organic coffee, as well as fresh pastries, bread, cakes, and other desserts which are made at the on-site bakery.
Find places to stay with our partner, Hotels.com
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.