After seeing Kobe from Port Tower, we headed over to Nankin-machi, the Chinatown to get a bite to eat. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Kobe’s Chinatown is a good deal cheaper than Yokohama’s Chinatown, although a bit smaller.
March 31, 2009
March 30, 2009
After strolling around Kitano-cho, we headed over to Meriken Park, where the port of Kobe is. We had planned to go up Mt. Rokko and take in the night view, which is supposed to be one of the best 3 night views in Japan. (Japan likes counting all it’s best of’s in groups of 3.) However, at the tourist office, they advised us that in the rain, we wouldn’t be able to see anything from the mountain and we ought to try a place closer to the ground. They suggested Meriken Park’s Port Tower.
Kobe is a nice city to visit because it’s fairly compact and easy to find your way around. Most things to see are within walking distance of San-no-miya station and therefore in walking distance of each other. This could also be interpreted as, there isn’t much to see in Kobe. But I think there’s still enough to do to make a nice day trip.
Anyway, One if the major tourists attractions of Kobe is the Kitano-cho district of the city. Kobe was one of the first cities opened up to trade in Japan, as a port city (the others being Nagasaki, Yokohama, and Hakodate). Because of this, it was one of the first cities that foreigners came to live in. The Kitano-cho district is what’s left over of those people’s homes. It’s kind of like one mansion for each European country and USA. It’s up a hill, so once you arrive, there’s a nice view of the city and the sea. however, each of the places charges about 300 to 500 yen ($3-5) to get in, so we decided not to go into any since none of them seemed particularly worth paying any money for.
March 29, 2009
In between Tottori and Kobe, I passed by this place, Toyooka town. And on the train platform they had this sign, which says roughly “Bag Town Toyooka.” Right there on the station platform, they had a vending machine selling there wares, bags for about 1000 Yen each. Here’s the city’s official website in English. Ad here’s the industries sections of the website, which has a small section on their bag industry.
March 28, 2009
Our next stop on our trip after Tottori was Kobe. It only took 4 or 5 hours on the train to get to Kobe, not like the crazy 17 hours we spent getting to Tottori. We only had about half a day in Kobe, but we managed to find a coffee museum to visit, which was interesting. Here’s a link to the museum website. They only have a Japanese website. sorry! The UCC coffee company in general, however, has an English website. Anyway, I wasn’t really able to take pictures inside the museum, but they had exhibits about the history of coffee’s discovery, how coffee developed over time, methods for making coffee, the culture of enjoying coffee, and a room where you could watch all the UCC coffee commercials ever. At the end, they have some computers that quiz you, and if you get enough of the questions right, you get a badge that says you learned a lot about coffee. I’m officially Dr. Coffee now!
After the museum, we went to their coffee shop, because we decided that if we didn’t, what was the point of coming to the coffee museum in the first place?
March 27, 2009
Tottori is famous for 20th Century nashi pears (they seriously refer to these pears as ’20th century’), Matsuba Crabs (Pine Needle Crabs, a kind found in the Sea of Japan), and some foods grown in and around the sand dune, such as a certain type of long potato.
March 24, 2009
March 18, 2009
Tottori is the capital city of Tottori prefecture, the Japanese prefecture with the smallest population. It is best known for it’s sand dunes, the only sand dunes in Japan and the only major tourist attraction in Tottori. The sand dunes are very picturesque, going right up to the edge of the Sea of Japan.
March 17, 2009
I recently went on a short trip with a friend of mine. We were able to keep our transportation costs very low because we rode on a special ticket, the youth 18 ticket (青春１８きっぷ). It’s a special ticket offered through the JR company (Japan Railway) during school holidays to anyone, not just youths. It lets you ride on any local JR train as much as you want in a day for 5 days for about 100 USD (11,500 Yen), or about $20 a day. The only catch is, you can only ride on local trains. So, a trip form Tokyo to Osaka for example, which takes 2 hours on the bullet train (shinkansen), takes about 7 hours on local trains, and you aren’t guaranteed to have a seat, like on the bullet train.
My friend and I decided to visit Tottori, and spent 17 hours on the train with very little breaks, taking the very first train from our station in the morning at 5:12 am and barely making the last train into the rural city of Tottori at 10:23.
The following pictures show our journey from Tokyo to Tottori.
March 10, 2009
Going on a trip for the rest of the week. No internet most likely. So, no posts.