When to travel?

The climate is also diverse.  The area around Seto inland sea is very hot and humid during summer without snow in winter.  On the other hand, in the area around Japan Sea and mountains, it could snow a lot during winter time.

Best season:  Mar-Nov (Jun is monsoon, Jul-Aug could be hot and humid)
Snow activity: end of Dec – Mar
Cherry blossom: end of Mar-Apr
Foliage: Nov

Events / Festivals

Jan: Toka Ebisu (十日えびす), Nishinomiya 西宮
May: Kobe festival (神戸まつり), Kobe
Oct: Nada Kenka festival (灘のけんか祭り), Kobe

Touristic spots

Capital city: Kobe (神戸)

It is a city of Kobe beef!  The name of the city is more known than the name of the prefecture, as the city was the entrance to foreign countries.  The city was severely damaged by the earthquake occurred in 1997, which has propelled the reconstruction of the city since then.

The city is thought to be fashionable and international, as there are so many foreigners living in the city.

Kobe Port tower (ポートタワー), the city’s symbol.
10-million-dollar night view, from Mt. Rokko (六甲山).  One of three best night views of Japan.
Ijinkan foreigner’s house (異人館), there is also China town (中華街) which is quite famous, too.

Himeji (姫路)

Description available in Kinki, world Heritage site article.

Sumoto (洲本)

It is the biggest city of Awaji island (淡路島).  The access to the island is so easy from Kobe, however, the island has nomadic ambiance which makes you feel relaxed.

Sumoto Itsukushima shrine (洲本厳島神社)
Sumoto shrine (洲本城), which is the oldest reconstructed castle of Japan.
Awaji Hana Sajiki (淡路花さじき) flower park, full of seasonal flowers.

Tamba Sasayama (丹波篠山)

Would you like to experience a life in the country side?  You can easily do this by visiting the area called Tamba Sasayama (丹波篠山), which is located at the center of Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo.  The area has developed as a castle city, and even nowadays they have quite a few touristic attractions.  The city has less tourists so that you can enjoy a life in a countryside at the same time.

The whole city is preserved very well.

Takeda castle (竹田城)

This castle is so popular among Japanese now, for their mysterious ambiance.  The castle is on top of the mountain whose height is 350 meters, and in the very early morning, Sea of the clouds appear just below the castle.  This scenery is called as Machu Pichu in Japan.

The Sea of the clouds appear more often during September to November.

Genbudo cave (玄武洞)

The highlight of the northern part of Hyogo prefecture.  Genbudo cave is a part of Sannin Coast National Park.  The cave was created as a result of volcano eruption which took place about 1.6 million years ago, and the stream of the river has scraped the rocks.

Nature created this amazing view, takin more than 1.6 million years.

Arima Hot spring (有馬温泉)

One of the three oldest hot springs of Japan.  With just 30 minutes access from Kobe city, the hot spring is offering great quality of water to many tourists.  The hot spring was developed by Hideyoshi Toyotomi (豊臣秀吉) who has become the Military General from the lowest rank, so you may see some of his marks.

Nene, wife of Hideyoshi.

Kinosaki Hot spring (城崎温泉)

Kinosaki is a main sightseeing spot in northern Hyogo.  Ever since a famous writer, Naoya Shiga (志賀直哉), wrote with this hot spring, people keep on visiting this place in search of nostalgy.  Wearing Yukata bathrobe and visiting another hot spring is considered as formal in this hot spring.

Wear Yukata bathrobe and walk around the city.