The meat is overrated, but the city is beautiful.
Stepping off the Shinkansen, we had no idea where we were going or even what Kobe had to offer besides beef.
Having heard promising things about Kobe Harborland, we set our sights on that, figuring we could grab dinner and just walk around. We ended up walking around in some underground food mall in the hotel building adjacent to the JR station. The building is incredibly confusing to navigate.
We couldn’t figure out how to navigate the trains out there and evening was quickly approaching, so we took a taxi over to Kobe Harborland to not waste any time. It was a very expensive ride ($25 or so).
We totally forgot to take a picture in front of it! Perhaps next time…
It was evening, and we quickly found out that most of the restaurants had run out of their supplies of Kobe beef! We did find one that still had some on the upper level of the mall (“Ryu-en”), and it had a great view of the bay to boot. It was expensive as all hell though ($50/plate) which is probably why they were the only game left in town.
You order your entree and they bring out a plate of raw meat chunks. Each table has its own tabletop grill. You skewer the meat and wave it in the fire just enough to sear it. Heat it any longer and it turns to leather.
Not saying anything about the restaurant (it was good in and of itself) but Kobe beef is pretty gross, and I say this after having savored the taste of (human?) flesh and having previously dined on offal. If you’re the sort of person who thinks Angus meat is anything special then you’d probably like Kobe beef; it’s incredibly rich and tastes really gamey. Seriously, the fat content is on par with American meat.
On the way out we wandered for a while until we did successfully find a train station. We love how the Japanese leave Christmas-style lights up all year round. It makes everything seems so festive, regardless of the season.