It must be something that comes with the territory of being in close proximity to the ocean; Kobe is very much like Seattle— beautiful, full of life, and very much at war with its environment.
We didn’t make it to Kobe on our first trip to Japan, so we made it a point to visit and try the beef on the second. While trying new things is fun, we had pretty mixed feelings about it.
It’s a shame the beef is the part that is synonymous with Kobe, as the city itself is quite beautiful. It’s not quite as “clean” (i.e. “sterile”) as many of the other major cities but that says little about it.
Our first order of business was to head back to Kobe Harborland! Nothing in particular draws us there; it’s just a really neat place to shop.
And on that note, this is one of the first times we spent any amount of time actually shopping. Unless you’re exploiting third-world exchange rates or buying things cheaply abroad that are taxed to hell at home (something only Europeans and Australians can appreciate) we’ve never really understood the appeal of going on a vacation and wasting our time shopping, duty-free or not.
But it was early in the day, it was quite cold, and the warming allure of the malls drew us in. We went through a few department stores looking at the leather bookbags the Japanese schoolkids all wear. We would have liked to bring some home for ours but at USD $500-$600 apiece it was a bit much.
Aside from that, all the designer stuff was ridiculously expensive compared to home so we moved on.
We did buy a one-piece kimono outfit for our youngest at our (second) favorite store– Starvations!
From there, it was onto Harborland.
While we were running around on the pier, a couple and their close family were trying to do an engagement shoot. They picked a bad day to do it. Bridal dresses and harsh winds do not mix.
One really neat thing we saw here this time was the presence of the SS-506 Kokuryu (“Black Dragon”) submarine! Lady flipped her shit; she loves submarines but has never been on one.
There were military personnel all over the place so we wouldn’t have been able to get any closer had we tried, but this was still the closest she had ever been to one.
We also got to go up the Ferris wheel this time! Every city in Japan has a Ferris wheel and it seems like a gimmick, but this time we said “why not.”
It’s a decent ride for the money. We were also the only people on it at this hour.