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Population (approx.): 5.572 million (2012)
Area: 3,242 sq miles
Area Rank: 12
Important port city with many shopping and dining options
Famous for its National Treasure, Himeji Castle; popular cherry blossom viewing spot
Hyogo Prefecture is located in the Kansai region and its capital Kobe is one of Japan’s ten largest cities. Hyogo’s most popular tourist destination is the Himeji Castle. The castle is considered by many to be Japan’s finest castle. The castle was never destroyed and still stands beautifully in its original form. Its figure was likened as a white heron spreading its wings, and thus called the Hakuro-jo, or White Heron Castle. It was designated as a national treasure in 1931, and as the World Cultural Heritage in 1993. In northern Hyogo is Kinosaki Onsen, a lovely town with several hot springs throughout town. The townspeople and tourists are seen walking around town in their yukata and geta as they head towards the hot springs and town center in the evenings, creating a nice old fashioned atmosphere.
The White Heron Castle - UNESCO's World Heritage
One of Japan's oldest onsen resorts; great day trip from Kobe
Chinatown in Kobe with great food and vibrant atmosphere
Large shopping and entertainment district along Kobe's port
One of the top onsen destinations in the Kansai region
Combines traditional sake brewing methods with new techniques
Located in Nada district, acknowledged as the best location for sake production
Floating Castle, Castle in the Sky, Japan's Machu Picchu
When you heard Kobe, perhaps the only thing that came to mind was the Japanese delicacy, Kobe Beef. Kobe Beef, with its beautifully marbled fat is tender, juicy, and flavorful. The meat comes from pedigreed Tajima breed cattle that were born and raised in Hyogo. Only meat of the highest grades are given the notorious title of Kobe Beef.
Hyogo is also famous for its production of great Japanese sake. The Shushinkan Sake Brewery is known for its delicious sake produced from the high quality rice and pure water from the Rokko Mountains.
White porcelain pottery made in Izushi, Hyogo, are called Izushi-yaki. Izushi yaki's whiteness comes from the color of its ingredient, kakitani toseki, kakitani pottery stone. The pottery is fired and the finished product has a silky texture. Cups, plates, and white porcelain sake bottles are created by Izushi-yaki.
Kobe Luminarie is an annual light event that started in 1995 to commemorate the Great Hanshin Earthquake. Over 200,000 painted lights light up the town for two weeks. The lights were donated by the Italian government and were meant to symbolize hope, recovery, and renovation. In a time where many lives were lost, families torn apart, and darkness filled the town, these lights provided hope for the people of Kobe.