Had breakfast in the hotel – included here for the first time. Mostly Japanese selection which we would usually have had later in the day. But there was fruit, cereal, fruit juice, coffee and yogurt so we went for our usual western style breakfast. We caught the Kobe loop bus and got a day ticket which meant we could hop on and off all day. The bus covers a circuit around Kobe stoping at 17 places of interest. Our first stop was at Nankin-machi Kobe’s China Town as recommended by Tom. Lots of tourists and school children again. Very vibrant area with lots of colourful street stalls and food places selling Chinese snacks – dim sum, grilled meat etc on sticks. We had a dumpling with pork inside which we had sampled in Hong Kong which was very nice. Back onto loop bus this time getting off at the Kitano Ijinkan-dori – the area of Kobe with western style houses. Narrow, steep streets with cafes, restaurants and shops mostly constructed after the 1995 earthquake. Then we walked up to the Shin-Kobe rope way and got on the cable car up to the Nunobiki Herb Park giving breathtaking views over Kobe harbour and surroundings. We walked back down to the mid station through the gardens, greenhouses, waterfalls, herb museum and kitchen garden. Many panoramic views along the way of Kobe. The weather was lovely too- warm, sunny, blue skies and clear. On one of the garden terraces we soaked our feet in a herbal foot spar whilst viewing the sights of Kobe. We were reluctant to take our feet out but we were relaxed and refreshed! We met many helpful and warm people today – when we stopped to look at our map we were asked several times if we needed guidance to get to where we wanted to go. We walked round to Shin- Kobe station and back onto the loop bus, past Kobe City Hall to Meriken Park. Here we explored the Port of Kobe Earthquake Memorial Park. On January 17th 1995 a devastating earthquake struct the city and surrounding area and had a major impact on the people both items of lost lives and homes but also on the economy which the city has struggled to recover from. The city’s most striking architectural feature is the filigree roof of the Kobe Maritme Museum which is on the harbour. It is a swooping white framework symbolising waves and sails. We went into the museum but only had time to go around the Kawasaki exhibition – a showcase of all the innovative technological engineering developments by the Kawasaki. group on the land, sea and sky. We watched two videos about the development of the Shin- Kansen (bullet) train and ship building. Kawasaki don’t just make motor bikes! After this we walked around the Kobe Port Tower, back through the Harbour Land development, through the underpass under Kobe bus station and back to the hotel. There is a whole world underground in Japan’s cities – shops, restaurants, stalls. We didn’t emerge from Kobe’s until we got to the hotel and arrived in the lobby. Later we took a train from Kobe JR station to Sannomiya station to find the area with lots of restaurants specialising in selling Kobe beef. This is a local delicacy – expensive slices of beef heavily marbled with fat. A very kind man spotted us looking at our map and volunteered to take us to Kitano-zaka where these restaurants could be found. It was extremely lively and busy; many business men carrying briefcases – hardly any women except those encouraging the men into their establishments. None of them approached us as we assumed we were not their potential customers!

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