KobeG4Workshop.pdf (2-up|6-up): Trip tips at Kobe kindly sent us from Dr. Makoto Asai may help you. It's recommended to print it out and carry with you during the workshop.

Content of Visitor Information

General information about Kobe quoted from Wikipedia

Kobe (神戸市, Kōbe-shi) is the capital city of Hyōgo prefecture and a prominent port city in Japan with a population of about 1.5 million. The city is located in the Kansai region of Japan and is part of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto metropolitan area. Kobe is classified as one of Japan's seventeen designated cities.

Originally known by the name Ōwada Anchorage (大輪田泊, Ōwada-no-tomari), earliest written records regarding the region come from the Nihon Shoki (日本書紀), which describes the founding of the Ikuta Shrine (生田神社, Ikuta-jinja) by Empress Jingū (神功皇后, Jingū-kou-gou) in 201 A.D. For most of its history the area was never a single political entity, even during the Tokugawa Period, when the port was controlled directly by the Tokugawa Shogunate (徳川幕府, Tokugawa-bakufu). Kobe did not exist in its current form until its founding in 1889. Its name comes from “kanbe” (神戸, kanbe; another pronunciation of Kōbe), an archaic title for supporters of the city's Ikuta Shrine. Kobe became one of Japan's designated cities in 1956.

Kobe was one of the first cities to open for trade with the West following the end of the policy of seclusion and has since been known as a cosmopolitan port city. While the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake (阪神大震災, Hanshin-dai-shinsai) diminished much of Kobe's prominence as a port city, it remains Japan's fourth busiest container port. Companies headquartered in Kobe include ASICS, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, and Kobe Steel, as well as over 100 international corporations with Asia or Japan headquarters in the city such as Procter & Gamble and Nestlé.

The city is the point of origin and namesake of Kobe beef (神戸牛, Kōbe-gyū) as well as the site of one of Japan's most famous hot spring resorts, Arima Onsen (有馬温泉, Arima-onsen).

More detail information about Kobe, please refer to Wikipedia/Kobe.

Climate

Kobe's climate is warm and mild all year round, particularly suitable for travel. The temperature is around 17-24 °C (~20 °C ave.) at the beginning of October.

Please go to “Feel Kobe” for more information.

Time Zone

Japan is 9 hours ahead of UTC. We don't have any time differences and also daylight saving time all over Japan. i.e. when it is midnight (00:00) in UTC, it is 9 AM (09:00) in Japan Standard Time (JST) not depend on geographical region.

A useful world time and date converter website: time and date.com

Currency

The Yen (, en) is the currency of Japan. The ISO 4217 codes, describing three letter codes for the yen are JPY and 392. The romanised symbol is ¥ while in Japanese it is also written with the kanji character “”.

The exchange rate is quoted around 107 Yen to US$1 or 157 Yen to €1 as of April, 2008. Only the Japanese yen or credit card are acceptable at almost stores and restaurants in Japan. Foreign currencies can be exchanged at the airport upon arrival (recommendatory), or at foreign exchange banks, other authorized exchanges upon presentation of your passport, also likely available at tourist hotels.

Electricity

The voltage in Japan is 100 Volt, which is different from North America (110V), Central Europe (220V) and most other regions of the world. Japanese electrical plugs have two, non-polarized pins as shown above. They fit into North American outlets, type A.

The frequency of electric current is 60 Hertz in Western Japan (including Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Shikoku, Kyushu) and 50 Hz in Eastern, Tokyo region, however this frequency difference affects only sensitive equipment.

Cell Phone

Still under investigation, GSM phones do not work in Japan anyway. Possible candidates are listed below:

  1. 3G phones - compatibility with the Japanese mobile phone network
  2. International roaming plan
  3. Rental SIM card with SIM free phones
  4. Rental phones at the airport upon arrival

Transportation

Kobe is easily accessible from the Kansai Airport by Limousine Bus bound for “Kobe Sannomiya (神戸三宮, Kōbe-San-no-Miya)” (time required: 65 min. /fare: 1,800 JPY). “Kobe Sannomiya (神戸三宮, Kōbe-San-no-Miya)” station locates the center of downtown of Kobe. You can reach your hotels on foot (less than 1km). Using railways is not recommended because it is difficult to change trains for foreigners.

See Also

Tipping/Taxes

There is no custom of tipping in Japan. it's rarely seen in gorgeous classified hotels/restraints. Instead, at places such as restaurants, bars, and hotels, a 10% service charge is usually added to your bill.

Consumption tax is paid by consumers when they purchase goods and services. The current rate is 5% (4% national, 1% prefectural). Shops and other service providers have been required to include the consumption tax in the prices shown since April, 2004.

Sightseeing Kobe

  • Feel Kobe” provided by Kobe Convention & Visitors Association
  • Kansai Thru Pass, this ticket enables you for 2 days or 3 days to ride on subways, private railways and buses at Kobe as well as Kyoto and Osaka area. Please visit website for more detail information.