Meat lovers around the world are of course surely familiar with Kobe city (神戸市). It’s of course where that fancy Kobe Beef (神戸ビーフ) that costs a fortune in Harrod’s* comes from.
It’s also up there with Japan’s best cities and houses a large, bustling Chinatown, Nankinmachi (南京町) that’s prized as among the best in Japan. *£625 per kilo (according to Wikipedia)
Who knew that Kawasaki motorbikes were not made in their namesake city but in Kobe!? If you find yourself aimless in the city do check the Kawasaki museum where you can actually get up close with Shinkansen ‘bullet trains’ and all sorts.
Can you swim in Kobe?
Yes you can and one the best option is Suma Beach. The heavy industry and indeed the Chinatown probably originated because Kobe is an important port city nestled on the western shores of Osaka Bay (大阪湾).
Suma Seaside Park (須磨海浜公園) is Kobe city centre’s nearest beach and is a really nice place. The local government have obviously spent a lot of time, effort and Yen on making it so, and we salute their hard work!
In the summertime there’s loads of infrastructure here.
There are a few finely landscaped palm trees spicing up the sand, bars to suit all tastes (loungey wine bars with decking rub shoulders with more down to earth ice cream shacks), and in the water there are platforms for jumping off and dancing on with boomboxes … if you like?
The swimming spaces are all arranged into nice little areas with buoys protecting you from the many boats and jetskis heading to and from the nearby marina.
It’s a nice little spot for swimming with no big waves, clumps of seaweed or sea monsters to speak of, to our knowledge. When you swim out a bit, even within the ‘safe’ swimming zone they’ve cordoned off, the water is satisfyingly deep and you’ll feel free.
The views are excellent, as to your right lies the silhouette of the mighty Akashi Kaikyo Bridge (明石海峡大橋), at the time of writing the world’s longest suspension bridge, which connects Honshu island to Awaji Island/Awajijima (淡路市), via connections to two more consecutive bridges going aaaaall the way to Shikoku Island.