The name “Kobe” means only one thing to most Westerners: beef! Kobe beef is renowned as a succulent cut of the classic Japanese, or Wagyuu, beef: marbled, fatty, melt-in-your mouth steaks. Kobe beef refers to beef from cows grown in the area and style of the Hyogo region around Kobe.
Other than the beef, Kobe is a fairly standard city. It had some nice markets and food stalls. Some monks were representing their temple in one market, and gave me some free cookies.
I’ve had a similar experience before. Back in 2010, I met a fella at Glastonbury Festival who claimed to be a Buddhist monk. He gave me some muffins and after eating them, I was stoned off my face for Muse’s entire set. I think this monk was a little less suspicious.
The other main feature that drew me to Kobe was the enormous statue of Tetsujin 28, known in the west as Gigantor.
I’m a big fan of giant robots, from Transformers, Gundam, Pacific Rim, you name it. I have this guy to thank for much of that whole genre of Manga, Anime and subsequently Western film and television. It’s also a really cool, really big statue.
As for the beef? I’ll get back to you. There’s a restaurant just over the road from my hostel that I’ve got my eye on . . .